Title: Trial by Fire
Author: Josephine Angelini
First published August 28, 2014
375 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9781250050885 (ISBN10: 125005088X)
Get ready to be swept away by Josephine Angelini’s latest series, Trial by Fire. Love, magic, and danger are just the beginning.
Lily Proctor’s life is far from ordinary – her life-threatening allergies keep her from experiencing the world like other teenagers. Desperate for a taste of normalcy, Lily attends her first high-school party, but it quickly turns into a nightmare.
Suddenly, she finds herself transported to an alternate Salem, where powerful women called Crucibles reign supreme and terrifying creatures roam free. To her shock, Lily discovers that she has an identical other self in this world – Lillian, the strongest and most ruthless of all the Crucibles.
Lily is plunged into a sensual and dangerous world that challenges everything she’s ever known. But with danger lurking in every corner, Lily soon realizes that the very thing that makes her weak in her own world may be what makes her a hero in this one.
Torn between duty and desire, Lily must navigate this new world and confront her own demons if she hopes to save it. Will Lily be able to rise to the challenge, or will she be her own worst enemy?
Find out in Trial by Fire.
In Trial by Fire, Josephine Angelini masterfully weaves together the genres of fantasy and dystopian fiction to create a thrilling and emotional ride for readers. First published in 2014, the book stands apart from other young adult novels in its gripping depiction of a parallel world where modern technology is nonexistent, and magic reigns supreme.
Angelini, the author of the bestselling Starcrossed series, proves her skill as a storyteller once again in Trial by Fire. The novel follows the journey of Lily Proctor, a high school student from Salem, Massachusetts, who is transported to a dangerous and fantastical version of her own world.
Despite her struggles with a debilitating illness, Lily must quickly adapt to survive in a ruthless society of magic wielders and factions in constant conflict. The world building in Trial by Fire is superb, with rich descriptions of the fantastical creatures and customs of the alternate reality.
Angelini understands the importance of setting and employs it to great effect, creating a vivid and immersive experience for readers. The pacing is also impeccable, as Lily’s journey ramps up in intensity at just the right moments, keeping the reader engaged.
While the plot of Trial by Fire is engaging, it is the depth of the character development that truly makes this book stand out. Lily is a complex and relatable protagonist whose struggles with her own physical limitations and the challenges she faces in her new world are realistic and moving.
The supporting cast of characters is also well-drawn, with both antagonists and allies undergoing compelling arcs. One of the strengths of Angelini’s writing is her ability to weave in themes without being heavy-handed.
The exploration of power dynamics and oppression is particularly relevant to today’s political climate. The exploration of the extent to which technology can be used for good or evil adds an additional layer of thought-provocativeness that will resonate with readers looking for more than an entertaining story.
One potential flaw in the novel is the uneven pacing in certain places. While the opening chapters are strong, there are moments in the middle where the plot drags, particularly when Lily is confined to a castle for a lengthy period.
However, Angelini always manages to get the story back on track. Overall, Trial by Fire is an excellent addition to the young adult fantasy genre.
With a compelling plot, rich world-building, and well-drawn characters, it is an immersive and entertaining read. Angelini’s use of themes adds depth and meaning to the story, making it a satisfying experience for readers looking for more than just escapism.
Highly recommended for fans of young adult fantasy looking for something fresh and exciting. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.