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The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) Paperback – July 28, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—All his life Callum Hunt has been warned by his father that practicing magic is a guaranteed death sentence, the only certain way to make sure he doesn't reach his 18th birthday. When Call is summoned to attend the entrance exams for The Magisterium, a more-sinister version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, he promises his father he will deliberately fail the test to avoid the dangerous lure of magic school. Unfortunately, magic is in Call's blood, and though his permanent limp and sarcastic attitude do not appear to serve him well during testing, he is selected with two other "Iron Years" to be a pupil of the greatest mage of all, Master Rufus. Black and Clare have created a unique world in The Magisterium, adroitly sidestepping reader fatigue with the many post-Harry Potter "magical academy" fiction series. The underground school's labyrinthine tunnels, mysterious caverns, and strange rivers are an alternately wondrous and creepy setting for this hero's quest. The diverse main trio's multidimensional portrayals leave aside easy characterizations in favor of complex motivations which add depth to each character. Best of all, a late-stage reveal of the novel's true hero and villain neatly turn fantasy tropes on their heads.—Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
* “A thrilling coming-of-age story that embraces fantasy tropes while keeping readers guessing.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A promising beginning to a complex exploration of good and evil, as well as friendship's loyalty.” – Kirkus Reviews
“The Iron Trial is a fun, heroic narrative. . . . A delicious must-read.” – The Globe & Mail
“This is an incredible book. . . . Once you've started reading, it's hard to put the book down.” – The Guardian
Top customer reviews
In this world many people are able to use magic. Many families have a legacy in it and the children train hard to prove that they will have the ability. Callum Hunt has been raised to think that magic, and those who use it, are a danger to society. His dad tells him that the school where magically-able kids go to study, the Magisterium, is actually a place where kids go to be brainwashed and probably killed. While every other kid who tests for admission to the Magisterium hopes to get in, Call hopes not to, though he is selected anyway. And while he is there, he will need to decide for himself if the Magisterium is a good place or bad and if his dad lied about this, what else may he have lied about?
This book is pretty short (just about 300 pages) and I would have liked more detail. I don't want page count for page count's sake, but when we can only expect one book per year, I hope to get something that will tide me over. So that is my only complaint. Otherwise, I completely love how the plot twisted in this first book. I like the character dynamics and the world Black and Clare have given us. There are many seeds planted here and I look forward to seeing how they grow in the rest of the series. I think that this is a good read for anyone who likes Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series.
Unlike most first books to series this book gives you really developed characters. Calling is a dynamic and interesting character. Right off the bat you get a pretty good look into his thoughts and emotions when he is trying to fail the Iron Trial. The supporting characters are well developed as well. I love the subtle hints at the politics behind the scenes of the magic school. I think that makes it more than just another book about a kid attending a secret magical school.
The book moves pretty quickly. It's really hard to put it down once you start. The authors really give you so much detail into the world of the magisterium that you almost get lost in it.
The book doesn't have a ton of action until the end. There are little blips of excitement throughout that keep you hooked but nothing big happens too much later in the story. This books is really setting you up for what is to come later. That might make book 2 really action packed but that remains to be seen.
Either way, I really enjoyed reading this book and I can't wait for book 2.