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Worldwalker #1

Trial by Fire

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The exhilaratingly seductive new series from the author of the bestselling Starcrossed series

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 cruellest 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 saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

375 pages, Hardcover

First published August 28, 2014

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About the author

Josephine Angelini

26 books7,502 followers
Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by my Goodreads page. I only check in on it occasionally, so if you’d like to send me a message please use the contact form on my website: http://josephineangelini.com.

I can also be found on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, and I love connecting with readers. Check out the Linktree url above for more info.

I am a #1 international bestselling author, a Massachusetts native, and the youngest of eight siblings. I graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater with a focus on the classics and now live in Los Angeles with my husband and daughter.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,294 reviews
September 15, 2014
Lily’s body ran hot—about 102 degrees on a normal day. On a bad day, her fever could shoot up as high as 111 degrees.
Well, it didn't make me want to kill myself.

In the interest of transparency, I'm going to tell you guys up front. I'm seriously fucking drunk right now.

It's 1:30 AM on Sunday morning, I've spent the entire evening out. I've drank half a bottle of Riesling and I'm just making inroads into a bottle of gin. This isn't going to be one of my better reviews, because, hello, I'm typing it on my iPhone at 1:30 AM while drunk as hell.

This is one of those times where I'm like "thank god for autocorrect." I figured out a way to make my autocorrect to not censor out my "fucks" to "ducks," so hoorah. Let's get on with this thing. Somehow.

Since I am, once again, typing this thing on my fucking iPhone, there is going to be a severe lack of my signature quotes. I can assure you that I can back up every single fucking claim I make later on...once I'm actually sober. I work in the legal industry. I know my shit, and I know how to cover my ass and back up every fucking claim I make because in the legal industry, one learns very quickly that if you don't back up your shit, you lose money.

Money is good. But this was not a good book. It was not a great book. It was one of those books that I knew for sure I was going to hate, 10 pages into it. It was a fucking disappointment because I really enjoyed Angelini's Starcrossed series, despite Helen "Heavenly" Hamilton, or whatever her name was.
To keep it brief, there's 3 things wrong with this book.

1. A Mary Sue (why am I even attempting html at a time like this?)

2. A quasi-high-fantasy/sci-fi world that's less high fantasy and less sci-fi than "let's fling crap at a wall and see what sticks"

3. A love triangle and a romance that is---while not insta-love--is completely unnatural, completely forced, and needlessly sexual in nature. It's sexual healing, that's what it was.

The Summary: Let's keep it mercifully brief so I can bitch about the main character. Lily has always been different, special. A beautiful girl, but frail, and despised by everyone. she is friendless, but for her one friend, Tristan. Tristan is the golden boy, the guy everyone desires. The golden boy, the boy next door, the one whose dick is gilded with gold leaf, and dusted with diamonds. He has been her one true friend throughout her childhood. She has secretly dreamt of him for years, and now he is no longer a wet dream! He is real! He declared his feelings for her! YEAH!

And the next thing she knows, Lily finds her beloved semi-boyfriend in flagrante delicto (I'm so fucking stoked I even remember a Latin word in my inebriated state, you don't even knwow). For those not in the know, in flagrante delicto means "Oh, crap, I got caught with my dick in someone/something it's not supposed to be in." A goat, a woman, a particularly warm apple pie, doesn't matter, really.

In the interest of fairness, it applies to vaginas, as well. But I digress. Fuck, I swear I was going to keep this short.

Ok, so Lily is devastated, shocking, I know. She faints ;_; before she knows it, a mysterious voice yells out to her something to the extent of "COME WITH US. WE WILL GIVE YOU ALL THE THINGS! OM NOM NOM" and Lily's like ;________; MY BOYFRIEND IS A CHEATER. MY LIFE IS OVER. I WILL COME WITH YOU, MYSTERIOUS VOICE.

Next thing she knows, she's in Salem! Where she was living!

Only this ain't Kansas anymore. Ok, it's not Kansas, obviously, because it's Salem. It's a metaphor. Fuck, getting off track again. Anyway, it IS Salem, but it's NOT Salem. By that, we mean it's an alternate universe.


It's Salem, but it's some fucking weird version of it. More on that later, when I bitch about the setting. Anyway, there's ANOTHER LILY IN THIS WORLD. TWINS! HOOOOOOOOT! Only THIS Lillian is sickly and wants her help with something. Being the brilliant person she is, Lily doesn't stick around to find out. She runs away, not knowing anything about this world. Not knowing anyone. And she runs straight into the arm of a guy who tries to kill her.

Meet your love interest. Someone who first tries to kill her. Yeah. Charming. His name is Rowan. And he happens to have a friend, who is a handsome, jovial, altogether lovable young man by the name of...


Can you feel the suspense?


Yes, that very same Tristan who had his dick in a vagina that was not Lily's at the beginning of the book.

Welcome to the love triangle.

Anyway, long story short, Rowan, Lily, and Tristan go on the run! They're trying to defeat the evil Lilian! They're going to fall in love (but which one!)

Along the way, Lily will discover she is THE MOST POWERFUL WITCH EVAR. She will also discover a way to orgasmically make a mental connection to a man. She will also discover that she really likes eating pickles. And she loves salty stuff. Her body just craves the salt.

I don't even need to make any jokes about blow jobs. This shit pretty much writes itself. AMIRITE?

The Special Snowflake: It cannot be denied. Lily is a Mary Sue

Reason #1: She is almost an orphan. Her mom is insane, and has mentally been gone for years. Lily's dad has gone AWOL ever since. With the exception of her sister, Lily has almost been alone for most of her teenaged years.

Reason #2: She is ostracized and hated by almost everyone in the book, initially. Despite the fact that she is smart as a whip, despite the fact that she is beautiful, despite the fact that she has an old, respected family name. Because of her "illness" and her "allergies," not to mention her beauty, she has no friends at all.

Reason #3: She is beautiful, without anyone ever realizing it. She has, by her own admission, an awesome face. Her body is too thin, but...do I really fucking need to say anything about that? Bitch, please. Are you seriously going to fucking complain about being too thin and having a nice face and having wild, fiery, crimson colored hair? Especially when one of my favorite models in the world, Cintia Dicker, could be her fucking double?

Bitch, please. Spare me your whining. You're beautiful. Don't try to downplay it. Don't try to use it as a point to make me feel fucking sympathetic for you. Yeah, I get that life isn't going to be easy for you if you are beautiful, but don't use it as an "Omg my life is so sad despite the fact that I look good" because I really don't have any time in my life for that kind of bullshit. Spare me. I don't want your weak-ass arguments and attempts at soliciting my sympathy.

It turns out I am sobering up now. This review is getting to be a lot longer than I intended. Somehow I always end up talking too much when I'm drunk.

Reason #4: She is fucking special. She is delicate. She is a special little flower. Lily has always been sickly her whole life, but a fucking 111 degree body temperature? Fucking seriously? I don't think so. Lily is so fragile. SOOOOOO FRAGILE. Everything makes her sick. She is gluten-free, vegan, the thought of eating anything with flavor makes her puke (no, really, it does). She is not only a vegan, she is a militant vegan. The kind that goes around telling people they are murderers because they eat animals.

I was a vegetarian for 10 years, and I have one thing to say to Lily. Fuck you. There's a religion where you live on sunlight. There is yet another one, some 8th level Jainism stuff that pretty much says you can't eat anything with a shadow. Do us a favor and become one so you can die and end this book.

Reason #5: SHE IS POWERFUL WITHOUT EVER EARNING HER POWERS. Witches are fucking special in the Alternate Universe Salem. People have to train their entire lives to have special powers. They devote their lives to training and to study to become one of these special people.

Lily becomes an extremely powerful witch just by being there. I'm bloody fucking serious. She doesn't do jack shit. She pretty much pulls the equivalent of "I Dream of Jeannie" where she concentrates really hard, wiggles her nose, looks adorable, and instantly becomes the most powerful bitch...make that witch...in the world.

And Rowan's all "WOOOOOOOW, YOU'RE SO GREAT!!!!111 YOU'RE AMAZING!!! HOW DID YOU DO THAT?!111ONE! DID I REALLY WANT TO KILL YOU 5 MINUTES AGO. Let's mentally connect, baby! I need to spill some mental jizz."

I'm getting really sleepy, so here's the setting. It's fucking weird. It's got elements of alternate universes, which, in fairness, is hard to do correctly. This world is fucking weird, did I say that yet? It's like ass fucking backwards in some ways, yet they have electricity, and they have genetically modified monsters and witches and magic. It's like the author couldn't decide what she wanted to write, a science fiction, or a fantasy, and was like "Why not both?!"

It doesn't work that way. It was strange, it was jarring. It didn't make any fucking sense. It was not cohesive, and I felt, as ambitious as it was, the whole world was just so nonsensical as to deprive me of any enjoyment.

The romance. Fuck that shit. Fuck that attempt at a sad love triangle. Fuck the insta-love. Fuck the orgasmic mental connection and romance under guise of magic. I don't want your fucking romance in my high fantasy. I don't want a fucking Mary Sue. I want my characters to be respectable. To be independent. To be mature. This book doesn't do a fucking thing for me. Go read Starcrossed. No matter how much it fucks up Greek mythology in the 2nd book, that series still holds immensely more enjoyment than this book ever will.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
September 29, 2014
“There comes a day when every girl loses the stars in her eyes. And then she can see clearly.
This is Lily’s day.”

