Book Review – Trial by Fire

“How can she be the savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?” It’s a fiery clash of witches in Trial by Fire, the first installment in the WorldWalker trilogy by Josephine Angelini!

High-schooler Lily is a medical nightmare, with severe allergies and seizures that barely allow her a normal existence. After a terrible experience at a party, she wants to disappear…and she gets exactly that when a mysterious voice offers her a chance at a new life in a new world. As it turns out, the voice belongs to Lillian, an alternate version of Lily herself! Lillian is a witch, the official Salem Witch no less, and she wants to groom Lily to replace her as the leader of this world. Suddenly, fragile Lily is now a powerful magic user, and she quickly gets caught up in a deadly fight between magic, science, and a race of magical beasts that threaten to destroy the world.

I was hesitant about reading this at first, because I generally find standard fantasy staples like witches and vampires to be boring. But I love alternate universes, and I was intrigued by the concept of meeting another version of yourself, especially when it involves magic!

This book has a lot of stereotypical aspects, like a love triangle and a heroine who everyone adores, but there’s a lot of creativity too. The way magic works is cool, combining alchemy, channeling, and mind control in an original mix. The geography of the world is also interesting (for example, the United States still exists as thirteen colonies, because a mistake made centuries ago rendered the rest of the country too dangerous to live in).

Lily is definitely a bit of a Mary Sue, but I don’t mind Sues as much as some people…most male protagonists are way overpowered, so why fault female protags for being the same? I like seeing girls wielding power and kicking ass!