Thursday, November 23, 2017

Siege of Shadows Blog Tour: Review + Guest Post by Sarah Raughley




SIEGE OF SHADOWS (Effigies #2) by Sarah Raughley
Source: Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada to participate in the blog tour and give my honest review. 
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: November 21th, 2017
Number of Pages: 448 (Hardcover)

DESCRIPTION

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.
G E T   Y O U R   C O P Y   N O W !
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REVIEW

I'm not even sure where to start on this review...SIEGE OF SHADOWS left me reeling! If you're unfamiliar with this book, SIEGE OF SHADOWS is the sequel to FATE OF FLAMES, the first book in Sarah Raughley's Effigies series. Set in an alternate version of our world where spirit-like monsters called phantoms exist and plague the world, the series follows one main character named Maia. Maia is an Effigy, one of four girls with elemental powers able to fight the phantoms. These books have serious Sailor Moon, Pacific Rim, and Buffy vibes, and it's pretty much perfect for readers who love sci-fi or fantasy, action, and fandom of any kind!

I've been eagerly waiting for SIEGE OF SHADOWS ever since I finished FATE OF FLAMES last year because I've been desperate to know what happens next for Maia and the other Effigies! The first book sucked me in with the epic world-building, and that continued with this one. SIEGE OF SHADOWS has a bit of a time jump, but as the description reveals, it does jump right back into the Sect and Effigies search efforts for Saul. While I wouldn't say that the book is non-stop action, this does effectively pull you in right away and everything looming around the characters keeps you riveted to the page!

Just like the first book, some of my favourite parts of SIEGE OF SHADOWS had to do with the girls' abilities, and I also loved seeing how the dynamics of the characters have shifted since the first book. Maia and the other Effigies: Belle, Chae Rin, and Lake, are all finding their rhythm, they're starting to work better as a team, and it was great to see how their relationships have evolved. I especially loved seeing Maia and Lake together! They had a really sweet friendship going on that I absolutely adored! I also loved seeing them all use their powers! I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll keep it vague, but seeing Maia using more of her powers in this book was definitely something that I loved! It was something I wanted to see more of in the first book, so it was definitely great to see in this one.

 While I was pulled in quickly, I did feel like the middle part of SIEGE OF SHADOWS dragged a little bit. It felt like the Effigies were often in transit and there was surprisingly a lot more detail on their celebrity and public personas than I was expecting. I did enjoy seeing it, but it also left me wanting a bit more of the main plot, so I felt like I kind of rushed through reading the middle a bit. That being said, there were quite of few other things I did enjoy. I loved seeing more of the Sect and the various people involved in it. I loved seeing more of Rhys...I'm a total Rhys fangirl! I do wish that there had a few more solid answers in SIEGE OF SHADOWS, but as it's the middle book I wasn't expecting to have too many questions answered. :P I believe there's only one more book left now, so I CANNOT wait to see the epic conclusion to this series!

Overall, I really enjoyed SIEGE OF SHADOWS! It definitely left me with more questions than answers (as most middle books in a series do), but I couldn't put it down and I absolutely loved the characters and the world-building! I can't wait to see what happens next in the Effigies series!


GUEST POST

SARAH RAUGHLEY ON WORLD-BUILDING


World-building is some of the hardest element of trying to put together an SFF series, especially one of an epic scale. People need to feel like they can immerse themselves in your world, and for some readers, if even one element feels out of place, the integrity of the entire story can fall apart for them. The way I go about creating my world is kind of hard to explain, because it’s not really that systematic. It’s not a step-by-step process. It’s a messy one with lots of revision.

But essentially, I start with one kernel of an idea. For this series, it was the Effigies: four girls with elemental powers who fight monsters, and every time one dies another arises in their place. That’s the core, so now I have to keep asking myself questions: why do they have powers? Where do they and these monsters come from? Do people know who they are, and if so how do people react to them? How has society protected themselves against these monsters? I keep building and building, going back and fixing things were necessary, hacking away old thoughts and replacing until I have something that works.

Then, once I have something in place, I have to decide what to reveal and when, and that can be really difficult. There has to be enough that people can believe your world, but at the same time, for this particular series, who the Effigies are and where they (and the phantoms) come from is really the big mystery that can’t be revealed all at once. So as I write, I’m putting the pieces in place not only to build the world, but to leave a trail that will lead to the big revelations. And of course, the process of world building never actually ends because even as you write, you may come up with new ideas that will help make the world feel more complex and immersive. I think a successful SFF series is when you learn something new about the world with each book.

Now, as a writer, you can’t have everything be perfect, no matter how much others might expect it of you—and no matter how much you might expect it of yourself. Like everything else, you can always give it your all and use the experience to help you build the next world!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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 SF/F TV to Japanese Role Playing Games, but she will swear up and down that she was inspired by ~Jane Austin~ at book signings. On top of being a YA Writer, she is currently completing a PhD in English, because the sight of blood makes her queasy (which crossed Medical School off the list).

Connect with Sarah: Website | Twitter | Tumblr


What do you think?
Have you started the Effigies series yet?
If you haven't, does it sound like something you'd like?
And what did you think of Sarah's guest post?

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