Believe me when I say: This is not Lily’s day. Lily is not losing any bloody stars from her eyes anytime soon. In fact, I would say the stars breed, multiply and become a damn constellation by the time this book is finished. There's a love triangle, insta-angst and a whole lot of general stupidity to look forward to along the way.

Please could someone tell me how a girl like Lily, who is so sappy and obsessed with douchebags, somehow manages to become a powerful witch by clicking her heels together and saying "bibbity bobbity boo"? 'kay, not literally. But it more or less amounts to the same.

The basic premise of this novel is intriguing: what if parallel universes did exist? And what if in one of these other universes you were a powerful witch? Even more exciting - what if the boundaries between your world and the other universe started to break down? Oh yes, very cool stuff. Or it would be... if this random mishmash world actually made any sense.

What kind of bizarre shit is even going on here in this alternate Salem? Yes, of course, Salem because witches, people! This world is crazy. It’s literally described as a random assortment of old fashioned and new, metallic buildings. It’s like a bit of everything, vomited all over the place and not making any sense.

Lily ends up here because she caught sexy dude #1 - Tristan - cheating on her in a bathroom at a party. In true Bella Swan collapsing-into-a-coma-for-months-because-my-boyfriend-left style, Lily suddenly decides that her actual life is no longer worth sticking around in (chyeah, because of a boy) and she gets pulled into another parallel universe by parallel Lily who is a powerful witch.

Still with me? Cool.

Enter sexy dude #2 - Rowan. What's worse than a YA love triangle? A YA love triangle between a Mary Sue, a cheating douche, and a broody and aggressive douche.
“She knew it was Rowan’s arm—the same guy who had said he would happily kill her—but she couldn’t seem to get herself to pull away from him in disgust. Every part of her felt like it was in exactly the right place.”

I didn't even hate the story itself. It was fine; the everything thrown into the pot world-building left something to be desired but other than that it was inoffensive standard paranormal YA. No, my problem was with these stupid, annoying characters. Especially Lily.

Lily is weak. I'm not talking about her allergies and health issues, I'm talking about the fact that she defines her life by whether or not her crush is interested in her. Sexy boy douche cheats with someone else? Naturally, her life is over. She's pushed around by everyone else and is in serious need of a backbone. Also, I hate it when MCs describe themselves in a way that is supposed to imply they’re unattractive but only emphasizes their obvious beauty.

Lily is, of course, “too thin”. Too. Thin. Is that seriously the best you can do?

“Oh, it’s so sad when i trip over my long eyelashes and full breasts, give me sympathy please.”

Despite coming to pieces literally and figuratively every time she leaves her house, and being "too thin", Lily is the centre of the universe. And not just this universe! Every universe, it would seem. Men are falling over themselves to love her. She is an important piece in the big plans of other people. Not to mention that she is suddenly the best witch ever. Her witchiness is the equivalent of Dorothy tapping her damn heels together. Seriously, it’s like instantaneous witchy badass.

Trial by Fire is a laughable addition to an overcrowded genre full of the same old YA tropes. I’m not giving it one star because that seems way more dramatic than the book deserves.

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Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,356 followers
October 17, 2014
Whoa! Having had no luck with witch books lately this was a nice surprise. It's unique and well written, with a quick pacing that turned it into an unputdownable read.

Trial by Fire starts with the introduction of Lily, a sickly girl who has had a rough life of weakness and fevers. I knew right then that this was going to be a great read. This girl was funny, awkward, easy to connect to, and with a compelling narrative voice. Plus you just knew this constant sickness was something witchy and had you craving to know more. Wanting to get away from all of it, Lily finally gives in to the voice inside her head that, unbeknownst to her, is from another world completely. When she suddenly finds herself in an alien world ruled by witches and full of flesh-eating monsters, naturally, she thinks she's gone insane. And this is when the real plot starts. We start learning of the witch lore, and how it all fits in with the alternate universes. I was wary at first of a plot with such thick scientific aspects mixed in with the paranormal, but it ended up being fascinating, and not at all overwhelming. This new world we're propelled to is much darker than ours. Flesh eating monsters and vengeful survivors makes this not for the faint of heart. It gets pretty gruesome at parts, though horror fans like myself will love it.

While Lily learns how to become a witch, a war is brewing in the background, giving the book an ominous vibe that persists throughout. There's a lot to learn, including tons of secrets and the history of her other self - the seemingly evil Lillian who may not be so evil after all. I was anxious to learn what she was hiding, as we're hinted throughout of some pretty huge secret she's harbouring that has been a factor in all her evildoing and decisions. Unfortunately, we merely scratch the surface of her intentions in this book. We're not even sure, yet, why she brought Lily over to this world. There are some easy speculations, but we're mostly kept in the dark, still. While I know this is only book one in its series, I was hoping for a bit more to hang on to for the sequel. But, even though it keeps us hanging on some aspects, it does delve deeper than a mere introduction (as some first-books can be).

The world, character, and relationship building in this book are extensive. The witch lore is incredibly well thought-out and original. The use of willstones and head mechanics is truly creative. The cultural differences are apparent as well, giving more points to the world-building. Their comfort with nudity and sex, for instance. As well as their drive for scientific innovation and survival. I also loved the complicated relationship with Rowan who is a wonderfully crafted side character. Though he's the most important, he's one of the many well-written side characters we meet. Each one falls easily into the story as if you knew them all along. Their quirks and flaws, their strength and charisma, makes them memorable. My one complaint is pinned on Lily herself. Not her characterization itself which comes without complaint. Once you get to know her, you'll love her, and her growth by the end of the novel is impressive. I just found she fell into being a witch too easily. She's a very powerful witch and this was always within her, I know, but everything she tries is much easier than I would have expected it to be. Things that Rowan fears because she "isn't ready" all go without a hitch. The spirit walking, too, which is thought to be impossible unless you're one of the very rare shamans. But the way Lily did it so effortlessly, some witches could have done this by mistake, really.

The ending is a tad abrupt and leaves us with tons of questions and anxiety, but as a first book in the series, Trial by Fire has done a fantastic job. The complex world building and perilous plot alone are enough to keep you glued to the pages. I feel like my thoughts - and in turn, this review - are pretty jumbled as the book was one hell of a thrill ride, so I'm hoping I at least made sense. If not, just know that this is one book you should not miss if you consider yourself a fan of witches!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Steysha.
111 reviews212 followers
August 28, 2014

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.

I was looking for a book about good old witches for a long time, and this one rocked my world!
This is the story about Lily. At the beginning we see her as a normal girl who has a hard life, being allergic and having a bit crazy mom. She’s in love with her best friend who finally started to notice her in a romantic way. Soon she won’t be able to go to school because of her illness, and the only thing she dreams about is to go for a party with her boyfriend best friend, even though it’s dangerous for her health. But something goes wrong, and now she has her heart broken. That’s the moment when she thinks that she’s ready to leave it all; that she had enough. Beckoned by her inner voice (as she thought), she accidentally travels to another world. There she meets her evil doppelganger, becomes a member of the riot against the government, falls in love and becomes a strong woman.

I loved the worldbuilding. Lily transports to the same Salem she was living in, but, at the same time, they couldn’t be more different. This new world is ruled by the most powerful witch, her Coven and by Council, which represents interest of usual citizens. They all wear special stones that help them to do magic. Witches also have mechanics – people who tend to them, their personal knights. There are also Outlenders – poor people who are forbidden to live in the city. They don’t get help from the government – no medical treatment, no food, no shelter. And when they tried to survive by themselves, without magic and with the help of science, it made them traitors. But why is Lillian – the main Witch of this Salem – so against science, that she’s ready to kill thousands of people to get rid of it? That’s the question.

All characters in this book are well-written. I loved Lily – brave, funny, stubborn. She often made me laugh. I imagined her like that:

I loved Rowan – her swoon-worthy love interest. He is a perfect book boyfriend. I’m sure you’ll love him! Secondary characters took a big part in this story, they were as important, as the main ones. But, most of all, I was interested in Lillian.

I remember what I must do, even if it makes me the villain of my own story. Most importantly, I remember that the good of the many really does outweigh the good of the few. Even if one of those few is me.

I just loooove those villains who are happen to be not so villain. She wasn’t born evil, nor does she enjoy doing it. Her story is one of the most heartbreaking I’ve ever read about. She lost everything for a greater cause, or at least that’s what she thinks. I could see logic in her doing.

All in all, this book has everything I needed: a well thought-out plot, detailed worldbuilding, lovable characters, swoony romance, hilarious jokes and lot’s of magic!

And now… keep calm and wait for the sequel.

Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,807 reviews795 followers
November 6, 2017
I adore books that involve witches but I'm always hesitant when I pick up a new one because it's either a hit or a miss. Well holy cow, this was most definitely a hit. I absolutely freaking loved everything about this book!

The concept was so original and unlike any book I've read about witches before. I was drawn in right from the beginning and although I did find it a tad slow to start with, I loved the world building and the characters and the detail that went into this book.

I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, especially towards the end! The story became incredibly fast paced and full of twists and turns and I was constant on the edge of my seat, dying to know what would happen next.

