Friends and Foes.
Danger and Magic.
Death and Life.
- from the back cover.
I know we have all seen blurbs on books that claim to be like another book, with words like "for fans of The Hunger Games". Sometimes these promises fall short. In this case, the comparison is obvious and almost too much. But once the book gets past the halfway mark, everything changes. This book mirrors the Harry Potter story in many ways. And I honestly believe that if you like or in my case LOVE Harry Potter, you will enjoy this book.
Comparisons to Harry Potter: The main character, Callum (better known as Call) is a boy who grew up not knowing much about the magical world, except that he should avoid it at all costs. His father constantly tells him he needs to fail the Iron Trial so he won't end up at the Magisterium (the school for magic). He has two best friends, a boy and a girl. There is an evil person known as the Enemy who nearly destroyed all good magic many years ago. Call is always making debatable decisions and often ends up in trouble and gets his friends in trouble too. There is one boy at school who Call almost instantly hates and hates him right back.
But, there are many differences and they get fleshed out more as the story progresses. And the story progresses marvelously. After all, the authors are both amazing and have brilliant imaginations: Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. They have written books separately that I really enjoyed. Together, how could they go wrong??
Let me tell you how I became interested in this book. During a 3rd-grade library class, we asked the students to think of a book they loved and compare it to another book. In other words, we asked them to make a connection - come up with their own, "if you like _____, then try _______." One of the boys said, "If you like Harry Potter then try Iron Trial, because they both have magic and an Enemy and a school for magic." My ears perked up because, as I think I've mentioned, I LOVE Harry Potter. Once the boy started elaborating, I covered my ears. Third graders aren't always good at avoiding spoilers.
And then, I checked the book out.... and read it in a few days... and immediately bought the second book... and read that in 2 days. Then I scoured the internet to try and find out when the next book is coming out... with no luck. I know it is coming, I just don't know when. I actually read the Harry Potter books as they were released. The waiting is deliciously awful and the books end far too soon!!
So, once again, I am reminded that incredible book recommendations can come from the least obvious places. And I am delighted to add another series to my favorites. Oh, and the only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because I already finished book 2 (The Copper Gauntlet) and it is even better. :)
3rd grade and up, boys and girls. Any fans of magic and/or Harry Potter.