Series: Effigies #1
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 368 (ARC)
Source: BlogBound Con
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?
This book is described as Avengers meets Pacific Rim meets Sailor Moon. This means some seriously kickass ladies fighting crime as the whole word watches. Sign me up for this amazingness. Upon finishing this book, my feelings may have changed. There's a whole lotta good, but also a decent chunk of not so good. Thus, I am doing this review in list style because it's the only way I can organize my thoughts on this. Let's get the bad out of the way first.
- I had no idea I was pretty but now the entire world knows syndrome. I have a really strong dislike of this YA trope. Main character is secretly pretty but is super unaware of it because she's a huge introvert with no friends, the entire world eventually finds out, and she has no idea what's going on. I'm just over it, you know? It's just as bad as constantly harping on being plain.
- A cute boy suddenly likes me whaaaaaaat. The same time Maia finds out she's gorgeous, there's a cute Sect operative that is hipster-chic following her around everywhere, making her blush and he's blushing and blah blah blah. Honestly, the romance seemed super forced and it wasn't interesting to him.
- I can conveniently forget about the only family I have left, yeah! Maia is whisked away by The Sect and never talks to her Uncle again. She never got to tell him about her being an Effigy and he had to find out through television with the rest of the world. This is just really out of character, you know? Her twin sister and parents died so all she has left is her Uncle and she kind of forgets about him. Every now and then there's a mention about how she wants to talk to him, but it's put there seemingly as an afterthought because it's right for her to be worried. The Sect says she can't reach out to him and she just forgets about him again until there's one small thought about him a few chapters later. It's just really out of character and the situation is uncomfortable and my guess is he's dead or something because nothing else makes sense.
- Tell me, book, what is pacing? The book doesn't know because it goes so fast. I mean, sure, it's a super fast read, but half the time I forgot what city they were in because the passages were so quick. I had to re-read a few times to firmly grasp instances because things just went over my head the first time. I barely had the time to wrap my thoughts around an idea before it was onto the next one. I hope the pacing is better in book two.
- Evil guy is evilly evil. An evil guy that's really confusing comes out of nowhere and wants Maia, and only Maia, the second she finds out she's the next Effigy. It's all just really cliche?
- The Sect knows everything and nobody else has any idea what's going on. This is probably my biggest issue with this book. The Sect just knows everything in a world that seems to lack in logic. Maia suddenly becomes the next Effigy but she can't control her powers (what? #1), and they just know (what? #2). They just know it's her even though she's told literally nobody, not even her Uncle. How do they know?! It makes no sense. And, furthermore, Maia is just chosen, but there's no rhyme or reason as to why (what? #3). I don't like it. Every superhero has an origin story about how they got their powers and why they're chosen and she just woke up in the middle of the night and exploded a light bulb. Not enough. I need more. Better plot building please!
- Diversity and Awesome Characters For the Win. The four Effigy's are very diverse. Maia is at least half Jamaican, Chae Rin is an Asian circus performer from Canada that is very secretive about her family, Lake is a British wannabe pop singer that fears her powers, and Belle is a french foster-kid that was once abused and now kicks some major ass. Each character is set apart from the rest and can hold their own, and I want to learn more about them.
- Girl Power. I also love how these 4 very different people came together to fight together and become a team against all odds. The girl power in this is amazing, and I adore it. At first there was resistance, but you see the group slowly accept each other and this is going to be one awesome hero story as it continues. I can't wait to see its progression in book two.
- Creepy Organization is Creepy. While I have my issues with the lack of world-building about The Sect, I love the idea of an organization trying to save the world that is simultaneously a huge threat to the world, too. It leads to some really twisty conspiracies and plots that I can't wait to read more about in book two. It will definitely keep readers focused.
- An Ode to Fandoms. Maia is a fangirl. She loves the Effigies so much that she blogs about them and stalks forums about them. She's a girl of fandoms, and I think we can all somehow relate to her. Relability is always important!
With everything above in mind, I am still very curious about book two. Things got significantly better by the end of the series and the politicking in The Sect organization is really making me curious. So, while book one wasn't as amazing as I hoped it would be, there is definite promise in book two. Raughley has the capacity to correct issues in book one, and I am ready for this twisty tale to continue!