Book Review: Trial by Fire (ARC) by Josephine Angelini

July 8, 2014 Book Reviews 2

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This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Macmillan Publishers at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Contemporary…this book has it all

Pages: 

384

Part of a Series?:

Yes. This is the first novel in a planned trilogy

Release Date: 

September 2nd, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

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 cruelest 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 savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

My Review:

This is proof, once again, that you never ever give up on an author, even if you’re not 100% satisfied with their previous works.

Let me be clear: I think Josie Angelini is a fantastic writer. Her writing is just beautiful, and she’s SUCH a fun person. Seriously. It blows my mind how fun she is. I would love to hang out with her. She’s about to have a baby and her baby is going to be the coolest kid ever. Okay, I’m getting off topic. I remembered Josie talking a bit about this book when I met her back in October at the LA Teen Book Fest and it sounded fantastic. Hearing her talk about it again at ALA, and the Viva la Fierce Reads event, made me want to read it even more. I had to get my hands on it. Long story short, I got my hands on it and proceeded to speed right through it in my hotel room in Vegas.

Josie Angelini is a beautiful writer. Seriously. Every word on the page feels like its been chosen with care to create such a perfectly woven story. I don’t write like that. I write like I write on this blog: casual, as if talking to a friend. So when I read books that are just written so fluidly and tell a story that you can’t help but turn the pages to find out the end…I am just blown away. She captures everything in the story from beginning to end. She is so able to capture love, and jealousy, power and fear, sickness, battle, whatever, without having to say “she was jealous”. She is just literally so brilliant at weaving her words and I am so incredibly impressed by it.

I think what really gets me about this story that never grabbed me about Starcrossed (even though I adore Greek mythology) was the main character. From the very first page, I knew me and Lily were going to get along just fine. Her allergies, her struggle to fit in, even her struggle to figure out what to do with her best friend turned kind of boyfriend, Tristan, was just so familiar. This is the kind of thing any outsider would have felt in high school and trust me, I was an outsider. Lily immediately jumps into your heart from page one and you follow her easily into this alternate world of Salem.

And this is where things get addicting. This new world seems like something I could be a part of: the Salem witches never burned, instead they took over. Women rule the world. Its everything a girl could want right? Girls, in charge, in power. Except…its not. This world has its own problems as well and Lily is dragged there by her counterpart for a purpose she can’t quite figure out. This alternate Salem is so dark and mysterious and sexy and intriguing. Even though Lily wants to go home, she’s drawn to it, and to the power that she’s capable of, and I don’t blame her. I was drawn to the world as well. Power, in the hands of women, even in this messed up society is just so tempting and I think that’s a huge problem in the book. But watching Lily struggle to find her way home, while also coming to terms with these new powers and get attached to people in this world (read: Rowan).

But I think the thing that Josie really accomplishes in this novel is that she manages to weave so many stories in one. There’s so many themes going on. Power. Family. Love. Politics. There’s science fiction of parallel worlds and the fantasy of magical powers. You have contemporary with the problems of Lily’s original world and you have the romance that builds between her and a character in this different Salem. But it all works. It makes for a completely addicting novel. You have no idea what is going to happen next. There’s just SO much going on. Everyone wants a piece of Lily, and Lily wants to go home, and she wants to learn her powers and she misses the people in her old life but she grows attached to those in this new life and agh. Its confusing and it jumps all over the place but that’s what makes it so good. You honestly have no idea what direction its going in. You start to think, oh, maybe they’re going to…and you’re yanked in a completely different direction. Its a complete thrill ride.

Basically, what I’ve been telling people is…I am so glad that I managed to get my hands on the ARC and I can’t wait until the actual release so I can get my hands on a pretty copy of the book with this beautiful cover. Plus I got some Thai food stains on my ARC, I’m not going to lie. I’m a messy reader. But I loved this book. I loved the romance and the intrigue. I loved the magic and the mystery. I can’t wait to get my actual copy of this book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Because, seriously, Josie? That cliffhanger? SO NOT FAIR! ;)

Rating:

4.5 out of 5 Stars

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