Trial by Fire

Trial by Fire

Trial by Fire

by Josephine Angelini

Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: September 2, 2014
by HarperCollins




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 Salemβ€”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


The flames rise, and I twist and scream, trying to get away, but the iron shackles on my wrist keep me bound to this stake.

I’m a witch. And witches burn.

This was definitely not what I was expecting from the summary, but it was a quick and entertaining read nonetheless, despite any flaws it had. Filled with a fantastic variety of magic, fantasy and a hint of science, Josephine Angelini will transport you into Salem alongside her vivacious cast of characters.

Lily Proctor’s potentially fatal allergies have kept her experiencing a typical teenage life; so she is determined to enjoy herself at her first high school party. She doesn’t last long, though, as almost immediately, she is thrown into an embarrassing situation, and all she wants is to simply disappear. And then she does.

Her skin pricking with a preternatural sense of wrongness, Lily turned and looked behind her. She was still in Salem. The shape of the shoreline, as familiar to her as the whirls of her own thumbprint, told her that.

She just wasn’t in her Salem anymore.

Transported into an alternative Salem ruled by witches and magic, Lily finds out that the leader of this universe is none other than her doppelgΓ€nger Lillian. But Lillian has a plan to destroy the world, and it’s up to Lily to stop her before it’s too late.

Lily herself was what bothered me here. She a strong protagonist and I admired her ability to fight for what she believed in, but I found her to be a bit of a special snowflake. She’s oblivious to anything and everyone but herself (and the love interest), and I found it a bit annoying at times.

It’s unfortunate, but there is a love triangle here, and I didn’t really feel much for it. It was quite clichΓ© and underwhelming and seemed to be there for the single purpose of pleasing the intended audience; and neither of the love interests had the chemistry with Lily that I would have liked.

While it may sound like this is something to be avoided because of the special snowflake protagonist and love triangle, I would definitely say it’s not something to write off completely either. The story itself is entertaining and shows great originality and promise and is certainly entertaining, but I can’t say the same for the execution.

Also, you’d think that a book about witches SET IN SALEM would have some mention of the Salem Witch Trials, but, strangely, that’s never addressed.


31 thoughts on “Trial by Fire

  1. Hmm I don’t know… its flaws are things that I normally don’t tolerate. Not sure if I’d like this book. It’s on my TBR list and honestly now I’m not sure if I would like to read this one. I’d only give it a try because of the witches aspect. Also the doppelganger thing because it sounds cool, lol. Lovely review, Zoe! πŸ™‚

  2. I’ve heard some good things about this one despite the love triangle, so I’m looking forward to reading it. I hope I won’t be too bothered by things you mention! I’m glad to know that you did find this an entertaining and quick read – sometimes that works wonders for me when it comes to covering up flaws! πŸ™‚

  3. Like always, I had the same thoughts as you for this one! I wasn’t feeling the special snowflake that was Lily. Nor did I enjoy that lacklustre love triangle.But that being said, the science behind it all was thoroughly researched and I definitely appreciated that! I feel like this is the beginning to a rather strong series (or so I hope). Fantastic review, as always, Zoe!! <3333

  4. I’m really sad it didn’t work for you much. :'( *collects buckets of my tears* I REALLY REALLY LIKED IT. I wasn’t convinced on Lilian being scary enough as an antagonist, but I liked Lily! And I liked all the boys. Heeh. The cliff hanger was a little wicked too. -_-

  5. A LOVE TRIANGLE?! Blasphemy! πŸ™ That really sucks to know that we have to endure a love triangle and a clichΓ© one at that. I’m not sure I want to read about special snowflakes either because god knows how much I hate them with a burning passion! >:D< But I'm back now so you'll be seeing me more often πŸ˜‰

  6. I so NEED to read this book! I think this is the first slightly negative review I’ve read. I hadn’t heard that about Lilly. I hate self absorbed protagonists. A love triangle too? Dang. It still sounds really good though. Nice review. πŸ™‚

  7. Oh joy, special snowflake time. I KNEW this couldn’t be that perfect. A book is never that perfect. AND NOT EVEN A GOOD LOVE TRIANGLE. You evil book, you.

    I do still want to read it, to see what all the fuss is about and decide for myself, though if those will probably bother me. We’ll see.

  8. Oooooo Trial By Fire!
    Oooooo Salem witch trials (I live a couple towns over, so the amount of history I learned about this is endless)
    ehhhhh love triangle. Hm. is it at least a decent love triangle???
    NOOOO THE SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE. I do really want to read this, just because I know a lot about the topic, but I don’t like the special snowflake thing. NEVERTHELESS, if I do pick it up, I’ll let you know what I think πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  9. I actually haven’t heard too much about this! I really wish there were more witch-related books — especially taking place in Salem — but there haven’t been too many. :/ AND none of them are particularly interesting to me.

