“They want to find a chaos mage. They say it takes a Makar to stop a Makar. As long as the Enemy is the only one of the Makar is alive, he has the advantages over us.”
Part of the Magisterium series: Book One
Release Date: September 11th 2014.
Rating: 3 / 5
(I received a copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.)
I was so torn after reading this. I want to like Cassandra Clare books, really I do. I keep giving her chances, but time and time again I feel disappointed by the end. This book is good, it really is, and I really like the twist at the end, but there are lots of smaller things that combined, outweigh this.
The Iron Trial is the story of Callum Hunt who, despite his best efforts to fail the test, is accepted into the Magisterium to start learning magic. Despite growing up being told that magicians are bad, they are the reason his mother died, and that he will get lost in the Magesterium tunnels and be unable to escape; Callum begins make friends, enjoy the lessons, and find out he is good at it. Soon they are made aware that they are trying to find the Makar, the only person who can control the choas element, and their only chance to defeat the Enemy of Death.
Now, if you have read other reviews, you will have noticed the constant comparison between this and Harry Potter, or people being quite aggressive in reply that just because it’s about magic doesn’t mean it is a Harry Potter rip off, and this cannot be assumed from the cover alone. Now, as someone who has read it, I can confirm that there is a lot of similarities between this and Harry Potter, and not just because it is about magic. Since reading it, I did a little bit of research on Cassandra Clare, and it turns out that before she became a successful author, she wrote Harry Potter fanfic, from Draco’s perspective. Which for me, explains an awful lot. In addition to this, both Cassandra and Holly have stated that they read a lot of magic books and series in order to get research, they stated that “We wanted to build a fun world, characters we loved, and as many twists and surprises as we could come up with. We hope that reader familiarity with witch and wizard books actually allows us a little more flexibility in terms of what readers will go along with — and also maybe there are things they won’t at all suspect!”
So what are the similarities? Both have mothers who died when they were young, both protecting them. The Enemy of Death is very similar to Volemort in that his greatest fear is death, and he tried to conquer it, and in doing so did something that was very similar to the concept of Horcruxes. There is only one person who can defeat each, Harry Potter for Voldemory, and the Makar to stop The Enemy of Death. Additionally, both are within a trio, where the children constantly break the rules but get away with it because they ultimately succeed.
So, there are a lot of similarities, not just the magic element. But equally, there are elements to this book which are unique, and make it very good. I liked the idea of the magic system, and there being five elements; fire, earth, water, air and chaos, each with a counter balance. Without giving too much away, I did rather like the ending, which wasn’t entirely predictable, which is good! Additionally, I don’t normally like books that are co-wrote, as I find it doesn’t flow very well, and you can usually tell who wrote each part based on their writing style. However, the two went together really well, and it flowed throughout.
Therefore, if you can overcome the similarities between Harry Potter, it is a good read. Will I read the next in the series? Who knows!