I recently picked up the second book in the Magisterium series. I enjoyed the first book in the series, The Iron Trial, and I’m trying to make an effort to actually finish a series while I can still remember what the previous books are about. That might not work with long series (I’m looking at you, Dresden Files!!!), but this series is still being written, so I have a chance to stay current with it. Mr. Curiosity is also reading the books, so between the two of us, someone might remember to request the next book in the series.
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Length: 264 pages
Setting: in and around the Magisterium, soon after the events of The Iron Trial
Summary: Call isn’t having a very good summer. His father, Alastair, still isn’t thrilled he’s at the Magisterium, and Havoc (the Chaos-infused wolf pup) just seems to rub salt in his wounds. Things come to a head when Havoc disappears and Call finds a hidden room in his basement, complete with wall irons. Call runs away to Tamara’s and then back to the Magisterium for his copper year. Call is distracted from his studies by his father, his fear people will find out he has the soul of Constantine, the Enemy of Death, and the theft of the Alkahest (a magical device inimical to Makars). Call, Tamara, Aaron, and Jasper go off to confront Master Joseph and Alastair. It leads to the destruction of Constantine’s body and the release of Makar magic into Call. Constantine’s death is what keeps the kids from being kicked out of school, but only they know the fight really isn’t over.
Final thoughts: A nice build on the first book. Cal has a horrible secret and it affects his relationships with everyone. He has no one he trusts enough to share his secret with, which is a really tough place to be in. He worries all the time that someone will found out his secret and hate him for it. Turns out, no – his friends trust him.
There’s also quite a bit about identity in the story, and nature versus nurture. Is Call doomed to become evil because he has the soul of an evil person? So far, nurture is winning. I did love his running tally of “is this something an Evil Overlord would do or not?” Jasper was an interesting addition to the group of friends. He strikes me as a Draco Malfoy wannabe, but is just too nice to carry it off.
Even with all these existential thoughts running through the story, it is full of action and adventure. Mr. Curiosity enjoyed it just as much as I did. He did point out another Harry Potter callback when the kids go off to deal with a major problem. You have to wonder where all the adults are in this. We’re starting to see a bigger conspiracy as well, so I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, The Bronze Key, to see where things are headed.
Title comes from: The Alkahest was worn on the hand like a gauntlet and made out of copper.
Reading challenges fulfilled: #71 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge
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