Story Rating: 4/10
Character Rating: 5/10
Cover Art Rating: 4/10
Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.
Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.
All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.
So he tries his best to do his worst — and fails at failing.
Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.
The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .
Hmmm… So, how to get pumped up about this series? So first thing first, I got the series on a mega book deal from The Works (discount book store here in the UK) with the 1st four books in the series for £6. Bargain right? Well… let’s see.
The books starts off with an interesting prologue and i must admit it did have me interested…but that’s about as far as my interest held. Then we met Callum, our generic Harry Potter/Percy Jackson style young boy middle grade protagonist. 0 personality. 0 charisma. 0 reason to be the story’s hero but we’re stuck with him. Oh, and did I mention the difficulty he has running/walking due to his injured legs from when he was little that has all the grace of adding to the story of a disability-awareness/representation tick box… hmmmm….
Anyway, he goes off to the most bizarre style skills combine, that felt so weird and disjointed. I mean, do the parents know what there’s in for? It’s like a try-out to get into Hogwarts, it’s weird. It’s convoluted and just… this sequence is just meh. okay. It’s meh.
So I’m about fifty pages in and already thinking DNF, but i’m going to push through it. It’#s a middle grade I tell myself. I’m not the target audience and it’s only like 300 pages long… I CAN DO THIS….
God, I wish I hadn’t.
So arriving at magic school, which is randomly under a mountain someplace, which sounds more like a S.H.I.E.L.D testing facility from Marvel than magic school and we have this trio of unlikely friends (Harry, Ron, Hermione/Percy, Annabeth, Grover) and they come together out of circumstance, blah, blah, blah.
And really, that’s the problem with Magisterium: The Iron Trial. It’s just so damn boring!
The lessons are unimaginative and vary little compared the range of Harry Potter (Potions, Divination, Broom Flying, Magic plants and Dark Arts) and the supporting cat has all the thought and imagination of the cardboard cut outs that they are. The plot revolves around the aspect of some magical war that’s been brewing but the world building is lacking. There is a chosen one that can prevent all this, and to the authors credits, they tried to subvert this trope a little, but it doesn’t add anything to the story, only slows it down. There’s a mystery in Callum’s father’s behaviour and blah, blah with that. The main teacher is a mixture of Dumbledore/Snape and it doesn’t work, nor is developed enough to invest readers. The trio of heroes, our version of many other power trios are the girl is the smart and gifted one (Hermione), there’s the chosen one (Harry) and the loyal friend (Ron). In many ways, this series feels like a fan fiction of someone who wished the HP series was from Ron’s perspective….
There is a cool addition in the demon dog they look after that I liked, mainly because I’m a sucker for cool pets in books (See my review of last kids of Earth – Monster dogs are awesome!)
The finale was… odd. And jarring. A mixture of – “I don’t care” and “God, will this book just finish already” with a dash of the archetype villainy moustache twirling an a “mwah-ha-ha” or two. In short, this book made me work to the finish in the same way a marathon is just a lengthy jog… it was cruel, felt endless and if you’re not doing it to raise money for charity then you’re an idiot, which is what I felt.
Needless to say, the remaining three books and original have made themselves comfy in a box that shall be gifted to the charity shop when this lockdown is finally lifted.
If you’re looking for a wizard society hidden in the modern world then stick to Potter.