Tuesday, September 9, 2014

NERC Review #40: The Iron Trial

*Thank you so much for the eARC, Scholastic!

Before this was even probably written, EVERYONE was talking about it. If anything has the name Cassandra Clare attached, oh shit, better run for the hills. Double shit when the cover and synopsis sounds like a Harry Potter remix. And I hate to disappoint all of you, but this one could hold its own. Sure it had a few parallels with the infamous series, but it wasn't just a remake of JK Rowling's novels. There were similarities and differences. It's not Harry Potter, no, but will a book about witchcraft ever be as great as that series? If you answer that with yes, then you're lying.

Rating: 3.5 Stars!
I don't think I've read a middle grade book since Harry Potter, which was YEARS ago. I don't read them. Why? Simply because I feel too old. I'm a reader who loves books that will challenge me and make me think. And most often, MG books don't hold an appeal because they are generally not as thought-provoking to me. And, I don't know, I'd rather my characters be older and wiser. Sometimes their age truly shows in the story, and I find them rather annoying.

But Callum wasn't that annoying. He's your typical surly and sarcastic child, though most of the time it was just to cover up his insecurity. I definitely enjoyed his negative attitude, and I found it realistic to his character because of what he's been through with school and his family life. At times, he made me roll my eyes. But then I had to remind myself that he was only twelve and still had a lot to learn about life and relationships. He was a boy who lost his Mom when he was a baby, who has been bullied and ridiculed because of his bum leg, and whose father taught him that magic was wrong and that the Magisterium was a lie. But Call had to find out for himself, and I thought his introspection was realistic considering all that he's heard and seen and learned since being at the school.

I thought the secondary characters weren't as fleshed out as Call, but I think that's because we only get his POV. Sure it's in third person, but he's the one telling the story. The other characters did have their own personalities; I just wish his relationships with them had been a bit deeper, especially with Tamara and Aaron. There weren't many "moments" between them, ones that made me believe they'd all formed connections that went deeper than having the same Master. Then again, they're only twelve, respectively.

The story moved at a fast pace; a whole year goes by that can only be fit into so many pages. Call and his friends practice magic, swap stories, and discover that not everything is as it seems and that what they'd been told about the past isn't exactly the truth. Sometimes they jumped headfirst into situations, an impulsiveness that bugged me because they're just children. I'm also a little unsure of the story-line after a certain revelation, but I'll withhold judgment until the I can read the sequel. The writing was simple and straightforward, not overly complicated because it's middle grade. And because I don't read this genre, I was not fond of the style. 

This wasn't Harry Potter, no, but I thought it was a good story. I liked the elements of the Magisterium and the main character. I'm not that invested in the next book, but I do want to read the sequel and see where the story-line goes.


  1. Yeah I agree it was different from HP, but of course there were some similarities. I actually did find Call a bit annoying, and I read MG ALL the time. But his sarcasm was funny most of the time and I think I warmed up to him a bit. I like they other characters too, I'm thinking we will see more of their relationships as the series progresses. I'm definitely gonna read the next book!

    -Dee @ Dee's Reads

    1. Yes, I loved Call's sarcasm! The kid takes after my own heart. Haha. But I think I'll warm up to him and the other characters more once the series progresses. This didn't give us enough time to truly know them. Also. I am interested in seeing where the story-line goes; I just have no clue what's going to happen! Haha.


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