Series: Magisterium #1
Published by Scholastic on September 9, 2014
Pages: 295 pages
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Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.
Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.
All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can mean only bad things for him.
So he tries to do his best to do his worst- and fails at failing.
Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.
The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .
From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown.
This book. This book! I don’t even know what to say. That I loved it? That I can’t believe I have to wait a year to read the next one? All of the above. The Iron Trial is a perfect blend of fantasy, humor, and a great cast of characters. You’ll think you know the twist at the end, but you will be wrong. Oh, so wrong.
This is a collaboration between Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, longtime friends and authors that I love. Holly Black has a penchant for the darker side of fantasy and writes the most interesting flawed characters. Cassandra Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices is set in an immersive, original fantasy world and is filled with snarky humor. The Iron Trial is the product of the best parts of both their writing styles, that when put together creates something wholly original and wonderful.
The story is about Callum Hunt. His mother was killed in a war between mages and the evil Enemy of Death, and now his father is against magic of any kind. He tells Call he has to fail the Iron Trial, which is basically the entrance exam to magical school, or death will certainly be imminent. Needless to say, this does not happen. Call does get accepted into the Magisterium, and that’s where the adventure truly begins.
Call is an angry, angry kid. He is physically handicapped and constantly picked on. He lets pride get the best of him a lot of the time, and he responds to serious situations with snarky, inappropriate comments. I loved Call because he is not always likable. You understand and sympathize with his situation, but he definitely handles some things the wrong way. He grows a lot over the course of the story, from a very guarded person to someone who would do anything for his friends, but still fails a lot. After all, he is only twelve.
I was actually very surprised to see that all the younger characters acted believably like kids their age would. The supporting characters were all unique and interesting. In my opinion a great fantasy series depends on a large cast of characters we care about, and this one delivers. From Callum’s fellow apprentices, Tamara and Aaron, to his father to even the magical creatures, everybody introduced has their own personality. There was no point where I was mixing people up or forgetting who someone was. Even the smallest character stood out.
The humor was another thing I loved about this book. It’s very present in the dialogue and in the way Call thinks and I found it hilarious. It was a great way at bringing levity to some pretty heavy stuff going on with the characters and it almost never seemed out of place to me. I love humor when it is well-done and this was definitely well-done.
Overall, I really loved this book. Five stars, and I don’t give five stars a lot of the time. It is a great introduction to a new world, features a large cast of characters that I instantly fell in love with, and ends on a reveal I don’t think anyone will see coming. You will finish this book and be dying to talk to somebody, anybody about this ending. I know I am. So, go read it so we can all talk about it!
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.