And can we all take a second to appreciate how gorgeous this cover is?! The colours and design are just so stunning!
Profile Image for Angela.
3,199 reviews370 followers
June 29, 2015
29 June 2015: $2.99 on Kindle

I requested this book because: WITCHES. SALEM WITCHES. It beckons to me like a siren in the sea. I can't resist. I can't fight. So, I didn't even bother. I'd never read Josephine Angelini before and I had no idea what to expect. I hoped the book would be good, but I wasn't about to let my expectations get too high. I've been burned before.

And then I met Lily. Lily of the horrible allergies, unpopular at school yet comfortable (mostly) in her own skin. She's confident and sure of herself. She knows that she deserves respect - and she demands it. The opinions of those that don't matter to her, quite simply don't really concern her. She gives credit where it's due, and blame as well. Even if that's on herself. She takes responsibility for her actions and isn't afraid to do difficult things to uphold her convictions. What a breath of fresh air. I loved Lily immediately. I related to her. She feels so incredibly real. How many times do you meet a heroine - especially in young adult - where she is wronged by a guy and she just writes his behavior off? Too many to count, I know. So when Lily told Tristan off, ended their friendship, and walked away from him - all within the first ten percent of the book - I nearly cheered. Trust me, he deserved it. Jerk. This is all when she's just a sick girl who thinks that soon she'll be living in a plastic bubble, unable to go to school, to keep her safe from the world that's trying to kill her. Still she knows she deserves better than what that mrphprh is trying to do to her.

Then she gets to the other Salem. The one where witches and magic fuel everything instead of using the natural resources as we do. Science there is far behind our world's because witches can do everything scientists do, and they do it intuitively, without the need for extra equipment. Seeing into an atom, into the quarks? No problem. Get a witch. They control everything, from the creation of food parts, the harvesting of vegetables and the distribution of electricity. Alternatively, there's the fact that instead of billions of residents...there's only thirteen cities in this world. Everything else is the Wild, overrun with magically engineered super-beasts, an experiment gone horribly wrong, that are completely out of control and hunt humans that dare to go out of the walled cities. At the very top of this power structure is the head witch, Lillian - Lily's double, her other self and the one who brought her to this world - killing all scientists, hanging and executing at will. No one understands why she's doing this. It all started about a year ago, but she's not to be deterred. She'll kill every last person that disagrees.

I've got to talk about Lillian for a moment. First, let me give you a bit of her introduction:

Yes, fire has teeth, and it chews at you like a living, breathing animal. It even roars like an animal. When you're in its mouth, you have to fight for air. Fire, like a lion, likes to suffocate its prey. [...]

I remember what I must do, even if it makes me the villain of my own story. Most importantly, I remember that the good of the many really does outweigh the good of the few. Even if one of those few is me. [...]

This girl I'm about to steal has no concept of loss. She doesn't understand the difference between infatuation and love. That's a good thing. I don't want her broken like me. I want her wounded, yes, but stronger for it. There comes a day when every girl loses the stars in her eyes. And then she can see clearly.

This is Lily's day.

**emphasis mine**

Holy. Crap. Making herself the villain of her own story. What reasons could she have for this? Why must she be the villain? Why does she need Lily? All of these questions, and more, were coursing through my mind, begging to be answered. And as I got to know Lillian, and her world, I began to see, to understand, a little bit more. Lillian is one of the best villains I've read in a good long time.

Though there are more than a few other characters in the book that I, at turns, loved, hated, despised, or was rooting for, there's only one other one that I'm going to take the time to talk about now. Because, like Lily, instead of being a one-note character that follows every annoying convention out there, Rowan defied my expectations time and time again. When he's helping Lily get feeling back in her legs and she gets embarrassed, jerking away from him, he flat out tells her that she only has to tell him to stop, and he always will. Then he goes and apologizes to her for being a jerk when they first met (and he thought she was Lillian). He APOLOGIZED. Flat out, no excuses or anything. Just "I'm sorry I was so horrible to you when we first met." I need more heroes like Rowan. A little cynical and guarded with his heart, but compassionate, kind, caring, willing to compromise, apologize, help, listen to reason, cautious, willing to give due where it's deserved, and never strong-arm someone into doing it 'his way.' Plus he totally kicks ass and is smart. Yes, I definitely need more.

You may, or may not, know that characters are what I live for. Give me excellent characters and I'll overlook a lot of flaws in the world or plot. Lucky me, I didn't have to overlook anything here. Second to characters only is the world. Create a fantasy world that I can get lost in, that makes sense and I can understand, and I'm all in. One different decision, piled on another different decision perhaps, and another and another, and then there's this world that's so vastly different from ours and yet contains so many of the same people, and is somewhat eerily similar. Who would you be in this different world? Who should you be if you show up there?

And here we hit on the most amazing, to me, thing about my reading of this book. Not only did Josephine Angelini create relatable, fascinating characters that I want to root for; then put them in a world that is so similar and yet so different than ours, a world that makes sense and follows rules, just different from our rules; but she created a story that made me think. Who would I be if I showed up in this world? Would I hold to my convictions? What are the limits of holding to those convictions? Is there a line in the sand? And - even more important - when you have unimaginable power, how do you decide where that line is? What would you do for those you love? If you could stop a horrible event from happening, should you? Would you? What if the cost is someone's life? Multiple someone's? What if stopping this event meant saving hundreds of thousands? What if you're not even sure this event will occur?

I liked how one way wasn't necessarily better than another. That there are pros and cons to each different path. Though there's a definite 'green' leaning in this book, it doesn't paint our world as intrinsically worse for the industrial revolution and discoveries that we've made. Though Lillian's alternate world hasn't polluted the skies and waters, doesn't make hers necessarily better. There's a lot of dichotomies to examine and explore here. I'm really looking forward to more of that. And I think Lily's going to have to find the path that's a bit better than either of the current alternatives - but that's a story for the sequels, I think.

My mind went down a thousand different paths, to a thousand different ends. At times I would pause and simply think about the ramifications of actions. When a book can do that, can absorb me so utterly and yet captivate my mind so completely with ramifications in my life here, it's sure to end up on my 'Best of...' list.

Every once in a while, if a reader is lucky, a book comes along that so completely blows away their expectations, wholly enthralling, enchanting, and - yes, I'll say it - bewitching, that they finish it and want to dive directly back in, that they're not even sure how to manage the wait until the sequel. Trial by Fire was that book for me.

Holy shit.

That was...AWESOME!

Review to come.
Profile Image for Tomoe Hotaru.
251 reviews854 followers
April 11, 2016
blog | goodreads

20 Sep. '14
*pssst* for a better, more tidy version of this review, read it on my blog.

I've been in a blogging rut recently, so to try and rekindle my blogging spirit I've decided to combine two of my most favourite passtimes: reviewing and simming[*]! I tried to get all the (main) characters right based on descriptions in the book -- but it's quite possible I may have missed or got some things wrong. If you do notice any mistakes on my part, do let me know.

[*]The Sims game I used to make this review is TS3. If you haven't heard of The Sims, you must be living under a rock you need to try it right now! if you, like me, love to play The Sims, hit me a friend request immediately!

So. Meet Lily Proctor, our main character. Her hair is a wild mess of untamed fury, she is too thin (which, I feel you boo. I once was, too, and went through years of hell trying to pack on the weight so people would stop telling me to "eat a goddam sammich"), and she's so weak and diseased a gust of wind could probably induce her into a fit. All this, however, is a petty price to pay to have the special powers and magical capacity Lily does.

Meanwhile, a more antagonistic version of Lily sniffs her out from her world and eventually succeeds in plucking her from our universe and into her own; where all the people she knows are just different versions of themselves. It is now up to Lily to find out what her evil counterpart -- Lillian -- wants, how to stop her, and how to find her way back to her own universe.

To do so, Lily has to learn how to hone her powers; and judging by the speed and accuracy in which she masters everything, I assume she, too, must have Twallan's Master Controller mods installed.

Not only is she almost immediately successful in everything she's taught, Lily is also incredibly smart! This we learn through the sudden bursts of biology and physics theories spurting out of her mouth.
So in conclusion, here we have a petite, (downplayed but still) pretty, book-smart, independent young girl of 17 years with the world on her shoulders. But other than that, she's just your average girl with a lunatic for a mother, an absent father, and health issues to make sure we all can still feel bad for her.

To help Lily through her ordeal and to complete the Young Adult Blueprint, we also have a set of supporting sidekicks and, of course, a love interest -- Rowan Fall.

Rowan is pretty much good at everything, coveted by the ladies, and as if that doesn't make him enough of a cliché, he also initially started off wanting to kill our heroine -- into eventually wanting to woo hoo! with her.
His main role in this novel was to serve as Lillian's former love interest and Lily's ... erm ... budding love interest, to train Lily into her powers, and to needlessly sneak in a sexual healing scene to spice this book up from a G rating to PG13+

Oh. And to rescue our all-mighty heroine whom, despite being almighty and powerful, the author still found a way to reduce into a damsel in distress.

In addition to acting as the occasional hero, Rowan is also the author's mouthpiece in relaying crucial bits of worldbuilding information, including in how the magic in their world works, why Lily is always so sick, and any other relevant piece of information that we may find wanting as the plot progresses. But don't worry, the infodumping isn't so unbearable that I had to extract points from the book.

One question that kept nagging me though, is why Rowan exists in Lillian's world, but not in the world Lily originally came from. Did he die at a young age? Does he in fact exist outside of Lily's awareness? Why does Tristan have to pop up in both Lily and Lillian's worlds, but all of Lily's other friends and neighbours just conveniently disappeared?

