Trial By Fire
Author: Josephine Angelini
Series: The Worldwalker Trilogy #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and 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 cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian…Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.
Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.
But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?
First Sentence: Lily Proctor ducked into the girls’ room, already yanking back her rebellious hair.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
When I first heard the words “witches” and “parallel universes,” I knew I had to get my hands on Trial By Fire. Add the fact that the book is set in Salem, Massachusetts and I was willing to bribe anyone for the book. Then I saw that Trial By Fire was also written by Josephine Angelini and my expectations for the book nosedived wayy down. I didn’t enjoy any of Josephine Angelini’s previous books, Starcrossed and Dreamless, for various reasons, so Trial By Fire had me worried. In the end, I was right to be worried – Trial By Fire failed to impress me, but just plain bored me most of the time.
The flames rise, and I twist and scream, trying to get away, but the iron shackles on my wrists keep me bound to this stake.
I’m a witch. And witches burn. (ARC 37)
As I expected, Josephine Angelini’s writing dragged down the book. Literally 99.8% of the Trial By Fire was full of info-dumps and telling, not showing. Just looking at my notes right now, I can see that I’ve complained about the info-dumping and the telling not showing problem seven times until I just gave up complaining about it altogether because it’s not like me complaining about the writing would change anything. To make matters even worse, Trial By Fire goes into too much in detail about certain things while skips over other things. For example, I am obsessed with everything that has to do with bows and crossbows. I love them so much that when I was playing Maplestory, I immediately chose to be an archer instead of all the other million jobs that were available. While I was reading Trial By Fire, I saw a mention of a crossbow, which got me really excited.
Until I saw this was how Josephine Angelini chose to describe it.
The weapons were strange to her as well. From what she could see, most of the soldiers were carrying crossbows, but not old-fashioned crossbows. These were high-tech and looked lethal. (ARC 42)
And that was it. There were no more words used to describe the crossbows. My question is, HOW DO THE CROSSBOWS LOOK LIKE?! Sure, they are high-tech and looked lethal, but that still doesn’t tell me how exactly it looks like! I want some answers! (I wanted to type that sentence in all caps so badly, but barely refrained myself from doing so.)
Going into Trial By Fire, I expected there to be insta-love and was so surprised to find out that Trial By Fire had no insta-love in it at all. Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed series was full of insta-love and another similar fantasy book about parallel universes, 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil, was also full of insta-love, so naturally, I expected Trial By Fire to have insta-love too. Although Trial By Fire doesn’t have insta-love, I’m not exactly sold on the romance. It was kind of sweet and nice, but I’m not exactly cheering for the couple.
“Because I trust you. I want you to be everything I loved about her and nothing I hated. I want it so badly that I know I shouldn’t trust myself enough to trust you. But I guess I’m doing it anyway, even though I know you’re not staying.” (ARC 273)
The first one-fourth or so of Trial By Fire was okay. I had tons of issues with the writing as I’ve mentioned earlier in my review, but I did enjoy the story somewhat. (I’m saying “somewhat” because it took me a very long time for me to realize that I was enjoying the story due to how horrible the writing was.) Once I’ve reached the halfway point of Trial By Fire, however, I was bored out of my mind. It was a real struggle to finish Trial By Fire (I didn’t DNF it because I received the book from Macmillan and felt like I should give the book a review at least) and by the time I was finally done reading, I was cheering out of happiness because I finally finished the book.
After I finished Trial By Fire and did some thinking, I feel like Trial By Fire is just a filler book to make the Worldwalker series a trilogy. All Trial By Fire really did was introduce us readers to the world, the society, and the characters. Yes, it goes into the world-building and the character’s back stories in great detail, but nothing really happens. Things were happening for awhile in the first fourth of the book, but the rest of Trial By Fire basically had no plot.
Overall, I’m really disappointed with Trial By Fire. It had such an excellent premise, but just fell flat for me. I don’t know if I’ll be reading its sequel since Trial By Fire is a filler book for the series in my eyes, but we shall see.