Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan Publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Josephine Angelini
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
My Rating: 3.75/5
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.
This review has been one of the hardest I have ever had to write. I just don’t know what to say. I have never read a book about alternate worlds before and therefore, I have nothing to compare this book too. When I first heard about this book, I thought the concept sounded completely unique and that is one of the things that really stood out to me about this book. The overall theme was ‘alternate worlds’, and yet there were elements of science and even a few hints of comedy in there which I thought came together as a very eclectic mix.
Plot-wise, I could say that there is something in this book for everyone. There’s romance in there, you’ve got some science and some fantasy too, there’s also a strong sense of friendship and teamwork as well as a sense of war in this book which just adds to the overall individuality of the book. However, I have to say, I found the plot a little confusing at times with who was who and what was where and where we were. Sometimes I felt like we were just expected to know all of this without adequate introduction. Also, I didn’t appreciate the sudden introduction of multi perspective. I liked that we did get to see other peoples’ views and I feel the story would’ve lacked a lot if it were not for that, but I think a new chapter with the characters name at the top would have helped all the readers distinguish who’s perspective we were seeing the story from. For example, when this was first introduced- through Gideon’s perspective, I thought we were still reading from Lily’s point of view and found myself very confused through half of the first paragraph, and then, on realisation, had to go back and re-read over that same paragraph.
On the subject of chapters, there are only 15 chapters in the whole book. Now, I don’t know if this actually a notable observation on this book in particular, but for me, I find it so much easier to read a book if it has shorter chapters. This is probably why it took me so long to read this book and I almost found myself in a slump at the end of it. When a book has small chapters, I find that I want to keep reading and reading and I’ll feel so accomplished if I’ve read 5 chapters rather than just 1. However, this might just be my personal preference.
Now, moving onto characters. I think my favourite of the characters would have to be Rowan and I definitely ship Rowan and Lily together (none of this Lily and Tristan nonsense… Oh no…) I loved the way Rowan was at home anywhere no matter what and he would always manage to make it seem glamorous even though it really wasn’t. I don’t know exactly what it is that makes me like him more than Tristan but there’s just something, that’s usually what happens with love-triangles anyway. I have to admit though… Just before the middle, I was a little bit of a Tristan fan… God how embarrasing… I just couldn’t get over Tristan from the beginning and I can never fully trust him after that… But you have to read the book to find out what that is… Well… Despite the fact that I once had a small crush on Tristan and Rowan is my favourite characters, I wouldn’t put either of them on my fictional boyfriends list… Well, maybe Rowan? I haven’t thought about that much…
I should say a few words about the heroine, Lily Procter… I did really like Lily, and sometimes I found her to be really relatable and funny which is what I was hoping to see out of a character who has just been transported to an alternate world… However, sometimes I found her to be really annoying and she got into arguments for no reason in order to push the story forward. I also found that she just accepted everything from only being told once, like the idea that Lillian is evil which is a concept I didn’t grasp at all in the very beginning. One last thing I found confusing was the way Lily managed to master some of the most difficult magic straight away… This is making me doubt how powerful the magic is if someone can grasp it straight away based off pure, god-given talent. I found this unrealistic… Well, for magic.
Sorry this was a bad review, I just really had no idea what to write and I hope I wasn’t too harsh. I don’t like writing negative reviews…
Just a disclaimer, I definitely going to be continuing the series with the second book closer to the release of the final book in the trilogy.