Mistress of Souls by Michelle Zink

6 Jul

 

In the second novella of the brand new Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy, Michelle Zink gives us another characters voice to ponder. Though the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy is told from Lia’s point of view, Whisper of Souls was told from her mother Adelaide’s point of view.

Mistress of Souls is told from the point of view of Lia’s sister, Alice. And, much like her mother Adelaide before her, Alice here’s the whisper of the Souls.

Born into a prophecy that makes one twin the Gate, the human vessel through which Samael can pass through into the mortal world, and the other twin the Guardian that must prevent this, Alice struggles with her role in the prophecy. Alice knows her rightful position in the prophecy is that of the Gate. She longs to bring Samael into the world, longs to finally belong and have a place of power at his side.

However, there is a complication. Due to a difficult birth, Alice’s twin sister Lia was born first, marking her as the Gate and Alice as the Guardian. Alice knows that she is rightfully the Gate and though she is marked as Guardian, she does not wish to take on that mantle.

Instead, much like her mother, she is seduced by the whisper of the lost souls the Souls and by Samael. She wants nothing more than to sink into the oblivion of the astral plane where Samael resides and let lose his havoc on the mortal world. She longs for the power it will bring, even though it may mean the end of her world as she knows it.

Alice struggles with her role and, wishing to be alone, sends her Aunt Virginia away, along with all the servants of Birchwood Manor. Completely alone now, she gives into the whispers of the souls, rising from her spellc raft only to eat and take care of the most necessary distractions. Alone with her thoughts, Alice’s mind turns to her sister and the choices she has made to be the sister of light while Alice is the sister of darkness.

What choice can Alice make for her future? Does she try to do good as Lia has done, or does she give into the inevitable and embrace the souls? Thankfully, she has James, Lia’s former beloved, to distract her. Time is waning however and Alice will have to make a choice.

Will the light or the darkness prevail?

I am a huge fan of Michelle Zink’s writing and she is constantly surprising me. When I originally read the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy, I had taken Adelaide to be weak. This was proved false by Whisper of Souls. Now, with Mistress of Souls, Michelle Zink has done it again, forcing me to rethink what I know and do a character double take.

During the original trilogy, I had believed Alice to be completely evil, completely at the mercy of the souls. Being an identical twin myself, I know that there is often a good twin and a bad twin and, having read the trilogy, I knew Lia was good, Alice was bad. Simple right?

As it turns out, not so simple. Alice is far more complex a character than I had ever given her credit for. In Mistress of Souls, we find Alice on the precipice of change, of making a choice. She struggles with what she must do, with what has to be done, as she still loves her sister, the other half of her coin. Though she gives into the darkness, we are given a glimpse into what this choice cost Alice.

It is also the first time we get to read anything from Alice’s point of view. Though Lia narrates the original trilogy, Zink writes so well that Mistress of Souls captures Alice’s voice and her struggle so perfectly that it would have been welcome in the original trilogy, even though it would have broken Lia’s narrative. Thankfully, we now get to read from Alice’s point of view and her story adds to an already incredible and rich mythology.

Mistress of Souls proves that everyone has a voice, everyone has secrets and turmoil they struggle with, we may just not see it from one narrator’s point of view. Even more, we may not see the whole character, the whole person, until shown a new perspective that changes what we thought we knew.

Haunting and beautifully written, Mistress of Souls is another novella that packs a novel’s worth of emotion into it and leaves me breathlessly wanting more. I can hardly wait for the third and final book in the new trilogy, Rise of Souls, out in July!

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