Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Witchy Woman (She Got the Moon in Her Eyyyyyyyyyyyyye)

Check out Trial by Fire, by Josephine Angelini, in which we discover which witch is really which.

Witchy Woman (She Got the Moon in Her Eyyyyyyyyyyyyye)

BOOK REPORT for Trial by Fire (the Worldwalker Trilogy Book 1) by Josephine Angelini

Cover Story: Appropriate
BFF Charm: Heck Yes!!!, and Hell No!
Swoonworthy Scale: 50++++++++++
Talky Talk: She Blinded Me with SCIENCE
Anti-Bonus Factor: Breathless
Relationship Status: Ready for Date #2

Cover Story: Appropriate

This cover brings the drama, ya’ll - ominous tower, fire, and overall spooky look? Check, check and check! It’s perfectly appropriate for this witch-infested, fantasy/sci-fi mash up.

The Deal:

Lily Proctor is just a normal teen in Salem, Massachusetts with a hopeless crush - and a serious set of crippling allergies. But when she’s magically transported to an alternate universe version of her hometown, she’s thrown into a world where she’s not sick at all; here, in this version of Salem, Lily is a witch.

This Salem is ruled by powerful witches, complicated politics, and a fascinating blend of science-y magic. Lily has to choose between living in a world where she has unbelievable powers, and figuring out how to somehow find her way home.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes!!!, Hell No!

Lily rocks. She’s funny - even when feeling particularly scared or vomity - stubborn, and pretty darn smart. She didn’t adjust too quickly (read: unbelievably) to this crazy world-hopping situation, but she also didn’t have pointless fights or frustrating disbelief. She handled both weakness and power with equal aplomb, and honestly, I’d follow her in a rebellion any day - which is good, because Lily would probably ask that of me if we were for-real BFFs.

Lillian is the Magical Salem world’s version of Lily. They’re not clones - more like doppelgangers, except that flip-side Lillian is evil. She’s manipulative, cold, and anti-science - an overall pretty scary chick. She brings Lily into her world to help her rule it, and refuses to send her home. Also, how freaky is it to imagine an alternate-universe version of yourself that is TRYING TO KILL YOU?! Jeepers.

Swoonworthy Scale: 50++++++++

HOLY SMOKES, YOU GUYS. Ok, this is hard to explain - Angelini has skillfully woven together a world where totally made-up, fantastical elements somehow translate into THE HOTNESS. Lily’s new-found powers allow her to connect to smoldering Rowan in emotionally intimate ways that read as some of the steamiest, face-fanning-est scenes I’ve read yet in YA. He’s kind of her Magical Healer, helping guide her as she figures out her new witchy powers - not to mention helping her survive this crazy, dangerous new world. This is no Shades of Grey - Lily and Rowan create an emotionally rich relationship that I totally bought, and seriously - all those earned Emotions have the best payoff on the Swoon-O-Meter, IMO.

Talky Talk: She Blinded Me With SCIENCE

It sorta took me a while to classify this book - it is legit unique. Sure, it’s about witches in Salem wielding powerful magic - but there’s also the theory of the Multiverse, thermodynamics, and a little bit of microscopic cell restructuring. Sound complicated? Well, it does when I explain it* - but in the context of this world, it makes sense. Also? Very refreshing. I mean, I’ve read a lot of fantasy, but this is the first one I’ve read that kind of seems like, in an infinite universe, it could actually happen. Which makes the scary stuff TERRIFYING.

*Full disclosure, I was REALLY bad at Science. Like, English-major-level of bad.**

**Ok, I didn’t mean that all English majors are bad at science, I’m sure there are TONS of English majors who are terrific at science...I just don’t happen to be one of them.

Bonus Factor:  PETER DINKLAGE*

Ok, this is mostly because I heart Peter Dinklage (PETER DINKLAGE ILU!!!!!!!!!!! CALL ME!!!!!!), but the politics and scenarios in this book - there’s a citadel, there’s a scary Lady in charge, and a rebellion brewing outside the city walls - all that shizz - made me think of Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones. You know, wrangling politics, sneakily getting the best of everybody, being awesome. Which is pretty great.

*Full disclosure: unfortunately, Peter Dinklage does not actually appear in this book. Because it's a book, and he's a person. 

Anti-Bonus Factor: Breathless


Really, I just wanted a chance to use a picture of Jean-Paul Belmondo, because he's dreamy.

Ok, as I have mentioned, this book is really unique - because the world of Alternate Universe Salem is really, really complicated. Fascinating and really layered, but complicated. I felt like I didn’t have enough time to sit around and learn about it, because there was all this thrilling action going on, but I would have liked to have a better handle on everything. However, I was happy to learn that this is book one of a trilogy - we should have plenty of time to catch up and figure everything out. This is a world complicated enough that I want to spend more time in it.

Casting Call:

Sophie Turner as Lily

Relationship Status: Ready for Date #2
Oh, book - I’ve never met anyone like you. I know we just met - I don’t want to push it too hard, you know, or seem desperate...but I would really like to see you again.

Maybe bring Peter Dinklage with you next time.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Feiwel & Friends. I received neither money nor adoration for this review, even though I asked nicely and said please. Trial by Fire is available now.

Savannah Kitchens's photo About the Author: Savannah Kitchens is doing the Lord’s work spreading YA lit to the masses as the head (and only member - but who’s really counting?) of the YA department at her library near Birmingham, Alabama. When she’s not disappointing her parents, she’s bottle drinking wine and playing board games with her husband.