Firewalker by Josephine Angelini
Book One of The Worldwalker Trilogy
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!
What I Liked:
I feel like waaay too many books I've read in the past few months have been three-star novels. Not quite terrible, but not great either. Might recommend, probably will never read again. I absolutely LOVED Trial by Fire! And in terms of Firewalker, it was decent! A good sequel, just... heartbreaking. Among other things, but the heartbreak was too much for me. I can't say much without spoiling things (I'll be keeping this as vague was possible), but this book left me too sad and not in a good way.
Lily is back in her world, with Rowan in tow. Her mother and Juliet find them, and slowly, Lily heals. She goes back to school and discovers that several of her friends are drawn to her - meaning they have power, and are to be part of her coven. And it's a good thing too, because Lily is going to need all the help she can get - Lillian is after her, trying to bring her back into her world. Sacrifices will be made, lives will be lost, and relationships will be broken, as Lily attempts to unravel secrets and the past in order to save the future.
The world-building is, like in Trial by Fire, stunning and captivating. I'm not usually a fan of witch books, but there is something about this series that is so different. Also, parallel worlds! That's definitely an intriguing aspect to mix with magic and witches and royalty.
Like in Trial by Fire, I was a fan of Lily! She spends a lot of time injured during this book, which is unfortunate, but she is still strong-willed and resilient. Lily is a good witch who doesn't try to possess the wills of her claimed, or take over their memories or themselves, no matter how much the pull is there. Lily is decisive and smart, and has to make some pretty difficult decisions.
The story is a bit slow-paced in the beginning, and it takes a while for me to get back into the story. I think I finally started getting into it when we meet three of Lily's soon-to-be coven. Tristan is one, and Breakfast (Stuart) and Una. I don't remember much of Breakfast and Una in Trial by Fire, if they were in the book at all, but I liked them a lot in this book. Breakfast is quite the jokester!
Oh Rowan. I liked him, but I didn't. I mean, I did, but I feel like he did not get nearly enough "screen" time, and his character didn't develop much. He is still as swoony as ever, but Lily is keeping major secrets from him, and she distances herself from him... it's sad to see, because he doesn't get as much attention. Boo! But still, I love him so much, especially as a male protagonist.
The story is very engaging, and you won't have difficulty reading it when you get into it (you might not have any issues getting into it at all!). There is a lot of craziness going on, and even if you don't remember much from Trial by Fire, you'll have no issues getting back into the action of things.
What I Did Not Like:
Urgh. This book is very heartbreaking, pretty much from the start. We know that Lily is keeping things from Rowan (and everyone else), and it's so sad to see her distance herself from him without him having a clue. He knows something is up, but he doesn't want to push her. She should have come clean from the start... but you know, that's how authors f*** with the romance. Even if the female knows, with all of her common sense, that the right thing to do is to tell the male, she never does it.
Rowan plays a huge role in this book, and he is present (though not nearly as much as I would have liked). But I feel like in the second half of the book, his presence becomes bittersweet. We know that Lily isn't telling him things, and you get the feeling that he WILL find out, and it won't be pretty. No spoilers but... sigh.
I'm pretty irritated with how the author handled all the secrets and Lily not telling Rowan. As you can probably tell.
That sets the tone for the rest of the book. There is this dark cloud hanging over the book, and you know something awful is going to happen to Lily and Rowan (the romance), as well as Lily in general. I personally do NOT like reading books like this. I recognize that this is an "Alyssa" problem. But it's not enjoyable for me to be reading a book and feel sick about what's going to happen, or so crushed when it happens, etc. This is likely the biggest reason why this book is getting three stars.
There was something missing, as opposed to Trial by Fire. Perhaps the romance isn't as seductive. Perhaps because we get to see a side of Lillian that is unexpected and frightening - in a completely different way than you would think. Perhaps because the ending is a total cliffhanger and the absolute worst kind of ending sequels could deliver. In any case, I'm not too happy about the ending.
Would I Recommend It:
I LOVED Trial by Fire. That book is definitely a top twenty favorite of 2014. But this book didn't deliver, for me. Still, I'd recommend this series. A fresh, interesting take on witches and parallel worlds? Yes please. But maybe binge-read the series when book three is published.
3 stars. I'll definitely be tuning into book three (too bad there won't be ARCs for book three - the wait will be even LONGER). I can't say I really enjoyed this book (at least, not the second half), but that won't deter me from reading book three!
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