I received this book for free from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Written by Josephine Angelini
Published August, 2015 by Pan Macmillan
Provided by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Genres: Fantasy, Witches
Purchase: The Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia
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Lily Proctor has made it back to her own universe, and it's finally time for her and Rowan to be happy and relax. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape, and they must hide her new magic for the safety of the world, but compared to fighting the monstrous Woven and leading armies in the alternate Salem, life is looking good.
Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. Lily is the closest version of herself she's ever seen in all her worldwalking, and Lillian's running out of time. If she can't persuade Lily and Rowan to return to her world, she'll have to find a way to make them come back.
I was sorely disappointed by Trial By Fire and I’m sorry to say that Firewalker was no better. In fact, I had a tougher time reading this one than I did the first – if that’s possible. I don’t know if it’s because everything I disliked about the first book was now magnified tenfold, or if was simply because I’d had enough of these characters, this world and their relationships.
“Haven’t you learned yet? Someone has to be the villain so everyone else can stay alive.”
Lily Proctor is quite possibly up there with Nora from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush series as my least favourite YA ‘heroine’ of all time. This is no easy feat, nor is it a good one. There is no character growth to Lily, and she constantly relies on her ever-expanding man harem to do things for her. We’re meant to believe Lily is this ‘all powerful’ witch, but what does she really do – apart from let her body be used by those she claims? She has to be instructed step-by-step in anything she accomplishes. It’s always pure luck that gets Lily through.
And will Lily EVER learn to reign in her warrior powers? Every single time she uses ‘The Gift’ on her most beloved, they have to tell her to back off (oh, but in the nicest way possible because most of them are in love with her). Lily doesn’t even grow in this aspect, still acting like a novice every time she imbues her mechanics with her power. I would have liked to at least see some development here.
Just when I think Lily can’t be any more ‘amazing’ (because, seriously, everyone in this book thinks she can walk on water and it’s just laughable) Josephine Angelini throws something else onto the pile. Oh, THIS Lily is more powerful than Lillian because she can make 30,000 purified water cauldrons – that’s right – THIRTY THOUSAND!
“Maybe what I loved was the Lily in Lillian. Oh, shit. I think I love Lily…”
The relationship drama in this series doesn’t appeal to me at all. I find Rowan, the main love interest, to be totally boring and that didn’t change in Firewalker. Rowan kind of treats Lily like this weird father figure, always instructing her on what to do and always wiser than she is. I don’t see what he sees in Lily at all. She’s so naïve compared to him and it must be like looking after a child twenty-four-seven for him. He’s also completely two-faced. When things go down later in the book, he’s totally merciless and does the unthinkable despite Lily being through a similar torment in Book One. For me, there’s no going back for Rowan and if Lily even considers taking him back next time around, she’s even weaker than I thought (but I’m sure it’ll be a whole ‘oh, I was just doing it for show to cast suspicion on someone else’ scenario). Blegh.
What irked me most about Firewalker, however, is that it introduced a whole slew of new characters that felt completely unnecessary and way-too convenient. We begin with Rowan and Lily back in the ‘real world’ following the ending of Trial By Fire, and suddenly Lily is having all these fond feelings for the people that wronged her back in Book One. Tristan won’t stop dogging her, so what does she do? She claims him and makes him one of her mechanics. It’s absolutely maddening. She also claims Breakfast, a character briefly mentioned previously, and his girlfriend Una. It’s just so frustrating that suddenly EVERYONE could make a strong mechanic – wowee…
And remember Scott? The guy that tried to date rape Lily? She may as well claim him, too!
Absolutely everyone – be they from our world or the other dimension – wants Lily and her power. I just couldn’t fathom it or get behind it. It was all too predictable and it never sat well with me. I just never warmed up to anyone, and I doubt I ever will with this series.
“It’s a mechanic’s privilege to serve his witch.”
This book’s also got one of those plots that is just tonnes of MINI PLOTS strung together. I couldn’t list all of the facets if I tried. It’s a huge jumble of finding bombs, being locked in a post-apocalyptic barn, healing from burns and growing new skin, healing radioactive tunnel people, jumping on trains and fighting a giant beehive. Yup. There’s also raptors – because, you know, if you’ve already made a world full of medieval cultural and hover cars, you may as well have raptors.
There’s a tonne of ‘telling’, not ‘showing’. Instead of character-building dialogue, characters simply transfer memories and we are told simply that. We can also go from one day to three days later, skipping a whole lot of time and getting a brief summary of what happened.
Ugh. I just… I am glad I finished this one. I really am. I can now put this series behind me and move on to something a little more to my tastes. I never enjoy writing negative reviews because I always believe that a book is someone’s precious baby, but this book couldn’t have been more infuriating to me if it tried.
Firewalker was a hard reminder that trope-y YA still lives and breathes, and that it still has a strong following. The GR rating on this one is still quite high, which is utterly surprising. I’m sure if I would have read this series in my younger years I would have liked it a lot more, but for an older and wiser YA reader? I’d save myself the trouble.