Review of Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #1)Trial by Fire
By: Josephine Angelini
Release Date: September 2nd 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and 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 cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

My Thoughts:
I was so excited about this book. I love the cover and the idea behind witches and multiple dimensions- so awesome, count me in. Well, sadly, this book didn’t really work for me. My discontent all started with the beginning of the book. The writing felt very weak to me and I couldn’t get past all the telling. There was so much that it really detracted from my enjoyment.

We start following Lily while she’s at high school and excited about the prospect of taking her best friend status with the hottest guy at school (of course) to the next level. Not surprising, her guy friend who was the best friend a gal could have was less stellar in romance. We find out about Lily’s health and family issues. Instead of feeling sorry for her I sadly didn’t care all that much. I found her to be rather naΓ―ve and I was unable to connect at all. If I hadn’t been so excited for this book I might have stopped there.

I was so relieved that when the story got going things improved,Β a lot. Either I got used to the writing style or it improved but I started to connect with the story and found myself very curious about the world that Angelini had created. I found the magic to be incredibly creative and wanted to learn much more about how it all worked. But, once past the middle of the book I started to lose interest and found myself wanting to skim over large sections. I don’t know if it was the writing or maybe because the book was written in third person but I wasn’t able to get into Lily’s mind or emotions.

Angelini created willstones which everyone in her world wore to utilize their magic and connect, if willing, to a witch. The idea started off strong but as it progressed I found it veered on corny at times. Witches connect to these willstones by touch and some of the descriptions of the person’s enjoyment had me feeling awkward. I imagine Angelini’s writing was descriptive because I was easily able to imagine facial expressions and felt like I was peeking in on something private between the characters and sadly I didn’t want to be.

Final Thoughts:
Trial by Fire was one of my most anticipated books for 2014 and sadly I wasn’t able to enjoy it nearly as much as I had hoped. This was my first book by Angelini so maybe it’s just a case of me not really jiving with the writing style. I thought that Angelini had some really creative elements in her witch lore but I also felt that the characters were lacking and the information was presented in info dumps.


  1. says

    Awww, sounds like you lost interest? I’m sorry to hear that! Personally, I loved this book πŸ˜€ Although, I thought the climax of the book, at the end, was a bit of a letdown. I guess the big “showdown” between Lily and Lillian will occur in the next books, but that was a bit frustrating.

    Anyway, excellent review, Kristen!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • says

      So many of my bloggy friends have really loved this one. I was so sad that I did not. Not sure if I’ll pick up the next book but I’ll be curious to see what you think of it.

  2. says

    I downloaded the six chapter sampler and read a few pages. I wasn’t expecting it to remind me so much of the semi-cheezy, formulaic paranormal romances I used to read when my son was in the hospital alot. I read them there because my reading got interrupted frequently and with these books it didn’t irritate me and the stories were easy to get back on track with. Now that I am no longer spending hours in hospitals and doctors’ waitingrooms I prefer to read stories with more substance.

    • says

      I’m sorry your son was in the hospital often πŸ™ Glad that he’s not these days. This one fell flat for me in many ways. I did like the idea behind it but the execution left some to be desired for me πŸ™

  3. says

    Oh no!! I loved the Starcrossed series although her writing style isn’t my fav! I’m sad this one got so many mixed reviews but oh wellsies. I think I will still enjoy it since I kinda know what to expect as far as her prose go. Great review xoxo

  4. says

    Darn. I had high hopes for this book, too. April’s actually reviewing it for the blog, but I’d still hoped to fit it in. Probably don’t need to now, if your review is any indication. Corny is the LAST thing I want to read in a review. πŸ™ This is sad because I actually enjoyed her mythology-based series.

    • says

      You might like it? I’d be so curious to see what you think about it. Some people that I tend to have similar taste to have liked it! This one has been very mixed.

