Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.
Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.
All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.
So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.
Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.
The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .
When I first started reading The Iron Trial I was slightly apprehensive. Some of the characters and even some of the moments within the book felt very Harry Potter-ish to me. I grew up with the books and the movies and I hold the Potter books close to my heart. But, once I was able to get past all of that I really enjoyed it. Let me explain why.
The main character, Callum, is not the character they some writers would have chosen to make the central character. For one, he's disabled and two, he's a not your typical hero. I'm glad Black and Clare did make him the central character because everyone, disabled or able bodied, deserves to have a story they can relate to.
The magic system in this book is not exactly unique but it's impressive. It reminded me a little of Avatar: The Last Airbender and I loved reading about a magic system based in the elements.
The school itself is so different from what I expected. The school is underground and, strangely enough, warm and inviting once its familiar. At least in this sense its unique.
One of the things that really stood out for me about this book was the twist at the end. When you read The Iron Trial you think you know this story. You think you know where its going based on similar books, like Harry Potter, but then it takes a left turn and completely surprises you.
Though some of the characters are similar to characters in Harry Potter there's definitely differences between. I think Black and Clare may have made these characters similar to the ones in Potter to lull you into a false sense of security. It makes you think you know where the story is going, but you don't.
One of the things that did bother me about this book was that, with so many characters, it became hard to tell them apart. I would have liked some more distinction between all of them. It was made at that start of the book, but I would have liked little things here and there that would have made each character stand out.
Overall, this is an enjoyable and fast read. If you like books with magic and don't mind it being similar to the Harry Potter series then you'll enjoy it too.
Anjulie Te Pohe
Founder of Koru Mag | Mookychick contributor | Avid reader and writer of YA | Takatapui (Maori & bi/queer) | She/Them | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org