Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1) by Josephine Angelini

This is exactly my type of book, and I am so glad I finally decided to read it. I kept confusing this book for another children's book that's going to release soon - 'The Iron Trial' - but I finally figured out which was which. I must say, this was quite a nice surprise. The characters, the plot, and oh my gosh that cliffhanger; they all combined to make this book, and what a book this was. Of course, that doesn't mean there weren't problems.

For one thing, while the entirety of a book was delightful and addicting, the start, and the reason behind this story, kind of annoyed me. I liked that the story took off quickly, with Lily only in her own world for the first few pages/chapters. Still, the reason for her leaving was about her grief over a boy, and an undeserving jerk of one at that. Believe it or not, even this romance addict can't stand it when a girl makes a life-changing decision (unintentionally or not) about a boy! Now the other guy, Rowan, well, he's worth it, but more on that later.

Another aspect of the story I found annoying, but only briefly, was Rowan's continued doubt about Lily, and whether or not she would turn out to be the evil witch that Lillian became (though based on what I read, there's more to it than that). Nevertheless, what happens later in the plot sort of nullifies everything I just said, so there's no point really even mentioning that brief annoyance, especially since there is indeed something that makes it all better. Plus, Rowan's had a very good reason for his behavior, and the truth of it, when it comes out, is shocking, but even better, it's a great build-up for the romance.

And that leads me to the characters. This book contains some of the most interesting characters I've had the pleasure of reading about in a long time. Everyone has an identity, and I wasn't at all sure about who was the good guy, and who was the bad. For some it is obvious: Gideon and Carrick, they are worthless piles of meat who wanted nothing but power, and I found myself constantly hating them throughout the entire novel. Personally, I hated them more than anyone else. Then of course there were the men, Tristan and Rowan. It's obvious who I like better, but it's also pretty obvious who Lily seems to prefer as well. To take a guess however, I think that the next book will have a love triangle of sorts (not between those two men...well, not exactly), and that is something I'm really excited for.

Lily is a great main character, and the best thing about her is her constancy. It's common to see characters changing their minds about a guy, or even an ideal, every now and then, but Lily is different. She sticks with her beliefs, and never makes the same mistake twice. There's a version of her best friend/crush in this other dimension, and he seems so much nicer? So what? That doesn't mean that Lily is going to fall in love with him again. Lily is bold and stubborn, brave and strong, and I love every bit of her. Never did I find a single flaw in her character, and yet at the same time she was still so realistic. There needs to be more characters like her.

Now the plot, that was something. Ever feel like reading a story where you get sucked in so deep that you can't find your way back out? This was one of those. With never a dull moment, the plot raced past, providing us with hints to what's really happening, but never enough so we know what's going on. Everybody has their own agenda, and it's impossible to tell who is really on who's side. As the plot goes on, more and more is learned about each character, and serves to present them as either wonderful or terrible. Even so, there are several characters you want to trust but can't, and the way it messes with your head is just...delightful!

Once again, I didn't realize that this was part of a series, but thank goodness that it is, because after reading that ending, I would have died otherwise. That cliffhanger was so cliffhanger-y, and I would have had a full blown heart attack if it weren't for the promise of another installment. I have to say, Josephine may have produced the best cliffhanger of the year. It left me gasping, grabbing at empty air for more, yet at the same time wanting to throw the book on the floor, stomp on it, and yell why are you doing this to me! And obviously that's all the signs of a great book.

Even before Lily world-walked, I fell in love with 'The Crucible' mentions. After reading the play my sophomore year, I never quite got over the unique story, and having it referenced in this novel - Lily Proctor - just completely made my day. 'Trial by Fire' is a too-good-to-be-true start to a new series, and you can bet I'll be waiting on hands and knees for the next book to be released.

Book Synopsis: 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.

Source: Received a copy from Feiwel & Friends for review.

Title: Trial by Fire
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 384 pages