Tuesday, February 10, 2015

[Review] The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: Magisterium  #1
Version: ARC
Release Date: September 9, 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
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 . . .

Not going to lie- I went into this book expecting another version of Harry Potter. There's a lot of similarities between the two books that I got just from reading the blurb and looking at the cover- three main protagonists, a magic world, a boy who doesn't fit in. So when I read the haunting and creepy prologue I was pleasantly shocked- this world was definitely a lot grimmer and distinct.

The Iron Trial reads like a set up for the series- it helps establish the world and characters. As a result, the pacing was pretty slow through out most of the book. Parts of the story seemed tedious to me-  there was a portion of the book where the characters were sorting sand by different colors which I thought took up way too many pages. I would find myself putting the book down while reading  because there seemed to be so many scenes where there was no plot development and my attention span could not take it. There's not much action in The Iron Trial- especially in the middle of the book. However there were so many mysteries that were present in the book- the elements, Callum's parents, the Enemy of Death, etc. that were setups for so many different situations and conflicts and I'm kind of upset that most of them were not acted upon for most of the book.  However the ending of the book really kicked up the pacing when the twist was revealed. I totally did not see it coming and it made me devour the rest of the book.

While there was a lack of action, there was great world development. I really loved the magic system that The Iron Trial has-

"Fire wants to burn.
Water wants to flow.
Air wants to rise.
Earth wants to bind.
Chaos wants to devour."

and how the use of elements can affect a magic user. I got to really know the characters- especially Callum, who I just adore. Even though he's the main character, he still has an underdog type vibe to him which really made me root for him through out the whole book. Even with Callum's friends Tamara and Aaron, their characters are really fleshed out already. At first Tamara really reminded me  of Hermione due to their intelligence and drive, but as I read on a lot more differences began to be apparent between the two characters.

Overall it was an ok read. It was a nice middle grade book with magical elements that will (hopefully!) led on to be an epic series. The Iron Trail, being the first one, was a bit lacking in pacing and plot but provided a good base for the series.

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