Title: Trial By Fire (The WorldWalker #1)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Young Adult // Magic // Romance // Parallel Universes
Format: Audio Book
Source: Purchased (Audible.com)
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 (goodreads).
This was a great novel with the perfect mixture of heart, romance, and snark.
Plot: After a horrendous date with her "boyfriend" Tristian, Lily finds herself transported to an alternate reality of her own world, where magic is good and science is bad, and her alter self is a psycho witch (literally). I liked that Trial By Fire started off as a small problem (Lily wanting to go back to her own realm) and slowly growing to be this all encompassing rebellion with Lily at the center of it. Lily is seen as indispensable in this world because she harnesses a great power, a great power that Angelini takes the time to actually describe how particular magic works. While I admire the attempt to fully explain her world, I felt that the magic was sometimes over explained, there were times where I skipped over the passages of explanation because I couldn't make sense of it anyway. One thing that surprised me about this book was the lack of plot twists. With the general synopsis, I felt certain that I was going to be thrown a curve ball but nope. I'm sure there will be some sort of great reveal in the following installments though.
Characters: Trial By Fire won my heart with its exceptional characterization. I immediately identified with Lily because I too suffer from asthma and allergies and feel like the world is out to get me. I liked that, no matter how physically weak she was, she had an entertaining amount of snark and sass. The interaction between Lily and others always made me laugh or tugged at my heart. I loved each secondary character for their own reasons, Lilian was the only character who I felt I didn't get enough of and hope that she plays a bigger role in the sequel. The romance in this one is extremely light as it has to play second fiddle to the overall story line, but it's still cute and heartwarming.
World Building: I found it difficult at times to completely understand the world that Angelini built. There were many times where I forgot that it was present day Salem but in an alternate universe, I often pictured the world as 15th century Salem due to the lack of technological advancements. That beings aid, the author took a lot of time and love to portray her world, and I hope that we are introduced to other worlds as well (the series is called world walkers)!
Audio Book Performance: I knew that I was in love with Emma Galvin the moment she opened her mouth (sounds creepy I know). She embodied Lily completely, I felt every ounce of weakness, desperation, and determination as she read. If you have the option to get physical copy or audio book, I highly recommend the audio book performance!
Short N Sweet: Trial By Fire is a strong opening book to what is sure to be an unforgettable series! With strong characters and an evolving plot, this book kept me on my toes!