Friday, February 6, 2015

The Iron Trial by Holly Black

Cover image for The iron trialCollum's father does not want his son to go to the Magisterium, a school for young magicians.  Collum tries to fail the admission trials, but he is chosen by one of the masters and soon discovers the magic school is not as bad as his father made it sound.  He makes friends with the other apprentices and gradually starts to learn to control the magic powers he was born with.  Just when things are going well he discovers something about his own history that changes everything and throws him and his friends into in a life and death struggle against the forces of Chaos. 

At first this book seems like just another Harry Potter clone.  There is the trials, which are like the sorting in Harry Potter.  There are the two new friends, one a brainy girl and one a very friendly boy from humble circumstances. The underground school is a bit like the Hogwarts Castle, with winding passages and magical items in each room. I was thinking, "really, can't you be a little original?"  But part of the way through the plot makes an unexpected turn that was surprising enough that I actually said out loud, "What?  What did that say? No, that can't be right." After that I was hooked.  Now I am eager for the second one to come out in September 2015.(295 p)

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