Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Pages: 374
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: September 2, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Starcrossed
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."



Lily has allergies and not just the usual run of the mill ragweed and peanut allergies, but debilitating allergies that can become life-threatening from encountering everyday things like strong cleaning agents, alcohol, etc.  Despite this, she is determined to go to a high school party with her best friend turned boyfriend, Tristan.  While at the party, she unknowingly drinks alcohol and in turn, suffers from a seizure and a high fever.  Plus, at the party, she realizes Tristan isn't exactly a good boyfriend and after all of these humiliating experiences, Lily finds herself answering a voice within her urging her to leave it all behind.  Before Lily knows it, she is transported into an alternate version of the town, Salem, which she currently lives in.  In this New Salem, her allergies are no longer and instead she may posses some powers that she didn't have before (she's a witch!). But the person who runs New Salem, the Lady of Salem, just so happens to be Lillian, an alternate and evil version of herself.  Jospehine Angelini's Trial by Fire is a fun magical "witch story" that will appeal to fans of alternate universes, science fiction, and fantasy.


Guys, I am sucker for an alternate universe and time travel stories, so I was completely captivated by the beginning of Trial By Fire. I think the concept of an alternate world where some other version of ourselves exists is a really captivating idea and Angelini really explores this concept.  Yes, the first part of the book had its cliched moments, but I was completely sold on Lily and her transportation to alternate New Salem.  Once she arrives in this strange world, people think she is the Lady of Salem, but it's actually an alternate version of herself: Lillian….

Oh, Lillian…..the evil doppelgänger in Trial By Fire and pretty much the person who runs the show over in New Salem.  It was a fun concept and I wanted more of Lillian in this book.  Speaking of other characters, Rowan, a boy Lily meets and starts training with, was also captivating and their new relationship is definitely a slow burn.  I was a fan of Rowan instantly! His relationship with Lily was one of my favorite aspects of the book even though romance didn't play a huge role in the story.

But I am going to be honest, guys.  I thought Trial By Fire was well written and definitely entertaining, BUT I am not sure I am invested enough to read book two.  I just can't possibly start another YA fantasy/sci-fi series (there are so many!!!) unless I am completely and 100% in love with the book. So, I guess you could say I enjoyed this book, but wasn't completely smitten, if you follow me.

All in all, Trial By Fire was a very unique "witch" book and not what I was expecting at all (in a good way.) A lot of witch books really don't work for me, but this one was entertaining and had characteristics of many genres, which is why I found it so appealing.  Of course the ending is a cliffhanger and will have fans of the novel looking forward to book two in the series, which comes out in 2015.


14 comments:

  1. Oooh. I want to love this one because I love the concept, but I'm scared that you're undecided about continuing on with book two. I just downloaded the first 6 chapters free from Amazon, so I think I'll read that bit and then decide whether or not to pick this one up.

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    1. The concept is very cool and it was definitely a fun read, but I didn't fall in love with the book and its characters enough to commit to a whole series. You should definitely give it a try though. Let me know your thoughts! As far as a "witch" book goes, this is one of the best I've read yet. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. It certainly sounds like an interesting story, and I'm glad to know that it is well executed. But I'm with you on not having room on my plate for more series that I'm not 100% in love with. I'd be interested to give this one a try as a standalone, but if I have to commit for three books, I'm not so sure about that.

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    1. Yes! This year I decided that if I am not in love with a book and it is part of a series, then I shouldn't read book two….there are just too many awesome books out there to waste my time on books that I just "like." I liked Trial By Fire and am glad I read it, but just can't commit to any more books at this time. Thanks for visiting and let me know your thoughts if you read it!

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  3. I know what you mean about continuing a series. Out of all the YA series I've started, I think I've only completed like 2 of them. We need more standalones in this world!

    Glad you liked this one, I'm almost done and I LOVE it to pieces! Alternate Universes are my crack as well! <3

    Amber Elise @Du Livre

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    1. YES! Amber, you totally get me! I wish there were more alternate universes/time travel books…love them as well and I am glad you are enjoying it! Thanks for visiting!

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  4. More of Lillian would have been fantastic, because she was truly fascinating as a character. The other characters, however, were intriguing enough to capture my attention. But I'm right there with you - as much as I enjoyed this book, I'm not sure I want to keep reading this series.

    Fantastic review :)

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    1. Yes, Lillian was my favorite character…definitely fascinating. I know! I just don't think I can commit to the next books in the series…I am so behind on series that I want to read, so I am just not sure. I'm glad you feel the same way, Lea! Thanks for visiting!

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  5. First off, I SO prefer your cover for this one. The UK cover is just meh.

    I feel the same as you about this one - maybe we are growing out of YA?! This was well written and all, but I just don't think I'm invested enough to get stuck into yet another YA series. We'll see...

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    1. Yes, to the US cover. Not a fan of the UK, which is strange, because usually I gravitate to wards the UK covers, especially the adult fiction ones, but that's a whole other story. Anyway, I'm glad you agree with me regarding this book. Fun, entertaining, but not enough for me to want to dedicate myself to the next three+ books in this series. I would hate to think I am growing out of YA, but I do see myself interested in more adult fiction. I have definitely been reviewing more adult fiction on the blog as well. I guess time will tell! Thanks for visiting, Leanna!

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  6. I am glad you liked this one even if you didn't love it. I am still on the fence about reading it though. I was kind of disappointed with her other series but maybe Trial By Fire would be more to my liking. I like the idea of the parallel worlds and Lily/Lillian.

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    1. The parallel universes is what really sold me and Lillian is a fantastic character. I hope you'll give it a try. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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