Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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 what 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?
Fate Of Flames is a a little rough around the edges, but I think it’s a promising start to this new YA series. I’m going to get the negatives out of the way first. I found the characters for most of the book extremely annoying, although they did start to grow on me in the latter half of the book. Maia is likable but she comes across as being immature even for sixteen-years-old. She makes some questionable decisions that left me a tad frustrated. The other Effigies are, well, there’s really no other way to put this, brats. I understand that they’re forced into this dangerous life of battling the Phantoms, and that the life-expectancy for Effigies isn’t very long, but honestly! They spend so much time sniping and fighting each other, that they lose sight of who the real enemy is. Towards the end of the story though, they begin to work as a team, which gives me hope for the sequel. There are two male characters, Rhys and Saul who are actually much more interesting than the girls. At the beginning of the book, one is a hero and one a villain, but as the story unfolds, things get complicated and they may not be what they seem. There’s the beginnings of a romance between Maia and Rhys, but with all the action going on it stays mainly in the background. What saved this story for me was the unique storyline and fabulous world-building. It’s sort of a cross between Sailor Moon and Pacific Rim with maybe a little of The Avengers thrown in. It starts off with a bang, and the pace never slows down, which had me finishing this in two sittings. Despite my issues with the characters, I believe Fate Of Flames will have wide appeal for fans of YA fiction filled with action, paranormal, science fiction and fantasy. I’m hoping that the wrinkles with the characters are ironed out in the next book, because I think Effigies could truly be a great series.