Trial by Fire – Review

She wondered if this was what a dying star must feel like – never hotter than just before it goes supernova…

I read the six-chapter sampler for Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini a little while ago, so you can check out my thoughts from that chunk here. Those six chapters cover a lot of ground work for the book, so this will probably be a short review. Trial by Fire was a really pleasant read. A mixture of science and magic, witches and non-magicals, Trial by Fire did well across the board. 

 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 changes as the book progresses, physically and mentally. Physically, she goes from being nearly killed by everything to just shy of invincible. Mentally, even though she wasn’t weak before, she’s strengthened by the things she sees and the weight of responsibility brought on by her gift. She definitely gets some fire in her towards the end, and I’m always a sucker for a sassy character.

“Open the damn door before I kick it in,” Lily said, her voice louder than it should be. 

I’m still a little lukewarm about Rowan. He definitely shows that he has a softer, romantic side, and even though those moments made me girly-sigh, I didn’t swoon. The thing I like best about his is his roundedness. He works so well in every environment he’s in and that kind of self-assuredness (not arrogance) is always appealing.

Lillian was my favorite character in this book. I love the darkness in her, and we start to see where it comes from. We’re only given a small glance at it, and it’s an explanation I don’t really connect with or feel is enough for the build-up credited to it, but perhaps we’ll get to go deeper into her motivations as the books come out. I’m really hoping the next book has more Lillian because I really would love to see her as a villain. Or maybe not…

One thing that I didn’t like about the book was the science aspect, and it’s such a huge element of the book, and that’s a little frustration. My dislike of the science is totally personal – something about atoms and molecules and numbers always makes my brain fuzz – but even still, this was a book I truly enjoyed.

“It’s not about winning. It’s about having nothing else to lose.”

I love that right now I have no idea where the second book is going to go. There’s so many possibilities, and I’m curious to see where Lily, Rowan, Tristan, Caleb and Lillian all end up. I burned through this book and would definitely recommend (ie., push/nag) everyone to read this book.

The people who love you will guide you like bright lights into the other worlds.




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