But moving on from my nitpicking ...... next in the cast is the sister whose function in Trial by Fire is completely unknown to me.

No, like, seriously.

All Juliet Proctor was ever good for was acting as the guiding angel sitting on Lillian's shoulder (which, even that she did a poor job of, considering Lillian largely ignored her the entire time).

She is the sweet, a little useless naive older sister who would do anything for our heroine -- despite knowing that she is not her "real" sister and is only a version Lillian spirited away from another world.
Juliet has no other personality that I can think of, but then again, we didn't really see much of her despite the fact she plays such a huge role in both our protagonist and antagonist's lives.

her entire purpose in this novel

Even Caleb, who plays an even lesser role (other than being your token gay guy) had more on-screen time than Lily. This would've been fine if he actually served a purpose in the overall plot. He was a native American, and apparently gay. But because he was absolutely useless to the story, it felt as if the author wrote him in there just to show us how progressive and diverse her novel is.

And because creating one sim of a completely useless character was enough work for me, I'm gonna go right ahead and skip Caleb. Instead, let me introduce you to our final sidekick... Tristan Corey.

But. I lie.

Tristan is also almost useless to the plot. His only real purpose of being in the novel at all was:

- to serve as the male best friend
- to act as a corner in our potential love-triangle
- to give us female readers a dose of good-looking guys
- to make sure our heroine is surrounded by good-looking guys

...and of course, to fill in the quota for our token asshole

This book is basically our heroine being trained by her boys and stuff. The climax was a little sudden and out of the blue ... nothing particularly special ... but at least it was there.

In a wrap:

High Points of Trial by Fire
- A heroine who stands up for herself and can see when a romantic relationship is destructive and needs to be cut off.

- An antagonist who isn't portrayed as absolute evil, and instead having reasons and motivations behind her actions. I liked how her paranoia is not exactly unfounded, and can perfectly imagine real-life "villains" acting under the same or similar mindset.

- I did like the incorporation of our world's science in conjunction to the other world's magic. I especially appreciate the reasonably thought-out magic system, and how it is not a haphazard miracle-solution without bounds of reason.

Mid Points of Trial by Fire
- While I would've preferred no love triangle at all, it was not so prominent that I need to complain about it.

- The plot was not anything I haven't read before. While it was not exactly boring or snail-paced, the conflict and resolution (if you can call it that) was absolutely normal; perhaps even below average.

- I liked the inclusion of native tribes to give more diversity in this novel -- although they didn't really make much of an appearance or play a significant role. Perhaps this will improve as the series progress.

Low Points of Trial by Fire
- A heroine who learns everything too quickly and too perfectly. There wasn't really any tension as we all know she would come out unscathed.

- The use of a "talisman as a source of power" also did not work too well for me. It is inexplicable how Lily seemed to be doing fine before she had her necklace, but once she "binded" with an amulet and it was taken from her, she is somehow reduced to a useless pile of bones.
Another problem with using this trope in your fiction is that it leaves a very open question unanswered: if all it takes to defeat a villain is to take away his/her amulet, why is not all effort being exerted into doing so?

- While Lillian Proctor was a sympathetic villain whom the author at least attempted to flesh out and give more dimensions to, unfortunately I can't say the same for Gideon. The latter just turns out to be a twisted young boy at heart, harbouring resentment to his half-brother (who surprise, surprise! happens to be our main love interest). Beyond that, he has no other goal nor motive to spur his wickedness.


My reasons for giving this a categorically low rating is mainly because it did not offer anything new nor particularly exciting to the table. That said, I definitely can find some redeeming points of this reading experience, and I see much potential. Personally I'll probably end up picking up the second book once it's out.

17 Sep. '14
Review to come
Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
July 28, 2019
3.5 stars

So what's this one about?
Witches, alternate realities, and allergies.
So. It 's got an interesting premise, no?
It starts out in our world, with Lily struggling to find some amount of normalcy in her life. Absentee father, schizophrenic mother, and she's got something seriously wrong with her immune system.
The only bright spots in her life are her sister, Juliet, and her one friend, Tristan. Her longtime secret love for Tristan has finally been reciprocated, and he's taking her to a party. Her allergies are bubble-boy debilitating, but she's determined to be seen on his arm just one time before she becomes totally incapacitated by them.
Spoilery stuff happens, and it turns into the worst night of her life.
Depressed and alone, she hears a voice in her head asking for her permission to take her away from everything. Naturally, she assumes she's losing it, just like her mother, but in that moment of weakness, she says yes.

Ok, now she's in an alternate reality filled with magic, and her counterpart is none other than the evil witch who runs the place.
It's a sort of quasi-medieval kind of place, where the lines between science and witchcraft blur together. Science has been outlawed, and anyone caught 'practicing' it gets the noose treatment.
However, in this world, Lily has massive amounts of power...instead of an EpiPen.
There's also a hot boy in this world that isn't in hers. Rowan.
Unfortunately, he had been in love with (and betrayed by), Lillian, the ruler of New Salem. But even though he doesn't exactly trust Lily, he knows the rebels need her on their side if they are going to have any sort of chance of survival.

Alrighty, this one is a big old mash-up of all kinds of genres, which was kind of cool. Although, I was almost halfway through it before I got really invested in what was going on.
I'm thinking it was around the time she got her stone things?

I didn't really care for the romance, because it just seemed weird that Rowan could fall for the same person twice. Even though they weren't really the same-same, it felt like a kind of insurmountable kind of thing. And how could Lily get past the fact that he had already loved Lilian that much?
I don't know, something felt odd about it, but it wasn't awful or anything.

The vegan thing really annoyed me, though.
I'm not anti-vegan, by any means. I think it's actually a really healthy way to eat, and if I didn't love my cheese and sour cream so much, I would give it a whirl. Meat? Eh. I don't eat much.
But dairy products will always be my downfall...
There were a couple of times I wanted to strangle Lily over this.
You're in another reality, you need protein, and you're getting sassy about what these rebels feed you?
Eat the fucking chicken, bitch!
However, if you're a vegan, I'm sure you'll appreciate that she stuck to her beliefs. So...there's that.

Overall, this was a decent story that held my attention all the way to the end. Not sure if I'll keep going with this series, but I don't regret reading it, either.

Profile Image for Sue.
781 reviews1,590 followers
March 21, 2015
Review also posted at Young Adult Hollywood.

I think my life would be a much better place if books could just stay as their enticing, shinny, gorgeous prose.

Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed Trilogy is one of my favorite Young Adult series. It was relatively easy to get lost into that world despite it's flaws.

I was so ready to liked Trial by Fire. I have quite a few reasons why to like it.

A.) I'm a huge fan of witches. I love witches, especially anything that got to do with Salem.

B.) ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. Do I need to say something more? Guess not.

C.) I was pretty much sold with this book since I first saw that gorgeous cover paired with the lovely text.

Trial by Fire is certainly a step up from Starcrossed Trilogy. Angelini's writing improved immensely. The plot of this book is much intricate and complex as well, but with all of the Physics's senseless facts and explanation and information dumping. I had a difficult time connecting with the book.

I greatly appreciate that in Salem, women are the people in charge and power. My inner feminism is so proud with that. Sadly, that festive moment ended right there.

I wasn't impressed by Worldwalker's characters. They are another bunch of flat, dry and static characters.

Lily Proctor isn't a bad character. From clumsy and quirky protagonist, she evolved in a powerful witch that might be in a brink of monstrous capabilities any minute. Aside, from that Lily and I honestly didn't see each other eye to eye. There's no proof of bonding that ever happened.

Rowan, the love interest, the hero. [INSERT SAD EMOJI]
All hope was lost. Rowan isn't the most charming, pants dropping character that ever existed. This is the only thing that could have salvaged the story. I need a new pairing to ship. All of my otps are probably dead, not canon or just a crackship, but TADA!, this search is futile and fruitless.

Final verdict: Not a terrible book, just bland and poorly executed.

Edited: September 25, 2014


That cover is so beautiful. Macmillan can't never do anything wrong.
Profile Image for Grace A..
412 reviews37 followers
May 18, 2022
When a book is over and you still want to spend time with the characters, you know it was a fantastic read. It was a beautiful surprise, cos I didn’t expect to enjoy it.
Lily was the protagonist and her doppelgänger Lillian, from a parallel universe was the antagonist. Lily got sucked into the magical world of cruel and ruthless Lillian. She had to build trust, learn how to use her magical powers and fought for the dying and defenceless outcasts of that world.
This is a classic good vs. evil story, but the beauty of it was in how the story was told, with lovable characters and amazing world building.
I had a great time with this one, on to the next book in the series.
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
796 reviews2,870 followers
October 11, 2020
“There comes a day when every girl loses the stars in her eyes. And then she can see clearly.”

The next time I decide to underestimate Josephine Angelini and forget how deliciously good and painful her books are, I give you all permission to punch me in the face to remind me why I shouldn't.

Stupid book made me fall in love and then left me in pieces 😤
I'm so mad rn I had to get the rest of the series🤷🏼‍♀️

RTC (probably. maybe. almost certainly)

Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,920 followers
August 29, 2014
Although it has a firm connection to our world, Trial by Fire could very well be considered a fantasy novel. The worldbuilding isn’t particularly elaborate, but it serves the story very well, and it will probably expand in the next two installments, although I don’t really feel that there’s too much to add. While simple, Lillian’s world (as opposed to Lily’s world, which is also ours) is perfectly functional and developed just enough to carry the story easily.

