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.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was quite excited about reading this book because I did enjoy Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series a lot. However, I was also slightly scared because it does seem to scream similarities to Harry Potter. And trust me, there were rather a lot of those similarities. There were good things about this book though, like the story and the plot twist that I definitely didn’t see coming.
In this book, we meet Callum, better known as Call, whose mother was killed by the Enemy of Death when he was a baby. As a result, he was left with an injured leg that never healed. I’ll admit, the beginning of this book reminded far too much of Harry Potter. All that was just in one chapter, and the similarities don’t stop. Anyway, Call ends up going to the Magisterium, a school for magic, against his father’s wishes and begins to discover a place where he actually fits in. While he’s there, he finds out about the ‘Enemy of Death’ and that the school is waiting for a magician who can defeat him.
It definitely reminded me a lot of Harry Potter, but I’ll stop focusing on that so much. There were a lot of things I liked about this book, such as the plot. It is a bit slow at times, but I really enjoyed the ending and the the plot twists that were thrown in. There were some revelations that I really didn’t expect. I also liked a lot of the characters, although it did feel as if there were too many to keep track of sometimes. I didn’t find myself connecting to Callum all that much, but I loved his best friends Tamara and Aaron.
My main problem with this book (apart from the Harry Potter vibe) was the world building. I don’t feel like I know much about the world of the Magisterium or how they actually find possible magicians. I also have no idea how the magic system works. It may be that I’ve raised my standards when it comes to magic due to reading a lot of Brandon Sanderson, but I love knowing how the magic works. It didn’t tell me anything about the magic apart from they used their minds? At least, that’s what I assumed they were doing.
The Iron Trial has a fun story line with some unexpected twists and the characters are fun, but it really let me down when it came to world-building. I’d recommend it to fans of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, but you’ll have to try and ignore the Harry Potter similarities.