You would’ve gone deaf if you had been in my house the moment I found out I had been approved to read The Iron Trial. Obsessed fan, crazy bookworm, call me what you will, but do realize that I’m not the only person this dedicated. Cassandra Clare and Holly Black are both well-known, accomplished authors with many fans. However, the fact that they’ve banded together to write The Iron Trial makes this novel infinitely cooler than any other middle-grade book. Thus, I will now conclude this introduction by saying that I’m a proud fangirl of The Iron Trial.
Callum Hunt has never been normal. He’s never even been a normal magician, as he’s the only person with a gift of magic who doesn’t want to attend the Magisterium, a school for aspiring magicians. Unlucky, cursed, call it what you will, but Callum gets chosen to go to the Magisterium. What happens next is a journey filled with twists, humor, and enough magic to last a lifetime. The Iron Trial may cause fairies to have allergic reactions, but I guarantee it will satisfy even the pickiest of Muggles. Oops, wrong author!
What’s most notable about The Iron Trial is that it doesn’t seem like a middle-grade novel. The Iron Trial could have easily been marketed as a YA read. Sure, there’s not as much romance as Cassandra Clare’s other novels, but the depth of The Iron Trial makes up for the typical young adult qualities it lacks. From mature characters to a certain boarding school feel to the blurring of good and evil, Cassandra Clare and Holly Black have made it clear that The Iron Trial is for all their fans.
The plot is simply commendable. While it’s somewhat reminiscent of City of Bones, I think readers will still find The Iron Trial to be a fresh read. Just like City of Bones, it has a twist involving identity, although the details are slightly different. The biggest (and most abundant) twists in this novel involve Callum and his relations to the world of magic. However, even the everyday developments at the Magisterium are just as interesting. From awesome food to rivers, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have imagined themselves an extraordinary school that all readers will drool over.
As for Callum, he’s an awesome main character. Smart, tenacious, and just a bit cocky, he’s that one kid you loved to hate (keyword here is love) back in middle school. Not all readers will love him, but the ones who do will find a kindred spirit. He breaks enough rules to stir things up but not to the point where it’s annoying. It’s worth your time to watch how he reacts in different situations, especially the ones the authors have placed him in. Yup, I just praised the plot again.
No matter what you think of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black themselves, The Iron Trial is a great read. Engaging and fresh, it’s the perfect book for all times, like right now.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 9th, 2014)
ISBN #: 9780545522250
Length: 304 pages (Hardcover)