Title: Trial by Fire
Author: Josephine Angelini
Published: 2nd September 2014
By: Macmillan's Children's Books
First line: Lily Proctor ducked into the girls' room, already pulling back her rebellious hair.
Last line: Spoiler, sorry!
Synopsis: 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.
Well, where to begin. I read a LOT of books and I enjoy them all for the most part. Yes, I will concede that in the YA genre there are themes that recur but there is usually a hook of some kind that makes a book stand out in some way whether it be part of the plot line or the characters on the page. In this instance it seems as though we have an entirely new plotline on our hands with new concepts and storylines that make this story stand out from the rest.
I loved the character of Lily, whether it be the weak version or indeed the uber witch she becomes. She’s strong and has principles way beyond her years and the way she handles herself puts her up there with other female protagonists to be admired. The use and description of parallel universes and the way that Lily is able to rationalise the concepts through her own scientific knowledge makes the reader think a little more than usual which is refreshing.
This is the first in a series so it is to be expected that there will be a lot of narrative within the read. We need to learn about the characters, whichever universe they reside in and then of course we need to understand the mechanics of how these universes co-exists (as well as learning about the other mechanics who play a fundamental role in the book). There are stark contrasts between the ideologies of the parallel universes each highlighting the flaws with the other, although I have to say ours does appear to be more flawed then theirs! I did love the link between the characters and their alternate selves, especially where there are marked differences in personalities. Even then however, it’s clear that there are some aspects between the individuals that remain constant. We have an excellently psychotic in this series in the form of Lilian, and there are already complex relationships forming between the main characters. I have yet to decide whose team I am on.
The ending which is pretty dramatic paves the way for an even more dramatic conclusion and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! It would appear that Josephine Angelini has me hook, line and sinker once again and with so many series coming to an end I’m so happy to have found another series that more than fills their boots!