Book Review: Trial by Fire and The Goddess Test Series

Review News

In this post, I’ve bumped Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini to the top since the second book, Fire Walker, came out September 1st. Most of the books I’ve currently reviewed have been out a while because I’ve only started reviewing books a few months ago.

Once I’m done reviewing all those books, the only time I’ll come out with a review is when a new interesting book is released. In the meantime, I’m hurrying through the reviews of older books while reviewing books just released.

Since I can’t just review one old book, I’ve decided to throw in a review for The Goddess Test Series.

Trial by Fire (Book #1 The Worldwalker Trilogy) by Josephine Angelini

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FullSizeRenderWhat interested me in this book was the mention of “Salem” in the summary.  As most red blooded Americans know, Salem is synonymous with witches.  Because of my spirituality, I’m always interested in fiction about witches.  I don’t mind if authors take a fanciful outlook with Wicca as long as the witches are good.  If they do have a bad witch, I hope the hero is a good witch to counterbalance the negativity.

Witches have had a bad rep through the ages mostly because of mainstream religion.  It’s also bothering that most people believe my spirituality is something to laugh at, yet I would rather be laughed at than spit at and be called evil.

Having said all that, my “Good Book Criteria” has been altered especially for this book.  Basically, I’ll be heavily scrutinizing the “witch” aspect of the heroine.

As previously stated, the book takes place in Salem, Massachusetts.  Lily, the main character, is an average high schooler with above average allergies.  Meaning, if she isn’t careful, any one of her allergies could kill her.

When we meet the character, she’s mooning over her childhood friend, Tristan.  He used to be a nobody, than turned into somebody when he went through a lottery winning growth spurt.  (He turned into a hottie overnight).

In true cliché fashion, Lily’s had the hots for her childhood friend for a while.  Unfortunately, he’s a bonafide manwhore who doesn’t want to change his ways anytime soon.

After a particularly horrid experience at a party where Tristan is to blame, Lily is pulled into a parallel reality by her alternate persona, Lillian.

In this other reality, Lillian is the ultimate witch with loads of power and the ruler of Salem.  Actually, she’s more like a dictator.

Poor disoriented Lily falls into the hands of the rebels shortly after arriving.  She meets Rowan who is Lillian’s former lover and a member of the rebels.  Also, she meets the alternate Tristan who’s slightly different from his counterpart, or his manwhore ways aren’t as prominent because this Tristan isn’t a childhood friend.

Throughout the book we learn about the world, what might have turned Lillian into an evil dictator, and necklaces that can hone people’s power.

When the book began, I wasn’t a fan of Lily.  Mainly because of her relationship with her childhood friend.  She knew he was an unfaithful manwhore to the women he “dated” who excused his actions by saying, “I didn’t promise those women anything.”  Yet, she stills wants a relationship with him!

Lily has visions of a loving relationship with the primary Tristan after a fateful kiss one night.  Then when she found out that he was “cheating” when he was supposed to be guarding her, she was angry at him.  In true d***head fashion, Tristan manages to displace the blame on him and put it on her by giving her his tried and true line:  “I didn’t promise you anything.”

While he did expect to have a “meaningful” relationship with her (whatever that would entail), he wanted to sow his wild oats first.  There’s nothing wrong with that as long as he doesn’t kiss the girl and knowingly gives her the wrong impression.

What really disappointed me was that Lily would have forgiven primary Tristan if she wasn’t first sucked into a parallel world.  Thank the higher powers for small favors.  After this introduction to our heroine, there was nowhere to go but up – or to stay on that disappointing bottom and rot.

Fortunately for me, she learned many lessons.  Like the difference between a d*** with legs and an honorable guy.  There was a damsel in distress moment.  Yet, she didn’t whine through it and showed tremendous spirit.

As for the witch aspect for the Lilly and Lillian characters, it’s complicated and that’s ok.  Nothing in this world is black and white.  This book portrays that beautifully.

When I thought Tristan was the main male interest, I was going to cry.  Lily could definitely do better than a noncommittal manwhore.  Although his counterpart in the parallel universe was far better than primary Tristan.

