Series: Magisterium, #1
Publisher: Random House Australia
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, MG, Paranormal
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.
When reading a book, one expects the following: 1) an original storyline and 2) one that will not make you fall asleep one chapter in. The Iron Trial, despite being co-written by two totally capable authors, just didn’t make 1) or 2) happen.
Harry Potter, anyone? I bet we all saw this one coming, regardless whether you’ve read the book yet or not. It’s about tweens, it’s got magic, it’s got 3 freaking kids on the front cover and in the background, there is a creepy looking thing that could draw parallels with good ole’ Voldermort. Personally, I wanted to hold all pre-judgement aside and read it seeing as it’s written by Cassie Clare and Holly Black for goodness sake. Unfortunately, these parallels only became more prominent and infuriatingly annoying after reading the book. The atmosphere was practically singing Hogwarts, but only not as well executed. I expected really imaginative and big things from this pair, however, it just wasn’t the case here.
The book starts with Callum sitting a series of tests to see if he can gain entrance to the Magisterium where he can learn magic from mages. His father is completely against the Magisterium after his wife died at their expense, and he has been forcing Callum to fail The Iron Trial on purpose so no mage will take him up as an apprentice. Callum does obey his father, though strangely, a mage chooses him anyway, and Callum has no choice but to go to the Magisterium.
Less ideal, were the characters. There’s plenty of diversity in terms of personality and cultural backgrounds, yet they lack substance. I felt no real grasp on the characters at all—they lacked that emotional bond and didn’t spring out of the page at all. Not even Callum, the main character. These are simply not characters that I would root for; they lacked depth and shape and even though this is an MG novel, and I know MG characters can be crafted well—The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand being one notable example. (To be honest, I’ve already forgotten every other characters’ names aside from Callum.)
Another thing that this first instalment lacked was the idea of keeping the reader actually interested and engaged. No jokes, I fell asleep after reading chapter one. And that never happens to me. But you can’t blame me though, the first paragraph was a boring, character profile info-dump. If chapter one couldn’t keep me interested, then you can assume what I did for about the last half of the book. Yep, I skimmed it. This felt very much like a set up for a series because we were just getting a lot of irrelevant info-dumps and monotonous and completely unnecessary events happening. Not that that is what’s supposed to happen in a first instalment.
I cannot recommend this book for it has disappointed me deeply. I highly doubt that I’ll bother continuing with this series as the characters and storyline failed to engage me entirely.
~Thank you Random House Australia for sending me this copy!~
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