Reviews

The Iron Trial, by Holly Black, Cassandra Clare

kitkatscanread's review

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4.0

Really close to a 4.5 star rating.
I really enjoyed the general storyline.
I am a Harry Potter fanatic and not once did I think this book was like it as I was reading it.
Sure it has one boy main character with a boy and girl best friend.
Sure magic is involved.
But that has nothing to do with anything major.
For one this story contains elements and magic control.
I actually liked this book more than I thought I would and prepared for the HP similarities, but when they didn't come I liked the story on its own.
Don't judge a book before you read it.
Give the book a try before you begin to think "oh it sounds like a Harry Potter rip off".
I really dislike when people judge before they try something. You don't get far by doing that.
I enjoyed it and I can't wait for more.

thejanewayprotocol's review

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3.0

So, I wrote a review for this book last week, and I was so proud of it. But I wrote it on the fly, and didn't save it, and then because of my crappy dial up internet connection, it never got posted to GR :/ I doubt I'll get round two to sound as good, but here goes...

Despite the many complaints that have plagued this book since we all heard about this book, I strongly have to disagree with the accusation that this book is a Harry Potter knock off. Uh no. Not even close. Not even remotely close. It's not like JK Rowling was the first person to think of a school of magic for untrained witches and wizards. Hers was arguably the best conception, but that idea was not originally hers. Perhaps there were a few scenes *Cough cough, final scene* that were a bit similar, but The Iron Trials is so far out of TPS league that it is almost insulting to bring up a comparison.

Unlike Harry, Callum Hunt knows that he has magical capabilities. In fact, he fears them. He has grown up his entire life fearing the magical community. He doesn't know the full history, but he knows that the mages and their world is what resulted in his mothers death. His father has never performed magic since, and Callum wants nothing to do with it either.

Enter the Iron Trial: a series of tests that children undergo to determine their full magical potential. Depending on how well they do during these trials, the Masters decide who they want to take on as apprentices. There not enough instructors for students, and some kids always end up getting rejected. Callum (sorry, I refuse to say the nickname they've given him in the book - Call. Every time I read it, I read it as call, as in telephone call. Extremely annoying.) plans on being one of those rejected kids. He doesn't want to participate in a group of magicians who don't care about their students.

Not only does he fail in failing the trials, he happens to get selected by the best Master in the group: Master Rufus. So, against the will of his father and himself, he is forced to go to school and learn magic.

While at school, he learns a side of history that his dad always seemed to leave out. He learns that maybe its not so one sided after all. Maybe he can learn magic and help their magical community maintain peace and harmony. Maybe.

While the plot in this book is a bit complicated to follow at times, it is still intriguing, and I am curious to find out what happens in the next book. But I seriously hope that the writing gets more stronger.

The one thing that has really surprised me from this book of two very accomplished authors, is just how week the writing actually is. All the characters need better attention. They all seem so flat and simple. Callum is not a very likeable character at all, and there were times where I really didn't care what happened to him. I didn't feel the connection that he supposedly had with his two friends at school. There was no chemistry there.

Same with their Master. For someone who was meant to be the wisest and most powerful Master in the Magisterium, he seemed so boring. No flair, no interesting anecdotes. He spat out fact and basic sentences. There was no connection to him and his students.

The other background characters felt that way too. And same with their school. I really struggled with the imagery in this book. I had a really hard time picturing where the students were half the time, and it was really tiresome trying to figure out where they were and how they got there. Maybe if this book included a map of the school or something, it would've helped. But they really need to work on that.

It really is the interesting plot line that saves this book. I am curious enough to read the next one, but if the characters done get fleshed out a bit more, and start sounds more natural, rather than just plot line here, explanation there, I don't think I'll be continuing with this book. Actually, while I am typing this out a second time, I am starting to think I might have graded them a little too high. Definitely lots of room for improvement.

bookish_wanderer_mar's review

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3.0

I love Cassandra Clare and automatically buy anything she writes, so that's how I ended up buying this even if I almost felt like it would have been too childish for me. I liked the way it is written, the synopsis is quite interesting, but nothing too special. I did like the main plot twist, because you are sure what's going to happen, until you find out you were absolutely wrong!
It's a light, nice read.

greyscribbler's review

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2.0

2 1/2 stars

In an attempt to create a story that are both derivative and striving to be original, HB and CC created a pathetic excuse of a character that is Callum Hunt. Sadly for this book, the main character himself is, not necessarily a fault but definitely its biggest weakness. Callum Hunt is just frustrating and annoying. There's a part where I just need to put this book down and growl in anger: Callum just made a snarky remark about Jasper and when he made an answer as snarky ans shady, he was offended. Actually offended. So he can make all the snark in the world but don't mess with him because he's a cripple. I get it. Really.

In a close second for this book's biggest downfalls is the world-building. Can we just marvel on every wall of the Magisterium, its farthest wall, its shape, what's in the left side, in the right side. And of course, the center. How beautiful is the wall of a cave, with its lichens and mushrooms and lakes that boil and weirdly named rooms. Ugh! Claustrophobia, anyone?

As a final rant, I'd like to point out what I consider a petty thing: Callum's nickname. Why the fuck would someone nickname him CALL? All the time, I was reading "KOL" and not "KAL". It's frustrating. I sometimes just need to stop and...
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I'm going to read the entire series though. Because the last quarter made actual sense. And it's actually immersive despite being annoying at times.

carstairst's review

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5.0

what the fuck just happened????????????!!!

yjunlibrary's review

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4.0

FIND THIS REVIEW AND MORE OVER AT SUBURBIA READS

After so many years of pushing this novel to the side just because I had other things to read, I finally decided to pick it up on a random night while scrolling through Overdrive. The description for The Iron Trial caught my eye when it was first released, however, I never got around to picking it because I had so many other things to read at the time.

The Iron Trial is a Middle-Grade/Fantasy with a little bit of Young Adult added to it, so it pretty much has a little bit of everything, especially the adventure the characters go on, which is what made this novel a whole lot of fun, in my opinion.

I'm usually not the type to pick up books in the Middle-Grade genre because most of the time I end up not liking it, but with The Iron Trial it was different. I found myself not wanting to turn the audio book off  at all. I wanted to know what happened when one chapter ended and the other one began. This one definitely had me up late in the night and not in a bad way. I was just hooked. 

Towards the end of the book, we got a plot twist that I pretty much saw coming, but it still shocked me when the scene came.

Lastly, with how The Iron Trial ended, I am definitely picking the rest of the series up in the future via audio books because I truly enjoyed the first novel.

annegirl's review

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3.0

This book had a lot of potential. But it is impossible not to notice all the similarities to Harry Potter. I hate to say that because it is really hard not to have at least some similarities to other books when working within a certain genre.... But this had so many.
It is an interesting story and I did enjoy it and am curious to see what will happen... But it wasn't quite what I expected from the collaboration of these two authors.

karin_gorham's review

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3.0

I find that after this first book I have more questions than answers, which is probably good in the long run but leaves me with an anticlimactic feeling at the end of this book. I do hope the next one comes out relatively soon.

nomennesciox's review against another edition

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4.0

I really liked this book! I wasn't really surprised that callum was something big, becuz.. yeah... in the first chapter they already told to the reader that he needed to be dead. but further it was a lovely easy to read book. the writing style is a bit childish. But I think it's officially made for children around 12. But it can also be a good read if you're older, because I liked it too!

mishopetrov's review against another edition

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5.0

Приятно изненадан съм от тази книга. Беше страхотно приключение със страхотни обрати.