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Review: The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

The Deets: 
Audience: Middle grades
Pages: 299
Publisher:  September 9th 2014 by Scholastic Press
ISBN: 9780545522250
Genre: magic, fantasy
Source: eARC from Netgalley

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)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 . . .

Move over Harry and Percy, Callum is in the house! 

This series is going to be the next big thing. I guarantee it. How could it not with Holly Block and Cassandra Clare as the authors? 

I'm almost scared to admit that I almost gave up on this one. Eek. I know. I came so close to putting it aside, but I'm glad I did not. If you feel like this one starts slow, you're not alone. But don't give up. The ending is worth it all. 

I can't say much without giving away everything, but the setting of this book is awesome. Okay, I'm a bit biased since I know where the setting gets its inspiration from. I visited the Luray Caverns last summer. So when I read that the Magisterium is in Luray, VA I knew what I was reading! I was able to visualize everything, which sold me on this book. The Luray Caverns are spectacular; they fit perfectly with the mystery and vastness of the Magisterium. (Go ahead and look it up. You'll want a visual.) 

For a middle grades book, The Iron Trial is packing a serious punch on the deep themes. Callum has issues. He's not hero material. He's weak, disfigured, and not at all what you would imagine a hero should be. He doesn't even think he's a hero. In fact, he has some major baggage to sort through. This book is certainly setting the stage for a kick butt series that is going to poke around at the meaning of nature vs nurture. 

I will definitely be on the look out for book 2! 


  1. I liked this one, too, and it's a promising start to a new series. I don't read a lot of middle grade books because it seems that so many of them lack any nuance at all, but with Holly Black as the co-author, I feel good about these.

  2. This seems to be a polarizing book, with reviewers either loving or hating it. Now I want to read The Iron Trial to see which end of the spectrum I'm on. Thanks for the review! :)


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Product Details

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Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Square Fish (August 21, 2007)
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Source: My personal book

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