This review covers book 1 & 2 of the Magisterium series, which is another spin on the magician schooling of young people. It comes with the inevitable comparisons to Harry Potter, but other than having two boys and a girl as the main characters, there’s not a lot that is similar (at least in my eyes).
The Iron Trial introduces us to Callum Hunt, who really has no desire to become a magician, or mage, as they call it. His father has in fact insisted that Call fail the admission testing for the school, and Call seemingly does so without even trying. He’s always been a loner, due to the fact his leg was badly broken as a baby, so he has no expectations around joining the other kids who are trying their best to make a good impression. And yet, he is picked to train under Master Rufus, one of the best there is in the Magisterium. He’s quite terrified by this situation, and he has to deal with the separation from his father, and try to make friends – something he’s never done before.
Callum certainly isn’t perfect, and he isn’t sure who to trust or what to believe in this new situation. The other two students who are part of his group, Tamara and Aaron, are both likeable and bright and I enjoyed the slow bonding that occurs between the three of them. Add in a wolf pup Call rescues, and it’s quite a team. It’s certainly nothing dark and deep, but it was an entertaining read.
The Copper Gauntlet picks up shortly after the first book, with Call on summer break at home. Unfortunately, it’s not all that great and he wishes he were back at school already. He has his wolf, Havoc, with him but his father hates it and Call is convinced that there’s something terrible going to happen. After discovering a room in the basement that looks like a cell, complete with manacles, Call and Havoc run away, and show up at Tamara’s house where they stay until school begins. Once there, things begin to go awry, and before long the three of them, along with Havoc and Jasper are off on an adventure outside of the Magisterium. Jasper is another student, a snarky boy who occasionally shows signs of doing the right thing. They have to face some monsters, as well as search for Call’s father who may or may not be a villain. Call also learns something about himself that isn’t sure is true or not, and he wrestles with this revelation as well.
Both books were enjoyable, and very quick reads. If you’re looking for some escapist fun, this might be for you – no romance to speak of, which is understandable for these young’uns. There’s a couple more books in the series, which I may have to check out.