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.Hardcover, 384 pagesExpected publication: September 2nd 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Four stars: An interesting story with witches and parallel worlds.
Lily knows that her time is running out. Her inexplicable allergies and fevers are growing steadily worse, and she is certain that she will soon end up in a plastic bubble. When her life long, best friend Tristan finally invites her to a party she accepts. Lily has loved Tristan forever, but he has never shown any romantic interest in her until recently. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned at the party. Lily is left hurt and stunned. Then when an mysterious voice in her head offers her an escape, Lilly accepts, having no idea that she will soon land in a parallel world, similar to her own but far different. Will Lily survive in this new world?
What I Liked:
- Trial by Fire was an impressive and interesting story. At first, it seemed liked it would follow the typical YA story line with plenty of teen angst and heartbreak, but then the story moves in an entirely new direction as the heroine, Lily, lands in an alternate universe. This new Salem is run by a powerful witch. This foreign Salem held witch trials centuries ago, but the burning of witches at the stake had a completely different result. In this witch run world, there are witch hunts for scientists and the educated. It is a scary, and interesting world.
- The world building was good. It provided enough detail to propel the story and keep the reader invested without miring down the pace with too much detail. The author keeps it relatively simple by placing Lily in our modern world, and then plunging her into a parallel Salem, with many of the same inhabitants as Lily's world. Even though I had some questions and wanted a bit more detail, I had enough information to visualize the main picture.
- Lily is the type of heroine who is easy to like. In her own world, Lily is a bit of an outcast. She suffers from horrible, inexplicable allergies and fevers that are nearly killing her. Once Lily is dropped into the witch world, she learns the how and why behind her afflictions. Lily quickly gets her feet underneath her and rapidly transforms into a capable and powerful witch. I loved her transformation and I liked cheering for her as she grew stronger. She is kind hearted, brave and unlike her counterpart, Lillian.
- The romance is terrific. At first, I was concerned in the beginning chapters that Lily was going to be in for a rough ride, but thankfully, after Lily gets her heart torn out by someone she loved and trusted explicitly, she moves on. I appreciated that she didn't spend an excessive amount of time wallowing in self pity while nursing a broken heart. Instead, Lily focuses on doing what is necessary to protect those around her as she tries to find her way home. The romance is slow to build. It starts out shaky as the two parties get to know each other and develop trust. It then progresses into a strong friendship, before blossoming into something more. There are some stumbles and setbacks along the way, but nothing that was unrealistic or ridiculous. Overall, I thought the romance was mature and believable, which is refreshing in YA. I also loved that there weren't any love triangles.
- I enjoyed the constant action and danger. There is hardly a moment to catch your breath as Lily after running around like crazy in the frying pan, literally jumps out right into the flames. Lily may be a foreigner, but since she is the doppleganger of the most powerful Witch of Salem, Lillian, she is in constant danger. She is chased by soldiers, enemies and horrifying, monstrous creature amalgamations known as the Woven. You won't be bored with this one.
- I liked the focus on witches and the interesting ideas put forth regarding them in this one. The whole concept of the magical willstones was original, and I enjoyed exploring these new ideas.
And The Not So Much:
- One niggling detail that bothered me was the lack of information regarding the Witches Coven. In this new world, everything is controlled by the Witches Coven, but there is hardly any detail on the Coven. I wanted to know more about the witches that controlled everything, and how the coven was decided.
- The book after a riveting and rather terrifying climax ends on a cliffhanger note. A rather frustrating cliffhanger, I must say.
- I longed to know a bit more about Lillian. She remains a mystery. It seems that she is the villain in her world, cruel, cunning and destructive, but then when she speaks to Lily, she seems to be trying to do something to heal her world? I was itching to know more about Lillian, and I am hopeful that there will be more regarding her in the next book.
- I was curious as to why so many of the key players were present in Lily's home world, but not Rowan. Why was Rowan not in Lily's world? I was also curious to know a bit more about Rowan and Lillian's relationship. Why did she betray him?
- The book briefly mentions the original Salem Witch Trials and I was hoping to see how the Witch Trials went down in this new world, but alas, there is really not much discussion on it. I am one who is fascinated by the Witch Trials, and I would have loved to see more information on them in this book.
Trial by Fire is an exciting, original book with solid world building, witches and magic. I was most impressed with this first installment, aside from the cliffhanger. Overall, this book has plenty of action, a terrific romance and a unique story line. I will definitely be continuing this series.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Emma Gavin is one of my favorite narrators!