The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Apparently I’m Cassandra Clare trash now. I wanted to see what a book in another universe would be like from CC and it was a pleasant read honestly. I haven’t read anything by Holly Black before but I’m interested now.

The Iron Trial is about a boy who has special magic powers and goes to a school to be taught how to harness that power, your classic middle grade/YA fantasy book. What’s different about this one is that Callum, our MC, has been told by his dad for years that magic isn’t a good thing and under no circumstances should he go to the magic school (Magisterium)  and he has to fail the entrance exam. Obviously he doesn’t though.

Callum is disabled, he has a leg injury that he went through numerous surgeries after birth with just to be able to walk, and so walks with a limp and has trouble just moving. Callum’s disability really sets him apart from a bunch of male MCs in books like this, in a similar way to Percy Jackson being set apart because of his dyslexia. It was really good to read a book where the MC wasn’t perfectly able, I love being able to read more diverse titles.

I’ll be honest and say that this is basically a crossover between Percy Jackson and Harry Potter but it was entertaining to read. You have the young boy who goes to a place where he finally feels like he belongs and makes friends with another boy and a girl. It’s not hugely original but it has enough of it’s own ideas to not feel like an exhausted plot. It’s very difficult to write something like this without being compared to HP, especially with CC’s HP history, which I discussed in my review of City of Bones.

The writing was seamless, had there not been 2 names on the cover I would’ve had no idea it was co written. It reads perfectly, there was no jumps between different writer’s styles or anything and I was super impressed with this. Though the pacing was a little weird for me; they were going through their school year then the end just suddenly happened and that was it.

Yeah it’s not the most individual book ever written but it’s a light, entertaining read and I can’t wait to see what happens with the rest of the series after the way things were set up in this.

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