The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Title: The Iron Trial
Author: Holly Black, Cassandra Clare
Series: Magisterium #1
Publisher: Doubleday Children's Books
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Source: BEA & the publisher (thank you Scholastic!)

Summary from Goodreads:
From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will -- is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It's a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.


The Iron Trial holds a lot of promise. While this book didn't necessarily 'Wow' me, it did capture my attention, more and more so as the story progressed. When you first start reading, it's easy to cast this book off as a Harry Potter wannabe, but if you give it a chance, the story will take its own direction which winds up being quite different than HP and might even surprise a few of you.

Callum doesn't want to go to the Magisterium. His father has warned him against magic, against the school, and against the Masters. But despite his best efforts to fail The Iron Trial, he is still selected to become a student. This book serves primarily as an introduction to the world and the characters - all of being interesting.  A lot of history is given with the plot focused primarily on exploration, friendship and a little rule bending. There isn't a whole lot of dabbling in magic, except basic learning, but the story is pretty solidly paced and everything is being set up for what's to come...

The book culminates in quite a few character reveals, a magical battle of sorts, and readers learning the truth as to why Callum's father wanted him to stay away from the Magisterium. I think the direction this story takes is a different one and an exciting one. I am definitely curious as to what is going to happen next.

Although I will eventually need more from this story I do like what I see so far. I have high hopes for the next book and think it can be really great. And keeping in mind that this is middle grade, I think a younger audience will definitely take to it. An older audience will be a little harder to convince.

PS: The finished copy of this book is gorgeous and has illustrations for the chapter headings

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