The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1)
by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Genre: Fantasy/Middle Grade
Publication Date: 9 September 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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 . . .
The Iron Trial is such a good first book.
I love Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter novels, and while I’m not familiar with Holly Black, she is generally agreed to be a good author. So I knew that I would like this book, but I ended up liking a lot more than I had expected.
This book reminded me a lot of the Harry Potter series. At the beginning, the similarities kind of annoyed me, but halfway through I realized that since I love Harry Potter, the similarities are actually a good thing. And while Harry Potter will always be the supreme, this was still very good. Furthermore, there are enough differences to keep the book from feeling like a complete copy.
I really liked Callum (Call) as a protagonist. He went through quite a bit of character development, which is always good. I also really liked Aaron and Tamara, and would be lying if I said I didn’t ship them (which is a bit weird because they’re twelve, but whatever).
This book is full of twists, most of which I should have seen coming but didn’t. I was completely surprised at the ending, and it was very enjoyable to be shocked with such a drastic plot twist. I don’t want to spoil anything, so just read the book and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’m interested to see how this dynamic plays into the future books.
Overall, The Iron Trial is a very good start to what will hopefully be a very good series. If you enjoy Harry Potter or any of Cassandra Clare’s other books, you will probably like this book. Just know that it is middle grade, not YA, so the writing style is obviously suited toward younger audiences. However, I think people of any age can enjoy it.
★★★★ (4/5 Stars)