Authors: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Length: 304 pages
Callum Hunt’s summer break isn't like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren't heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.
It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.
Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there. The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth.
As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict -- and a whole world’s fate.
Protagonist: Call has had a pretty grueling and crazy year. Between practicing his mage skills, finding out his best friend is a Makar, or chaos mage, and then to top it all off he finds out that he is actually the Enemy that his classmates and teachers fear, he can't catch a break. Call both annoyed me and impressed me in this book. First off he annoyed me by constantly checking off whether the things he does would be something an "Evil Overlord" would do, then he bends over backwards and twists certain events into convoluted lies to avoid telling his friends the truth. However, there are things that he does in this book that actually made me like his character. His main source of character development is struggling with how to tell his friends his darkest secret and trying to figure out what it means to have the Enemy's soul but Call's body.
Romance: So there wasn't really any romance in the last book so I left this section out, unfortunately I can't do the same this time. I say unfortunately because the romance, if you can even call it that, in this book is quite awful. Call's main love interest is Celia, a girl who had a decent amount of page time in the last book, but barely makes and appearance or two in this one. Then of course there's the language these characters use to talk about romance and having romantic feelings for other people their age. It's not how thirteen year olds would phrase it or talk about it and it felt much more juvenile than I expected. It felt like these authors were specifically aiming for a younger audience as opposed to going a much more all ages "family friendly" route. Side-note: The first time I read The Iron Trial, for whatever reason I ended up shipping Call and Aaron, and while after reading it again then followed by this one, I can see that their relationship is extremely platonic, I have to say I still ship it.
World-Building: This book just felt off compared to the previous one. I mean they were definitely two books that involved the same characters and events in the same world, but the formula between the first one and this installment is wildly different. The first book's formula felt much like a Harry Potter book, you know, going to magic school, learning magic and setting up key plot points for the most of the book, followed by a final climax that could occur within or outside of the school. This book however felt as though it had the formula of a Percy Jackson book, follow up with out hero then a quick check in at (insert magic place) followed by epic quest (that they may or may not have had permission to go on) ending in a final climax and a trip back to (insert magic place.) With this incongruity in the formulas it felt very different from the first book, and not in a good way. Also, Jasper plays a large part in this book, which felt very much like an attempt to quickly and easily redeem his character it's going to take much more to redeem him in my eyes.
Predictability: Honestly I didn't think about this that much while reading this book, I guess there were parts of this book that were surprising, but nothing really shocked me. I haven't really been shocked that much by anything lately so it's probably just me, but there are some good twists in this book. I think about every question I had by the end of the first book was answered in this one, that's not to say though that there weren't plenty of questions that this book caused.
Ending: I was really surprised by this ending. The final climax was pretty epic and fun, if not at times a bit dark and/or morbid. However it was the very end that surprised me, not by it's content but by how it left me feeling. There was a bit of a reveal at the end, foreshadowing some threats on the horizon, but then it just sort of plateaus from there. There wasn't anything really shocking or cliff-hangery about the ending which I was kind of hoping for.