Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: Trial by Fire

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #1)Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: Worldwaker Trilogy, #1
Released: September 2nd 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Lenght: 384 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

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.

Although it has a firm connection to our world, Trial by Fire could very well be considered a fantasy novel. Our heroine, Lily, crosses into a different world at the very beginning, and while designed to mirror our own, this new world is different enough in everything including social structure to be considered a fantasy setting.

Admittedly, the worldbuilding isn’t particularly elaborate, but it serves the story very well, and it will probably expand in the next two installments, although I don’t really feel that there’s too much to add. While simple, Lillian’s world (as opposed to Lily’s world, which is also ours) is perfectly functional and developed just enough to carry the story easily.

Lily is exactly the type of heroine that’s easy to admire and even love. Her own world was never kind to her, not only because of her allergies to just about everything, but because of the difficulties she had to endure socially. Her friendship with Tristan was often the only thing holding her together, so when even that was taken from her rather cruelly, the episode was almost too difficult to bear.

Tristan’s unforgivable actions at the beginning of this story caused me to fear that Lily would somehow end up back in their unequal, dysfunctional dynamic, but she was spared from it both by her crossing into Lillian’s world, and by her own strength which wouldn’t allow her to be anyone’s inferior for long. On the other side, she met Lillian’s Tristan which was once again cause for some concern, but while he shared many similarities with Lily’s, his existence was heavily marked by Rowan’s, who was inexplicably absent from Lily’s world. Tristan’s affection for Lillian/Lily was quite evident, but so was his peace with the fact that he’d always come second to Rowan. The romantic feelings that threatened to develop between them never even so much as sparked as Rowan’s strong presence overtook both the story and the possibility of gaining Lily’s affection.

I must confess that Lily and Rowan’s relationship of trust and attraction made me a bit uneasy at times. On the surface, it was pure perfection, slowly built from dislike and mistrust to strong friendship and perhaps even something more. But I couldn’t force myself to forget the fact that Rowan was once intimate with a different version of Lily, and that he loved Lillian strongly, even though she wronged him, and every time I thought about it, I found it infinitely creepy.

Despite my focus on the romance in this review, I should mention that the book’s focus is primarily on Lily herself and her long journey. The path from childish infatuation with Tristan to mature, genuine feelings she developed for Rowan is just one of the things that show her tremendous growth in this book. Wherever she goes and whatever she does next, I’ll be her ally until the very end.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I cannot wait to see if we'll get more about why is Rowan not in Lily's world? Hopefully yes, cause I feel that'd be an interesting point since Lillian herself mentioned that's why she thought Lily would be willing to leave her world.

    I agree that Rowan having been involved and in love with Lillian first made me uneasy, but I couldn't help but root for them both in the end!

    So glad to hear you also loved this one, Maja!

  2. I'm about three quarters of the way through this book now and am really loving it!! I do see your point about Rowan and Lillian/Lily - does seem a little icky, but I've been successfully ignoring that. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  3. Sounds good, but I will wait for book 2 to see ;)

  4. I do want to read this one but the aspect of the romance you just pointed out would definitely creep me out too. I mean if I were ever in some situation like that, I'd always be wondering if it was me or Lillian he cared about. Those doubts would not be the basis of a good and strong relationship *sigh*

    I hope though that the author will be able to convince me though!

    Lovely review, Maja!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  5. I'm reading this one next, Maja and I can't wait. I've seen some brilliant rating and reviews for this. I haven't anything by her before even though I have her Starcrossed series on my shelf. Lily and Rowan sound like amazing characters. Lovely review, :)

  6. Ooooh, this book really sounds promising. All of the reviews I've seen have been positive - even Wendy Darlin's pre-review is showering is praises! And to top it all off, the romance is a slow-burn. I love that more than anything (okay, I love NO ROMANCE more than anything, but that's wishful thinking for a YA book haha).

    Faye at The Social Potato

  7. I cant wait to read this, it will be my first read from Angelini. It all sounds intriguing and somewhat confusing, I want to know what happens and I cant wait to meet the characters.. Great review :)

  8. Oooooh, now I wish I hadn't forgone this one. Brilliant review nonetheless. It all sounds a bit confusing but I'm all the more intrigued now. Except for the creepy romance bit. That's a deal-breaker for me. I don't know-if I get a copy. I'll probably give it a shot.

  9. Oh yay! Glad you loved this, Maja. Even though I'm a bit worried about the romance aspect, I'm glad that Lily is a heroine we can all root for. Having a strong, likeable heroine is really a plus for me. Fantastic review, Maja! I simply cannot wait to read this. :D

  10. I wasn't really interested in this one originally, Maja, but the more reviews I see for it, the more convinced I become that I should give this one a try. The romance does sound creepy now that I know a little more about it, but otherwise I like the sound of this one, especially because Lily's personal growth is slow.

  11. Is there anything better than a heroine you can love and root for? Lily sounds like the perfect underdog protagonist. Every review I've seen so far has been really positive, but many mention the troubling romance between Lily and Rowan. I have to admit, your description of it does sound creepy! Maybe it's just one of those relationships best enjoyed if you don't think about it too deeply. World building is pretty important in fantasy novels for me, so we'll see how the lack thereof works for me. I'm reading Trial by Fire soon, so fingers crossed!

  12. You made me curious about the relatonship now I confess and I want to discover more about it. I heard great things about this book and I confess that I also want to read the whole thing. Great review!

  13. I've heard a lot of good things about this author but I haven't read anything by her. I think l will start with this one.

  14. I'm about halfway through with this one and really enjoying it! I like the premise and the world and, yeah, I like Rowan so much better than either Tristan (though other world Tristan isn't terrible).

  15. Lily certainly make my list of what I like in characters

  16. I usually don't like fantasy novels that are connected with our world. I like them in new world and settings. Still this one seems really interesting and not to mention slow-burn romance!! That's what I'm looking for. Great review, Maja :)

  17. I've been seeing the cover for this around everywhere. I'm glad I read your review. The book sounds really interesting, I absolutely love alternate worlds.

  18. I am so glad I read this one, I really liked it too even though it wasn't perfect, there was just something about it that drew me in.

  19. The romantic aspects of this story do indeed sound kind of creepy, but that fact aside, character growth, and a strong heroine are equally as important IMO. I'm not sold on the weak world-building however, if you say that it worked in this instance, I'm inclined to believe you because your reviews rarely steer me wrong.

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