The Iron Trial is the first book in the Magisterium series. The Magisterium series is a five book fantasy series. The third book, The Bronze Key, will be coming out August 30th of this year. The series follows Callum Hunt from when he is twelve to seventeen years old through his years at his magic school.
In The Iron Trial Call is twelve and goes to take the Iron Trial, which is a test to get into the magic school. The twist is he wants to fail because his father has renounced magic ever since his wife died in the war. He passes, of course, and goes onto school. In this universe, they draw magic from fire, earth, air, water, and the void, or chaos. The rest is pretty generic. Call wrestles with the prejudice his father instilled in him, he struggles to make friends and to learn magic, and he has to deal with some stuff relating to the war and his mother dying, basically.
I did not like this book. The magic school was interesting. But it showed maybe four magic lessons in all, and three were all of the same lesson. It just took them a long time to get what the mage was trying to show them. There was one twist that surprised me, and that was good. There were two others that either didn’t have the right build up, or simply bored me. That’s pretty much all I can say that was good about this book.
Telling and summarization ran rampant in this book. Character development was done so poorly. The prejudice that Call had to struggle with? Never affected him in a negative way, and he got over it after two months at the most. The book tried to drag it on, to the very last page, but it was unbelievable. His friends’ development was basically, “After a while, Tamara started to smile more.” It was neither shown that she was uptight before that or that she was more relaxed after. That sentence was all the reader got. The resident bully, Jasper, only existed to insult Call randomly, and fail at magic. There was no real rivalry going on, and Call had no real struggle with him.
The only thing that was shown in detail was the school itself. Every room was talked about in detail, and honestly, it all sounded the same. It was very annoying.
There’s a lot of talk about this book being a Harry Potter rip off, and I can see where they are coming from. I know not every magical school with a trio of friends is like Harry Potter, but there are a lot of other elements very similar that you will see if you read the book. With Cassandra Clare’s past, I don’t feel like giving her the benefit of the doubt.
I don’t like giving books one star. I typically feel very guilty about it. However, this book is a one star out of five. And I won’t be giving the other books in this series a chance.