Release Date: September 9th 2014
Goodreads Review: here
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 only mean bad things for him.
So he tries 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 . . .
R A M B L E
I want to preface my ramble with the fact that I know this is basically a mash up of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan and Harry Potter by JK Rowling. The thing is, though, those are two of my favourite series that exist. Because of that, it doesn’t take a genius to work out why I loved this book.
The Iron Trial also isn’t the same recycled plot line we have seen with books trying to be the next Percy Jackson or Harry Potter. This book doesn’t include a special snowflake character and it really doesn’t include a character who is instantly popular because of his parentage.
In fact, the only thing this has in common with the other two series is a magic school of sorts and, well, magic. Holly Black and Cassandra Clare manage to create a world unlike any other, with a few stereotypical characters but twists everywhere. I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation.
My four-star rating instead of a five is simply because this book had a lot of information dropped on us. It is the first book in the series, after all. Not a lot happened because of this. We had to learn our characters and the world, so I can only imagine how much better the next books in the series will be.
C H A R A C T E R S
#C A L L U M
Callum Hunt is the main character of this story and he does not want to be at the Magisterium. His father has informed him its full of evil people and he will die. Which, if you ask me, is a lot to tell a twelve-year-old. So, when the trials come along to get into the Magisterium and learn how to be a mage, Callum tries his best to fail every test. Some are easier to fail, like the physical based exercises since all the bones in his leg were shattered when he was a baby, but some he does well at and manages to show that he deserves to be at the school.
I found Callum to be an interesting character. He goes through some major character development throughout the book, considering he went from having no friends bar his father to having two his age (lots of struggles arise with this, of course). He had been so manipulated into a belief by his father that it broke my heart, seeing how he believed everything so completely. It simply shows how trusting children are of their parents.
I definitely enjoyed Callum as the main character and am excited to read about him more.
# T A M A R A
You may look at Tamara and presume she is the classic Hermione or Annabeth of the group, simply as a comparison. Sure, Tamara is the most clued into the Magisterium world, but she is no Hermione or Annabeth. She is on a whole other level that made her kickass. Tamara has expectations to fill and her parents are in the clue on the magic world, definitely not your classic smart girl trope we have seen twice (I would say many times before, but I can’t really think of other times).
I found her refreshing around the boys, she was sarcastic, brilliant and knew what she was doing. A definite role model to young girls who may pick up this series.
#A A R O N
Aaron is the only character in The Iron Trial I’m unsure as to how to feel. I didn’t really connect to him on the same level I did Callum or Tamara, it may because he didn’t say much throughout this book. I’m certain he becomes a larger character as the series progresses, especially with the events that unfolded throughout this book. However, for now, I don’t have many thoughts on him.
P L O T
Since this is a middle-grade book and the first book in a series there wasn’t too much in the way of plot. We are really getting a feel for the school and the characters, learning the world. There is some plot, don’t get me wrong, it really starts coming into play around 70% though. It is incredibly interesting, what we did learn. I was staring at my ebook with my eyes open and mouth dropped, not something very common in middle-grade novels.
O V E R A L L
I loved this book. It’s what I needed after so many bad books in a row. I’m excited to pick up the next book in the series. The writing style is basically flawless (remembering it is for a younger audience), Cassandra Clare and Holly Black seamlessly write together and I couldn’t pick apart who had written what. I will definitely need to pick up more of Holly Black’s books once I’m all caught up on this.