Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
Lily Proctor's life in Salem, Massachusetts is far from perfect. She's allergic to absolutely everything, so she can hardly even leave her house most days without the fear of a life-threatening allergic reaction. Naturally, this means that her social life is nonexistent. On top of this, her mother is losing her mind. She causes scenes in public and talks nonsense about other versions of themselves in other worlds. There isn't much that's good in Lily's life, but she does have her older sister, Juliet, to lean on and help her get through things. There's also her best friend, Tristan, who's been there for her forever. He's a lot more popular than she is, but he always defends her and helps her when her allergies act up. Lately, things between Lily and Tristan have begun to take a turn away from platonic and may be heading into something romantic. Lily has always secretly had a crush on him, so of course this new development has her hoping that her life may finally be looking up. When Tristan takes her to a party, the night goes horribly wrong, leaving Lily devastated, embarrassed and betrayed. She feels like she doesn't belong in this world, and she may be right. A simple wish to be someplace else is about to change her life forever.
In the blink of an eye, Lily finds herself in a whole new world. She's still in Salem, but it's not the same Salem she knows. Everything looks different, sort of medieval, but modern at the same time. What's more amazing is that she's not weak here and her allergies are getting better. She quickly realizes that she's in an alternate world, and soon she meets alternate versions of people she knows, including herself. In this world, Lily goes by the name of Lilian and she's a powerful witch who rules with an iron fist. In this Salem, it's the witches who are in charge and scientists, and anyone accused of practicing science, are persecuted and hung. Lillian and others who use magic and alchemy believe that science and technology are dangerous and will destroy the world. They may have a point, but killing people is wrong. Lily finds herself thrust in the middle of a battle between the ruling witches and the rebels on the outside of Salems walls, who want to be given back their rights and to have the freedom to practice science for medicinal purposes and to create energy.
Lily must learn to use her own newly discovered powers to stop the reign of tyranny of her own doppelganger, all while finding unexpected romance, fighting off giant monsters and standing by her own convictions. Lily is tough and strong willed, but she may have to make the ultimate sacrifice. To save this world, she may never get back to her own.
The first word that comes to mind when trying to describe this book is, AWESOME. This is a truly unique and imaginative take on Salem witches and witchcraft that pits magic against science, but in an alternate world where everything is flipped on it's head. In Trial by Fire, you will find exquisite worldbuilding, an intricate plot and complex characters. Dazzling magic, exciting action and breathtaking romance will sweep you off your feet and leave you begging for the next installment. If you're looking for a book with a strong female main character, THIS is the book for you. There are so many aspects of this book that blew me away. The whole concept is so creative and there is so much care put into the details. Fantasy, romance, sci-fi, action, environmental allegory and family drama fill these pages, and at the heart of it all is Lily Proctor, a girl who refuses to give up her own beliefs and is determined to be strong enough to become her own hero.