Tuesday, 26 May 2015


The Iron Trial
by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Published: September 2014
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

"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 it was first announced that these two authors were teaming up to write a middle grade fantasy I couldn't have been more excited. I throughly enjoy Cassandra Clare's writing and have enjoyed most of what I've read from Holly Black, this was set up to be a great book even before I had started it.

So many people have compared this to Harry Potter and to be honest I think that's ridiculous. Due to the novel being set in a magic school, then of course there will be similarities, but the way this magic works is totally different, the teachers are totally different and so is the way that you get chosen to go into the school in the first place.  I almost feel as though people were picking things up just to spite themselves, all middle grade fantasy books follow a very strict progression of having a trio or double fighting against a greater evil, this isn't just specific to Harry Potter! 

I felt like the writing (baring in mind that it is a middle grade and not a YA) was pretty great, it flowed really nicely and it was obvious to me that the two authors worked meticulously to make sure that there were no obvious splits in the writing, it seemed as though they were one voice, which was extremely refreshing because usually joint authorships are quite disjointed. 

The world building could have been expanded on slightly, but you must remember that this is only the first in (what I think) is a five book series and so it will be explored more throughout the series. I enjoyed the magical element of this book, I liked that although you had your standard Earth, Water, Fire and Air magic you also had a Chaos element, which in my opinion brought something fresh to the table.

I thought that the characters were interesting and although at first there were quite a few characters to deal with they all got their own personality and soon enough it was easy to remember who was who. The plot twist at the end, had I been the intended age group for this would have blown me away (although I was still pretty impressed by it) and that is exactly what I am looking for in this type of book.

All in all, I loved this book, it was exactly what I needed and I think it is a fun read, when people read this they need to remember that is not a young adult book it is a middle grade book and so of course its not going to be as complicated! Take it for what it is and I think you will love it.

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