Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Trial by Fire - Book Review


Trial by Fire – Book Review

Josephine Angelini

YA Fantasy

The World Walker Trilogy Book #1


This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying the 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 long time 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 cruellest 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…


I’m a huge fan of Josephine Angelini and I found this book was exactly the gripping kind of read that I have come to expect from this author.

Starting out in the real world, the story follows Lily, a 16year old girl who has never had the luxury of good health. Instead she has been forced to live her life one doctor’s appointment after the other. A life made harder by the fact she and her older sister are also full time carers for her mentally challenged mother. All Lily wants is one normal, sick free day.

Yet when her dream of attending a high school party falls apart after she finds her best friend/ boyfriend cheating on her, Lily finally says yes to the little nagging voice in the back of her mind. The one that has been begging her to let go of all her problems and escape.

And so Lily finds herself in an alternate world, summoned and trapped there by the all powerful Salem witch, Lillian – Lily’s other self. Yet Lillian’s motives are unclear and as Lily begins to discover, in this world, Lily is no helpless maiden.

She is a crucible, a powerful Witch cable of turning heat and substance into a raging force that she can shape to her will. But first – she needs training, and a lot of it if she ever hopes to see her world again…

This was an amazing read. Science vs Magic set in a fantasy land where witches rules and most of the population are shunned, left to fend for themselves in a harsh world where science and medicine are outlawed. It is a truly brilliant concept for a story and I feel that Josephine Angelini pulled it off spectacularly!

The heroine Lily is a compassionate yet slightly clueless sort of girl who does her best to survive and adjust to the strangeness of this new world. She rarely complains and relies heavily on Rowan, her mechanic and healer, to support her.

I must however admit that I am unsure how I feel about the romance that blossomed between them. While it was far from instant love, I didn’t really feel their connection, and given Lillian and Rowans romantic history, I worry for Lily and Rowan as sometimes it seems he looks upon her as a copy of his ‘old’ Lillian – which in turn makes me feel sorry for Lily.

As for the other characters though, I really liked them. While the idea of many versions of yourself spread through various worlds is alone an interesting idea, I like the contrasts found between each version depending on their own individual upbringings and surroundings. I also like that Lily gets to see  both the differences and shared personality traits between the friends and family of her world, against the same versions of these people in this new world.

As for the plot, it moves at a fast pace with plenty of action and drama to keep me turning the pages. A few twists and turns gave some surprises along the way and I like how Lillian’s true agenda has been left vague to help keep the reader guessing. I will definitely be reading the next book to find out what happens next.

With brilliant concepts, fantastical world building and some scientific grounding thrown in, Trial of Fire is every fantasy lover’s dream come true. 4 stars!

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