Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Published: September 2nd 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 5 out of 5

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This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies make it increasingly difficult to live a normal life, and after a completely humiliating incident ruins her first (and perhaps only) real party, she's ready to disappear.

"Come and be the most powerful person in the world."

Suddenly, Lily finds herself in a different Salem. One overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women--including Lillian, this world's version of Lily.

"It will be terrifying. It was for me."

What made Lily weak at home, makes her extraordinary here. It also puts her in terrible danger. Faced with new responsibilities she can barely understand and a love she never expected, Lily is left with one question: How can she be the savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?


For everything Angelini did wrong in her Starcrossed series she's absolutely nailed it with this first instalment of the Worldwalker series. Trial by Fire is an existential twist on the Salem witch legend complete with an alternative universe and lots of romance.
Lily Proctor lives in our world with a lovely sister, Juliet and a schizophrenic mother, Samantha. Lily can't handle our world. Everything from the food, the pollen and especially smoke makes her sick. She knows she's going to have to live in a plastic bubble soon because there's no other way she can survive without coming down with a fever or throwing up.
Her one true friend is Tristan. They've been best friends since they were small and he's always taken care of her. Now, they're in the last years of high school. Tristan is the hot boy around and girls flock to him. But he always keeps Lily for himself as a friend. Lily wants more, and when he invites her to a party she knows its her one real chance to prove to him she is girlfriend material. However, at the party she's secretly fed a small amount of vodka which makes her sick. She and the culprit, Scot, search for Tristan who did a vanishing act once they arrived. Lily finds him in a bathroom with his previous girlfriend. They're both topless and Lily instantly hates him for his deceit. Before the party her mother had an episode and that compounded with Lily's loneliness at losing Tristan leaves her on a beach summing up her miserable life. A voice in her head promises a better life. A harder life but one she'll be strong in. Lily is so overcome with her grief she doesn't rationalise. She follows the voice and ends up in another version of Salem.
This version is in a kind of future. Lily soon learns that her other self is the Lady of Salem and head witch. This worlds Lillian is a Queen. Our Lily gets away, she's so freaked out by the differences, instantly regretting her moment of weakness on the beach. She runs down the main street and leans against the window of a cafe. The man inside sees her, recognises her and she runs from him. He thinks she's Lillian (the Queen) who he looked after as Head Mechanic (like a doctor, personal servant, healer, rolled into one.) Once he captures Lily he makes her unconscious. She's the enemy and he wants nothing more than to kill her. Together with his friend Tristan (this worlds version) and their friend Caleb, they take our Lily to meet a Sachem who is head of the Outlanders, a tribe that live outside the main Queens Citadel. Lily convinces them she isn't the Lillian they all want dead. They also realise that our Lily has the same strong witch gifts the Queen has, but she's never used them. Rowan (the man from the cafe) is given the task of keeping her safe and training her.
Little does our Lily know she's now a pawn in a greater battle. A battle against the ruling Witches but with some unlikely allies and some hot men at her side Lily can not only live in this world without her allergies, she can actually be useful and help more people with her new witch gifts. This is a world of oppression and our Lily is the key to giving them their freedom. 

What I loved most about this book is the world-building and simplicity of the story. Yes, there are variations of words. Mechanics, Scientists etc but it's really a story about keeping the modernity of our civilisation. The Queen wants to keep the world from destroying itself yet she goes about it the wrong way. The Outlanders have the 'Woven,' a genetically modified race to fight outside the Citadel, yet if they go into the Citadel they could by hung for any crimes. Lily and Lillian also have a surprising bond and we've yet to learn why exactly Lillian brought Lily to her world when she knows Lily does everything she can to help the oppressed and fight her. 

There are still many unanswered question that will surely come out as the series progresses but from the first page this book had me gripped and I couldn't put it down. I've always loved a good witch story!

Also, don't miss the novella, Rowan, who describes his first confusing meeting with Lily and how he unravels that fact that she looks like his lover Lillian but she most definitely isn't her.



About the Author
Josephine Angelini is a Massachusetts native and the youngest of eight siblings. She graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

You can find Josephine Angelini here:


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