Format: E-Galley, 368 pages
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Four girls with the power to control the elements and save the world from a terrible evil must come together in the first epic novel in a brand-new series.
When Phantoms—massive beasts made from nightmares and darkness—suddenly appeared and began terrorizing the world, four girls, the Effigies, each gained a unique power to control one of the classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Since then, four girls across the world have continually fought against the Phantoms, fulfilling their cosmic duty. And when one Effigy dies, another girl gains her power as a replacement.
But now, with technologies in place to protect the world’s major cities from Phantom attacks, the Effigies have stopped defending humanity and, instead, have become international celebrities, with their heroic feats ranked, televised, and talked about in online fandoms.
Until the day that New York City’s protection against the Phantoms fails, a man seems to be able to control them by sheer force of will, and Maia, a high school student, unexpectedly becomes the Fire Effigy.
Now Maia has been thrown into battle with three girls who want nothing to do with one another. But with the first human villain that the girls have ever faced, and an army of Phantoms preparing for attack, there isn’t much time for the Effigies to learn how to work together.
Can the girls take control of their destinies before the world is destroyed forever?
Fates of Flame, by author Sarah Raughley, is the first installment in the Effigies series. The author sells the story as being a cross between Pacific Rim, Avengers, with a Sailor Moon cast. 16-year old protagonist Maia Finley is an Effigy fan girl. She could pretty much state who the Effigies are, what powers they are able to access, and what has made them famous, or infamous. But, Maia is also much more than that. Several days before the story begins, fate threw Maia a curveball. She discovered that she is the heir apparent to Natalya, the fire Effigy. Very soon, Maia will be forced to reveal her secret to the entire world.
Effigies like Belle Rousseau (Ice), Victoria "Lake" Sayinka (Wind), and Chae Rin Kim (Earth) work for a secretive organization called the Sect. Their primary goals are to fight the Kaiju. Ok, seriously, I mean Phantoms. 50 years ago, the Phantoms rose from the ground in Seattle bringing death and destruction with them. 4 girls with different abilities, were fated to fight the monsters. When one of the Effigies dies, they are immediately replaced by the next candidate in line. Effigies are required to fight until they drop dead, or are no longer useful to the Sect.
Maia, even though she is the narrator, is probably the weakest character in the book, but that is to be expected with no formal training or experience under her belt. After being run down by agents from the Sect, she has to deal with her new abilities, and someone telling her what to do. She has to deal with 3 other girls who each have their own personalities, agendas, and baggage. She is supposed to be able to trust the Sect agents with having her back, and she is expected to go where she is told at a moments notice.
Belle is the Effigy with an attitude. She looks down her nose at everyone else, including Maia since she is Natalya's replacement. Belle is the ultimate solder in many ways, yet she is also vulnerable to loss, betrayal, and losing her mentor was just another slap in the face. Chae Rin isn't one to follow the rules. In fact, she finds herself at a circus doing dangerous stunts with PHANTOMS, of all things when she is called back to duty. Lake is a celebrity of some renown. Having to put her life on hold in order to work with the others to track down someone who is able to control the Phantoms isn't something Lake thought she would have to do ever again since being suspended.
I am curious as to what happens next to Maia and the gang. Will the next book also be narrated by Maia, or will the author flip the script to another character. There are more than a few twisted revelations and secrets that are exposed in this book. One has to wonder who Maia can really trust after all that has happened to her in this book. One of the more curious aspects is that when an effigy dies, their memories go to their replacement. Not sure if I would like to have all that in my head, but I'm not a superhero! This is also a story that doesn't sit still in one place. It travels from NYC, to London, to Argentina as the Effigies learn to fight as a team.