Monday, 8 September 2014

Review: Trial By Fire - Josephine Angelini

Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini, published by Macmillan Children's Books on 28th August 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
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.

This is quite a difficult review to write because I loved Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed trilogy and have been anticipating this new series for ages now.  Unfortunately 'Trial By Fire' and I got off to a bit of a shaky start and never really recovered by the end of the book.

The first in the new Worldwalker trilogy centres around the main character Lily, who is allergic to everything.  This means that her life is restricted by all the things that she can't do.  Lily lives in Salem and after a difficult situation at a party with her best friend Tristan, she ends up disappearing.  When she wakes up she is in a different Salem altogether where her whole existence begins to change and she discovers things that she could only ever have dreamt of before.

Two things feature heavily in this book: witches and parallel universes.  I don't have a good track record with books about witches at all for some strange reason, even though I'm always hopeful that a story will make me change my mind.  Sadly, 'Trial By Fire' didn't.  I found it too heavily leaning towards fantasy and although the world building in the book was extremely well done, I just couldn't connect to the story itself or the characters.  It was only when I got about half-way through that things started to pick up and I became more engaged.   

Lily is normally a character that I would have loved but I never fully warmed to her or her predicament.  The romance which developed between her and Rowan was  a bit lacklustre and not enough to get me wanting to pick this book up either.

I'm really disappointed because I was dying to read this one and was expecting to be raving about it but this book and I just didn't click. 

The second in the trilogy 'Trail of Tears' will be published in 2015.  I haven't made up my mind yet whether I want to continue with Lily's journey but I know there are lots and lots of fans of this book out there who loved it, so if you think it sounds like your kind of read then please give it a go.    

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