Don't think he's Harry. 'Cause he's not.

Summary:

As a baby, Callum "Call" Hunt (12) suffered irreparable leg damage that affects basic daily functions, including walking and moving around. He is a descendant of a long line of magicians, though his family considers magic to be "evil." Call's goal is simple: fail the Magisterium entrance exam and stay clear of dangerous, sinister magic.

But his plan goes awry and Call is selected to train under Master Rufus, the most respected mage at the school. Two other students, Aaron and Tamara were also selected by Master Rufus, and the three share a suite. Plunged into a strange, subterranean world, where nothing is as it seems, Call can only hope to survive the next year. 


BTSYA / Teen Reader (13):
Callum is an interesting, flawed, and unique character. Although his insecurity makes him feel less than capable, his teacher and friends help empower and push him, and he is able to harness his strengths to reach new levels. This story is encouraging; it focuses on discovering what holds you back, and learning to adapt and evolve beyond it.

The excellent world building sets the stage for the next few books in the series. Although the setting is more dark than the average middle grade book, the descriptions are both logical and entrancing. 

Other readers may have called this another Harry Potter copy. Don't be fooled by the magical school or the three main characters. Instead of falling into the same grooves as other stories, The Iron Trial brings something new and varied to the genre, adding to the conversation of magic and spells. The familiarity with other books allowed the authors to explore other, more abstract characteristics of the society and expand the story's depth and reach.

That said, the book does have a slower-paced plot. Key action scenes are lost in piles of information and detail. Even with the extra knowledge, the story didn’t describe the apprentice training very well, nor some of the more general points of the living accommodations.

Because of the darker scenes and descriptions, I believe this book is best suited for children ages 10 and older.  


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Don't be surpised if you like The Iron Trial as much (if not more) than Harry Potter. Just know that it isn't a Harry knockoff! Suspense, great magic, and characters you'll love (and hate) await you. 

Content Awareness Factors:

None noted. Our teen reviewer explained that there is some darkness within the plot.


Type of Book:
This is the first book in a fantasy series featuring a specially abled character.
Educational Themes:

Read this for fun. If you must, you can contrast and compare it with Harry. 

Reading Level:
5.6
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 13
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. Especially if you love fantasy and magic spells.

Title The Iron Trial
About

Magisterium, Book 1

Author Holly Black, Cassandra Clare
Publisher Scholastic Press © 2015
ISBN 9780545522267
Material Paperback
Cost $7.36
Genres Adventure, Fantasy, Friendship
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