Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (Book Review)

trialThis 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.

Publisher: Macmillan
Page Count:

This was quite honestly one of those books that I saw and didn’t know what it was about AT ALL (besides witches obviously), but I was so fascinated by the cover, I had to have it. Man, am I glad I followed through on that gut feeling, because I am really surprised this isn’t a more popular series.

First off, I really have to give Trial by Fire credit for its originality. Lily Proctor is allergic to … well, everything! So, the book starts off with her vomiting and is followed by other strange incidents. I was frankly a little weirded out by the beginning of the story, but as soon as she was brought to the different Salem, everything simply fell into place.
New Salem is a mix between our world and a place where magic has survived and become the most important thing. The air isn’t clogged, there is no pollution – just imagine how great that must be! Every machine and the drawbacks and dangers that come with them in our world weren’t ever even invented there, because it could all just be handled with magic. And the magic is so wonderfully scientific! Everything has it’s own rules and purpose and I thought it was so well put together. The most intriguing part to me were the willstones (basically a necklace that lets you channel your powers, but is like an additional limb or organ at the same time) and I hope to explore the customs for those even more in the following installments.

One thing I was really glad about was the fact that there was no insta-love. Rowan hates Lily because he thinks she’s Lillian, her evil-doppelganger in New Salem. He kidnaps her and doesn’t even care when she gets hurt – you can feel in the hostility on both sides! And then there is another person who existed in Lily’s world as well, whom she trusts much more than Rowan. So, instead of rushing into this, the feelings that they experienced were the kind that transcends dimensions, a love that develops with time. It is even sort of a mix between cosmically-belonging-together and enemies-turned-lovers, which was great to read.

The dialogue in general was quite funny and all the characters multi-faceted, even the evil ones. There is still a lot to explore, though they’ve covered a lot of ground in Trial by Fire. What I hated a lot of course was the cliffhanger – I can’t deal with those!

I guess there really isn’t anything bad that I could say about the book, but somehow I still can’t give it 5 stars. I want to know more about Lily, Rowan, Tristan, Juliet, Lillian and all the others. I don’t even know if the next book will take place in the same dimension and it drives me crazy! As I’ve said in the beginning, I wish that more people would read this series. It is definitely underrated! Why haven’t you read it yet!?

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! A very fascinating spin on witches and the world of magic, yet with another cruel cliffhanger!


Could I convince you to give Trial by Fire a try? Do you enjoy stories about witches? Why don’t I have the sequel right here with me, can you tell me that? At least I can check off another book from my TBR!

30 thoughts on “Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (Book Review)

  1. sAME! I think I gave it 4-stars? I read it aaages ago and feel quite shamed that I never picked up the second book. xD It was pretty awesome and kind of different from what I usually so I loved that. xD And I loved that Lily had so many allergies to start with! Not that I have allergies anywhere NEAR that dangerous, but I do have some, so that was awesome and basically the first time I’d read that in a book. ;D
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I saw your review on Goodreads! I was checking if any of my friends or the people I followed had read the book, but they mostly just put it as to-read. I thought it was a really fun experience, and it makes me kind of sad that everyone just forgot about it … 😦


    • I’ve stopped trying to control my TBR a long time ago hahaha I was surprised by how much I loved the book. I was worried that it was just an impulse-buy because I loved the cover, because rarely anyone I knew has read it yet. I enjoyed it so much though and there is still a lot to explore and things still need explanation. I can’t wait to get the sequel. It’s a total success if just one person reads the book because of me 😀


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