Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini {review}

Trial by Fire
by Josephine Angelini
♦publisher: Fiewel & Friends
♦release date: September 2nd, 2014
♦hardcover, 374 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: The Worldwalker Trilogy, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

Review: Trial by Fire is an ingenious blend of Salem witch lore, alternate universes, high fantasy, and heart-stopping romance.  The world building is incredibly strong as Lily goes from our modern world and finds herself drawn into an alternate version of Salem, where witches power entire cities and tribes of outlanders struggle for survival. 

The heroine, Lily, is a girl weak in body but strong in ideals. In her own world, she is constantly sick and struck down by allergic reactions to pretty much everything. Tristan, her long-time best friend, has always been there to help her with whatever she needs. But when he starts to toy with her heart, she doesn’t hesitate to make it clear that she won’t put up with it, and she finds out just what kind of friend he is. In her distress and heartbreak, she gives in to the beckoning of a mysterious voice in her head, giving an alternate version of herself the permission she needs to pull Lily into another world.  It doesn’t take long for her to realized that this other her, who goes by Lillian, is not a good person to be mistaken for in this new world, nor does she have any intention of helping Lily get back home until her own agenda is finished. 

Lillian is definitely one evil witch, but I really enjoyed how complex the character turned out to be, as was the case with many of the characters here.   Juliet was another favorite character of mine, with her constant struggle between love, loyalty, and what she knew in her heart was right. 

The romance nudges close to a love triangle and then very solidly turns toward one and only one romantic angle before the book is even halfway in. Lily goes through some major emotional hurdles when faced with the alternate of Tristan. He holds the same cockiness but quite a bit more heart, but I like that as much as she sometimes wishes she could, she doesn’t let herself fall into his arms just to fulfill what she'd hoped would happen with “her Tristan”.   Rowan and Lily have a great mix of conflict and romance going on as they slowly get to know and trust each other.  Lily herself grows in strength of head, heart, and body throughout her adventure while still showing some very realistic flaws and vulnerabilities. 

Trial by Fire is a fantastic start to this series, with one exhilarating scene after the next throwing the story along at an incredibly fast pace.  There are moments of danger and fear and romance… and one scene that had me laughing harder than I have in a long time at a book.  Multiple interesting characters, a well-orchestrated battle between magic and science, and the possibility of endless worlds to come will have me counting down to the next book in this imaginative fantasy. 

Find Josephine Angelini online:  Website  •  Twitter  • Facebook

Purchase Trial by Fire:  •  Indiebound  •  BookDepository


  1. Lis @ The reader linesOctober 9, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    I really enjoyed this book, though I'm not a big fan of Jossie's writing, I think she gives too many info sometimes... but I was surprised with Trial by Fire. I enjoyed Lillian's character, too, she's probably the character I'm most excited to see in the next book.
    Great review, and happy reading!

  2. Sniffs. I am now wanting to re-read this book, hiih. <3 Amazing review Becky. I'm so glad you loved this book too :D Wasn't it just awesome? So much love :) And omg, yes. I loved the romance. And SO HAPPY it went away from that almost-love-triangle thing. It could have been. But it wasn't. Makes me so happy :) Sigh. Dying for book two. <3 thank you for sharing sweetie :)

  3. Ohh, I like that cover :D Creepy! Sounds like an awesome book :D Thank you for sharing about it. <3 And I hope you will love it sweetie :) But omg, yesss. AUGUST next year? Heartbreak. Forever away. :)

  4. Morgan @ Gone with the WordsOctober 10, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    I was unsure about giving this book a try but now I really want to! I love witches, fantasy, and alternate universes! Plus really, how can I resist witches and alternate Salem during the month of October :) Thanks for the review, makes me want to run to the library!

  5. Oooh! I'm glad you liked this one so much. I wasn't sure about it because I didn't love her other series, but I definitely need to give it a try. Great review!

  6. I have this one on my TBR, but this is the first time I've seen the cover. I like it. I almost always like books with trees on the cover. Lol. Definitely excited to read this one. Great pick!

  7. Oooooh. That wasn't what I thought it was going to be about based on the cover, but it sounds really good! I hope it's as creepy as the cover looks! :D

  8. The premise of this so interesting, and I'm glad that you think the protagonist is a strong character! Definitely will be checking this out. Great review!

    Asma A.J @ A Reading Kabocha

  9. Courtney WhisenantNovember 3, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    I've read so many mixed reviews for this book. I'm so glad you loved it!! I plan to read it very soon :) :)

  10. I'm still on the fence about this one because I'm not a huge fan of anything to do with parallel universe.... But reading your review makes me want to give it a try. Love a book with great characters.

  11. I'm surprised you really enjoyed Trial by Fire, Becky. Most or all of the reviews I've read for this book have been either in the middle or at the bottom. However, after reading your well detailed review, I feel myself wanting to read this book again. It just sounds like an amazing book and story to immerse myself in and hopefully the sequel will get better reviews. It would definitely bring more attention to this series :)

  12. I keep seeing this, and the more I see it, the more I am intrigued by it. Your review has convinced me that I should, indeed, read it. It's now officially on the list. Thanks!