My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was very entertaining for me. I enjoyed the characters, the world building, and the fantasy aspect. I LOVED that our MC was a total fangirl, though I’ll admit to cringing a bit when she acted on it.
MC Maia (her element is fire) is an average high school girl, though she does lean towards the socially awkward side a bit. She’s a twin who lost her other half (including her parents) in an accident that has her currently living with her uncle. She’s happy with admiring the famous Effigies from afar, and never would have thought she’d become one herself. She’s very awkward in the role, as you’d expect, but she has a lot of heart and cares for others. I loved that Maia was so real and continued to be a typical teen in a life that was becoming anything but typical.
Earlier I mentioned cringing because of the way Maia would act in her fangirl moments, but I appreciated her loyalty and dedication to what she loved, so I couldn’t really begrudge her for her reactions.
I also happened to like how different each girl was, for instance:
Belle, the French Effigy (element – ice), is sophisticated and strong. She’s the lone soldier, in the sense that she follows the rules and completes all missions as assigned. Belle is not my favorite of the Effigies, but she was entertaining nonetheless.
Korean-Canadian Chae Rin (element – earth) is the rebel. She’s tough and unwilling to bow to those in “authority” over her. I loved that she was so honest, even if it pushed others away. What you saw of Chae Rin was what you got, and that definitely made her one of my favorites.
Finally we have the English Effigy, Lake (element – air). Lake is a popstar (though if you were to ask Maia, she’d likely call Lake a FAIL) who is entirely unenthused about doing the job of an Effigy. She’s anxious and somewhat of a disaster, but she’s kind and surprisingly genuine. She’s not a favorite of mine, but I found her much more likable than Belle.
I’ll admit that I never really was able to visualize the Phantoms that plagued the earth, so I couldn’t quite build a fear of them. My mind was likely wandering when I’d read Raughley’s description of them. I think that my inability to visualize did take away from the story a bit, and being that I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to find the missed description, I did have to attribute it to some disinterest on my part, and thus dock a star from my final rating.
The romance…honestly? There seemed to be a hint of something flirty between a couple of characters, but it was so incredibly mild, so that was a bit different from the norm (though I’m always a fan of romance-infused books…), but I’m assuming that we’ll see more in the next book.
In conclusion, I’ll say that overall, I really liked this book and am excited to continue this series, to see more of the what the Effigies can do, and what else is in store for them regarding the Phantoms and saving the world.
This copy was provided by the publisher via Barnes & Noble’s B-Fest in exchange for an honest review.