Publishing Info: September 2, 2014 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 2, 2015
Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.
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 is 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 realizes 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 savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?
TRIAL BY FIRE was a really interesting book! I admit that I was a bit hesitant about the mash-up of science-fiction and fantasy with the alternate universe and magical powers merging into one story line but the further I got into the world building, the more I really enjoyed it! It was one of my first adventures into “fanta-sci” (the very first one didn’t go so well) and although it took a bit of adjusting, I really got into Lily’s world in TRIAL BY FIRE!
The beginning of the book was a bit slow for me. There were a lot of mixed messages regarding characters in terms of who was good to Lily and who was not so I was on a bit of roller coaster for the first portion of the book trying to get a hold on who I should like and who went on the naughty list… Once all of that sorted itself out and the focus started to turn more to Lily, I rather ended up enjoying things! All of the friendship/relationship drama in her “actual world” (or the world as she knows it) grew a bit tiresome but I also think it was supposed to. Clearly from the synopsis of the book and general concept, the reader knows that Lily is destined for bigger and better things… just in another universe. I was happy and totally hooked to see Lily’s place in the alternate world and what exactly she could do there.
The world building and magic system were really interesting for me! It took me a while to really wrap my brain around the fact that we were dealing with an alternate world but then throwing magic in there, but I rather enjoyed that the magic was grounded more in science and that the differences in the world were because of scientific reasons. Once I got to that point, I think I was able to see it more as an alternate universe instead of a fantasy world — even though it was a little bit of both! My brain really just has a hard time merging the two because sci-fi is obviously based on reality, a what-could-have-been, or speculation about the future and a fantasy world is something totally unrelated to our world as we know it. (I supposed there are exceptions to that like urban fantasy, paranormal aspects, and where other mash-ups but since I’m mainly a high fantasy reader, it was a bit harder for me to reconcile).
The relationships in the alternate world totally pulled me in too. I loved seeing Lily’s relationship with Rowan develop, as well as how complicated things are for Lily in general given that there’s already a Lily (known as Lillian) in this alternate world. Things really started to get complicated for everyone with a Lily and a Lillian and I got even more curious how Lily was pulled into New Salem to begin with! I loved the growth of each of the characters throughout the book and I was so happy to see Lily really come into her own.
TRIAL BY FIRE was definitely enjoyable and by the end of the book, I was sucked into this new fanta-sci world. I wanted to essentially binge read the series but I didn’t end up reading the second book right away so I think I’ll save it for when book three comes out! I’ll need to keep myself up to speed for this exciting series!
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Lily // Character Obsessions: Health, magic, learning, friendship.
I wasn’t totally sure about Lily at first but she really grew on me throughout the book! I was so glad to see her mature — both mentally and with her abilities — as the book went on. I was really happy to see her get a new perspective on her relationships and her own self-confidence.
Kept Me Hooked On: Fanta-sci. This is still a really new concept for me but I enjoyed how this came together! I think it was easier for me to grasp a little magic in a sci-fi setting than science fiction in a fantasy world.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. Overall I was missing just a bit of connection — to characters, to the world, to the story — that prevented me from falling in love with it. If that was there, it could have been a home run!
This was an interesting concept and I think the series will only get better! I can’t wait to see where it goes!
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