Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Trial By Fire (Josephine Angelini)

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #1)
Title: Trial By Fire
Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Dark Contemporary Fantasy
Told: Third Person Omniscient, Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, minor gore, strong sensuality, soft torture, a few words of language)
Format Read: ARC (EpicLibrarian)
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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.

*          *          *

In a Sentence: Unique, epic, and completely engrossing, this is a fantasy that no one should miss!

I've been craving more fantasy this summer, and since this received such amazing reviews last year I decided it was time to give it a try. I tend not to side with the majority though so I really didn't know what to expect, but this book completely blew me away with its vivid story and unique magic.

Although I was a bit hesitant at first when the story began with little more than a bad romance and weird illness, once Lily was transported to New Salem and met Rowan I did not want to put this book down. I read for hours on end without realizing it (which I almost never do), engrossed by Lily's journey of discovery as she learned about the worlds and her complicated but intriguing powers through intense action and engaging magic. Compared to Lily's present-day Salem, Lillian's more dystopian New Salem, with its mishmash of uptown lofts and magical green energy beside rustic encampments and perilous forests, was a little hard to picture but fascinating to try and wrap my head around. The Third Person Omniscient point of view and high fantasy overtones made the writing seem a bit dense, but the slightly slower reading pace made the world richer and gave the story more substance - and caused the amazing book to last just a little longer.

Lily, Rowan, and Lillian were all characters of conviction and never wavered no matter what they faced, be it friends, enemies, monsters, love, or especially each other. All Lily wanted was to get back to her world, but she never turned away people who needed her help or shied away from a fight for something she believed in. Although Lily was at odds with him most of the time, Rowan was the perfect match for her in every way, not just as a steamy romantic interest but a companion and partner and teacher. Their crucible-mechanic dynamic was what really powered this book for me, and with these two I finally came to understand the concept of the ship: Lily + Rowan all the way! As for New Salem's Lillian, she proved an interesting conundrum as, although she was supposed to be the "evil queen," the reasons for her actions were rooted in good intentions, even if said actions were despicable. This left me without a definitive "bad guy," and I liked it - I'm a sucker for redeemable characters.

The only thing that gave me pause with this book was the darker vibe to the story. Through the whole book I had the feeling that someone was going to be sexually assaulted, and since that's one of my deal-breakers I read in constant fear of the worst. I'm happy to report that while there were one or two minor close calls nothing came of them, and I look forward to re-reading this book soon and enjoying it even more with a mind at ease.

Conclusion: A captivating fantasy with an engrossing story and engaging characters that I couldn't put down - highly recommend for any type of fantasy lover! I couldn't wait to get my hands on Book 2 (Firewalker), and read it immediately upon receiving an early ARC from the generous publisher. Check out my review of it next!

Scribble Rating
4.5 of 5 Scribbles

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