Rummanah Aasi
After a doppelganger filled fifth season of Vampire Diaries last year I was really hoping I wouldn't see or hear the word for a very long time. Once the word popped up in descriptions and reviews of Josephine Angelini's latest book Trial by Fire, I was equally worried and intrigued. I hoped for the best and by lowering my expectations of this book I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it.

Description: 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.

Review: Trial by Fire has a unique premise that mixes magic, parallel universe with some really cool elements of science fiction and romance. Lily Proctor is virtually allergic to everything. Her very existence on Earth seems to be killing her. She always seems to be running on a very high fever, sometimes severe fever-induced seizures, and breaks out into hives very easily. Lily's hope of being a normal teen is dashed when not only does she catch her best friend turned boyfriend cheating on her, but also has a fever-induced coma when vodka is slipped into her soda. Soon Lily is transported into an alternative Salem that is ruled with an iron fist by an evil version of herself. 
   Lily is a likable character. She is kind, caring, and smart but not always wise when it comes to relationships. I never understood what she saw in Tristan, her philandering jerk of a boyfriend and thankfully she didn't take long to decide that relationship was not worth the heartache nor drama. What I found really interesting in this book is Lily's transformation throughout the book. When we first met her, we are immediately struck by how physically fragile she is but also meek and self conscious. As she journeys through alternative Salem, Lily becomes a more solid character, one who isn't afraid to take risks, know when to stand down, voice her own opinion, and adapt to her surroudings. I loved how Lily's weaknesses in one world became her biggest strength in the other world. 
  The world building in Trial by Fire was also done really well. The alternative Salem features Crucibles, witches who control technology, and monsters that haunt the shadows. I was intrigued by the constant push and pull of science versus magic. For instance the cruel Lillian is doing everything she possibly can to stop any scientific advantages even if that means killing innocent people. 
  In addition to the world building, I also loved the secondary characters that we meet in alternative Salem, particularly Rowan Fall. Rowan is the complete opposite of Earth Tristan. Like Lily, he too was once seen as weak and seemed to be preyed upon Lillian at one point.  I loved the slow burn romance between Rowan and Lily which unfolded at the perfect pace as both try to win each others trust and respect.
  There is plenty of action in Trial by Fire that kept the pages moving. I wanted to know more of Lillian's plan and why was Lily in particularly picked to travel to alternative Salem. I also want to know more about the downcast Outlanders that pose a threat to Lillian. There is plenty to enjoy in Trial by Fire and I am really looking forward to seeing what will happen next to Lily and Rowan.  

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is underage drinking at a party, allusion to sex, and some language. Recommended for Grade 8 and up.

If you like this book try: Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi, Weather Witch by Shannon Delaney, Tandem by Anna Jarzab
3 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    YAY RUMMANAH!!! I really loved this story as well, particularly the romance between Lily and Rowan. I'm a little concerned about what the second book holds in store given they may be headed back to Lily's realm and I don't want Tristan to decide he wants her just because someone else has her now. I can see that happening and it makes me nervous, I'm hoping Lily considers that bridge burned ;-) So good though!

  2. It took me awhile to settle into this one and I really enjoyed it as well. I had several lingering questions like you, and the cliffhanger drove me nuts, but I am sure I will continue.

  3. Hmm, it sounds like I need to give this one a second chance. I started it awhile ago and then put it on hold because I just couldn't get into it.

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