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.

“I remember what I must do, even if it makes me a villian of my own story.” – Josephine Angelini, Trial by Fire

This book has such mixed reviews that it isn’t even funny… and I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I picked it up on it’s release date – but I loved the idea of witches and alternate realities – so I had to give it a go. I finished the book in one sitting, and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Imagine growing up where you weren’t able to do anything without having a major allergic reaction that can go as far as seizures. It would suck. However that doesn’t deter our main protagonist.

Meet Lily. I love Lily as the main character in this book. She’s not one of the popular people and her allergies keep her from leading a normal life in any way. She has accepted her condition and knows that being normal is never going to happen – which I think makes me like her even more. I think she’s full of courage and doesn’t have time for bullshit; especially when it comes to her potential love interest.

Due to the fact that this book takes place in an alternate version of our own world, there are definitely some similarities that can recognized, but there is still a lot of world building. As there are copies of realities, there are also copies of the people we meet at the beginning of the book. Such as… Lillian, one of Lily’s alternative self. Lillian is a tyrannical witch that is in charge of the Salem in this new world, and she’s pretty horrible. That pretty sums it up… she’s pretty bad. Moving on.

I know one of the issues that some people have with this book might be the romance? I’m guessing. Anyway, the romance is present in this book, but it’s definitely not a focal point. It kind of verges on a love triangle… kind of. Not really. Either way – there’s so much else going on that if that’s all you’re paying attention to then you aren’t really grasping the big points.

The pace was a little slow at times due to the immense amount of world building and it did take some concentration to keep up, which didn’t really bother me as much as it could have. I absolutely loved the way magic works in this book and I really enjoyed the inclusion of science into the story.

All in all, I would definitely recommend you pick it up if any of that sounds interesting. The book ends with a mighty cliff-hanger, so I’m definitely anticipating the sequel. Can I have it soon? Please?

 

★★★★☆

*Originally read and reviewed on August 3rd, 2014