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BOOK REVIEW: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

| 6 February 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Feiwel & Friends
September 2014
Paperback, £6.99
Reviewed by Aly Locatelli



“Funny how quickly the mind moves, but how slowly time does when you’re in pain.”

Lily Proctor has never been normal. Since she was young, she suffered from severe allergic reactions: rashes and fevers, boils, dizzying headaches, seizures. They are random: alcohol in her soft drink, a change in the weather or even, sometimes, too much adrenaline pumping. Her life, as a result, is inconsistent and she can’t be treated as a “normal” teenager. She’s an outcast, shunned by her peers and mocked for her lineage — a direct descendant of the Salem witches. Her mother is insane and her father has washed his hands of this strange family.

Tristan has always been the only consistent element in Lily’s life. Best friends since toddlers, he’s been there for her through thick and thin, never once leaving her side. And Lily has fallen head over heels in love with him.

When one night Tristan declares he wants to be with her, Lily can’t believe her luck. Finally, she can be like all the other girls! She has a boyfriend, and one who is wanted and adored by many, and he’s invited her to a party — an important party — where they will finally come out as a couple. Make it official, so to speak.

But at the party, things go wrong. Lily, in a rush of alcohol and adrenaline, has a painful seizure and her body temperature escalates to terrifying proportions. Rushed home, Lily, feeling mortified and betrayed, begs to be taken away from Salem.

And so she is.

Lily wakes up in Salem, but not Salem. It’s an alternate universe, one where magic and witches rule with an iron fist — particularly Lillian, The Witch, ruler of Salem, and Lily’s alternate persona. Lillian is evil and needs to be stopped. With the help of a rebel group, Lily finds the power within herself and decides to face Lillian and put an end to her reign of terror.

Whilst the fantasy and magical elements were incredibly well executed, I found myself confounded by Lily. I couldn’t buy into her innocent goody-two-shoes personality and then her quick, immediate switch to badass witch wielding powerful magic like a baton. It was too sudden and very hard to get used to. I wanted Lily to grow into her magic and feel the power before turning into a machine. Some of her decisions also made it hard to feel sorry for her, considering they were incredibly stupid and could’ve been prevented if only she’d had an ounce of common sense. It was also difficult to see the romance as romance when, in real Salem, Lily was so head over heels for Tristan. Two days pass in alternate Salem and, suddenly, Lily can’t see life without Rowan.

However, Angelini presents a string of characters you just can’t not like and the friendships created are sweet and fun, and the family aspect, particularly Lily/Lillian’s relationship with her sister, Juliet, is something we don’t see much in YA. A lot of times, family is put on the back-burner or non-existent. Angelini gives us a powerful family tie and makes it an integral part of the story.

Overall, Trial by Fire was an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the sequel later this year.

(Trial by Fire is book 1 of the The Worldwalker Trilogy.)

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

21. A reader, a writer, a reviewer and a full-time sloth lover. I am addicted to coffee and my laptop, and love reading especially when it's rainy outside.

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