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The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare Book Review


From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.
From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will -- is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It's a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.



This is a middle-grade fantasy book written by two amazing authors, Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, so I knew it was bound to be pretty good. I wasn't sure how it would come out feeling, I knew what kind of vibe Cassandra's books had but I hadn't read any of Holly's. The result was something original and great, I think. It was different than what I expected and definitely a different vibe from the TMI and TID, but this book has something that draws you in immediately. Also, even though it's a middle-grade book that didn't stop me from enjoying it a lot.

To begin with, it's a great idea. Mages that  control the four elements and sometimes chaos are trained for five years at the Magisterium, which is sort of like an underground school for some lucky kids with magical powers. And from there on it intensifies, throwing in amazing caves, creatures, an interesting selection of food in the "cafeteria", and an enemy slowly becoming more real to the characters. The world-building was really well done. It felt simple but complex at the same time and it was just a really good balance, complete with a nice fantastical feel. 

The characters were great. There was a huge surprise with one of them, one that I didn't see coming at all. Tamara is a characters that grows on you slowly once you start to understand her. Aaron is the all-around lovely guy. And then there's Callum, the main character, I really liked him. While he did make some rather stupid decisions (especially in a certain part of the book) and I had some issues with his name, he was a great character and had some really snappy comebacks as well as a good heart.  


My only real issue with this book was that I thought the big plot twist near the end was too easy to guess. I figured out most of it pretty early on and there was another hint somewhere near the middle of the book. I don't know if they wanted you to sort of guess some things or not...but I did. There were a few details I wasn't as sure on, but the basic idea I was. So I wasn't as happy with that. I felt like it should have been a bit more of a surprise. However that part of the book had another plot twist, one that I didn't see coming. So that nearly made up for, I think.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I think it was a great collaboration between the two authors. It had a great feel, the plot and world-building were really strong I felt, and I liked the characters a lot. However the big plot reveal was maybe a bit too easy to guess. I figured out the gist of what would happen about 50 pages in or so. Despite that, I still really liked this book. It's a great fantasy book, just the kind I like and it left me wishing the next book was already written and available ;) I'm giving The Iron Trial 4 out of 5 flowers.


Sara Bennett happens to be a slightly crazy girl. A slightly nerdy girl. A slightly strange girl who likes being that way.  A slightly obsessed girl when it comes to things she loves. A girl who cries when reading books. A girl who desperately wants her own personal library. A girl who is a total bookworm. A girl who would rather read than watch reality tv. A girl who wants to be an author someday. A girl who loves her Savior. And a girl who just loves to read.

10 comments:

  1. For some reason I didn't realize this was a middle grade book. Oh well, it more than likely isn't going to stop me from reading it, especially after your review. ;)
    So glad this was every bit as good as I was hoping it would be!

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    1. I didn't realize it was a middle grade book until I actually started reading it. It was still really good :) I hope you enjoy it!

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  2. I'm not much of a MG reader, but having those two authors in one book is pretty awesome. Glad you loved it!

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  3. I'm not really a MG reader either and this book being MG is I guess why you could easily guess some things :) We've got more experience :) Anyhow I really love the sound of the writing and world-building. Great review :)

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    1. That's what I came to conclude as well since the target readers need to be able to understand the plot. So I shouldn't complain too much ;) Thank you!

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  4. I really enjoyed this book. Many claim its a Harry Potter rip off. I didn't feel that way at all. How about you? I thought it was quite original.

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    1. The only reason I would have compared it Harry Potter would be the age of the characters and the fantasy elements. I didn't think the plots were very similar at all! (now that I think about it I see how people could think that, but when you read it it's really original) Glad you enjoyed it!

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  5. Great you loved it too.... must agree that the concept behind the story was an ingenious idea from Holly Black and Cassie Clare. Great review :)

    Do see mine too here

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    1. I'm glad you liked it as well! Thank you!

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Hi! Thank you so much for commenting, I read each and every comment and love reading them :) Also, I'll comment back as soon as I can. Happy Reading!