Monday, March 30, 2015

The Iron Trial

Callum Hunt knows one thing.  He must fail the test and be refused entrance into the Magisterium.  His father has told him all about the magical training school.  The Masters don't care about the welfare of their students.  They perform experiments on them and involve them in violent wars.  Plus, the school is like an underground prison.  Callum does his best to fail, but it doesn't work.

Callum is now a student at the Magesterium, an apprentice of Master Rufus, the most prestigious teacher at the school, and he's not really sure how it happened.  After a rough start, Call reluctantly starts to befriend his fellow apprentices, especially Tamara and Sean who are also working with Master Rufus.  There are some things about the school that reinforce what his father has always told him, but the longer he lives there, the more he begins to like it.  He even discovers that he is actually good at magic.

His twisted leg, broken when he was a baby, has always held him back in school, but at the Magesterium it hardly seems to matter to the other students.  But even as he starts to settle in to life in his new underground school, there is a growing uneasiness in the magical community.

The Enemy of Death was once a student at the Magesterium until he turned on everyone and began a war that ended in a great slaughter children, the old, and the sick:  The Cold Massacre.  There has been a truce for the last twelve years, but everyone knows it can't last forever.  What if the enemy returns?  What if Callum's father was right, and he's about to be forced into battle with the Enemy of Death?

This new series opener by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare is fun read.  There are some good twists and turns to the plot, but it does have heavy overtones of Harry Potter.  Potter fans will probably enjoy the familiarity of the special child sent to magic school with enigmatic teachers and secrets.  This is a solid book, and I look forward to seeing where the series goes in the next book.

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