Lily is exactly the type of heroine that’s easy to admire and even love. Her own world was never kind to her, not only because of her allergies to just about everything, but because of the difficulties she had to endure socially. Her friendship with Tristan was often the only thing holding her together, so when even that was taken from her rather cruelly, the episode was almost too difficult to bear.

Tristan’s unforgivable actions at the beginning of this story caused me to fear that Lily would somehow end up back in their unequal, dysfunctional dynamic, but she was spared from it both by her crossing into Lillian’s world, and by her own strength which wouldn’t allow her to be anyone’s inferior for long. On the other side, she met Lillian’s Tristan which was once again cause for some concern, but while he shared many similarities with Lily’s, his existence was heavily marked by Rowan’s, who was inexplicably absent from Lily’s world. Tristan’s affection for Lillian/Lily was quite evident, but so was his peace with the fact that he’d always come second to Rowan. The romantic feelings that threatened to develop between them never even so much as sparked as Rowan’s strong presence overtook both the story and the possibility of gaining Lily’s affection.

I must confess that Lily and Rowan’s relationship of trust and attraction made me a bit uneasy at times. On the surface, it was pure perfection, slowly built from dislike and mistrust to strong friendship and perhaps even something more. But I couldn’t force myself to forget the fact that Rowan was once intimate with a different version of Lily, and that he loved Lillian strongly, even though she wronged him, and every time I thought about it, I found it infinitely creepy.

Despite my focus on the romance in this review, I should mention that the book’s focus is primarily on Lily herself and her long journey. The path from childish infatuation with Tristan to mature, genuine feelings she developed for Rowan is just one of the things that show her tremendous growth in this book. Wherever she goes and whatever she does next, I’ll be her ally until the very end.

Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
855 reviews453 followers
March 11, 2016
What a mess of a book.

The premise is definitely interesting but I had a lot of problems with the story and the writing. First of all,I'm not a fan of writing from the third-person point of view because I can't completely connect with the characters and that's exactly what happened here - it's not that I just couldn't connect with Lilly and Lillian,it's that I literally didn't care about them. They could've both died and I wouldn't even flinch. Same goes for the supporting characters except for Juliet.The story dragged a lot and it could've been at least 20% shorter. The world Angelini created here is basically a mix of modern and antique mess. I couldn't get used to it and it felt kind of forced. The story is definitely easy to get into but I almost didn't finish it. Rowan is an okay character but I didn't get quite attached to him. The whole process of claiming is weird and confusing,Lillian's actions are supposed to be mysterious but instead they were boring and annoying and Lily/Rowan scenes were too hot and cold for my taste.The only cool thing is that a minor character has the same name as me haha! That awkward moment when I paid the most attention to Gideon's chapters.


I don't think I'll be continuing with this trilogy anytime soon.
Profile Image for Brittany S..
1,585 reviews702 followers
May 13, 2018
Initial Impressions 10/2/15: Wow, what an interesting book! I struggled with it at the beginning because "fanta-sci" is hard for me sometimes. It all depends on how it's put together and some fanta-sci flows seamlessly to where I don't even know it's bending and I've read other books where the fantasy and sci-fi elements end up battling each other instead of working together. Once I got into the groove and the feel, I really ended up enjoying it!
I loved how the characters grew throughout the book, specifically Lily (of course) since she has the most growing to do. It was interesting to see her strength grow as well as her friendships, familial relationships, and romantic relationships.
I didn't quite fall fully in love with it but I did enjoy and appreciate so much of it! I especially enjoyed getting to know Rowan and his backstory and I'm still dying to know more about Lillian and what in the world is up with her. The pieces are starting to fall into place but I can't wait to learn more! I kind of want to just start the next book right away...

Full review originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 12/2/15: TRIAL BY FIRE was a really interesting book! I admit that I was a bit hesitant about the mash-up of science-fiction and fantasy with the alternate universe and magical powers merging into one story line but the further I got into the world building, the more I really enjoyed it! It was one of my first adventures into “fanta-sci” (the very first one didn’t go so well) and although it took a bit of adjusting, I really got into Lily’s world in TRIAL BY FIRE!

The beginning of the book was a bit slow for me. There were a lot of mixed messages regarding characters in terms of who was good to Lily and who was not so I was on a bit of roller coaster for the first portion of the book trying to get a hold on who I should like and who went on the naughty list… Once all of that sorted itself out and the focus started to turn more to Lily, I rather ended up enjoying things! All of the friendship/relationship drama in her “actual world” (or the world as she knows it) grew a bit tiresome but I also think it was supposed to. Clearly from the synopsis of the book and general concept, the reader knows that Lily is destined for bigger and better things… just in another universe. I was happy and totally hooked to see Lily’s place in the alternate world and what exactly she could do there.

The world building and magic system were really interesting for me! It took me a while to really wrap my brain around the fact that we were dealing with an alternate world but then throwing magic in there, but I rather enjoyed that the magic was grounded more in science and that the differences in the world were because of scientific reasons. Once I got to that point, I think I was able to see it more as an alternate universe instead of a fantasy world — even though it was a little bit of both! My brain really just has a hard time merging the two because sci-fi is obviously based on reality, a what-could-have-been, or speculation about the future and a fantasy world is something totally unrelated to our world as we know it. (I supposed there are exceptions to that like urban fantasy, paranormal aspects, and where other mash-ups but since I’m mainly a high fantasy reader, it was a bit harder for me to reconcile).

The relationships in the alternate world totally pulled me in too. I loved seeing Lily’s relationship with Rowan develop, as well as how complicated things are for Lily in general given that there’s already a Lily (known as Lillian) in this alternate world. Things really started to get complicated for everyone with a Lily and a Lillian and I got even more curious how Lily was pulled into New Salem to begin with! I loved the growth of each of the characters throughout the book and I was so happy to see Lily really come into her own.

TRIAL BY FIRE was definitely enjoyable and by the end of the book, I was sucked into this new fanta-sci world. I wanted to essentially binge read the series but I didn’t end up reading the second book right away so I think I’ll save it for when book three comes out! I’ll need to keep myself up to speed for this exciting series!
Profile Image for Donita Luz.
177 reviews49 followers
May 8, 2016
Trial by Fire has the potential to be not just a good read but one of the best urban fantasy read for me given its unique premise and unpredictable plot, if only it has a better execution.
"Heat builds around me, and the fire begins to eat into my flesh. Yes, fire has teeth, and it chews at you like a living, breathing animal. It even roars like an animal. When you are in its mouth, you have to fight for air. Fire, like a lion, likes to suffocate its prey."
When I started this book, I was having a hard time putting it down. I have a lot of hypothesis on how this story would eventually turn out but none of them happened in this book. Either I'm really bad at thinking of a good plot(which I doubt) or this book is really unpredictable. I'm betting it's the latter.

Lily, has been sick and in love with her best friend all her life. So when she thought their relationship is actually turning into something more than just friendship, she grabbed it and embraced it, even if it means doing something really stupid and dangerous by going to a party where smoke and alcohol can get into her system and trigger her allergies and can kill her on the spot. If she could just be very careful and Tristan's there, it shouldn't be any problem... Right?

Of course there was a problem! The night which was supposed to be one of the best night in lily's high school life turned out to be a nightmare. So first chance she get on leaving and disappearing on her world, she took it, without even realizing that escaping her world meaning going to a fantasy or alternate world.

Now isn't that interesting enough for you to want to read this? Trial by Fire contains alternate fantasy world and witches that burn for power! I mean, isn't it a customary that people burn witches to kill them off? That was one of the few things that I find really interesting in the premise of this book. It has the combination of magic, alternate universe and (i thought would be) interesting and believable romance. However, where the premise and story was really good, it fell short on character and romance development. It's too bad that characters are what usually can make or break a YA book for me.

Lily, the main character, was supposed to be strong and powerful, however I have never seen her grew strong in the whole duration of the book, and it frustrates me! I mean, I could understand how she came out as weak and sickly on the first part of the book but I was expecting a warrior lady witch in this new fantasy world she was in. Oh but no, because she was busy sorting out her feelings for Tristan in this world, who also is her best friend in her contemporary world and the new boy she hasn't met before, Rowan.

Then there's the romance where I didn't swoon one bit.


The romance fell flat on me. I don't know if it has something to do with Rowan who never warms up to me. I can't feel anything for him. He seems like a strong and wonderful person sure, but I can't seem to connect with him. If I were Lily, I don't know what to feel about Rowan's affection. I mean, as a reader, I can't even tell if Rowan's feelings for Lily is really for her or was it because she has the same as Lillian's? Good thing there wasn't any love triangle here, and I hope it stays the same for the sequel.

Anyway, regardless of the issue I encounter reading Trial by Fire, I would still recommend this to people who want to read something new in their YA Urban Fantasy read.
Profile Image for Bee.
430 reviews847 followers
May 17, 2018
Although the magic system was super unique - it being science based and all - I felt like exposition was very much lacking in this first book. It's not often I wish there was more expo, but honestly, I felt so confused about the world that Lily stepped into! I couldn't tell you what time period it was based one, or what the government or economic systems were like, and I have no idea what the characters that aren't magical even do in this world. I kept hoping that things would be explained eventually, but no. She's left to explore this new world, with no context as to how it works apart from knowing her other self is some kind of evil tyrant, but not a queen, so...?

