Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holy Black

Book Summary
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 . . .

Flo's Review
I devoured this book in 2 sittings. I've always loved Cassie's writing and Holly's writing, and this book did not disappoint. It has a very Harry Potter-ish type feel, as the first year students are separated into groups with different masters, and especially with the setting and the food. The underground Magisterium just sounds like Hogwarts to me. And I do love the concept that they get lichen to eat every day, but every day it tastes like something different. Call, Tamara and Aaron remind me so much of Harry, Hermoine and Ron, and I love it so much.

The fact that The Iron Trial reminded me of Harry Potter warmed me up to the story immediately, and almost feels like it was done on purpose. I could see that being the case so that the reader will come to expect certain things to happen and then be completely wrong and surprised with what actually happens. This definitely happened to me several times in the story! The letter on the cover of the ARC actually says, "We wanted to tell a story about a protagonist who had all the markers of a hero: tragedy and secrets in his past, magical power. We wanted people to believe they knew what kind of story they were in for. And then we wanted them to be surprised..." Well they definitely did just that! There are so many characters who you think you know, but as you find out more about them, you realize that their stories run deep and there's more in their past than they are making apparent. And the self discovery for some of these kids is on a whole different level!

The groundwork for a fantastic series has been laid. I can't say too much more without giving away any spoilers, but I've already promised a friend who's read the book that we will talking to soon to discuss our possible theories. It is that kind of book.

Jacque's Review

Flo and I were really excited to receive signed copies of The Iron Trial at BEA last year.  I knew nothing about this new series except that it was classified as middle grade and it was written by HOLLY BLACK and CASSANDRA CLARE!!  I was sold simply by the names of the two authors.  I've loved all of their books that I've read, so a collaboration between the two had to be good!
The book is about a group of twelve year old children who compete for admission into the Magisterium.  The Magisterium is a school for magic, but most of the parents think their children will be going to a dance school, acting school, etc.  Anything except magic.  The child must have a known aptitude for magic to even receive an invitation to the trials and only the best are granted admission into this prestigious school.  
The majority of the story is about their arrival to the school and their first year of training.  Callum Hunt, Aaron Stewart, and Tamara Rajavi all live in the same pod and are being trained by Master Rufus.  They are the focus of the story, but we do get to meet several of the other students in their Iron Year...AKA first year.
I agree with Flo that the story definitely has a Harry Potter feel to it with the magic, a special school, and the focus on two male and one female characters.  The characters must use the elements of nature as their source of magic.  They are taught early on that..."Fire wants to burn.  Water wants to flow.  Air wants to rise.  Earth wants to bind.  Chaos wants to devour."  They must learn to master and control these elements as part of their training.  
There were several surprise revelations the last third of the book that I never would have anticipated.  We discover that a few of the characters are more than they appear.  Holly and Cassandra didn't leave the readers balancing on the edge of their seats at the end of this book.  There was a sense of closure, but I am still anxious to see what they have in store for Call, Aaron, and Tamara in their second year at the Magisterium.

Mary's Review:

For once, I think I'm the odd man out on this book. Although, I didn't hate the book, I'm not in love with it either. 

I love the concept of the story and yes there is a 'Harry Potter' feel. I did enjoy the character, but I found part were 'dragging' and a bit boring in the beginning. I didn't like that the parents didn't know where they were going. That seemed weird to me, but I understand the purpose of it. It helps maintain the secret. 

I do like the friendships/relationships of the characters. I needed to remember that they were young-kids too (haha!) Now, it DOES pick up towards the end and I now know that there will be several more books. 

I've already planned to read the second book, because I know that sometimes the first book is mainly the 'foundation' of the book and it picks up more. I would recommend this book to others who love that Harry Potter type of books.

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