Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini | Rating: ★★★★☆
Trial by Fire is an unique, descriptive, magical, intriguing and intelligent creation amongst young adult stories of witchcraft. It takes familiar themes, and worlds, tying them together neatly with fresh twists and turns all in the form of parallel universes and more. Trial by Fire certainly treats its readers to a fantastic trip through fiction and it deserves a world of hype.
And within the fantastic writing lay loveable and relatable characters, steamy plots, some dark humor and a little bit of romance. So I ask: how can you go wrong?
With Trial by Fire, you can’t. And it serves as an eye catching introduction to Josephine’s latest series that will be satisfying to readers of all ages. Especially if they love stories which revolve around witches and are interested in seeing a new take on Salem.
Our plot centers around an ordinary girl who has yet to discover her true self and all the powers that rest inside her. In our introduction to her we see her as a smart but sickly girl who wants nothing more but to enjoy her life and be normal, and her ultimate goal in that moment is to, at last, go to a party with her best friend who she happens to have feelings for. What I enjoyed about the brief glimpse in our world is that it gives us an idea on how she handles certain things as well as her self.
Lily Proctor is a caring person. And perhaps her heart is what gets her into trouble when it comes to her newly-changing relationship with her best friend Tristan. We figure out right away that Tristan isn’t the greatest guy when it comes to relationships and we establish that any romance between the two would be unlikely when it comes to the long haul. Tristan is a good friend, though he does have quite a bit of lapse of judgement, but he is not boyfriend material.
In the events following the downside of Lily’s first party and the potential deterioration of her friendship, we see Lily in her heartache and vulnerability. Our girl doesn’t have the easiest life with her health, her so-called crazy mother and the embarrassment that came in the aftermath of the party, so it’s understandable to see how and why she comes to be in the situation she ends up in.
During a moment of vulnerability, she finds herself transported to a world that is different from her own — yet oddly similar. In this new Salem, she finds out that perhaps her mother isn’t insane. All this time her mother had been babbling on and on about different Lily’s and worlds, with no one to believe her, and yet here Lily is face to face with Lillian. And her sister — only different.
It is all so intriguing. It is all so impossible.
Yet this reality — all these different worlds can’t be real, right? She must simply be on the path to madness like her mother.
Wrong: it’s all real.
And it’s all too much for her to handle at first. But we’re here for the long haul and hand in hand with Lily we discover what causes her sickly nature in our world and what makes her potentially strong in this world. It’s all very interesting and thoughtful that you won’t be able to put it down in spite of any confusion you may feel in the exploration of it all. Often while reading it, I found myself drawing similarities between it and Doctor Who when it came down to the portrayal of parallel universes.
What I loved most about it was that each character had its own voice and differed from its counterpart in other universes. There was also an emphasis on the fact that although things are different in each world, there are still a ton of problems within the foundation of the two that we see. What makes them unique doesn’t make them perfect and that’s such an important theme to remember.
In this alternate universe we see familiar faces — Lillian, Juliet and Tristan. Lily finds an instant connection with Juliet and hears her mothers words ring in her mind that there isn’t a Juliet that doesn’t care about Lily. And although Lily still is let down by her Tristan, she does manage to find a connection with this Tristan — it just isn’t romance.
We’re introduced to the form of witchcraft in this Salem that is interesting and completely different from what I’m used to. We’re also shown characters that standout and do not exist (at least, not that we know of) in Lily’s world. In particular, that is Rowan — who happens to be Lillian’s ex. Sparks fly in more ways than one with Lily and Rowan and let’s just say it will have you saying Tristan, who?
It’s impossible to put down Trial by Fire and it’s impossible to not love these characters.
Josephine managed to create such an intricate and fascinating world with this new series, I’m positively bouncing around in anticipation for the next additions. I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next installment and look forward to seeing how Lily — and Rowan — manage to adjust to being back in Lily’s world.
If they get there. Could they both have survived this? Is it possible they’ve ended up in yet another universe?
After Lily’s seen what she has and been betrayed in the ways that we witness, I can’t imagine it will be easy to readjust in anyway. Some things just change a person entirely and this is definitely one of them.
I have to admit I enjoyed this novel way more than I thought I would. Be sure to pick up a copy in September when it’s released! You won’t regret it.