Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughly
Summary from Goodreads:
There’s nowhere to hide.
Not when you’re an Effigy. No matter where they go, Maia and the other Effigies can’t escape the eyes of the press—especially not after failing to capture Saul, whose power to control the monstrous Phantoms has left the world in a state of panic. It’s been two months since Saul’s disappearance, and there’s still no sign of him, leaving the public to wonder whether the Sect—and the Effigies—are capable of protecting anyone.
When Saul suddenly surfaces in the middle of the Sahara desert, the Sect sends Maia and her friends out after him. But instead of Saul, they discover a dying soldier engineered with Effigy-like abilities. Even worse, there may be more soldiers like him out there, and it looks like the Effigies are their prime targets.
Yet the looming danger of Saul and this mysterious new army doesn’t overshadow Maia’s fear of the Sect, who ordered the death of the previous Fire Effigy, Natalya. With enemies on all sides and the world turning against them, the Effigies have to put their trust in each other—easier said than done when secrets threaten to tear them apart.
If you haven’t yet started this series, you might want to hold off till the third book comes out. This one ends with quite the cliffhanger that is going to make it hard to wait till next fall for book three. Realistically I know that what we are led to believe happened at the end of this book, could not be as bad as it seems, otherwise there would not be a third book, but still I want to know how it gets turned around. I think I know, but I don’t want to second guess the author, so a long wait it is.
This book is slower paced than the first, not as much Phantom killing, but we learn a lot more about this world and about the history of the Effigies. All of the background info was very interesting and will probably be useful for understanding what happens in the next book, but it still made for a slow read. I found the whole concept of the Effigies and the Phantoms fascinating and learning more about them does keep me interested in the series.
Maia is still a great character, although I do worry about her sanity and how naive she is sometimes. She spends a lot of time in this book worrying about her relationship to Rhys and whether or not she should trust him. The more we learn about Rhys background, I’m not sure I would trust him either. Maia is also a bit more whinny and clueless in this book than the first, but she is slowly learning who she can trust and who is out to get her and the other Effigies.
Rys is such an interesting character. I would like to see something from his point of view, maybe one of those novellas/short stories that authors put out to show a different view point of a story or a character’s back story. Rys has quite the back story, much more going on with that boy than it first appears. He is one confused little puppy. I like him but like Maia I’m not sure he is trustworthy, although I certainly want him to be.
The other Effigies backgrounds are filled out a bit more in this book. I feel really sorry for Belle, she really had it rough growing up. Chae Rin and Lake also have their issues, but the group is beginning to come together as a team. None of them really want to be in the spotlight as an Effigy, well maybe Lake does, but it comes with the territory and can not be avoided.
Saul is not in this book as much, but he is constantly in Maia’s thoughts. There are many hints in this book that there is a lot more to his story than just your plain ordinary bad guy. Although he certainly does have his moments. There are plenty of other characters in this book who are wearing the bad mantle this time around including most of the Sect, an organization that is suppose to be protecting everyone from the Phantoms. There is lots of political plotting and backstabbing in this book. I am beginning to wonder who the good guys really are in this story.
Except for that cliffhanger of an ending and the sudden plot twist in the last 50 pages, a solid second book in this very interesting series. I like the alternate world that has been created here with nasty creatures and an interesting twist on the superhero genre.