Rummanah Aasi
 I really wanted to like The Iron Trial and was really looking forward to seeing what Holly Black and Cassandra Clare would bring with their joint effort in a middle grade read. Unfortunately, I didn't like this one as much as I had hoped. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced reader's copy of the book.

Description: 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 . . .

Review: The Iron Trial was a difficult read not due to the authors' writing, but rather the numerous parallel connections that I was making with Harry Potter throughout the book from the set up of three main characters one of which was not suppose to be alive, a sage magician who are the children's mentor, to a magic school where the students are sorted into groups. I know that there are books written about magicians and boarding magic schools written before Harry Potter, but there were so many connections that it was difficult to look beyond the similarities. In fact I ended up skimming a lot of the book because the similarities were so distracting.
  Once you get past the similarities, you can start to appreciate the positive aspects about the book. It was nice to see a diverse cast of characters in the book where each character had depth and avoided one dimensional characterizations. Callum is nothing like Harry Potter though you do feel kinship towards him as he struggles to fit in with his peers at the Magisterium. Similarly, the Magisterium is much darker and sinister than the homely Hogwarts. I also enjoyed the new take on the good versus evil in the book where people struggled with their addiction to power. There is also a nice twist albeit a bit predictable one in the story that would keep readers' attention in this series, but I sadly I don't think this series is for me. I will, however, look forward to other titles released by Black and Clare. 

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: Most of the violence takes place off page, but there might be disturbing images for some readers. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.

If you like this book try: Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones, The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium #2) expected to be released in 2015,
3 Responses
  1. I know what you mean. You can't get those comparisons out of your head when they just glare at you. At least you got through it and enjoyed it for the most part.


  2. That is a bummer that these two powerhouses didn't knock it out of the park. It sounds good, but I think I would be like you and drawing HP comparisons while reading.


  3. Aw, too bad you kept drawing comparisons to HP while reading this one. I've never read anything by Clare and have only read Black's Curse Worker's series, but have this in my TBR pile because I wanted to see what a collaboration between the two would look like. I'm by no means in a rush to read this one though.


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