I was very pleased that there was little to no romance in this first book, but I can only assume that's going to change in the next two. womp womp.

Still, I have very high hopes for how this series is going to continue, because all we know really, is that Lily is a crucible, and how that whole gig works. More conflict in book two please!
Profile Image for Kassidy.
340 reviews11k followers
September 30, 2014

One of the things I love most about this book is how intricate this world is. It mixes together magic and science, but yet it almost appears medieval. I also love how in depth the explanations go with how the world works. I found it extremely fascinating and unique. Also very interesting were the parallels to our world. There are some things we have in our world that this world has never heard of, and a lot of our 'science' discoveries are explained through magic in this new Salem.
As someone who is extremely interested in science, I found this book to be very intriguing and thought-provoking.

I also enjoyed Lily's character. She's very head-strong and stubborn, but she always sticks to her character. She has her beliefs and never wavers. Sure, she makes some risky decisions, but she is put in many life-threatening situations. I definitely admired a lot of her choices. Even though she is stubborn, she is intelligent and generally thinks things through. She does make mistakes and has faults, but keeping in mind the insane situation she is put in, I think she dealt with it all very well.

I also like how the story is written. It can be confusing because we are thrown into this new world along with Lily, so she isn't much help in explaining things. However, Angelini includes some alternate POVs to help build the world and explain the workings, along with exploring some political drama. I found these very helpful and also entertaining. These different POVs also allow some character development with the characters in this new world. I love how each character has a distinct personality, even the ones who cross over from Lily's home Salem.

The romance was good for me, I like that it didn't take center stage, but it was there. I can imagine that it will definitely cause drama in the next books!

With all of that said, this book was a little overwhelming for me to read at times. There is a lot of information to take in, and some times I had to put it down so I could process everything. I think this also made it drag slightly and I couldn't completely immerse myself in it. Therefore, I could not give it a full five stars.

This book explores an alternate world that is on the brink of war and a girl who has to save it from her other self.

I was fascinated by the odd mix of medieval and modern, magic and science, and loved learning about this world and characters. I can honestly say that I need the next book right now! The ending was the perfect kind of cliff-hanger.

*Thank you to Macmillan for sending me a review copy of this book in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Originally posted at: http://travelingthroughpages.booklike...
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
October 1, 2016
Lily is allergic to a lot of things, weak and constantly sickened by her allergies, her bright spot in life is her best friend Tristan. Taking her to her first house party, he abandons her for some other girl and she ends up having a seizure from a drink filled with alcohol. As the alcohol threatens her weak body, she finds herself transported into another world. Except this world, there's another Lily who is the most powerful witch in the universe. She finds herself allying with another version of Tristan and Rowan, to help them against the monsters that hunt their very land.

So there were a lot of bad bits about this book that I have to say. Racist remarks of Native American Indians deemed as "savages" made me feel uncomfortable. If Lily is such a good person, why didn't she question this at all? Every time she transmutes energy into power for her claimed, she always wants to take them over. And it's the same statement over and over again. Then they all turn into Supermen and start to pull apart limbs. I was kind of horrified about that. I found it vaguely interesting that there the ruling classes were divided between the poor and wealthy. And that the poor were people of colour or mixed races. What I also didn't like was that it was one long info dumping session. It just kept going on and on and I was trying to remember everything, but there was a lot to go through.

There was a scene where they were teaching her to harness her power by painting runes on her naked body. And I couldn't understand why it was part of her magic? I also can't help but laugh every time she wanted to touch their willstone. Because to me, claiming sounds just like having one-night stands and all these witches were vying for poor Rowan's attention. I couldn't understand the romance at all. I rolled my eyes when there were always stuck together. One sentence described as his "skin whispering to her." I could barely stomach it. And even though there is a slight love triangle, I still want to know about Rowan and the other universe.

The wonderful bits? Even though this world is different than ours, it still had its creative elements. My favourite is bio-luminescent trees that glow only at night. The parallel universe, how different their lives are, the magic and even the world that wasn't quite like ours. There is also something about her writing that made me devour the book in two sittings.

Love triangle, parallel universes, automatic witchy powers and oh yes the world is going to end. Pick this one up for the lovely universe, but I do have to warn you there are a lot of cheesy romance bits that I couldn't accept.
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews422 followers
September 19, 2015
I don't know what I was expecting from this book but I was left a little underwhelmed. That might because I went in to this book knowing nothing, confident that I was going to be reading fantasy, but the first 40 pages were contemporary. I was confused and weirded out. I think it would have worked out better if I knew from that start that this book had alternate universe plot.
I didn't like the characters at all in the beginning. Lily was willing to risk her life (I'm not even kidding) just so she could go to a party with a boy. A boy who was her friend for years but molested her in her sleep one night(but Lily was totally okay with that). Within 20 pages Lily wised up and told the boy to leave, which was great, but her change of heart was very sudden and out of place. Everything happened really fast and was so rushed.
I liked the plot though. I thought it was really cool and different. Not always well executed but it had it good points.
Overall, Trial by Fire was pretty good. It had highs and lows but it was pretty good. It's not the best fantasy book that I've read but towards the end, I did really start it enjoy it.
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,343 reviews1,017 followers
August 24, 2014
Buddy read with Ange

I have to confess that I wasn't really too sure what to expect from Trial by Fire, I hadn't heard a great deal about it before I started reading but the shiny foil cover caught my eye and when I realised it was about witches and alternate realities I couldn't resist. I'm so glad I took a chance because this turned out to be one of my favourite YA reads of the year. There is just so much to love about this book and once I'd started reading I didn't want to stop.

Lily is such a fantastic main character. She isn't one of the popular crowd at school, in fact her allergies to pretty much everything have made her a bit of an outcast but no matter how tough things are she just gets on with it. She knows that it won't be long before her increasing allergies leave her housebound and she's determined to make the most of attending school while she still can. I loved her automatically for having so much courage but what tipped me over the edge into complete girl crush mode was the way she reacted when a potential love interest broke her heart. Lily isn't a simpering fool who will forgive a guy any asshat behaviour just because he is hot, no Lily is the kind of heroine who knows exactly how she deserves to be treated and who would rather be alone than let a boy walk all over her. Do you know how rare a heroine like that is in YA these days? It's so hard to find positive female role models and I could have jumped for job at Lily's response to the boy in question!

All that was before we'd made it beyond the first couple of chapters and I could already tell I was going to love this book. Now take this fabulous heroine and drop her unexpectedly into an alternate reality, one where magic is real and where witches rule. Lily suddenly has an explanation for her allergies and finds herself in a place where she isn't an outcast, in fact she is incredibly powerful. She is completely out of her depth and has no idea who she can trust so it's understandable that she quickly bonds with the people she recognises from her own reality but even then she doesn't blindly trust them or expect them to act the way they would in her world. Lily is sensible, she thinks things through and trusts her instincts rather than go along with what other people want her to do, even in an alternate universe Lily is my kind of heroine!

There are two other characters who I really want to talk about and the first is Lillian, Lily's alternate self, who happens to be the witch in charge of the whole of Salem and all of the other covens around the new world. Lillian is a fascinating character, she does some horrific things and you can't help but hate her for them but the more you learn about her the more you start to wonder about her motives. I'm not saying her actions are justifiable but she does have reasons and I think we've only started to uncover them. There is so much more to Lillian than a cardboard cut-out villain and the choices she makes raise some really interesting questions. Can you ever justify doing terrible things? Is it worth losing the life of a few people if you can potentially save thousands? What if the cost is more than a few - how much life are you willing to sacrifice?

The other character who deserves an honourable mention and a round of applause is love interest Rowan. He really is the kind of guy that we all wish we could meet, he's strong, protective, caring, intelligent and brave but best of all he can admit when he's made a mistake and he can actually apologise for it! Imagine that - a guy who will say sorry! It's a rare and beautiful thing indeed, especially in YA. There is no alpha asshat behaviour here, yes he's wary of Lily in the beginning but considering he thinks she is is mortal enemy Lillian (because they do look identical after all!) that was completely understandable. To be fair, considering the things that Lillian has done to him I actually thought he reacted quite reasonably to Lily's arrival. I absolutely loved seeing their relationship develop over time, there is no insta-love here and the couple spend time getting to know each other and learning to trust. Lily isn't afraid to call Rowan out when he is unreasonable and he is equally willing to push her when she needs it which makes them very well matched.

I don't want to say too much about the alternate world that Lily ends up in because I think it is somewhere that you should have fun exploring for yourself by reading the book. What I will say is that I loved the way magic works, the way it is based on scientific principles and has been so cleverly set up that it comes across as completely believable. I don't have much difficulty thinking there is an alternate universe out there somewhere where magic is real! I think it's quite obvious that I loved this book, I could spend hours writing this review trying to give you more reasons to read it but to be honest if I haven't already sold it to you then probably nothing else I could say will either. If you're only going to take one young adult recommendation from me this year then make it Trial by Fire, this book is such a refreshing change, it breaks so many of the current YA trends and is well worth the money it costs.
Profile Image for Luke.
492 reviews20 followers
September 21, 2015
I'm first to click "Want To Read" it!!!

