Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1)
By Josephine Angelini
Published September 2nd, 2014
Feiwel & Friends
Young Adult | Fantasy
Source: received from Feiwel & Friends in exchange for an unbiased review (Thank You!)
About the book:
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.
The way this story was starting out, I thought I was headed for “angsty, teenager comes into super powers” territory. Oh, thank goodness that was NOT at all what this story was about! Ms. Angelini’s tale is so much better and thought out than that! This was a story of alternate worlds; worlds that really shouldn’t be interacting in any way. These worlds are the result of what happened when alternate choices are made or differing beliefs are held in the past. How amazingly thought provoking is that?
Lily, a sickly teenager who hasn’t been able to live much of an exciting life due to her “allergies”, has few friends except for one, Tristan, who’s protected her since they were kids. She also has an absent father and a slightly senile mother. Thank goodness her sister is a rock she can count on.
After a miserable night at her first high school party, she wishes, wistfully of course, that she could be anywhere else. What she thought was just her own voice talking back to her in her head turns out to be alternate reality Lilly, or Lillian as she’s called in this other world. Lillian brings Lilly over to this alternate world where Lillian has plans for Lilly. Good or bad, Lilly isn’t sticking around to find out and she runs, as best as her ailing body lets her, through this crazy alternate Salem.
Ms. Angelini unfolds her imaginative world to us through Lilly’s POV. But she also uses other side characters’ POVs to enhance the story at key moments in the story and it worked brilliantly in enhancing the intrigue of the story. I think it works so well in this particular story because the characters are all so thoroughly “fleshed out” or developed. There’s only maybe one or two side characters that I maybe know very little background about and they don’t really matter to the story anyways.
Back to world building, though…. I was taken in, mesmerized, completely spellbound by the entire world Ms. Angelini constructed for this alternate Salem. First of all, she wrote it so well that I could picture it completely in my mind as the story went along. I did have a bit of trouble during the final battle scene but that’s to be expected – I have killed off some braincells during college so I’m running a bit lower than most of the target audience. Second, she managed to build both a government/diplomatic hierarchy as well as a religion/belief system AND explain them all in the first book… AND I got it! Remember, limited brain cells. And lastly, I’m just going to geek a moment over the “mechanic” and “crucible” roles. I don’t want to blow the book but take my word for it, they are ORIGINAL. Yes, I yelled it…. 😛
Don’t even get me started on what the heck the Woven are…. they are just creeptastic!
There really is a lot to the plot of this story that I’m not even touching. I just can’t! Not that I’d ruin the plot or surprise… no. It’s that this review would last about 10,000 more words!
To sum up yet another lengthy, meandering, unorganized review of mine: The story and world building in Trial by Fire are both absolutely fantastic. The characters are intriguing and well developed. The pace is quick and without lulls. I only took off half a star because of the cliffhanger ending. I’m so over those type of endings and I really would have loved to have seen more closure.
But OMG – this book rocks! I’ve already read through it again *book hugs*
About the author:
Josephine Angelini is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. Originally from Massachusetts, she now lives in Los Angeles with her screenwriter husband and three shelter cats. Her debut series, Starcrossed, Dreamless, and Goddess, (Harper Teen) are all international bestsellers and have garnered the praise of various major publications, including the LA Times, and have twice won the Reader’s Choice Awards in Germany. Her next series, Trial by Fire, Book One of the WorldWalker Trilogy (Feiwel and Friends, Macmillan) will be out in the US on September 2nd.