Book: The Iron Trial (Magisterium book #1) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare with illustrations by Scott Fischer
Rating: 1 star
I was so disappointed with this book not only was the writing bland it was extremely lazy. Also as I was reading this I couldn't help finding myself comparing this to Harry Potter (and Avatar: The Last Airbender with the bending of the elements), not intentionally but with every page I read it was becoming way too obvious that the authors took a lot of inspiration from Harry Potter. However, nothing was executed well.
That's putting it rather nicely, honestly the entire story felt like a watered down blatant rip off of Harry Potter from the cover art to the poorly executed story. Hello, the cover art has a death eater on it and the artwork that is at the beginning of each chapter looked a little too much like Mary GrandPré's artwork, she is the artist who did the original illustrations for the American Potter books. I think the authors were a little too enamored with HP and the story reads like that. It's one thing to be a fan but it's another to cash in on a story that's far from original.
The story is about 12 year old Callum Hunt who after trying his best to fail the Iron Trial, which is a test to see if he had what it takes to attend magic school. Although failing the test big time, he was still accepted to the attend the school. Here is where it differences from HP, because unlike where students receive letters saying they can go to Hogwarts and ultimately it is up to the student and their parents or guardians if they want to attend. In this book, the students nor their parents have no say if they don't want to attend. In Callum's case his father decides that he doesn't want Cal to attend but that doesn't work with this school, the teachers or Masters forcible take him away from his dad. That sounds like a great school, doesn't it? Who wouldn't want to go there?
Callum is very Harry Potter like right down to the messy black hair and the scar although his is due to an injury. Cal is friends with Aaron Stewart who is a blond and less clumsy Ron Weasley and Tamara Rajavi who is a very smart girl and is very informed and takes rules very seriously. Tamara starts out being rather judgmental and almost bully like towards Cal. Oh there is a bully who acts remarkably like Draco Malfoy his name is Jasper deWinter. There is a teacher at the school Master Rockmaple who instantly dislikes Callum think Professor Snape and there is another teacher Master Rufus who is quite similar to the way Professor Dumbledore is written and last but not least there is a wizard who is the big evil in the wizarding world and everyone is afraid to say his name (um, who does that remind you of Voldemort, right?) and he has a Potter like connection to Cal.
It's sad that the authors could not come up with an original or unique story but instead made a poorly written book that has way too many similarities with Harry Potter. There is nothing new about a kid going to magic school that was invented long before J.K. Rowling wrote about Harry but it's all the other things in this story that makes it so obvious where the authors got their ideas from.
Apart from the Harry Potter rip off, this was a very boring story with the prologue being the best thing about it. It's the only thing that felt original. I thought the plot and the characters were less than interesting and there was nothing that kept me engaged with the story. Even the twist at the end wasn't original.
I'm very glad I checked this out from the library. It was a total waste of time reading this. I wouldn't be surprised if the authors of this book get sued by J.K. Rowling, there were just too many similarities to Harry Potter.