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

The Iron TrialTitle: The Iron Trial
Authors: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Series:  Magisterium, #1
Pages:  295
Publisher: Doubleday Children's Books
Date of Publication: 9th September 2014
Source: Publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My Thoughts:
I didn't really know that much about The Iron Trial when I first started it - only knowing that it was by Cassie Clare and Holly Black who are both pretty cool and so together would write a pretty cool book. The Iron Trial was completely different to how I imagined (I didn't even realise it's middle grade!) but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Once I'd finished the book, I headed over to Goodreads to see what other people had thought about it. A lot of reviews said that it ripped off Harry Potter, but while it did occur to me while I was reading that there were several similarities (eg Call, Aaron and Tamara were like Harry, Ron and Hermione), I think it stands on its own without having to be compared to Harry Potter.

Plot wise, it's quite simple. Call has been told all of his life that the Magisterium is a bad place, a place where young mages go and end up dead. Despite trying to fail the entry test, he's accepted in and forced to stay. He quickly finds that he doesn't hate it as much as he was told he would (surprise, surprise) and once he's accepted this he makes some friends and they have adventures together. I thought I had the whole plot of the novel sussed but was pleasantly surprised to find myself wrong. In retrospect the twists were not that remarkable but they were still interesting and I was quite engrossed by the end of the novel.

I liked reading about the magical world in which Call lives. I liked the system of magic - based on the elements of water, earth, fire, air and chaos. The elementals that Call and his friends had to fight were really cool to read about and I liked seeing him kick their butts. My favourite parts were Havoc and Warren though. They were really cool but you'll have to read it to find out what they are!

The Iron Trial is a really solid read that will easily be enjoyed by all. It's more suited to younger readers but there's enough in there that an older reader can appreciate and enjoy it too. Cassie and Holly's writing together was seamless and I'm looking forward to reading more from these two authors! If you're interested I definitely recommend it!

*Huge thanks to Random House and NetGalley for providing me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel. Also thanks Cicely! You're the best. 


  1. Great review - I've just started reading this and really enjoying it so far! :)

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This one I have heard really good things about, my youngest loves books in this genre, she likes the magical side I guess...Right now she is reading The Red Sun by Alane Adams, She incorporates mythology in this book, it sounds pretty good from my kids review!

  4. Great review! I was pretty excited about this book, and had no idea it was middle grade! They kept that quiet. Sounds like it could be a fun read!


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