Book Review – The Iron Trial

Author: Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
Series: Magisterium
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Release Date: 2nd July 2015
Publishers: Corgi books
No. Pages: 320
Source: Sent by the publisher
Buy at: BookDepository

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 …

I’m going to admit that I was among those skeptical about picking this up. It sounded so similar to Harry Potter that I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be worth my time. After all, who wants to read a mediocre rip-off when you can just reread the original?

It was really the fact that Cassandra Clare was one of the two writers, I’ve read and enjoyed so much by Clare that I didn’t want to avoid what could possibly be another great book, that I finally picked it up. Whilst there were so many similarities with Harry Potter, I did find myself enjoying this book.

I’m going to try and focus more on the parts I liked rather than all the similarities, since there are already so many reviews doing that and you guys don’t want/need to read another one.

Callum Hunt has been taught his entire life that magic is evil, that it is the reason his mother is dead. He’s determined to fail his entrance exam to the Magisterium, unfortunately nothing goes to planned and Call is still chosen as an apprentice.

For the most part I enjoyed Call’s character. It was interesting watching him struggle between holding onto his beliefs that magic is truly evil and all the possibilities the Magisterium could help him unlock. There were times that Call did something reckless and was never caught (or it was never addressed) that I found unrealistic – especially since some of these things were pretty big to be simply overlooked.

I also enjoyed the other characters, especially Aaron and Tamara. Aaron is so nice and sweet that you’ll love him almost instantly. Tamara is witty and quick-tempered, she did remind me of Hermione but I hope to see a different side of her in the future books so that she isn’t just a carbon copy.

The magic system in The Iron Trial was hands down my favorite aspect of this book. I loved the idea that the mage’s powers came from harnessing the elements, that every element had a counterweight, even the use of chaos as an element. Although I do feel we could have learnt more about the system and how everything works, I think Clare and Black have successfully created the foundations needed for the future books.

The Iron Trials is a book that promotes diversity and it’s great. Not only are the cast of characters racially diverse but Call suffers from a sliding limp after having his leg broken as a child (I think we can all agree that there is a serious lack of disabled main characters, especially in MG/YA).

Although this book was written by two authors you would never know from the writing. Both authors have blended their different styles effectively, making it difficult for you to guess which chapters were written by which author.

This book has an intriguing world and a story line filled with twists until the end, I can’t wait to get my hands on book two.



3 thoughts on “Book Review – The Iron Trial

  1. Kelly says:

    I picked this on my Kindle the other day because it was on sale for $1.99. I don’t usually read a lot of middle grade fiction, but it was compared to Harry Potter, and written by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, so of course I picked it up! I’m excited to read it!


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