The Iron Trial (Magisterium) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, Scholastic Press, 2014. ISBN: 9780545522250. Reviewed by John R. Clark, MLIS.
What happens when you fail at failing? Meet Callum (Call) Hunt. His dad has warned him about the danger of magic for as long as he can remember, but never got into specifics. Now he’s been summoned to a test, the Iron Trial which will determine his ability to be accepted at the Magisterium, a super secret underground school for magicians. What he doesn’t know is what happened in the bloody confrontation when he was an infant and what his father found that led to the fierce prohibition on magic.
Despite his best efforts to fail the tests, Call is whisked away to the school where he finds himself rooming with teens Tamara and Aaron. What follows involves the classic battle between good and evil, learning to be comfortable in his own skin and adopting a totally forbidden pet while developing trust and friendship with his new roommates. The story includes very interesting creatures, Some of the oddest food around, battles, a dandy twist near the end and a nice ride as Call learns his place in the world, as well as what was and wasn’t true about his past.
Four more books are planned (two out as of this review), so young readers hooked by this one will have plenty to anticipate. It’s an engaging story with lots of action and mystery to go with the wizardry.