    I find it really disappointing that there’s a love triangle in this and that you didn’t care for the romance. Also that she’s a special snowflake. Not sure if I’ll be picking this one up. :/

    Great review! <3

  10. Love triangles can be fun when done right, but if it’s just there for the sake of an audience, then it can fall short. I am not really a witch fan, not sure if I’ll pick this up, as I am very picky with books right now πŸ™

  11. Yeah I wasn’t a fan of the triangle either and didn’t get why she was even attracted to them – it felt random! I did enjoy the plot though and the world building. I’m curious to see where it leads us in book 2 πŸ™‚

  12. A lot of aspects of this book didn’t work for me and I think the hype really built this one up far more than it deserved but it isn’t terrible either. Still, I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series. :/ Great review, though, Zoe! πŸ™‚

  13. The reviews for this one have either been that they really loved it, or just left feeling a little meh like yourself. It definitely sounds like it could have been a much better read if it didn’t follow the generic YA template. Ugh, triangles. Authors can create the same tension by adding dangerous or a sense of the forbidden romance without involving a cardboard third party. I’m sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this one more Zoe, hope your next read is incredible! Brilliant review <3

  14. Haha, great review! Felt exactly the way you did re: the love triangle (and Lily the special snowflake :p ) I’m glad you ended up enjoying it more than I did, though.

  15. This book looks amazing!! I haven’t heard of it at all, but wow look at that gorgeous cover! And the synopsis sounds very interesting too. I might check this out. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Zoe πŸ™‚

  16. Bummer!! That love triangle is not something I’m happy to hear about and well special snowflakes aren’t my fave either. I mean I see why authors create them like that, but when you think about it it’s sometimes to obvious that it starts to bother you. Still I’d love to read about Salem so I might give this one a try.
    Amazing review, Zoe πŸ™‚

  17. Quick and entertaining isn’t always a bad thing…even if it does have flaws. *wink* Sometimes that gets you that much closer to a great book if that makes any sense at all. That’s usually what I tell myself when I was expecting something totally different. πŸ™‚

  18. Aw, man, yet another so-so read, huh? *thinks of The Infinite Sea* πŸ™ And it had such a cool and original premise, too!

    I’m not quite sure what to think of Lily. I’m sure I would’ve admired her just like you did, but I just can’t stand self-centered characters… Well, those that aren’t well-written, at least. It’s hard making characters with naturally horrible traits emphathizable, though. But still, it’s good that you weren’t too put off by her.

    A cliche love triangle? My desire of wanting to read this book is just steadily decreasing, to be honest. I’m feeling a little relieved I didn’t request this from NetGalley, or else it would’ve been another mediocre ARC for me. D: Anywayyy, awesome review as usual, Zoe! I’m hoping your next read will be MUCH better!

  19. BOO TO THE TRIANGLE. You know I can’t deal with them, they make me want to throw cake at people. And, really, what a waste of cake that’d be πŸ˜›

    Totally cracked up at Lily being a special snowflake. I’m feeling a bit evil today haha. Awesome review, m’love!

  20. Ah yes, Lily was definitely a special snowflake and she just learnt everything so easily and didn’t question anything at all. I loved the witchcraft and sci-fi in this novel though. I’m glad you at least enjoyed it Zoe! Great review hun!

  21. Eeeeeep! I need to continue with Josie’s other series and follow it through to the end lol. But this sounds so very good, tbh! Salem culture and era and everything sounds so intriguing and I want to know more. There aren’t that many books out there that I’ve read with this if any. I’m glad you liked Lily in general, but yeah, I’ve heard about the special snowflake complex. Not a fan of the love triangle thing, but I believe it could work if.. done ok, but from the looks of it you don’t approve that much lol so yeah. Regradless, I’m excited for this and I’m glad you enjoyed it, lovely! Great review, Zoe! πŸ™‚

  22. Really good review. I’m sorry this one didn’t completely work for you, but I can understand why. I don’t know if she was going for the love triangle angle, I think so, but it never worked for me. I never really saw it as a love triangle, but I can see that being a bigger plot point in the next book. Although I really hope not. I actually quite enjoyed this one and definitely will be reading the next book and hope the love triangle doesn’t take over the story.

  23. I still haven’t read this one yet, and I’m not really sure still if I want to read it because of that love triangle. I hate love triangles with a passion, so I fear that it will ruin the rest of the book for me. Oh well, I might give it a go one day, the plot sounds very interesting. Great review!

  24. I’ve seen negative and positive reviews from friends who have read this and can’t quite decide if it would be a good book for me. The love triangle though and special snowflake status definitely have me rolling my eyes too πŸ˜› I may wait till the second book comes out and see what other people think of that one before starting this series. Thanks for the review Zoe!

  25. Great review. I was actually surprised by how much I liked this book. I never really saw it as a love triangle, but I know a lot of people did. It just became more about Rowan to me. Definitely agree about Lily being a bit of a special snowflake, but I liked her overall. I’ll be continuing the series and I’m curious to see where the story goes next.

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