The Iron Trial by Black & Clare

iron trial

The Iron Trial (Book 1 from the Magisterium Series)

There will be 5 books in the series

By Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Genre: Epic Fantasy/ Middle Grade

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Bang Bang Rating: 3.5/5


Callum, Aaron, and Tamara are students of Magic at the Magisterium.  The Masters (teachers) at the school are looking for the Makar to defeat the Enemy of Death.  Is Callum, Aaron, or Tamara a Makar that will save all of magic kind?

Dang, That was Good

* The prologue was amazing and got me hooked.

* The 3rd act was good and the ending was interesting.  Don’t want to spoil it so I won’t say too much.

* There are diverse characters.

* Unfortunately, that’s it.

That’s Too Bad, Dang!

* Hey, this sounds like Harry Potter! Three students, two boys and a girl, go to magic school to defeat evil.  It’s VERY DIFFICULT not to make comparisons to Harry Potter.  I am a HUGE HP fan, so I saw tons of similarities.  I tried to not do that, but I couldn’t and you won’t either.

* Writing-There was nothing special about the writing or the characters.  I have read books by both authors and I have recently become a HUGE fan of Clare and the Infernal Devices Series.  I think Clare’s world building and characterization are amazing.  I however didn’t care for Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Black.  It was very slow and unoriginal.  Both books deal with the supernatural but Clare managed to spin this saturated genre into something different, Black-not so much.

Because of this, I feel like Black was doing more of the writing than Clare.  I say this because there are many magical kids books since HP and because Iron Trial is so similar to HP; it doesn’t seem creative enough to be written by Clare.

The main character Callum is describes as obnoxious, but he’s not.  There is a student a-hole (the Draco) and once again, he’s not mean enough.  If you are going to make him an a-hole, don’t hold back.  I think Rowling taught us that middle graders can handle some pretty serious villains.  The characters don’t have distinct voices. You could swap any of the characters and it wouldn’t affect the story.

The characters have to take classes to pass these monthly tests but the classes are like the “paint the fence, sand the floor” type of classes.  There are several chapters where they are separating sand and carrying water without a bucket but it didn’t seem to move the plot along.

The middle of the book was boring.  It picked up in the third act.

* Felt like an Agenda.  I could be thinking too hard but it felt like they were trying to make this into a future movie/products.  The school was very descriptive, and I know that’s a good thing but it just felt forced.  The characters wore bracelets and it just seemed like they were going to make these bracelets for people to buy.  There was also a symbol that pops up and once again, I feel like they just want to make this symbol into folders and t-shirts.


I will recommend it to the librarian who purchases MG fiction but only because the authors are popular at my library.  I will probably read book 2 just to see how this is going to play out and you will understand why if you read the book.

It was okay and I hope the writing and the characterization is better in subsequent books.



2 thoughts on “The Iron Trial by Black & Clare

  1. Pingback: Top 12 Book 1’s of 2014 (So Far) (According to Me) | Bang Bang BOOK Blog

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