Phantoms Menace

fateflamesThere were four supergirls in Fate of Flames, but they weren’t without their own particular problems. One girl was a failed pop star, one had a bad temper, another was an inexperienced high school kid, and one was a full metal bitch. It’s not for nothing the author called them Effigies. They weren’t fully formed superheroes. They were just sloppy and crude imitations.

But the world needed superheroes badly. Mysterious phantoms had been terrorizing the planet since 1865 and they weren’t going away any time soon. Towers broadcasting electromagnetic dissonance helped scramble the monsters’ bloodthirsty impulses, but technology wasn’t enough to keep people safe. Like it or not, the world depended on the Effigies, a four-girl super squad who were “walking, talking biological warheads.”

Too bad these girls weren’t battle compliant in any way. They had crazy anime-like powers, but they didn’t play nice together. Not only were they moody and quarrelsome, but they were also unsupervised. Can you imagine – four young girls with godlike powers running around without any guidance? Naturally, people were concerned. “Are we really safe with that kind of power in the hands of a bunch of hormonal teens?” asks a skeptical bureaucrat.

To help straighten things out, an organization called the Sect (not the S.E.C.T.) agreed to take the Barbie slayers under its wing. This secret nongovernmental agency helped fight phantoms around the globe, so it made sense that the Effigies would fall under its jurisdiction.

The Sect wasn’t without its own problems, however. It was an organization that shared almost nothing with the world whose safety it was supposed to ensure. Behind everyone’s back, it was threatening global security by positioning itself as a neo-imperial superpower. Having the Effigies in its bag of tricks helped boost its advantage.

Ultimately, the most interesting thing about Sarah Raughley’s book is the developing relationship between the four flawed Effigies. The drama surrounding the phantom menace and the secret Sect society can’t compete with the big CW-like emotional moments created by Maia Finley, Belle Rousseau, Chae Rin Kim, and Victoria Soyinka.

As the girls come together as friends and colleagues, the author reveals one final twist that will undoubtedly fuel upcoming sequels. Her Princess Knight super warriors shared a dark secret. They were celebrities who appeared in the pages of Teen Vogue. And they looked sharp in their Valentino Bambolina dresses. But they were inextricably linked to the fearsome phantom menace. There was no way around it – they were monsters too.

[Fate of Flames / By Sarah Raughley / First Printing: November 2016 / ISBN: 9781481466776]

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