Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

Imaginative and original fantasy with swoon-worthy romance and a cracking cliffhanger ending.


Trial by Fire synopsis

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’s 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 realises 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?

Trial by Fire review

Trial by Fire is yet another fantastic novel from Josephine Angelini, and is the start of a new series that I think could become one of my all-time favourites. It ticked all the right boxes for me: incredible world-building, believable romances, well-developed characters and originality that shows off Josephine Angelini’s amazing imagination.

I find the idea of alternate universes fascinating already, so reading a novel that combines that concept with a world full of magic unlike anything I’ve come across before was a real treat for me. Particularly when it’s been so beautifully written. Josephine Angelini has a smooth, flowing writing style with the perfect mix of description, character building and dialogue that sucks you right in to the story.

Fantasy has always been hit or miss for me. I’m not so keen on fairies or even demons, but magic is something I find hard to resist (I loved Shadow and Bone, for example, and of course the Harry Potter series). The magic in Trial by Fire is super cool. I love the idea of having Willstones to amplify power – I guess they’re a bit like wands – and I love the whole ‘claiming’ thing, but I won’t spoil that for you by going into detail.

I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in this series, especially thanks to that cliffhanger ending that left my heart in my throat. I’ve got so many questions that need answering: What exactly happened to Lillian to make her so sick? Why did Lillian need Lily to come to her world? What’s going to happen to Lily and Rowan next? Will Lily ever get back to her world? Has time passed there? What’s happened to Lily’s mum? Eek! I just can’t wait.

Have you read Trial by Fire yet? What did you think of it?

My rating:

***** 5/5 stars

Trial by Fire on Goodreads | Trial by Fire on Amazon UK | Trial by Fire at Waterstones

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