Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini

Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini
Release Date - September 2, 2014
Publisher Website - Raincoast/Macmillan
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
I've always loved witch stories. It's rare, however, that I find one that completely stuns me. After devouring Trial By Fire I was enthralled. A unique, tightly woven story that mixes parallel universes with some intricately planned witch mythology. It takes the Salem witch trials and delightfully twists it into something breathtaking.

Everything from the world building, to the characters, and connections between them is strongly developed. This is one of those books were each element is given equal attention and creates something smart, and incredibly readable. The setting is a tweaked reality that offers enough normalcy to be unsettling while embracing it's startling differences. The inclusions of parallel universes can be tricky, but this novel weaves them together in a way that is easy to follow.

Lily's character is another element of the story that is carefully plotted. From her last name, to the powers she has nothing is there by accident. Each little inclusions adds to the larger picture, sometimes in unexpected ways. Lily is plagued by health issues and I was afraid that she was going to be a weak character. Josephine wisely balances this 'illness' with Lily's driven, brave attitude. She may have this 'illness', but she refuses to let it define her. This allowed for her to be immediately embraced by the reader. You want her to succeed. She isn't some simpering girl who allows herself to be treated horribly. She knows her worth, and knows that she deserves to be treated kindly. It was refreshing to see a YA heroine who demanded she be treated well, and didn't immediately forgive because of a pretty face.

Lillian, at first glance, feels opposite from Lily. She's secretive, and cruel. She's right in the middle of the intricate politics that exist in this different Salem. As the story continues it becomes clear that things are not so straight forward. Lily and Lillian are perhaps not so different. Just a product of different circumstances. While we do not get the full story, we see that there is more to Lillian than it first appears. This is the central focus of the book. How alike are Lily and Lillian? Is Lily capable of being Lillian if subject to the right circumstances? Lillian deliciously tells Lily that she is her at one point in the novel, and it's shiver inducing. The tantalizing idea of how do you begin to fight when you're literally your own enemy is threaded throughout the novel in very real ways. Choices, and their consequences are going to be a prominent theme, and I cannot wait to see what choices Lily and Lillian make going forward.

Another theme is the notion of survival. How far would you go to survive and what would you do to protect others and yourself? Is the sacrifice of a few worth the survival of many? These are questions that both Lily and Lillian grapple with. It offers an insight into who Lillian is, and we've only just scratched the surface. It ties back into the grey areas these characters, and the world itself, exist within.

There are plenty of sexy, sensual moments throughout the novel. Witches have been portrayed as sensual before, but this is a case of understatedly sexy. Due to it's subtle approach it's effect is blush inducing. Less is more, and Josephine Angelini has mastered the tease of just enough when it comes to the romance, and sexiness. Plenty of the witches spells are incredibly provocative, and allows for plenty of chemistry between the characters. The romance was something I fully enjoyed because it felt logical. The love interest himself comes with some interesting baggage that creates it's own set of problems. There are lingering questions, and enough drama to keep the potential for heartbreak high, and that means I am fully invested. While some many sense a love triangle, I do not think that is what is happening, but I do enjoy the dynamic.

A steamy, well developed, intense start to a captivating series. Josephine Angelini has put her own twist on witch mythology and it burns brightly throughout these pages.


  1. Lily Proctor, I'm an idiot. I just got it! Haha!

    I adore history, especially the Salem Witch trials, so this sounds like it's right up my alley!

    Thanks for you review, I'm extremely impatient for this one now (7 more days!)

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  2. I didn't enjoy Trial By Fire, but I'm so glad that you enjoyed this one! I appear to be the black sheep on this one.
    Check out Scott Reads It for reviews, giveaways & more!


I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...