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 . . .

From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown.


Few books make me want to start drafting a review right after I finish reading them. This is one exception. Huzzah for loopholes! To put it bluntly: this book is good. And… I read it in one sitting, okay? There, I admitted it. There are so many things to love about this book.

Callum is our main character. I thought I knew what I was getting with him: the typical tragic past, then the boy discovers he has magic powers. It’s a predicable MG fantasy, right? Wrong. Then a plot twist occurred that changed my perspective entirely. I can’t say what it is because I don’t want to give any large spoilers, but trust me, there’s no way I saw that coming. At all.

I was actually really surprised by some of Callum’s backstory. In the prologue, Callum’s mother is hiding out with her newborn son and is viciously slaughtered in a mass murder by the enemy. As Callum’s father is walking through the cave that his wife just died in, this happens:

“As he bent closer, he realized they were words — words his wife had carved into the cave ice with the last of her dying strength. As he read them, he felt them like three hard blows in the stomach.

How suspenseful is that? I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. Speaking of characters, the antagonist was someone I really loved reading about.  The antagonist was called the Enemy of Death. I’ve heard people call him Ed, though. Despite his rather unoriginal name, the character of the Enemy is something that captivated me, especially as the story progressed. One of the things I was particularly curious to learn about was, who was the Enemy of Death exactly? No one had seen him in decades, yet he still sent out his army to wreak havoc on Magisterium. Hmm…

Do I have anything to complain about? Not really. But I read an ARC of this book and since the next book releases late in 2015, it feels like ages until I can find out what happens next. I’m still very excited for book two (it’s called The Copper Gauntlet) and I can’t wait to read more about the world of Magisterium. Five stars for sure!


3 Comments on {Review} The Iron Trials by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

  1. Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer
    September 4, 2014 at 8:13 am (3 years ago)

    I guess it’s the big names in this that made me want to read it – I mean, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare writing together? That’s cool! And quite a feat reading it in one sitting 😀 I’m always saying I need to read more MG, so I think I might give this one a go 🙂
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…August RecapMy Profile

    • Samantha
      September 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm (3 years ago)

      That is so cool, I know! MG is definitely underrated, so I really hope you give this a shot.


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