Friday 19 September 2014

Book Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini.

Product details:
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books.
Paperback, 384 pages.
Release date: August 28th 2014.
Rating:  4 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and 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 cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

It sucks to be Lily Proctor. Her mom is going insane, her love life is a conundrum and worst of all, she suffers from debilitating allergies – allergies that ensure she can’t live a normal life and do normal teenage-girl things – allergies that are getting worse by the day - and are slowly killing her. It’s not all bad though, because Lily has Tristan; her best friend and long-time crush who recently has become something more. Lily’s not quite sure what’s going on between her and Tristan – but let’s just say that there has been kissing. Then again, Tristan kisses everyone. He’s not exactly the type to commit. Lily thinks that she might just be the girl to change Tristan’s love them and leave them ways, but she’s wrong, and when he betrays her – publicly and terribly – Lily is done. She wants out of her no-good life; she wants out of this world.

 And, what do you know? Lily gets her wish. Also, you know what they say about wishes, right? 

 The world that Lily finds herself in is Salem, Massachusetts, the same place Lily has lived all her life, only it’s not the Salem Lily knows: for one, in this world, the whole city of Salem is enclosed by huge city walls. Oh, and there is a castle. A castle where Lily belongs. The people of this world see Lily and they treat her like a lady, they treat her like a Queen. That’s because Lily’s other self, Lilian, is the all-powerful ruler of this strange, parallel world where witches rule, chaos reigns and magic is currency. And just like her other self, Lily is a witch: she’s also all-powerful. In this world, what made her weak in her own world, now makes her strong. Allergies and annoying boys called Tristan, be gone.

 Or maybe not. 

Because there’s a Tristan in this world too. And there’s a Rowan – Rowan Fall – a boy who knows Lily better than she knows herself. Soon, Lily learns that Lilian is not a revered leader, but a cruel mistress who is seemingly intent on the reckless destruction of her people. This new world is not all it’s cracked up to be, and Lily wants out of here too – but first she finds herself as a major player in a rebel plot to overthrow Lillian, because Lily’s powers are manifesting, and her crush on the enigmatic and often-prone-to-mood-swings Rowan – that’s growing by the day too. But, with Rowan’s past – and all his secrets – is that really a good idea? 

An expertly woven tale that seamlessly blends romance and science with witchcraft, Trial by Fire, the first in Starcrossed author Josephine Angelini’s Worldwalker series, is an engagingly told, captivating story that is a perfect mix of fairy tale, fantasy and paranormal fiction. The world-building in this book is epic in scale, and is beautifully and flawlessly done in a story that is unique and imaginative throughout.

 That said, I found Trial by Fire a little predictable in places. I have heard people talking about a cliffhanger ending in relation to this one, but I didn’t find the ending cliffhanger at all. A cliffhanger ending should be shocking and twisty and leave you mouth-agape in bewilderment as to what happens next. I think a lot of people got 'cliffhanger' from the end of this book, but it just didn't happen for me. I knew Trial by Fire would end just how it did right from the start. Maybe I have read too many of these first-in-a-series YA books? Or maybe I am tiring of YA just a little. On both of those counts, that may be the case, but I will say that while I found this to be a very enjoyable read, I would like to have seen a few more surprises in this one though, and maybe a twist or two. I guess the ending felt a little rushed, and didn’t totally work for me, although apart from that, Trial by Fire is pretty perfectly formed, and it’s safe to say that Angelini has another blockbuster hit on her hands. Trial by Fire is a fun, engaging and exciting read, and it will be loved by many the world over.

 What I would like to see in book two:

 -More Lillian (I think there may be a method to her madness, after all). 

 - More world-jumping/sliding or whatever we’re calling it – into different worlds. (Fun!) 

 - Less science (because while the ideas are all very interesting, my eyes glaze over at the mention of science. Sad, but true). 

 - More romance (there’s slow-burn, and then there’s SLOWww-BURNnn….know what I mean? A little more sizzle, please!) 

 - A shocking, evil twist (I had a culprit in mind for a shocking, evil twist in this book and it DID NOT HAPPEN –but it would have been fun. Also, it may have been a little too predictable. Or maybe it will still happen.)

 - An answer to my question about Rowan. I won’t say what my question is here for fear of posting a spoiler, but, I’m intrigued and I hope there is an answer to my question and that it isn’t just left unexplained. I know, I’m being annoying now by not saying what my question is! 

Trail of Tears the second instalment in Josephine Angelini’s Worldwalker series releases in 2015.


  1. ChristinaBookAddict19 September 2014 at 13:00

    Awesome review! I just wrote my review of this book last night and said a lot of the same things. MORE Lillian, the romance is a slow burn, and how the parallel worlds is fun and cool. I also said that although I thought this book was enjoyable, I probably won't be reading book two since I wasn't invested enough, ya know? There are just too many awesome fantasy series out there for me to commit to yet another series. I'm glad we feel the same way about this book….do you think you'll read book two?

  2. Yeah, I feel the same. It was good and I enjoyed reading it, but I wasn't totally invested either. I'm not sure if I'll check out the second book. I have a bad habit of reading the first book in a series and then abandoning!

  3. I'm currently reading this book right now and I'm really enjoying it so far! I haven't even gotten halfway through yet but I can already tell I agree with your points on what you're looking for in the next book. All of that please!!

  4. What did you think overall? I'm not totally sure I'll check out the next book - although I do have questions!

  5. It's definitely one of the better witchy YA's that I've read. I am a little bit over YA recently - I've been checking out more grown up reads! :)

  6. Ooo glad you enjoyed this one despite the couple of issues. I'm looking forward to reading this, I've been wanting to read a witchey book and this does sound pretty cool overall!

  7. I unfortunately had to pause reading it because I had some more pressing ARCs to deal with. I am still enjoying it (last I remember haha), so I'm not totally sure yet. I'm interested to see how it ends. I'll get back to you when I know more :)

  8. Tell me about it! My October TBR is pretty insane - I haven't even started on it yet. Hope you enjoy the rest of this one!

  9. It is good - very unique and imaginative. I can fault it, really. I just think my reading habits have changed of late. I'm not reading a whole lot of YA at the mo!


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