The Iron Trial: The Next Generation’s Harry Potter?

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial, but not Callum Hunt — he wants to fail. But when he tries his best to do the worst, he fails at failing, To his father’s disdain,  Callum is forced to enter the Magisterium. Even though his father has warned him of the school’s treachery and the dangers of magic, this new world fascinates Call. The Magisterium is both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to Callum’s past and shady, twisted plans for his future. The Iron Trial is just the beginning… Call’s biggest test is yet to come!

Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, two bestselling Young Adult fantasy novelists, have teamed up to write The Iron Trial, the first book of their new Magisterium series. Since its publication in September, the novel has been gaining traction amongst YA readers, a number of them comparing it to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Though we concede that there are a few similarities, there are several major differences that distinguish Magisterium from Harry Potter. Here are the top 3 reasons why The Iron Trial is not like another Harry Potter:

1) Harry, Hermione and Ron ≠ Callum, Tamara and Aaron

the iron trial

The Harry Potter series stars the famous trio Harry, Hermione and Ron. The Magisterium series features Call, Tamara and Aaron. Unlike Hermione, Tamara was brought up in a magical family. Where Ron is clumsy but lovable, Aaron is talented and admirable for his abilities. Though Call may be “the chosen one” like Harry Potter, his biggest enemy is not who you might expect (and we can’t say more, or else we’d spoil the story)!

2) Hogwarts ≠ Magisterium


J.K. Rowling describes the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as a castle with extensive grounds that includes vegetable patches, greenhouses, a full-size Quidditch Pitch, a large dense forest (the Forbidden Forest), a loch (the Black Lake) and many other outbuildings. Black and Clare’s Magisterium is entirely underground and has a tunnel system for navigation. It’s not even remotely reminiscent of Hogwarts. If anything, it mirrors the Dauntless headquarters from the popular Divergent trilogy. Unlike the elaborate, mouth-watering feasts consumed at Hogwarts, the Magisterium serves “stewed purple tubers, greens so dark they were almost black, fuzzy lichen, and a red speckled mushroom cap as large as a pizza and sliced up like a pie” in their dining halls.

3) Harry Potter Magic ≠ Magisterium Magic

the iron trial book series

Unlike the Harry Potter series, the magic in the Magisterium series is based off of 5 elements — fire, water, air, earth and chaos. The Magisterium teaches students to memorize the mantra, “Fire wants to burn. Water wants to flow. Air wants to rise. Earth wants to bind. Chaos wants to devour.” There is no distinct foundation or source of magic noted in Harry Potter.

For these reasons and many more, The Magisterium series is not just another Harry Potter series. Publishers predict the Magisterium to be the next big fantasy series for middle school readers and young adults. The Iron Trial is full of surprising twists and shocking revelations. With a good pace of action and notable character development, The Iron Trial is the must-read YA fantasy novel of 2014.

the iron trial classroom book set

Dying to read The Iron Trial? We’re giving away 4 brand new copies! From now through October 14, leave a comment with your favorite magic/fantasy title on this Facebook contest post, and you’ll be entered to win your very own copy of The Iron Trial. To get an extra entry, leave a comment on this blog post!!

12 Responses to “The Iron Trial: The Next Generation’s Harry Potter?”

  1. Bryan Eslao

    That does it! You’ve got me hooked, BookPal! 🙂 Not only did all the chatter from my girlfriend and friends these past few weeks start to sway me towards wanting to pick up this book and begin this series, but the three reasons you proposed in this blog post is the final block to send me toppling over! I need this book haha It would be awesome to win this contest because I’ve been in such a reading-lull lately! I love the Harry Potter series, and if what you’re proposing is true then the Magisterium series is sure to break me out of this rut that I’m in! Let “The Iron Trial” be the key to getting me back through the door to the fantasy book world! Pick me, pick me…please 😀

  2. Melissa Atkins

    This looks like a great series to start with my son. Thanks for introducing it to us! 🙂

  3. Traci Renner

    Favorite magic/fantasy title (so far): The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer.

  4. Michelle Tingley

    I liked the entire series of Harry Potter and his adventures with Hermione and Ron, battling “He who cannot be named”. They were so captivating! It will be great to have another series to sink my teeth into! I teach 4th grade as well and am always looking for new books for them, it looks like “The Iron Trial” sounds like the next big hit!

  5. Melody J

    I love Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. I cannot wait to read this book

  6. Jennifer Harris

    This sounds like a wonderful new series for my children to read and maybe for me to try too! Thank you!!

  7. Maliha

    I really want to read this book but people were saying it was a ripoff of Harry Potter so I’m glad you pointed out big differences and I think Ill actually pick this book up and read it


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