The Iron TrialBook Details:

  • Authors: Holly Black, Cassandra Clare
  • Series: Magisterium #1
  • Release Date: September 9, 2014
  • Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Adventure
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Edition: US
  • Number of Pages: 295
  • Price: Php. 720.00


The worst off you look, the likelier they are to reject you (p.10)

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 . . .

Third Sentence: 

Despite his amber goggles, he winced at the brightness of the reflected sunset.

Thoughts About The Cover:

I absolutely love the cover. The cover features an image of a masked man, which I guessed is the main antagonist, (yeah, that was obvious) and a trio of children which reminds me of the Harry Potter trio. A blonde boy stands in the center and to his left is a dark-haired boy while to his right is a caramel skinned girl. It also features a beautifully crafted typography. I hope that the remaining covers for the other books will match this one, especially the spine.

My Review:

I’ve heard a lot of things about this book. Most of them are comparing this projected five-book series to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Although, there are some similarities to Harry Potter (which you seriously cannot avoid) I believe that the Magisterium world is completely different. Magisterium has a completely different magic system and the how the school functions is completely different from Hogwarts. Magisterium is more like apprenticeship system, students have different masters and ways on how they are taught.

The Iron Trial is about a boy named Callum who have been taught that Magisterium is an evil school and tries his best to fail The Iron Trial, a some sort of an entrance exam to young mages. But then, he fails at failing. When Call was assigned to a Master who will train him, he meets his other companions and soon-to-be best friends, Tamara and Aaron. Aaron was the blonde boy on the cover and Tamara was the girl with braids. At first, I was so confused with the position of the characters on the cover. Aaron is positioned on the center of the cover and not Call, the main protagonist. Why Call is positioned that way? That question bugged me for at least the half of the book and it keep me going.

There are no wands in the Magisterium. Instead, it  focuses on the elements namely fire, water, earth, air and chaos. I love the idea of how this system works, especially when a simple whisper will command the water to move, or creating things out of nothing. It’s a breath of fresh air after the fantasy genre is overshadowed for years by the Harry Potter series. The magic system is so easy to understand and you don’t have to go back to previous pages just to remember how things works. The pacing is really slow at the beginning of the book but picks up towards the end, creating an intense climax.

2. All elements act according to their nature: Fire wants to burn, water wants to flow, air wants to rise, earth wants to bind, chaos wants to be devoured. (p. 83)

At first, I don’t like the character of Callum. He is so rude and stubborn. I hate it when he says completely different from what he feels. It feels like he always tries to prove himself better than anyone. That even with his friends, he feels insecure. At some scenes there are really stupid decisions that he makes which completely upsets me. On the other hand, Aaron is the calm water with Call’s rocky attitude. I loved how I relate with Aaron. Aaron stand outs without trying too hard, he’s a complete natural. Aaron reminds me of Jem Carstairs from The Infernal Devices, also by Cassandra Clare. He’s a really nice friend and very humble person. His character creates a balance towards the trio. Tamara on the other hand provides the humor in the book. I like her witty attitude and know-it-all persona. Furthermore, what I like the most with these set of characters is Havoc (if you consider him one). Havoc binds the three together, representing a neutral ground among the three characters. He inculcates the sense of loyalty and trust to book and it makes me more excited on how the trio will handle his growth in their quarters.

One of you will fail. One of you will die. And one of you is already dead. (p.172)

When Aaron was revealed that he is a Makar, I was astounded and completely confused. If Aaron was the Makar, then what is Call? What would be left for him to be a main character because the Magisterium revolves with the idea of a Makar? Would Call just be watching on the sideline? These questions really confused me.


Until he volunteered to be a counterweight of Aaron’s chaos power. With that, I think that this series will not end well. A masochistic part of me likes this and that makes more sense why Call was standing beside Aaron on the cover.

He is not your companion. He is your destruction. (p. 277)

If you ask me what I like the most with this book is its twist at the end. I completely didn’t predicted it. I just stared and literally dropped the book. It was so greatly woven that you will not expect it coming. It did leave a great start for its sequel, creating hundreds questions on my mind. It was so mind-blowing. It just destroyed all of my positive hopes. The twist shattered my heart, then throw the remaining pieces to an incinerator leaving me ruined and a complete mess. By the Angel, this completely raised the bar for its sequel. I’m patiently waiting for those who judged this book to read this and watch them roll over.

Overall, I really like this book and I’m sure to read its sequels (Dammit, another year to wait). The magical terms are so easy to understand and to remember. This book changed my views on magic. This a good read, a page turner and not a Harry Potter rip-off. 


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars