The Worldwalker Trilogy #1
Paranormal Young Adult
Feiwel & Friends
Available September 2nd
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.
Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.
What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.
Trial by Fire has all the makings of a sprawling fantasy novel, sharing with us a world full of unfathomable creatures and witchcraft, but at its heart is a heroine who keeps us anchored at all times, fully invested in her emotional well being from beginning to end. Ms. Angelini ensures we don’t get weighed down by all the supernatural elements by introducing us to young Lily in our world, letting us bear witness to a heartbreaking moment where her romantic hopes go down in flames, and neither Lily nor we escape without feeling the burn. Only once we’re thoroughly connected to Lily thanks to a shared pain and disappointment does Ms. Angelini shift us to a completely different Salem, one full of monsters and magic where the lives of many are regulated by the tyrannical hands of few.
Lily is a true joy of a heroine, her hope that longtime friendship with best friend Tristan has finally reached the pivotal moment in which it becomes more in the opening chapters something that instantly resonates, causing us to wish for the best for her even when we know thanks to the synopsis that neither our wish nor hers will come true. After having a brutal dose of reality shoved down her throat, Lily could have easily wallowed in her misery and drawn no blame from us, but instead she picks herself up upon finding herself in an alternate Salem and does her best to make sense of it. This determined attitude continues throughout Trial by Fire, Lily fielding whatever is thrown at her with a joke at the ready and a willingness to do whatever it takes to learn, adapt, or fight when the need arises.
Many readers–like myself–who have read innumerable young adult novels over the past few years have developed a bit of a nervous tic whenever a young woman finds herself surrounded by several guys her age, dreading the moment where the mere presence of two men in her life ultimately results in the development of romantic feelings for both of them. Luckily for us however, Ms. Angelini doesn’t lead us down that well-worn path, Rowan and Tristan’s positions by Lily’s side staying blessedly free of frustrating romantic entanglements. What we get instead is an intriguingly complex relationship between Lily and Rowan, his former relationship with the other version of Lily, Lillian, an aspect of the story that has us riveted to the pages. The feelings between them are tangled threads of misplaced anger and distrust, and as the story progresses, the addition of hesitant affection and genuine friendship only serves to tangle those threads further until the two of them become a beautiful knot of romantic possibility.
The only small drawback to this first installment is the persistence of one vitally important question: why Lily? We know from the beginning that Lillian is responsible for bringing Lily to her world, and while we eventually get the first small inklings as to why Lillian began her campaign of blood and death, we’re left completely in the dark as to what Lillian needs Lily for in the first place. Granted, this is the first book in the series and the answer to that particular question is likely one that has layers upon layers that will be revealed in time. Overall though, Trial By Fire is action-packed, the death toll rising with every chapter, but where there is pain and suffering there is also warmth and hope in the form of young Lily, and I simply can’t wait to see the type of woman she becomes.
This book was sent to me by the author free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.