Author: Josephine Angelini
Release: September 1st 2015
#2 in the Worldwalker trilogy
Series: Trial by Fire (#1), Witch's Pyre (#3)
Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.
"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."
Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.
Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.
You see, this was a very interesting novel for me, kind of like an experiment, even. I did not have very high hopes for Trial by Fire, but in the end, I was pleasantly surprised and I did not know whether that result was achieved by my low standards or because the book was actually enjoyable.
So I set out into this sequel with medium expectations, you know, I simply wanted a nice enough story that continues the story from book 1, which was nice enough as well. What I got really confused me in a way, because I can't say my experiment carried out the results I expected.
On the one hand, this sequel completely infuriated me, because it never seemed to know where it wanted to go. It felt like Angelini just made it up as she went, throwing in random scenes at will and messing around a little. We start off back in the present, in Lily's world and the normal world as we, the reader, know it too. Lily and friends just come up with this totally fucking ridiculous excuse for her 3 month absence that nobody's grandma would ever believe, and while her peers are suspicious — and rightly so — they don't really question it. Sure, Jan.
Mild spoiler here, but they go back to Rowan's witchy-woven world during the first half of the novel, and the reason why is so fucking ridiculous and off the hooks, I still can't believe the author went through with it. And got away with it being published! Seriously, what even went wrong there, I can't tell anymore. From this point on, there's so much shit happening that I am calling shenanigans, there is so much nonsense being spewed that I really did not want to continue on with this book at multiple points along the plot.
The one redeeming quality, and I mean it, the one is the semi-complexity the novel has got going on. The whole “I'll be the villain so you can continue being the hero” thing was very intriguing as well as Lillian's character and overall development, the scenes where we get to know stuff about her were the truly interesting ones and they were what ultimately saved this novel for me. This black and white area of what is wrong and what is right; of what to believe and not to believe, it is really, really well done, I'll have to hand Angelini that. Lily is still a butthurt idiot about it, but the reader can make up their own mind which I appreciate greatly. It's a fascinating complication.
Another thing I sort of liked was the whole Woven problem thingy, and how there might be more than meets the eye on that front as well, the hidden depths in this novel really astounded me sometimes. I mean, the characters go about solving this issue so profoundly messily and wrongly, but — still. At least in theory it sounds interesting.
All in all, most of the time, Firewalker was absolutely infuriating, either because of character dialogue, character behavior or relationships, but it also had some nice qualities going for it that make me really ponder whether I might read the final book or not. I mean, it's just one more, so ... maybe I will.