  5. says

    I was so looking forward to this book as well. The concept seemed very intriguing and I couldn’t wait to dive into it. At first, it was going to be the kind of book that I bought as soon as it came out. However, it’s probably going to be one of those that I just borrow from the library.
    Excellent review!

  6. says

    I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you, Kristen. I agree there’s a lot of corniness, and I had a hard time connecting with Lily, especially at the beginning. I did find the world interesting and enjoyed the book overall, however. I’ll be reading the next installment.

    • says

      I really enjoyed the world but the writing and Lily just didn’t work πŸ™ I’m glad you were able to enjoy it on the whole. I’m very curious to hear what you’ll think of the second book.

  7. says

    It sounds like many people didn’t connect with her at first and eventually got to like her more. I liked her sense of humor and realism from the beginning, though. But I did find the story really got going once she got to the new world. I loved the concept of witches she used in this. The willstones and head mechanics was so creative. I’m sorry it didn’t connect with you as much, though. Sounds like this one is a hit or miss!

    • says

      I thought there were some good aspects such as the world but my disconnect with the characters–I just couldn’t like it. I really had been looking forward to it πŸ™ I’m glad that you liked it! I wonder if I’ll like book 2 more.

  8. says

    Nooo. I’m still heartbroken that you did not like this book πŸ™ And aw. TWO stars? Damn it. Sobs. lol πŸ™‚ I loved it to pieces. I can understand why you didn’t like it. Mostly. But still sad about it, hih. Amazing review, though, Kristen. <3 Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  9. says

    Oh no I was looking forward to reading this πŸ™ What you described about this book is what I don’t like in books! I might give it a go anyway but I think it might move down my list. I love your honesty, Great Review!

  10. says

    I was really excited about this one, but now seeing that you didn’t really like it, I may be skipping it. When you can’t connect with the characters, or you don’t like the writing style. it’s the worst that can happen. Awesome review Kristen!

    • says

      I knew pretty early on that the writing was going to be a problem for me but things did improve. There are aspects that are worthwhile but overall it was not successful for me. If you do read it I’ll be so curious to hear what you think.

  11. says

    Sorry to hear your reading experience not that good with trail by fire. I dnfed star-crossed and honestly was interested to read this. I don’t know if i”ll give it a pas yet

    tnx for the review, kris

    • says

      seems like most people had issue with the start of the book πŸ™ I seem to be in the minority though on the second half. So happy you did like it. I’ll be curious to hear what you think of book 2.

  12. says

    Sadly, I DNFed this one. I just couldn’t get into it and I’m not really a fan of books where almost everything in a character’s life is super crappy, like in Lily’s case. Glad it improved a bit, but I doubt I’ll pick this one up again.

  13. says

    I hadn’t even heard of this book until recently and now I’m SO intrigued. I’ve seen all these 4-5 star reviews, but, hehe, yours still intrigues me. It seems like it’s an intense love/hate book? Weak writing though is a big no nooooo to me. I always get bored. In fact, I just finished a book where the writing was all telling and weak and flat out boring, so I’m definitely not up for a repeat of that. We’ll see at any rate! πŸ˜‰

  14. says

    I was so excited for this book! It sounds like such a promising book and I just wanted to read it so bad… but then all the reviews started piling up and many were pretty negative. I love strong and well crafted characters (which sounds so uber weird to say… but it’s true) and I’m so afraid that I’m going to start reading this book with these high expectations… and then fall flat into a book that I won’t enjoy *shudder*
    Thanks for the review and your honest thoughts!

    • says

      thanks Iris. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year so I was pretty bummed that it didn’t work for me. If you do read it I hope you end up liking it.

  15. says

    It’s always a bummer when you cannot connect with the characters and therefore end up not enjoying a book that you were so highly anticipating! *hugs* We already discussed our different opinions on this book, but I do hope you’ll give book two a chance, maybe it’ll be much better for you!

    • says

      *sobs* I wanted to love it so much. I’ll see how the early reviews are for the second book before deciding if I’ll read it. I’m so happy you ended up liking it!

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