Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review: "The Iron Trial" by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Callum Hunt tries his absolute best to fail his entrance exams.  His father has been preparing him for years to fail because even though he must take the exam, neither of them actually wants Call to go to the Magisterium.  But, Call failed at failing, so now he is there learning how to control his magical abilities.  He wants to hate it, because that is what his father wants - but, what if his father is wrong?  What if going to the Magisterium isn't so bad?  After all, he has finally found friends in Aaron and Tamara, and the Treaty is still in place so it shouldn't be that dangerous, right?

First of all, this book is co-written by YA Fantasy superstar authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, so teens who love their books are going to go nuts for this.  However, this is written more for a younger teen and maybe even a tween audience, so I caution those readers to remember that when picking this one up.  Have patience though, because this is the first in a planned 5 book series and I suspect that the characters will age with each book, and the conflicts and situations will mature along the way as well.

Given that this is the first in a long series, it has a lot of set up to do and unfortunately I think this book - taken on its own - suffers a little for that.  There is plenty of world building, character building and histories to lay down as the foundation for the next four books and that can read a little slowly.  There are some exciting moments working in along the way, but some of it feels a little forced - like trying to keep the younger reader on edge while doing the hard work of developing this basis for the series.  That said, I think this has the potential of being a really great series, once it gets going.  This set up is not what I thought it was going to be, and I truly am curious to see how it will eventually play out.

The Iron Trial
by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Scholastic, 2014
295 pages
Series:  Magisterium #1
Source:  From publisher for honest review


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