Girl power reigns in this debut fantasy series.
Sixteen-year-old Maia believes in heroes and has always idolized the Effigies. No one is more surprised than she is when Natalya, the fire Effigy, dies and Maia is chosen to take her place. Known for their superhuman strength and the ability to control an element, the four, female Effigies are destined to fight phantoms, dark creatures that plague the world. When New York falls prey to a series of phantom attacks orchestrated by a man who can somehow control them, Maia finds herself in the middle of the action. Afraid and untrained, she must learn to work with the other Effigies—timid Lake, angry Chae Rin, and cold, powerful Belle—to save the world. What Maia lacks in skill, she makes up in spunk; however, she spends too long bumbling around, wondering what’s going on—but that’s intentional. In a world where Effigies are not just heroes, but also celebrities, the novel places an emphasis on humanizing the girls. As she gets to know her sisters-in-battle, it’s not long before Maia realizes that Effigies are only human. The characters’ races are somewhat ambiguous: Buffalo-born Maia’s mother is from Jamaica, British Lake is brown-skinned, French Belle is blonde and white, and Chae Rin is a Canadian originally from South Korea.
This series opener has it all: strong females, intrigue, a dash of romance, monsters, and a sequel in the wings. (Fantasy. 14 & up)