Genre: YA urban fantasy
Length: 295 pages
Font: Adobe Casion
Setting: present day, mostly at the Magisterium (found somewhere in the boonies in the United States)
Interest: The book was brought to my attention by a GeekDad post about parallel reading books with your kid. Mr. Curiosity found it at the library, and I encouraged him to get the book since I’d heard good things about it. When he read the whole thing in a day, I decided to be sure to read the book before we returned it to the library.
Summary: Callum Hunt has to go take a test to see if he has what it takes to be a magician. His father has seen the damage magicians can do, though, and wants Call to deliberately fail the test. Call succeeds in bombing the test, but he fails in such unique ways that Master Rufus chooses him as an apprentice. Even though Call is afraid of what will happen at the Magisterium (the school for magicians), he finds himself having fun. He bonds with Rufus’ other apprentices, Tamara and Aaron, although the early antagonism between himself and snooty Jasper never really goes away. Everything changes when it is discovered that Aaron is a Makar and can wield chaos magic. The magicians have been waiting for a new Makar to take on the Enemy of Death. One of the new apprentices draws Aaron out of the Magisterium and Call and Tamara go after him. They eventually rescue Aaron, but Call discovers his soul was replaced with that of the Enemy of Death when he was a child.
Final thoughts: This book didn’t grab me right away, but by 100 pages in, I was hooked. In some respects, it reminds me of Harry Potter, and would probably be a good book to recommend to someone who loved the Harry Potter series. Like Harry Potter, you definitely have a reluctant hero in Call. He doesn’t want to be at the Magisterium and knows nothing about the history of magic. However, it turns out Call is not the hero of the story. That role goes to Aaron, and this twist makes the book more interesting, since you ask “now what?” The answer to that question was even better than I expected. Turns out, Call has the soul of the enemy all the “good” magicians have been working against all these years. Does that make him evil? He doesn’t feel evil. His best option is to have his magic sealed so he can’t do any harm to anyone, but he just can’t go through with it. Now we get to explore the ultimate nature vs. nurture question as the series progresses.
Title comes from: The first year at the Magisterium is the Iron year, and it culminates in the Iron Trial
Reading challenges fulfilled: an I in my Title Reading the Alphabet Challenge, and #33 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge
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