Book Review: Fate of Flames

Fate of Flames (Effigies #1)
By: Sarah Raughley
Published by: Simon Pulse
Release date: November 22, 2016
Genre: YA paranormal
368 pages
Source: Galley kindly provided by publisher

I really liked Fate of Flames, with a few reservations. I really like the premise. I really like most of the characterization, and the various settings are lovely. I wasn't entirely convinced on a few specific details, though.

The premise is that there are four young ladies, each commanding one element, who are destined to protect the people of the world from Phantoms. Phantoms are these scary, terrible things that have ravaged humankind for centuries. Most metropolitan areas now have a device that sends out an electronic signal that deters them, so the Effigies have become less superhero and more international celebrity. They are called to duty, however, when the devices no longer seem to be providing the protection needed.

Maia is the main character in this volume. She has the power of fire, and is a brand new Effigy. She is an orphan, her family having perished in a terrible fire recently. She is young, emotionally wounded, and very naive to the way things work for an Effigy, especially when dealing with the Sect, the organization that oversees them. Her counterparts also seem largely unready to be the heroes that the world needs, though each for a different reason. 

It's interesting to note that the plot of this book revolves around a mysterious phantom creature that I didn't find particularly scary- possibly because we didn't have a good sacrificial scene where there was a significant body count. The destruction was certainly described, but I didn't wasn't convinced that the threat was serious enough to entrust four young women with seemingly unlimited resources to take care of the problem. The conflict was much less about the Phantoms, and much more about a mysterious figure who seems to have found a way to control them.

I kind of wish that there had been a volume before this one, setting the stage for how the world was used to interacting with Phantoms, and how the Effigies used to be super-bad at taking them out. Fate of Flames almost feels like a book 2 to me, and I wish that the background would have been more solidly presented.

I will, without question, read book 2. Now that I have a feel for this world and its lore, I really want to see how it all plays out. Besides, there is a certain hot boy with whom Maia deserves some resolution. I don't yet know if I am rooting for him, but either way I want to see how it all goes down.

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?