Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Iron Trial

The Iron Trial
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

Sculpting the ice in to hand and footholds, a Mage climbs an icy mountain, tricked in battle, it's imperative he gets to a certain cave. But when he does...it's too late. What awaits him is a slaughter, later known as the Cold Massacre. There is only one survivor...his infant son, but next to his wife there's a sinister message carved in to the ice..."KILL THE CHILD".

Flash forward 12 years or so, Call is about to embark on the Iron Trials, the tests all children with magical ability or suspected magical ability must complete to determine whether they will enter the Magisterium to train or not. All his life Call's dad has told him Magicians are bad, they can't be trusted and they have a plan for him to fail on purpose. Although it turns out it's easy enough to fail without even trying to throw it. Against the odds, let's be honest his score was in the minus, Call is chosen my Master Refus to become one of his apprentices.

Being told what he was by his dad, pretty much that the Magisterium will result in his death, among other similarly cheerful things, Call isn't too jazzed about getting to go to magic school. Ever since he was born (at least that's what Call thinks) one of his legs isn't quite right, so he's expecting much the same treatment as in his regular school. Jasper happily delivers, but as Call gets drawn deeper into the world of the Magisterium and actually makes friends...he finds himself not quite wanting to leave anymore.

But when he stumbles across ties to his past and finds out a shocking truth about himself, everything will change. In the midst of all the magic fueled mayhem, someone isn't who they seem, and a creature formally a Mage has a shocking message for them....One will fail. One will die. One is already dead. One things for sure..Calls in for the ride of his life.

So Holly and Cassie totally got me. I'm not even ashamed to admit it, I mean I'm 21 years old I should have been able to figure this damn book out, but no! I was shocked and surprised and then full of "ugh" at the wait for the next book. Seriously.

I'm a huuugge fan of Cassie. I am a Mortal Instruments fan, I have all the books, they cause me lots of feels, and I'm currently obsessing about the next book in the Shadowhunter world, and the incredibly long wait for it. Seriously I met Cassie at a signing before the movie came out and fangirled my brains out. After embarrassing myself royally with everyone's favourite Jace. Sooo I figured this would be the perfect way to tide myself over until the next one. I mean....it's not a YA book, so how much pain can it cause me right? Ugh.

The world created by Cassie and Holly is glittering, rich and well...magical. It sucks you in as you read, half the time I forgot I was actually sitting in my bedroom. The school is underground...how awesome!? I mean it was such a unique setting, the world is built fantastically and vividly without excess description bogging down the narrative. There's toadstools to sit on, stalagmite seats, blind fish, quartz EVERYWHERE (hence glittering), lichen that tastes like different food, elementals some of which are cute little lizards others are Wyverns etc. I could go on all day, although I will add that I want to try that soda!

When you're reading you really do feel like you're underground and in the world with the characters. The dark tunnels with the glittering quartz and phosphorescent rocks/mushrooms etc...I wanna go! It's such a colourful world!

The magic/laws of magic/lore, whatever you want to call it in Iron Trial is unique and rich. Mages draw on Air, Wind, Fire and Earth, however there are a select few, that can draw from the void, using chaos magic. Chaos magic is neither bad nor good, from what I gathered it depends on the person using it. The Mages have a goodie using it, while the enemy is well...The Enemy. Or to give him his proper title, The Enemy of Death. Suitably sinister right? He pretty much created his Chaos Ridden and made the Chaos Ridden animals.

It is possible to be consumed by the magic and become a human elemental, and we even meet one of those. It's one of the "devoured" that gave the rather sinister "one will die" etc message, and believe me, think it's just a device to add some intrigue all you like, knowing Cassie and Holly, that is going to come round and bite you on the ass because it will mean something and most likely come true.

I love how each different year is a metal, Iron for first years, Copper for second, Silver for third I believe and so on. It added another unique element so different from all the wannabe Harry Potter books with the grand old schools in castles etc. Not to mention the cool bracelets they have to wear, that gives them entry in to rooms and stuff, it has the metal on for each year, but also different coloured stones you have to earn, you get them when you've mastered an element.

The friendship in the book was rather heart warming. I thought Tamara was a bit of a cow in the beginning and I assumed she would carry on, but her sticking up for Call, the first time anyone had, made me love her and by the end of the book Aaron, Tamara and Call had formed such a strong friendship that you watched grow that you can't wait to see what's going to happen. Particularly with Call the counterweight for Aaron but also...well..you'll see! It was a very well written friendship,each of them different and bringing something to the group, and like I said, Tamara turned out totally different to what I was expecting! But then so did Call.....more later.

Jasper...well he was cruising for a bruising. He's a bit of a prat and I had him pegged for a rich kid, to be honest I thought "calm down Draco" more than once, he was edging into the "MY FATHER WILL HEAR ABOUT THIS" territory more than once. But like Tamara, Jasper turns out a lot different. In my mind Jasper gets separated from his only friend, is under a lot of pressure to do well to pull his family out of the slump they fell in after the war, he's a bit tattered, struggling a bit, and he could probably really do with more friends. I feel bad for him actually and I hope he gets more involved in the next book!

I want more of Warren, I must say! Warren is probably the only lizard I will ever like. A fire elemental that talks and legit has eyebrows, I can actually picture him very clearly in my mind as well! I need more Warren! I thought he was going to be the sidekick but then we got Havoc the Chaos Ridden wolf pup, I guess it's an adorable trade but still!

There's plenty of intrigue throughout the book, who does the bracelet belong to that Calls dad sent? What is Call? It becomes obvious that Call's dad didn't want him at the school for reasons other than they caused his mother's death, I couldn't work out what it was until right at the end when I was told. So the intrigue leads to some pretty major plot twists that I honestly didn't see coming so I spent a lot of time shocked and surprised. I'm willing to bet Calls dad was atleast friends with Constantine/The Enemy, if not his brother. I briefly entertained the idea he WAS The Enemy's supposedly dead brother but that's just silly! Or is it? Hmmm.

My first thoughts of Call where that it was so unique to see a main character who's not perfect, Call has problems with his leg and can't be as active as he wants to be and it was such a unique touch. Not to mention he's got to be the only kid who wouldn't be over the moon and shaking with excitement that he has magic and gets to go to magic school! But then....wow.

Call. I did not see that coming. I was reading along, safe in the knowledge I knew exactly where this was going..Call was so obviously the Makar, but even when it turned out to be Aaron I was all "No biggie, there's going to be two and it's going to be all OMG this has never happened before" and so on. No. Call turned out waaaayyy different to what I was expecting. He is not the hero you think he is. Call's soul is actually Constantines....aka the Enemys...he's just lost his memories. Oh yeah. That happens.

I was so shocked and so surprised because I was so sure he was going to be the hero type, turns out he has the potential to be the Villain of the series! Well technically I guess he already is? I am so excited to see where this is going, I mean, is he going to get his or rather, Constantines memories back? Will he be fighting himself? Will he turn out to be good or are we going to see the journey and making of a villain from the villains point of view? I don't know but I'm excited to find out!

The Iron Trial is a vivid, colourful, unique, fun world full of magic and mystery. It will draw you in, and keep you engaged through until the end with a combination of amazing world building, rich lore, loveable characters, humour, action, adventure and it's unpredictability. There is so much that is unique about the book it can't fail to stand out from the crowd, and there's so many little details that add to the wonder. The Iron Trial is a fantastic start to a new series!

And is if that wasn't enough, the questions from the first test Call has to do....yeah those are in the back of the book, so you can have a go and see if you're worthy of admittance to the Magisterium...you're welcome ;)

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