Okay, I may owe Sarah Raughley an apology.

I had some pretty harsh criticisms of the first book in The Effigies series, even saying in my post about possible book-to-TV adaptations that the concept was better than the execution, which was really more harsh than I actually felt.  And as it turns out, the second book dealt with most, if not all, of the issues I had after the first one.  You might want to check out my earlier post for a summary of the book before continuing with this post.

One issue I had was that how Maia reacted to her predecessor Natalya claiming, through the fact all the previous Fire Effigies continue to live in her mind, that it was Maia’s love interest Rhys that had murdered Natalya.  And Maia decided to keep that tidbit from the other Effigies, even though they all trust Rhys, and could be in serious danger from him.  She seemed to decide that she knew better because she had a crush on Rhys, so he couldn’t possibly be a killer. 

In this book, Natalya continues to push to gain control of Maia’s mind, and pretty much agrees with me in mocking Maia for keeping the secret from the other girls because of a crush.  But as this book notes, there are actually some legitimate reasons for Maia to be suspicious of Natalya’s claims.  Natalya wants to mess with Maia’s mind so that it will be easier for to permanently take over Maia’s mind and body.  Maia is still making a very questionable decision in keeping the secret from the other girls when they had all decided that they could only trust each other, but at least there’s a legitimate reason for her to stay quiet about the accusation.

Speaking of body snatching, I was a little confused about the dual personality of Alice and Nick inside the villain, Saul.  Alice seemed to be the clearly dominant personality, so I didn’t understand why she had decided to go into Nick’s body in the first place.  It seemed to me that it was just done in order to have a “male” villain, so that he could flirt with Maia, and there could be the surprise of a male having powers that were supposed to only be given to females.  Which I have to say, seemed kind of cheap at the time.  But as the second book reminded me, Alice may not have had a choice in the matter.  Past Effigies exist in the minds of their successors, so presumably Alice died and was succeeded by Nick, but has managed to keep a pretty strong hold on his mind.  I’m still not sure Nick is at all necessary; why not just use Alice as the villain?  But the plot is still unfolding, so Nick’s presence may turn out to be important before all is said and done.

I was also a bit disappointed that Ice queen Effigy Belle was redeemed at the end of the first book, as I found her rather unlikeable, and was kind of hoping she would turn out to be the real villain of the story.  While she had some solid reasons for her attitude, I just preferred to hate her as opposed to seeing her as a broken bird.  The second book keeps Belle in a grey area, seemingly well-intentioned and heroic, but also, as one of the girls flatly says, a bitch.  And then there’s what she does at the end, which I won’t spoil.  I still don’t like her, but I am interested in seeing what happens with her next.