Thursday, September 11, 2014

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

The Iron Trail
Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
The Iron Trial
Magesterium #1
Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
Published: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Double Day Children's Book
Age Demographic: Middle Grade
Pages: 295

From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will -- is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It's a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

To PreOrder The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and 
Holly Black please visit: Amazon & B&N

(Note: I received an ARC of this book through ATW ARC Tours, in exchange for an honest review which I have posted here on the blog and on Goodreads.)

The fantasy world of magic has been around for ages within the history of fiction and it's no surprise that both Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, have managed to written about it so wonderfully in their first collaboration together, The Iron Trial . The moment when I first discovered they were teaming up to write a novel together, I was immediately excited and intrigued. These are two of my favorite author's who are always on my auto-buy list and even though I don't usually read much Middle Grade fiction at all, I was definitely excited to get my hands on a copy of this for sure. I knew without a doubt that it would be an amazing story full of twists, turns, magic, and fantasy lore that I would fall in love with. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint in the least little bit. 

I love how they took this magical world that they created, which did have Harry Potter-esque similarities, and created their own wonderfully unique and original spin on things. The idea of a magical school being recognized for the good the magic does in the world, as simply turned on its head and spun in a different direction, as the idea that maybe that isn't the case after all was highlighted as well. I loved this book for so many reasons, that it's completely unreal. Questions were raised, twists and turns happened, an ending that you weren't expecting happened, and so much more. One of the things that appealed to me the most, was the fact that the characters in this book were written in such a realistic way. They were described one way in the synopsis and you get the sense that they are going to be that and much much more, but when you start getting lost within the pages of The Iron Trial , you start to see that they are just regular twelve year old's dealing with normal things and then they have magic school on top of that. Their actions, the way they handle things, the insecurities, everything about them was like any twelve year old would be and that was definitely a breath of fresh air. 

Callum was ever bit as mischievous and insecure, as any twelve year old boy his age would be. He lacked the tact that an older boy would have and he was more rash in his anger than I would have imagined him to be. Still, though, it worked so wonderfully well for his character, in the fact that he was able to come off looking and acting his age. You can look at this book in the sense that it's a story about a kid who was told all of his life that mages are dangerous and will do dangerous things to you if they get a hold of you, and that if you end having to take the test to get into the magic school that you potentially might have to attend, you better fail the test. At least this is the way that Cassandra Clare has described this character to be and I can see why she would, because that's exactly how I ended up feeling about him and his story this book had to tell. So the next question that naturally follows, is what happens when failing doesn't help to save him after all?

For me, that's such an interesting concept, that I couldn't help but jump on board with it and gobble it up, to see what would happen next. 

All of the characters, including Call's friends Tamra and Aaron were so full of intriguing depth, that lent themselves very well to the story at hand. Charming and full of charisma, these characters were so much fun to get to know and the world of magic they found themselves in, the missions they took, were so amazing to experience with them. Watching them grow and evolve into a more mature twelve year old, was fantastic and I loved every single minute of it.

The world building was just as enjoyable as the characters and the plot of the book, though there were questions that were raised that I would have liked to have been answered, I'm hoping that the second book in this four book series is going to help to explain that. The handpicked groups of children from the different masters, helped to make the concept of magic school a little more original and unique. It definitely worked in Cassandra and Holly's favor, which made me love this book even more. Wonderfully developed and executed well, the plot of this novel was something else to read about. I had so many questions, very minor frustrations, and I never really saw the ending coming at all. This is something that definitely makes me want to pick up the next book in this series.

While there are things that I didn't quite understand about the ending, I am hoping the second book will explain that as well and help me to better understand it. This is just a first book in a series that I feel I am sure to fall in love with and will definitely end up on my auto-buy list, because the twists and swerves this book takes you are just as surprising as what you thought was going to happen next, was the exact opposite and sometimes you missed the mark completely. This is what I call a fantastic read with a lot of action, suspense, lots of surprises, and wonderful characters in store for you. I would definitely recommend this book to you, if you're the type of readers who enjoy fantasy books with endearing characters, interesting missions, and a little bit of mischief. The characters are real, the plot is a lot of fun, and the magic definitely makes the book worth reading.

Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.

Don't forget to check out her blog and her tumblr too! 

Holly Black

Holly Black is a best-selling author of contemporary fantasy novels for kids, teens, and adults. She is the author of the Modern Faerie Tale series (Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside), The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), and The Good Neighbors graphic novels (with Ted Naifeh) The Poison Eaters and Other Stories, a collection of short fiction, and The Curse Worker series (White Cat, Red Glove, and Black Heart). She is also the co-editor of three anthologies, Geektastic (with Cecil Castellucci), Zombies vs. Unicorns (with Justine Larbalestier), and Welcome to Bordertown (with Ellen Kushner). Her most recent works are the middle grade novel, Doll Bones, and the dark fantasy stand-alone, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Theo, in a house with a secret library.

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