September 10, 2014

Latest Read: Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1) by Josephine Angelini

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1) by Josephine Angelini
Publication date: Sept 2, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received from publisher via Netgalley (Thanks!)
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
Trial by Fire was my first Josephine Angelini book and it's safe to say she can consider me a fan now. I was so surprised by how quickly I got sucked into this story. I began without knowing much and in a way, I'm glad I didn't have any expectations. But within the first few chapters, Angelini sets the stage and it is one unique world she's created! Lily Procter lives in modern-day Salem, Massachusetts and to say she's sheltered would be an understatement. She has life-threatening allergies that prevent her from doing almost anything but her best friend Tristan (who she thinks she's in love with) makes sure she never feels truly alone. Until he does make her feel alone in the most humiliating way. When a voice inside her head tells her there's another way, she gives in not really thinking anything would happen. Except she wakes up in an alternate reality of Salem and her doppelganger is the one who brought her there.

I will say up front that this book is about witches. Alternate-Salem is ruled by strong and powerful women called Crucibles who, for all intents and purposes, are witches. Although both men and women can have magical abilities, Crucibles, specifically Lily's doppelanger Lillian rule this world. It's important for me to mention this aspect of the book because I don't like witch stories. When I was younger, one of my favorite books was actually A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials by Ann Rinaldi but as an adult, paranormal witch books just haven't been my cup of tea. I can't think of a single one I've enjoyed. Until this one! So that right there says a lot about the book already.

But what made this, or any book for that matter, work depends on the characters. The heroine, Lily, was easy to sympathize with and root for. Back home, she's this girl held back by her physical ailments and as a result, treated like glass. In this world, she's powerful and more so, she's taught to embrace what makes her different and stronger than those around her. It's a nice underlying message but most of all, I enjoyed watching her flourish. She doesn't do it alone though and it's not to say she doesn't have her moments of uncertainty either. She makes friends (who I really liked for different reasons) and finds romance (which was simultaneously swoonworthy but strange - you'll understand when you read!). And best of all, I thought Lily had found what she was capable of by the end of the book.

(Super minor) reservations
There are still some open questions by the end of the book and that cliffhanger! *shakes fist* But this is the first book in a series and a strong one at that. So I know we'll be learning more in the future!

Do I recommend?
I do! The plot keeps you guessing and ends on a note that left me wanting more. Plus I enjoyed the mix of paranormal, fantasy and science fiction. I recommend checking this one out. (Even if you don't like witches.)

2 comments:

  1. I love the concept of alternate universes in stories and your review has me really intrigued. I hope I can find sometime eventually to check this one out.

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  2. You know, the only reason I'm even considering reading Trial By Fire is because of your glowing recommendation. I'm not particularly fond of witch bonds either, but I do like the sound of this one. I'm definitely going to be checking it out soon!

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