Though the author does a Kiss of Deception and introduces another male interest, Rowan.  He’s Lily’s equal in every way.  Furthermore, he’s been burned by love, which makes a relationship between Lily and Rowan an uphill battle.  She’s stuck in a parallel dimension where her counterpart is virtually a dictator and Rowan was the ex-lover of said dictator.  A reader can see the problem from the very beginning.

Overall, this was a good start.  The author kept me guessing throughout the book and only some of the plot was predictable.  I love that it’s a trilogy and it’s not going to take a lot of book installments to finish.  So far, I’m going to keep this one on my bookshelf.

The Goddess Test Series by Aimee Carter

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FullSizeRender-2This series is all about the Greek myths.  If a reader’s looking for a new spin on tradition instead of a bonafide revamp, then they’ve found it.

I’m a big fan of Greek myth as classic literature.  When I read a book that’s an updated version or uses the classics as a basis, I’m looking for an author who tells tradition to take a hike off a cliff.

Women always get the short end of the stick with it comes to tradition.  In Greek myth, women are usually delicately helpless and often get used by Zeus who can’t keep it in his toga.

If a woman so happens to have power (goddess anyone?), she’s stupid, deranged, or understated.  While gods and heroes had their flaws, they definitely made out like bandits in myths.

Needless to say, The Goddess Test Series is exactly like traditional Greek myths.

Kate moves to a small town with her sick mother and enters a new school.  Little does she know, each new person she meets in this small town is more than they appear.

Hades is looking for a bride.  Unfortunately, the previous contenders have met with untimely demises and time is running out for the God of the Underworld.  He seemingly loses all hope until Kate enters the game.

She’s tested in various ways to become a goddess.  Once she achieves godhood, she must try to understand her new husband and contend with the shadow of his past wife, Persephone.

Meanwhile, Cronos, the father of the gods, is attempting to wake, which spells doom for everyone.  Of course, he can’t wake alone, he needs the help of his deranged daughter, Hera, who’s constantly slighted by Zeus and in love with Hades.

This definitely is the love triangles to end all love triangles.

While it seems like an insanely juicy love story with action, adventure, and a father who gets off on prolicide, it’s just the same old Greek myths with a twenty-first century setting.

Kate seems like a strong person in the beginning of the series.  She’s taking care of her sickly mother and facing a near future on her own.  Yet, she’s easily tricked and seems completely helpless next to the awesome power of the gods.

Furthermore, her helplessness continues after she’s turned into a goddess.  She doesn’t know how to use her power, she doesn’t know how to fight, and she can’t get anyone to teach her to use her powers.  While this all seems perfectly understandable, a person who’s actually determined to fight, would self-learn how to use her powers.  Where there’s a will there’s a way.  Obviously, Kate’s will ran for the hills.

Then there’s the relationship between Kate and Hades.  I pegged Hades in the first book.  He’s a stoic character that likes to keep his emotions close, or doesn’t know how to properly express them.  Either way, I always had the feeling he’s an old man who doesn’t know how to interact with this very young girl who’s suddenly his wife.

I’m not above throwing a little sympathy towards our lackluster heroine.  It’s hard to have a relationship with a guy who keeps his emotions under wraps.  It’s worse to have a relationship with a guy who was jilted by his ex-wife and still pines for her.

Then there’s Hera.  Any Goddess named Hera must learn how to tell Zeus to stick it where the sun don’t shine and walk away.  Marrying a knowingly philandering brother is alway asking for trouble.

In summation, I was monumentally disappointed with this series.  It didn’t frustrate me to the point of insanity like The Selection Series, yet it was pretty bad.  I was constantly yelling at Kate to get her act together.

If you like traditional Greek myth in a modern setting, this series is for you.  If you like your heroines to have guts and think outside the box, than I wouldn’t waste your money.  This series will be donated to the library with a handwritten warning label by yours truly.

Future Book Reviews

***Will not be reviewed in this order.Books-2-icon

  • Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Firewalker by Josephine Angelini
  • Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
  • Untamed: A Splintered Companion by A. G. Howard
  • Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross

Want to see what I’m currently reading or curious about past book reviews?  

Go to my Reading Common Sense page.

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