Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Review: The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1): Holly Black and Cassandra Clare 

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've had this book for a really long time and honestly a middle grade book has to be really good for me to like it. Often times I feel like I can't relate to the characters, I get bored by their interactions with each other, and the plot often falls flat for me. Now, I was a little bored with The Iron Trial for the first 40 pages or so but after that I truly loved it. Holly Black is one of my all time favorite authors and if you haven't read The Darkest Part of the Forest or The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I highly recommend them both to you. 

"Fire wants to burn
Water wants to flow
Air wants to rise
Earth wants to bind
Chaos wants to devour"

I found the world of the Magisterium to be exciting and fresh. There was a little bit of information dumping that I wish was spread out some more within the book, but the overall world building was spot on. I've heard this book compared to Harry Potter many different times. While obviously friendship and a magic school are main themes in both books, I don't think The Iron Trial is a direct emulation of Harry Potter. The plot wasn't predictable at all, which really helped to keep me engaged in the book. It definitely holds its own as far as middle grade books are concerned. I'm currently reading the second book now and I'm trying really hard to keep them separate from each other when writing this review. 

The best thing about this book is the characters. Call is the main character, which is weird because why isn't he the one in the middle on the cover? The one in the middle is Aaron, who I actually really like as well. Call is a great main character to me because he's so snarky and sarcastic. I mean, who doesn't love a character that throws some sass at everyone? Aaron is extremely caring to everyone and everything. He comes from a foster home, so I think he just wants a place to call his home. Tamara was probably my least favorite of the three of them. She's very pretentious and very cold hearted. I think she has a huge crush on Aaron which kind of leaves Call the odd one out. 

"They all yelled in excitement. Tamara yelled because she was happy. Aaron yelled because he liked
 it when other people were happy, and Call yelled because he was sure they were going to die."

To be completely honest, this was a very awesome book for middle grade. I always have a hard time getting into mg novels, but this wasn't as bad as most. I'd recommend this book if you like to read mg novels. If you really can't stand them and the character development in them, I don't think this book will change your mind. I heard this series was actually optioned for a movie, I'm not sure how well it will work as a movie. However, I did really love the plot and there were a lot of exciting twists and turns. I don't blame people who compare this to Harry Potter, but I don't think it's fair to shrug this book off as fan fic. I will definitely be continuing with the series - and I'm excited to see where it goes from here. 

- Jocelyn 


  1. I like the sound of this one. I just wasn't sure if it was right for my age, and you mentioned Middle Grade. So I'm skipping this one, the cover kind of said as much.

    1. Yeah, if you don't like mg at all - I don't think this will be a big mind changer for you. Someone should make a YA or NA magic school book! haha

  2. Great review! I've had an eye on this book for a while but I wasn't sure as it's MG and I have a bit of an iffy time with them too. It sounds like this one might be worth a chance though!

    -- Nicola Reads YA

    1. Thank you! I am the same, I'm very very picky with middle grades! This one is a great middle grade, though! You should give it a try!

  3. So glad you enjoyed this book! This is definitely a great middle school book, and I loved it! It's unpredictable, and the world was so vivid! Great review :)

    ~Erika @ Books, Stars, Writing. And Everything In Between.

    1. Thanks! And I thought so too. I was very surprised that it was so unpredictable but then again Holly Black is amazing with unpredictable books! :)