- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Series: Magisterium (Book 1)
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic Press (July 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0545522269
- ISBN-13: 978-0545522267
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (505 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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
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Top customer reviews
The concept of a chosen one and magical schools is one that’s a bit overdone as of late, but Clare and Black manage to keep it interesting with plenty of new elements. I’ve always been a lover of alchemy ever since I was little, but in most stories about magic it is mentioned off-hand and never really focused on if it is mentioned at all, so it was awesome to see it take center stage here. There’s also some hints at a decent explanation of the magic and where it is drawn from, something that generally seems to be lacking in other books of this sort.
It was also refreshing not to have a love triangle of any sort hinted at, but if I know Clare there’s a decent chance something of the sort will show up in the later books of this series as the characters get a bit older. I do sort of hope it doesn’t though. It really isn’t needed. Either way though, I will certainly be eagerly devouring the rest of this series as it comes out.
The second thing I liked about it is that many of the characters are inviting, particularly Master Rufus, Aaron and Tamara, and I like the ways they've affected Callum over the course of the book. They've begun to trust and depend on one another, to hold each other up when needed, and I hope that continues.
I really like her child characters - they're real, always complex and rough-edged, and uncomfortable in their own skins, just as children actually are in growing up. They aren't innocents, but they're also not all candidates for Lord of the Flies, either, just a spectrum of people in the process of growing up, of discovering who they've been and deciding who they want to be. Very human and, in differing degrees, hopeful, angry, empathetic and frightened, all at the same time.
The prologue was initially very confusing to me, I had a hard time getting into it because it was like jumping feet first into a confusing new world. Once the first chapter started though it got a lot more interesting and was easier to read. During times of a lot of action things seemed to get a little muddy for me and I had to go back and reread parts again to figure out what had just happened. Around the halfway point I had a hard time making myself continue to read it and it took me over a week to finish which is pretty unusual for me.
The end though. The end makes it worth the effort and I’m glad I continued to read it. The twist at the end was amazing and not at all what I expected; I definitely did not see that coming.
As an overall, I will definitely pick up the next book in the series because I am interested to see where it goes and I am a sucker for this style of book.
It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but I thought it was very good overall.