I received this book as an ARC at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas. I got a special edition (I think) with a letter from Clare and Black on the cover. Honestly, I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. All of the reviews on Goodreads (from people who hadn’t read it) were attempting to compare it to Harry Potter, but I will save that rant for the end of this review. Here’s the synopsis:
“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…”
1. The main character, Callum, is blissfully ignorant of his situation and magic, effectively keeping us in the dark.
One of the things I love about first person or one person’s point of view is that it keeps me guessing until I know what the main character knows. This is so great for this book, because we are as unschooled in magic as Call is, and that just makes for more awesome discoveries. Not only discoveries of magic, but discoveries about who Call really is.
2. I love the creatures in this book!!
There are your basic dragons and wyverns, but there are also creatures called the Devoured and the Chaos-ridden. The descriptions were so great that I have this amazing picture of the Magisterium and its inhabitants in my head. I will admit honestly that I dreamt about them last night, too. There are even strange creatures within the school. It is so awesome.
3. Dual authored books usually irritate me, but this one was so well done, that I kind of forgot they were both in on it.
There was a joke on Goodreads talking about how since Cassandra Clare co-wrote this, there had to be Shadowhunters. I kind of find that insulting on behalf of Clare. She and Black worked so hard on this idea, that it flows so well. You can’t really tell which ideas were Clare’s and which were Black’s. Admittedly, I am more of a fan of Black than Clare (I refused to read past book four in her Mortal Instruments series) but take it from me, this one was so worth it.
4. This was book one in a series of FIVE BOOKS. Yes, I said FIVE. BOOKS.
So much happened in this book, I can’t even believe that they have come up with more story to supplement five books. This was so crazy and I am so excited to see what the rest of the books have in store. Like any first book, this was definitely setting up for more in the future, but I can’t contain my excitement for the next four installments.
5. The ending was so crazy, I stayed up WAY past my bedtime.
As soon as I got to the last 20 pages, I sat up straighter in bed and I had to put the book down for a minute. You know that moment where you tell yourself, “Just one more chapter, then I’ll go to sleep”? That happened to me six or seven times within the last quarter of the book.
6. My rant on similarities in literature, regardless of the genre.
I hate when people say things like, “If you liked [insert popular series here], you’ll definitely like this book!” I am of the firm belief that within literature, you’re going to find similarities between newer books and books that have done it first. Just as you see some similarities to Harry Potter in this book, you’ll see similarities between The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Everyone has similar ideas – there really isn’t anything that hasn’t been done before – the most authors can do is improve on something that’s already been done. Yes, you can compare this to HP, but it is NOTHING like the story. You can see some characters in others, but it does not necessarily mean that it is the same. If you pick up this book and put it down again because of the similarities, you should read this review and pick it back up, because it deserves your attention. /endrant
With that said, overall: FIVE STARS!! I adored this book, and you will, too. Especially if you like the magical world in any form. This is way different from any supernatural/fantasy book I’ve read recently. I think you’ll like it. This book will be released into the world on September 9, 2014 so clicky clicky on the link to pre-order!