CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number . . . .February 17, 2017
Fate of Flames is the first novel in Sarah Raughley’s “Effigies” series. The Effigies are a quartet of young women, each with the power of a different classical element (earth, water, air, and fire). They are tasked with fighting Phantoms, terrifying monsters made of bone, rotting flesh and ghost material that have overtaken the planet. When an Effigy dies, a new one is chosen by fate to continue the fight. The novel begins soon after the death of the previous fire Effigy leads protagonist Maia to the discovery that she is the successor fire Effigy. These events coincide with the appearance of Saul, a mysterious young man who can control the Phantoms for his own murderous and destructive ends and who has a strange obsession with Maia. Maia must learn to use her new powers to fight Saul while also investigating the suspicious death of her predecessor and uncovering a conspiracy within the Sect, the organization that controls and polices the Effigies.
Fate of Flames and the “Effigies” series have a lot of promise. The premise is original and holds a lot of possibility. Beyond that premise, the novel is somewhat clumsy in execution. The characters feel like stereotypes taken directly from other contemporary young adult fantasy novels, and the plot is uneven, making for a sometimes frustrating read. Being the first in a series, the book presents a lot of mysteries and questions and doesn’t fully resolve any of them leaving the reader with an unsatisfactory ending. Despite these drawbacks, the story has potential and will appeal to fans of young adult fantasy. It certainly succeeds in making the reader long for the second installment.
Tara Stieglitz is a librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.