Monday, October 27, 2014

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini [Joint Review!]

Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1)3.5 out of 5 Robots!

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Series:Worldwalker #1
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Release: September 2, 2014
Hardcover: 374 Pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon and Julia
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon and Julia's Thoughts:
1. In a few words, can you describe TRIAL BY FIRE?
Shannon: Trial by Fire is set in an alternative Salem where magic exists and witches rule.
Julia: What Shannon said! 

2. There are different worlds in TRIAL BY FIRE, which one did you enjoy more, why? 
Shannon: Most of the book is spent in Alta-Salem and has a very distinct "medieval-fantasy" feel about it.  I love a good fantasy setting, but it didn't really offer anything new to the genre.  The other world we visit is modern day Salem.  It was interesting, but again, nothing really stood out for me.  I do love the idea of multiple versions of Salem though!
Julia: Honestly, I liked Lily's regular world better. I want to know what happens between her and Tristan. I wish the witches were taken into our world... maybe they will be. I hope so. The alternate world was intriguing, but there was something missing for me. I love the idea of lots of alternate worlds, but it just wasn't as gripping as I had anticipated.

3. Did the plot leave anything to be desired? Did you love it? 
Shannon: There were things I really liked about it, but I think most of it is because I like fantasy and magic and swords and stuff.  I lean towards those things naturally, so I was quite happy to navigate around in Alta-Salem. I liked that the author spent some time explaining how magic worked in Alta-Salem and why Lily was able to perform magic there.  But, just because something is comfortable, doesn't mean that it is special.  And this is where I got a little caught.  Some of it is pretty bland and very much a retread of worn-out troupes.  I found that a little disappointing because I would have love to be given something different.  I feel like the author was afraid to branch out much past the YA fantasy formula.  But at the same time, I found the book very readable, so I wasn't bored.  Just not blow away.  I also want to mention that I found some of the Native American stuff to be a little uncomfortable.  I'm not sure how I felt about people being referred to as "painted braves" and "savages". 
Julia: There was something missing! I can't put my figure on what it is. There is action, a decent let's get the bad guys plot, there are enthralling guys... I don't know. It was one of those situations where this could have been an amazing epic fantasy, but fell flat. Don't get me wrong, it was a satisfying read, but... meh.

4. Which scene is your favorite? 
Shannon: Oh, definitely the one where Lily is getting her hair dyed.  I actually laughed out loud.  I wasn't expecting it and it was one of the best interactions between Rowan and Lily.
Julia: I loved all the scenes that included Lily and Ronan getting to know each other! I loved them sharing their memories... awkward. And yes, one of those scenes includes the one Shannon is talking about. Hilarious. Please, even if you don't want to read this book, read that scene. It's great.

5. Characters. Lily vs Lillian. And the boys. What'd you think?
Shannon: I did not have a handle on Lillian at all.  I still don't know why she was so bad.  Or how she came into her power.  Or why everyone feared her.  We were told a few things about her, but I never really felt it.  Much more time is devoted to Lily and while I liked her, I don't think she really stands out in any way.  The boys were fine.  I liked Rowan a lot, but I like the brooding type (although I could never stand one in real life!).  But I did think the interactions between all the characters were really fun.  Those were some of my favorite parts.
Julia: I wanted to hate Lillian like everyone else and think that she is the super evil- and I know she has done bad things. But I can't help but get the feeling that she has a legit reason for all of it? That or the author didn't do a superb job of painting her as a villain. I wanted to know more about her, is what it comes down to. I didn't relate to Lily and don't have any real emotions about her, which is a shame because she's who I need to be rooting for at this point. She just isn't very interesting. I don't have much to say about the boys except that Rowan is obviously a keeper. Love dialogue between him and Lily and the other guys.

6. What would you rate TRIAL BY FIRE? Will you read the sequel?
Shannon: I'd give it 4 stars.  I liked it enough to want to read the sequel, especially where it leaves off (damn you, cliffhanger!)
Julia: I'm going to rate it three stars. It was just a so-so book for me, but it has a lot of things going for it, so I'm going to read the sequel. I also need to find out where the next story begins. Quite the cliffhanger!! Yup!!

Disclosure:  We reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.

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