Title: The Iron Trial
Author: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Adventure
Review: I have read several other books by both of these authors and loved them, so I was really excited to start reading the Iron Trail – the first book in the Magisterium series – which at only 146 pages is relatively short considering some of Cassandra Clare’s’ books end up in the 600+ pages region.
I loved the opening prequel chapter to this novel it was dark even for a YA novel, detailing dead bodies how they died. And how a man is forced to choose between letting his son live knowing his own mother wanted him killed for a reason or letting him live. We know the boy lives as he is the main protagonist of the story although we want to know why his own mother wanted him killed, what had been done to this small baby, who is the Enemy?
I loved the family dynamic and how much Call loves his father despite his father practically forcing Call to suppress his magic and fail the Mage’s test, although being a teenager rebellion takes over sooner or later.
We can see despite his fathers’ warnings and teaching Call simply cannot control he baser emotion; anger and fear. And despite all of his fathers’ efforts Call is chosen to be the Mage’s apprentice – and I am not sure yet how this will bode for Call after he wasn’t meant to live past infancy.
By Chapter 6 Call has spent his first time inside the Magisterium and unlike his fellow apprentices all he can think about is his dad and home. I really sympathize with this kid, he has one dead parent and has been torn away from the other all for something he has been taught to avoid at all costs. And the explanation I can come to as why is that when he was a baby the Enemy altered him somehow.
It is clear that Call doesn’t take well to the Magisterium at first but he begins to wonder if what his father had told him for years about this place was wrong, and he has already made an enemy of Jasper because he wanted Call’s spot in the best Master’s group.
Call forges strong friendships with Tamara and Aaron and realises even his father hasn’t defended him before, he also realises he can leave after his first year at the Magisterium but he is not sure if he wants to leave.
Call does eventually hear from his father because he sends the things Call is missing, his clothes and favourite book etc but in his note he signs his full name as if he doesn’t even know his own son, all for being chosen to learn to control his magic. It doesn’t seem fair and I really sympathize with Call.
At the halfway point in the novel Call is beginning to unravel the mysteries surrounding his magic and why his father has kept it secret from him. He discover that his father wrote to Master Rufus asking him to bind Call’s magic which disturbs Call as he is enjoying learning about it and making friends he has never had in the process.
Drew a fellow students run away in the middle of the night and all students were called to help find him after Call finds drew their group is ambushed by the Chaos-ridden. I was almost certain the chaos mage the Masters have been searching for was Call but it turns out to be meek, little Aaron. Call also realised the bracket his father sent him once belonged to a chaos mage and only two have existed in his lifetime one of those being the Enemy.
The last fifty pages of this novel were amazing and so action packed. The characters were amazing well though out and likeable but without being cliché. I also like the friendships forged throughout the novel. The ending was just amazing with Call learning who he is and being given the choice between having his magic bound or passing through the gate and officially becoming a Copper student.
Overall even though this novel is on the young side of YA it was great and I loved it. In some ways it was very reminiscent of Harry Potter but other than the fact its a story about a boy who wield magic they have nothing in common, the world, magic system and enemies are completely different. I have to say I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to recommend it to more people.
The review is done in collaboration with The Portrait Ezine
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