I loved the Starcrossed trilogy. The premise for Trial By Fire sounds equally intriguing: Witches, like Greek Mythology, has always fascinated me. I know Josephine Angelini will grip me for another exhilarating, intricate journey!

And she did!

And I am so wanting Lily and Rowan together!

And I really, really need to the next one immediately!
Profile Image for Varsha.
276 reviews161 followers
July 16, 2015
Actual rating: 4.5

It's been awhile since I wrote a proper review so this might be unorganized and rusty, just bear with me. :)

Lilly Proctor is allergic to a lot of things and is always sick which makes it nearly impossible for her to live a normal life. So when she gets an opportunity to go to her first and possibly her last high-school party with her best friend and crush Tristan, she take it. But things don't go the way she expected and after a humiliating experience, Lily wishes to disappear from her current life. And to her surprise she ends up in another world. A parallel world which is run be a different version of herself. A Salem run by witches.

"She was still in a Salem... She just wasn't in her Salem anymore."

One of the things I love about this book is the alternate universe Lily is thrown into. Josephine Angelini excels at world building and this other world is indeed complex. It's a mixture of magic and science, appearing to be both medieval and modern. The working of this world is utterly fascinating! There are witches, crucibles, mechanics and outlanders and I think the picture below explains them all well.

Interesting power hierarchy, isn't it?

"Magic is a science only people who are born with a particular talent can do. Actual science can be done by anyone. Repeated by anyone."

Moving on to the plot, it progressed rather slowly at first but as soon as the point of no return was reached, it had my eyes glued to the pages of the book. It was confusing initially being thrown into a strange world that our protagonist doesn't know about but Angelini paced it well by including alternate POV'S that gave the readers glimpses of the new world and the political drama.

I liked Lilly's character a lot. She has a lot of strength and she's not the kind of person who let's a jerk walk all over her. When she realizes the way Tristen treated her was wrong, she doesn't just let that go even though he's her best friend. She calls him out on it and i really admire that about her. She's courageous and resourceful and that's another thing I really liked about her. How realistically she adapted to the new world. Those of you who've read this book know what I'm talking about. When she lands in the different Salem, she's frightened and overwhelmed but is quick to understand the mechanics of it and does what is required to survive and get to a safe place. She's also very stubborn and has a great sense of humor.

The secondary characters were all incredibly fleshed out and I cannot wait to see more of them.

Lillian by far is the most interesting character in this trilogy for me. She's the other version of Lilly and the one responsible for Lilly's entry into this alternate Salem. She's also the most powerful witch and the leader/ruler of Salem. She isn't your typical villain and honestly, I still can;t see her as the villain and Angelini has built up her character excellently. Sure she's done terrible things but it's not without reason. I need to know more about her.

"I remember what I must do, even if it makes me the villain of my own story."

Lastly Rowan, the love interest, boy do I love him <3 *I feel like I can't help but fall in love with anyone by that name. Rowan Whitethorn and now Rowan Fall * He's intelligent, caring, strong, protective, brave and most importantly admits to his mistakes when he's wrong. He's wary of Lilly in the beginning and that's understandable seeing as how Lillian turned out be. There's no insta love here thankfully and I loved seeing their relationship grow.

All in all, Trial by Fire is a fantastic book full of magic, adventure and darkness and the cliffhanger has left me with a dozen unanswered questions which I'm dying to unravel in the sequel Firewalker.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews710 followers
October 7, 2014
Trial by Fire was exactly as I had hoped it would be but more. That sounds a little contradictory, doesn't it? I suppose the best way to explain it is that I knew I would love this book but I had no idea how much. Angelini never fails to surprise me.

I remember when I first read Starcrossed and now, reading the first book in her new trilogy, I feel the same way as I felt then. I feel that excitement. I feel the thrill. I feel everything. Yet at the same time, it's obvious how much she has grown as a writer. Angelini knows what she is doing.

This book does not start off lightly and if you're like me and don't deal well with anticipation, the first chapter and a half is going to be HARD to read through but once you're past those hard bits, it gets a lot better, I promise.

Lily is a fantastic character. She is strong and her strength never fails to amaze me. When 'her' Tristan is a jerk to her, she doesn't just curl up into a ball. She's heartbroken but also realizes that what he did to her, the way he treated her, was wrong and she doesn't just let that go away, she tells him that he was a jerk. That's just one showcase of the strength she possesses. She has to adapt to a whole new world yet she does it realistically. Even though she is quick to understand the mechanics of the new world, she continues to hold the ideologies of her own. She isn't just going to change who she is to adapt to this new world, instead she tries to understand these differences and the reasons behind them. That's what makes her such a likeable character.

The secondary characters are just as well developed. I want to start off by mentioning the brilliance that is Lillian. I have NO CLUE how Angelini does it. Lillian isn’t your typical villain and I have to say, I find it incredibly hard to hate her. Her actions are inexcusable yet Angelini still develops her character in a way where it’s possible for us as readers to empathize with her. Okay, so I know many won’t be enthusiastic about empathizing with a villain but just trust me. It’s important to the story. Juliet is a wonderful addition although to be honest, throughout the entirety of the book, I found myself missing Lily’s Juliet. That does speak volumes about Angelini’s character development skills, especially if you find yourself missing a character you knew for 1.5 chapters.

Let’s not forget Caleb and Tristan though. I think we get to know more about Tristan (the other version who is a lot nicer) more but I kind of connected to Caleb after a certain event. That said, they are both wonderfully developed as well and I cannot wait to see more of them in the sequels.

Speaking of, I still haven’t mentioned Rowan, the love interest. I am all about the romance and while I genuinely enjoyed the romance in this book, I also felt really uncomfortable at times. Knowing that Rowan had loved Lillian in the past and was hurt so badly by her made me uncomfortable. It makes me wonder if Rowan actually has genuine feelings for Lily as an individual or if he sees her as a nicer version of Lillian? Those kinds of questions kept on bothering me as I read the book so it made it harder to enjoy their romance, no matter how sweet it was.

What takes the cake is the world building and I am not the least bit surprised by that. If you’ve read Angelini’s Starcrossed trilogy, you’ll know what I am talking about. If you have not, you should go get started on that. Moving back to the world building, I have always loved the idea of parallel universes and this book explores the idea in an interesting way. It’s not a brand new idea but at the same time, Angelini manages to make it original. Angelini does an original take on magic but she also creates an interesting power hierarchy. There isn’t much in-depth world building and we learn more about the differences between this world and our own than we do about the history of this new world, but I think we’ll find out a lot more in the sequels.

The plot was so well paced although that’s to be expected in this kind of book. The pages flew by and before I knew it, I only had 30 pages left in the book and had to take a quick break so I wouldn’t die of thirst.

The way this book ends has me dying to read the sequel and all I can say is that anyone looking for an interesting book featuring magic, you need to check this out.
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
September 10, 2016
Trial By Fire was a wonderful blend of fantasy with the element of atmospheric interdimensional travel, driven by an intense romance and the plight of one girl to save a world that is not her own. Lily was a sickly child, often hospitalised with severe allergies and a constant fever in which she was ostracised by her peers. All except Tristan. For Lily, their friendship consists of watching Tristan's female conquests while seeing her peers enjoy the life Lily so desperately covets. Until the parameters of their friendship begin to change and will leave Lily grief stricken.

Tristan was little more than a pretentious womaniser while his friendship with Lily felt dubious and unrealistic. Lily may not have shared the quintessential teen experience but she wasn't afraid to stand up for herself and refused to allow Tristan to hurt her again.

Lily's heartbreak is palpable as Lillian summons the teen to her realm in an archival Salem, a world where the brutal monarch decrees the Thirteen Cities whilst looking for an heir to her empire. In Lillian's world, Lily is no longer a delicate girl, but infused with a power to rival her namesake. Leaving behind her sister and ailing mother, Lily is desperate to return home believing Lillian's world is merely a hallucination. She's frightened but refused to accept the gravity of the situation until she stumbles across Rowan.

Rowan exudes power. Lillian's former mechanic feels an attraction to Lily as he watches her stumble through the city streets, believing she is his Lillian. With animosity flowing through his veins, it soon becomes apparent that Lily is her own and not the Monarch that had sent his father to death. Rowan is the only character who is not apparent in both worlds, he is an original and perhaps why both Lillian and Lily are drawn to his prowess.

Rowan is a Native American who's Outlander community faces decimation, both from the engineered monsters known as the Woven and Lillian's genocide. Lily is no ordinary girl, she's a Witch yet to realise her own destiny and the reason why Lillian summoned her to her barren world. With Rowan's guidance, Lily begins to discover her artistry and emerges as a potential source to confront Lillian and end her reign over the Thirteen Cities. The chemistry between Rowan and Lily smoulders but learning his history with Lillian, the romance felt as though Lily was merely a substitute for the Lillian Rowan had once fallen in love with. Lily struggles with her feelings for Rowan, still in love with Tristan believing her feelings for her former best friend being unrequited. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, the romance was awkward and dubious at best.

The world building was incredibly vivid, I loved the landscape of Lillian's world and the comparisons between both dimensions of Salem. I enjoyed Lily's character development from a sickly and bland girl who most likely would have been an isolated adult driven by the responsibility of caring for her mentally ill mother, to the strong and determined young woman who was torn between her family and becoming the conductor who was entrusted to contend with the ever increasing hostile Lillian.

