Fate of Flames – Sarah Raughley – Effigies #1 – Simon Pulse – Published 22 November 2016
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?
I love superhero books, so I was excited by the premise of a strong cast of females with impressive powers (and a touch of both glamour and drama) in a fantasy setting. Fate of Flames delivers plenty of action and mystery, and all the drama you would expect when throwing four girls together and hoping they can save the world.
Maia knows everything there is to know about the Effigies, four girls gifted with the powers of the elements to fight the Phantoms that plague the world. Maia just never expected to become an Effigy herself. But with a new villain who can seemingly control the Phantoms, Maia will have to quickly get used to playing the hero, even if she’s not sure how.
The description of Avengers meets Sailor Moon is apt, I think. Especially the part where the Avengers fight between themselves and generally create destruction wherever they go. Similar too is the organisation that seeks to control the Effigies, while keeping many things hidden from them. It’s fun going on an adventure with Maia as she travels some major cities of the world, fighting monstrous beasts (or running away from them) and trying to uncover the villain’s evil plan.
The Effigies are four girls who have the power to control the elements. But technology has allowed the citizens of the world to become complacent. So the Effigies are more celebrities now than warriors. They also aren’t used to working together. Maria’s arrival and the recent attacks bring the four girls together, whether they want to work together or not.
The world in which this story is set is both recognisable and original. Most things are the same but history, culture, and technology reflects the fact that Phantom attacks and Effigies have existed for as long as humanity can remember. The descriptions and explanations of the history and logistics of the Effigies’s powers and the Sect organisation are woven throughout the story. There are no great info dumps and things are slowly revealed. But everything seems consistent, well-thought out and pervasive, creating a very convincing world.
Maia isn’t a battle-hardened warrior. In fact, she probably couldn’t even throw a punch. She is a better Effigy fan than Effigy. She is even terrified of her power, fire, due to the house fire that killed her family. But she is determined to do the right thing and believes the Effigies can be heroes and should work together. I think there will be plenty of time for her to become a butt-kicking warrior.
As well as action, Fate of Flames has many mysteries, like the history of the Effigies, what happened to the Effigy that came before Maia, and if Maia will learn to control her powers and what her part is in the larger plan. At the end of the book there are still plenty of unanswered questions. The girls are finally ready to work together and move forward in solving their mysteries. It is an exciting setup for the next book, which promises to expand on the action and reveal more of the inner workings of the Sect and the Effigies’s powers.
Overall, a fun start to a new series that promises lots of action, mystery, and drama.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Superpowers, elements, monsters, fighting, adventure, grief.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Coarse language, s***, f***, bit**, as*****. Fantasy violence and killing.
Published: 22 November 2016 by Simon Pulse.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 368 pages.