Sunday 29 March 2015

Book Review: The Iron Trial; Holly Black & Cassandra Clare.

Hooray, my second book read for the Fantasy Favourites Readathon! I was a bit worried about this one because I had heard a few negative reviews and a lot of people compared it to Harry Potter (not in a good way). However in the end my experience wasn't that bad.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Iron Trial
AUTHOR: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
SERIES: Magisterium (#1)
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PAGES: 304
GENRE: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure

RATING: 2.5/5 Stars

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...

What I Liked:
  • The writing style of this book I really liked. I've read a lot of Holly Black's stuff, and enjoyed it but always felt her pacing was a little too fast for  me to get my head around. With this book (perhaps partly because she wrote this book with Cassandra Clare, an author I have never read), the pacing felt perfect. The words flowed nicely and I didn't find myself constantly re-reading parts to understand what was going on.
  • There were some elements of the plot that I really liked. The magic system was quite cool and I really liked the prologue to the story. It intrigued me and made me want to keep reading more of the story. I also felt that while the plot didn't feel completely original, it had parts that stood out as not being a 'Harry Potter rip-off'. E.g. The trio of Magicians that the story follows were nothing like Harry, Ron and Hermione in their personalities, the magical creatures were completely different, the Magisterium was absolutely nothing like Hogwarts, etc.
What I Disliked:
  • I guess the main reason that I gave it three stars was that although I felt it was a good enough story, it never really blew me away. Sure the start was very intriguing, but then I felt rather distant from the rest of the story. I never got a sense that it was building to anything, and though there was a surprise twist at the end, I didn't really like it.
  • The characters were for the most part good. I liked their personalities and they were memorable. But at times they felt a little one-dimensional. This was especially prevalent in the side characters and a lot of the Professors, and I really wanted to see more of them. I felt this same lack of detail in the world-building too unfortunately.
Overall Conclusion:
I did enjoy 'The Iron Trial' to an extent. I thought there was a really good plot concept, the introduction was intriguing, the pacing was good and there was an ounce of originality in there. Enough for it not to be obviously copying anyone else. The problem was, I feel like I've read more well-rounded stories. I wanted more detail in everything and it just fell a bit flat. Also, the ending was a bit disappointing.

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