Summer of CanLit is a blog series where I spotlight KidLit books by diverse Canadian authors.
When I was planning this blog series, I knew FATE OF FLAMES by Sarah Raughley would be the first book featured. It’s the start to the YA fantasy EFFIGIES series and one of my favourite Canadian reads! Here are five reasons why you should pick up this book.
Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley
Simon & Schuster | November 22, 2016
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?
- The comp titles – PACIFIC RIM meets the AVENGERS with a SAILOR MOON cast. As a fan of all those things I can definitely confirm FATE OF FLAMES lived up to my expectations re: that pitch and more.
- The world building – this world is one of my favourites! It’s set in the near future and has strong dystopia vibes but it’s not so far off from our own present world. I could see myself living in this world, in cities with advanced technologies meant to drive away Phantoms – massive beasts of darkness and terror. This point is somewhat related to my genre mixing one but THE EFFIGIES world embodies elements from both fantasy and sci-fi, without being completely alien to our own.
- The characters – this book has such a diverse cast; while I related the most to Maia, I could see parts of myself in all four girls. I’m sure other readers will feel the same.
- Genre mixing – this is published as YA fantasy but I could recognize elements from both fantasy and sci-fi, which I loved. The fusion of genres felt seamless to me and made me love the series even more.
- Elemental powers – I always love reading/watching series with elemental-based worlds. That’s one of the reasons I love THE WITCHLANDS series by Susan Dennard and AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER so much. FATE OF FLAMES has the added bonus of these elemental powers being tied to death and reincarnation – when one Effigy dies, another girl takes her place with those same elemental powers.
Sarah Raughley grew up in Southern Ontario writing stories about freakish little girls with powers because she secretly wanted to be one. She is a huge fangirl of anything from manga to scifi/fantasy TV to Japanese role-playing games, but she will swear up and down at book signings that she was inspired by Jane Austen.
Sarah has been nominated for the Aurora Award for Best Young Adult novel and works in the community doing writing workshops for youths and adults. On top of being a YA writer, Sarah has a PhD in English, which makes her doctor, so it turns out she didn’t have to go to medical school after all.
As an academic, Sarah has taught at McMaster University and acted as a postdoctoral fellow at The University of Ottawa. Her research concerns representations of race and gender in popular media culture, youth culture and postcolonialism. She has edited special issues in academic journals such Safundi, Popular Music and Society, and Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture and Social Justice. She’s also written freelance pieces for The Conversation, Quill & Quire and Zora Magazine.
She is represented by the Bradford Literary Agency.