Josephine Angelini is a wonderful storyteller who is able to immerse and engage readers. Although the romance was loathsome at times, Lily's character development and the vivid world building will leave readers enthralled until the final page. One of the few traditional paranormal romances I've thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Beth  (YA Books Central).
415 reviews115 followers
August 31, 2014
"Love burns.
Worlds collide.
Magic reigns."

I had heard sooooo many people raving about this book so I had to get my hands on it. From the moment I opened the book and read the first chapter....I was completely hooked. Josephine Angelini's writing style is just breath-taking and phenomenal. She writes her characters in a way that it feels like you are in the book with them.

The main character, Lily Proctor, is a young girl who has life-threatening allergies and could die at any moment. Lily's character was so easy to like. She is witty, smart, and down to earth. I immediately found myself cheering for her. Her only wish in life is to live like a normal teenager. She decides to try and attend a high school party and while there she has an allergy attack and almost dies. Once she is home and feeling better she imagines herself moving away....far away from everything. All of a sudden she gets dizzy and blacks out....

"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 wasnt in her Salem anymore."

Lily wakes up in a totally different place and she will discover that she is actually in a totally different world. She has been transported to an alternate universe called Salem. Lily discovers that her evil "other self" named Lillian is the person who has brought her to this world in order to train Lily and use her to take over Salem.

This new world is fascinating and dangerous at the same time. Lily experiences magic for the first time and realizes that in this world she is very important and could be the difference in whether good or evil wins. In this new world Lily meets Rowan and Tristan who are both on the side of good and are trying to defeat the evil Lillian. Lily and Rowan begin to develop a breath-taking romance and I just love them together.

"A world of tenderness wrapped around Lily and filled her up, as if the air had turned into Rowan and she was standing in him and breathing him in."

There are so many parts of this book that I never saw coming!! I knew there would be plenty of magic and possibly romance but I never imagined that horror would also be included.....and I am a huge horror fan so when the horrifying, scary creatures showed up in the story I was just completely blown away!!! There are some parts of the story that are actually gruesome and took my totally by surprise and I loved every aspect of it!!! I mean, this book is just really awesome. Trial by Fire has everything from intense magic scenes to horrific fight scenes. Fans of young adult, suspense, romance, fantasy, and horror will absolutely LOVE this book.

There were also so many questions that I had that did not get answered....Which of course makes me about to DIE to get my hands on the sequel...Well played Josephine Angelini...well-played.....Readers will devour this "unputdownable" book....and be left craving for more!! Josephine Angelini just moved to the top of my Favorite Authors list....Wow.....No other words but WOW.....

Profile Image for Giulia.
156 reviews237 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
September 8, 2016
DNF at 56%

I started reading this in July and then completely forgot about it. It wasn't necessarily really bad, but it did a quite successful job at putting me to sleep. And I honestly don't care about the story or the characters enough to keep going.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,060 reviews16 followers
September 3, 2014
To see full review click here

If you read my reviews you know I’m not a huge fan of Josephine Angelini. Mainly because the Starcrossed trilogy was a God awful shitty series. However, the premises of Trial by Fire pulled me in enough where I had to read it-note, I had a bottle of wine nearby the entire time for sanity purposes.

The result: well, it’s like a better version of Starcrossed with some horrible moments and prose that on Angelini can grace us with.

Let me just warn you, if you want to read this book you might want to skip the first forty pages or so when Lily is in her own world because it will make you groan, roll your eyes, and wonder how the fuck Angelini got another publishing deal and with MacMillian to less.

It’s that bad.

However, things pick up once we do enter the AU.

I’ll say it, I actually found the alternate view of Salem intriguing, well, when the novel wasn’t trying to mimic Starcrossed which it often did. For the most part, the editing on this one was better. There were still some unnecessary paragraphs of-oh, come on. And Angelini had one very gross moment featuring hair dye and urine added to the book, but it was considerably calm to the unnecessary roadkill scene that we were blessed with in one of the Starcrossed books.

As you can see, I keep comparing this to the Starcrossed series a lot. And I think that both helps and hinders this review. While it helps me know Angelini’s writing better and identify her love for certain tropes, it also makes me more forgiving that she has improved. Even if those improvements aren’t really that big of improvements or that great of improvements.

Take the characters, for example. As annoyed as I got with Lily, she had nothing on Helen. Her Sueness borders on what a typical annoying YA heroines Sueness would be. I actually liked the fact she suffered from allergies, though Angelini took it took extremes.

A hundred and fifteen fever? You’d be dead.

Also, the Sioux weren’t located in Salem. A simple Wiki check would’ve fixed that mistake.

Yeah, little mistakes like that drove me crazy.

As for the love interest in the book, there are two. Well, sort of. I could see this developing into a love triangle maybe in the next book, but I really hope not. I actually liked Rowan quite a bit. He was a far improvement to Lucas (though he did have his foul moments). And I enjoyed his interactions with Lily till she suddenly realized he was hot and had a bad case of instant love.

Though to be fair, they interact a good fifty pages before that happens.

Bless, the book lords.

The characters that I did have problems with, were the villains. This is another thing that has always been an Achilles heal for Angelini. Creating a good villain really shows your character building skills, and unfortunately, Angelini sort of sucks at it. Gideon, is just a 1D ugly bad guy who’s motives are outright told. As for Lillian, I do have some hope, but she really didn’t have enough screen time for me to really get to know her.
Profile Image for Liz.
600 reviews503 followers
May 24, 2017

After the Starcrossed I did in fact expect something extra-ordinary, but even my imagination couldn't take me where the author went.
Frankly speaking, this books is probably one of my favourite reads in 2014 and also the biggest surprise. Witches were taken on a whole different level, and so was their magic.

Lily Proctor can't enjoy her life. She can barely live it due to the life-threatening allergies that make even spending a night outside next to impossible. It is of no wonder that she is determined to enjoy the evening to the fullest when she finally has the possibility of going to a party with her best friend and crush Tristan. What she doesn't expect is for the party to turn into a humiliating horror-show after which she only wishes to disappear. To get somewhere else, to be somebody else. And her wish, for once, is fulfilled.
Lily finds herself in a different Salem, one that is ruled by the powerful and feared Crucibles and that doesn't have the technology she is used to. What this world has instead is...magic.
Magic rules, Lillian rules, the Witch, Lily's self from the alternate universe. She is the one who fulfilled Lily's wish, the only thing Lily has to find out is the Why.

I did not like Lily Proctor at the beginning. I hated her crush on Tristan, because I didn't like Tristan from the start and her behaviour was thoughtless and naive and predictable. But only until she found herself in the new Salem. That's when she started to change and I grew on her bit by bit. Lily soon understood that she is not going to survive if she stays the way she was in her former world. That girl had some serious character development throughout the novel and turned from a self-pitying weakling into a determined fighter, into a witch. And I loved it. By the end of the book she was one of my favourite characters in the whole novel.
Rowan was great. Not perfect, nope, he will never be as magnificent as a Rowan from another serious, but he was still amazing. What I liked most about him was that he didn't act out-of-character. You know how once characters fall in love their actions lose all logic? Right, this wasn't the case with Rowan. He had an unexpected depth and a good heart.
Oh, and I really loved the secondary characters. Those I loved most were Juliet and Caleb, I suppose. Their determination, their inner strength and yet utter goodness enchanted me. They were wonderful, and unexpectedly alive, which is not always the case when it comes to secondary characters.

The style the author used, the perspectives, the mindspeak, I loved all of it. It was dark, it was deep and even while reading I felt like constantly inhaling smoke. This book felt like a fire at night to me, dark and alluring so it is probably not surprising, that I was enamored with the atmosphere. The witches in this book were neither nice, nor funny, not even just. They were wicked. They were perfect.
The plot progression walked hand in hand with the character development, it was thrilling, it was full of tension and it was logical. I searched for plot-holes, but didn't find a single, only not-answered questions, but judging from the Starcrossed trilogy I am quite sure that the author is going to give all the answers in the following books.
Which leads me to the most important point. The idea. It was brilliant and it was something else entirely, and it was unique . Some authors have the problem that their books resemble each other, the characters are repetitive and the writing gets sloppy. Apparently, it is not the case here. This book had not a single thing in common with Starcrossed except for the gender of the protagonist.
It was elaborate, it included science without confusing the reader, science aspect was a major thing in this book, and it was logically build. The way the author used the basics of Physics and went deeper into it without making mistakes or mixing things up hints at the immense amount of work she had to do. Besides, it was one of the very few Fantasy books to use science, of this world, directly and refer to it without any hesitation. As a fan of Hawking and Einstein I must admit that I was delighted. Another proof for the brilliant research the author has done are the historical aspects.
Nearly everyone knows about the witch trials in Salem in general, but after dealing with it for several semesters in university I can say that there is a lot that few know about and apparently the author did some research here too. Same goes for the Native American aspect, their languages and the aspect of shamanism. I loved it how the author used historical occurrences and I loved it even more that she turned some of them around, like a reflection.
I am not talking about the alternate universe idea here, because that was absolutely sublime!

Science and Witchcraft. Lies and Truth. Trust and Betrayal.
This book contained everything, it was a gorgeous combination of everything I could have wished for. I would highly recommend this one, even to those who don't usually read Fantasy, because from my point of view it cannot be put strictly into the Fantasy-genre. It is so much more...
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