A New York Times bestseller.
Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail. All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him. So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing. Now the Magisterium awaits him — a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future. The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come…
By the book’s end, readers will be chomping at the bit to get into the sequel. Collaborators Black and Clare describe an intoxicating underground setting and give their mostly male characters refreshingly nuanced male friendships. The third-person narration, filtered through Callum’s delightfully insecure-and- overcompensating-with-snarky-bravado perspective, carries a tone that will likely have readers chortling in recognition. A promising beginning to a complex exploration of good and evil, as well as friendship’s loyalty.
Set in a magic-inflected version of the present-day U.S., this first title in the Magisterium series combines the talents of Black (Doll Bones) and Clare (the Mortal Instruments series) in a thrilling coming-of-age story that embraces fantasy tropes while keeping readers guessing. Twelve-year-old Callum Hunt has been raised to distrust magic. Mages killed his mother, and his father has warned him that the Magisterium, a school where young mages are trained, is a deathtrap. Callum’s attempts to fail the entrance exam go awry, and he is chosen to apprentice under Master Rufus, along with fellow students Aaron and Tamara. As Callum, Tamara, Aaron, and their classmates embark on their first of five years of schooling, Callum realizes how little he knows of his own heritage. The strange, subterranean Magisterium is vividly rendered, and a string of ominous revelations will leave readers eager for future installments. Fans of both authors will enjoy getting to know this well-rounded cast in the first steps of their adventure.
— Publisher’s Weekly, starred review