Years ago, everything changed. Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time four girls, the Effigies, appeared, each with the unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.
When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.
But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity is more important than their heroism.
But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle…
**** Big thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****
This was a book that was hard to rate because I liked the concept a lot but overall “Fate of Flames” was really meh. So it gets a rating right down the middle because there were some things I really enjoyed and others that really infuriated me.
Also this is going to be a longer review than normal because I RANT quite a bit over the characters…….
The story and world-building were pretty much the only redeeming qualities within this book. As I said earlier the concept is great even if the execution wasn’t the greatest.
“Fate of Flames” is set in a world where monsters called Phantoms are a constant threat to humanity. To protect themselves, humans, have Anti-Phantom-Devices to keep the monsters out as well as super-powered teenage girls called Effigies whose purpose is to kill the Phantoms. Concept sounds pretty badass, right? While the execution is okay it wasn’t as great and badass as I thought it would be. We are actually left with quite a few questions and plot holes.
The world-building with the mentions of the Phantoms and Effigies themselves was pretty interesting but I feel like there definitely could have been MORE. What exactly are the Phantoms and the Effigies? How are Effigies chosen? Where did the Phantoms come from? So the world-building is okay and has a lot of potential but could have used a lot more expansion, maybe we’ll see more of that in the sequel.
I really loved the idea of girls with super powers kicking Phantom-butt and while we do see that within the book I, once again, wish there would have been MORE. More action! What action we did get is actually really well done and were some of the most exciting parts within the book, BUT I wanted to see the Effigies use their powers more.
I also found the pacing throughout the book to be a little slow, I found myself really bored during certain parts. While the battle scenes are really great and fast paced, everything else is a little boring and repetitive.
Okay, honestly a majority of the characters weren’t THAT bad but the main character is the WORST part of this entire book! RANT TIME!
First of all Maia, the main character, has got to be the worst heroine I’ve ever read about! Not even exaggerating here people! Now I understand having super powers and super responsibility thrust upon you as a teenager all of a sudden isn’t the easiest thing to adjust to but you’re going to have to suck it up and get used to it because the WORLD NEEDS YOU. Maia is weak, cowardly, annoying, and foolish throughout the ENTIRE BOOK. As I said I get that being scared right away is more realistic than a heroine running face first into danger to save people but I’d much rather have that than MAIA who literally runs away from everything and lets people die.
Besides that, Maia is also a HUGE Effigy fangirl. I consider myself a fangirl at times and know a lot of you are as well but holy shit Maia has got to be the definition of ANNOYING FANGIRL. She literally brings up all her (slightly creepy) fangirl knowledge about the Effigies to the Effigies themselves all the time and it makes me want to hide under a rock because I’m so embarrassed for her. I think by making Maia a fangirl the author thought she was making the character more relatable but there is such a thing as taking it too far.
Speaking of things Maia says….her dialogue and thoughts are absolutely cringe-worthy at times. I found myself thinking:
“WHY? WHY WOULD YOU SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT? YOU’RE JUST EMBARRASSING YOURSELF!”
And then there’s the things she would do that had me thinking:
“WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? YOU’RE EMBARRASSING YOURSELF!”.
Do you see a pattern here? Seriously Maia is just awful.
Another thing that drove me up the wall was the complete lack of character descriptions, if there’s one thing I loathe in books it’s when I don’t get a character described to me. Seriously, how hard is it? You write up a single sentence describing the character and I’ll be happy! While the other Effigy girls get a BIT of description it still isn’t enough to picture them all that well and you know who gets absolutely ZERO description? Maia.
As if I didn’t have enough to complain about her in the first place. I spent the first couple of chapters picturing Maia as a red-headed white girl, why you may ask, because that’s what my brain decided she would look like for the time being. Then we get a brief mention of her family having Jamaican roots and then all of a sudden my image is shattered because Maia I’m almost positive is African-American now. Kind of something that should be mentioned don’t you think? Especially considering I could go around saying this is a Diverse YA book, which is great! But also I’m actually still not 100% she is African-American because it’s never outright mentioned! Confusion!
The other Effigies were alright, nothing too special but still way more interesting and badass than our main character. I actually really liked them, especially Chae Rin! Now that’s who the main character should have been, someone who is actually badass.
Then we have the villain who will remain un-named due to spoilers. I don’t understand this book’s villain WHATSOEVER. I kind of understood the motive at the end of the book but I just don’t understand the villain itself, not explained at all. Very confusing and quite frustrating. Hopefully it will get explained in the rest of the series.
Also we do see a bit of a YA cliche in this book concerning adults. You know the one, right? Where every single adult on the face of the Earth is completely incompetent and absent? Yeah, not fun or realistic and very annoying.
There really isn’t any romance in “Fate of Flames” which is a HUGE relief for me because I can foresee what a disaster it would have been. Basically what romance there is is simply Maia having a crush on a boy and the boy having a crush back. It was meh.
I actually am torn right down the middle about my feelings towards this book, I did really enjoy certain factors even if I do make it sound otherwise.
What I Liked:
- The Phantoms (who were terrifying)
- The slight world building
- The Effigies and their powers
- The few battle scenes
What I Didn’t Like:
- The many questions I was left with and plot holes
- Lack of character description (especially with Maia)
- Literally everything about Maia, the main character
- Incompetent adults
Meh. I can’t say this is a book I’d go around recommending to anyone since I feel really indifferent about it, it had good and bad. Although if you were interested in this book beforehand I think you may still find it worth trying but other than that maybe skip this one.