Magisterium: The Iron Trial & The Copper Gauntlet
Holly Black, Cassandra Clare // Amazon

This book is written about a young boy who, at the age of 12, learns he can use magic and is welcomed to a school full of it. Here he meets two best friends (one male, one female obviously) gains a new pet and realises he has to fight an evil overlord.

Sound familiar?

This review is surprisingly not about the Harry Potter series but the similarities are uncanny until background of the protagonist - Callum Hunt - is unravelled in Magisterium. That aside, I actually quite enjoyed the plot line of both Magisterium: The Iron Trial and The Copper Gauntlet.

Here's the blurb.

'Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial.
Not Callum Hunt.
Call has been told his whole life that he should never trust a magician. And so he tries his best to do his worst – but fails at failing. Now he must enter the Magisterium. 
It's a place that's both sensational and sinister. And Call realizes it has dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.
The Iron Trial is just the beginning. Call’s biggest test is still to come . . .'

Now I'm a big fan of the young adult fiction genre but even by my standards, this blurb is pretty mundane and didn't particularly grab my attention. What did persuade me to read it is the fact it's written by Cassandra Clare and Holly BlackAs a collaboration between two well known writers of young adult series' I expected a lot from these books and I wasn't wholly disappointed but I could probably have been more impressed. I did find myself wanting to read on however and I did enjoy the twists in the storyline throughout.

Cassandra Clare previously wrote 'The Mortal Instruments' series of which I did read a couple of the books but unfortunately, quickly lost interest in the characters.
Oh, and the film that followed was terrible.

On the other hand, in Magisterium the writers introduce some likeable (and equally unlikeable) characters whose pasts I wanted to delve deeper into.

We don't get to really understand the background and the twist of Callum's background until The Copper Gauntlet however, the first installation does introduce us to the Magisterium (the school the young mages attend) and the type of magic that this world uses. I love the idea of controlling the elements and the Matilda-esque mind magic they aim to master.

It definitely takes a much more interesting turn in the sequel and Callum's relationship with both his father and his new best friends, Tamara and Aaron, are severely tested. A lot of the supporting characters that feature occasionally are just as intriguing. For example, I sort of fancy Alex Strike through merely a few lines depicting his personality and the more I read, the more I also wanted to own my own possibly dangerous but lovable wolf pup.

Overall, I think the writing style is suited to a much younger audience than myself (and this is coming from an avid reader of YA novels, remember) but the plot seems to be thickening. With three more to go in the series, there's definitely room for a much more sinister turn of events.

The series is worth a read if you're after something easy over Christmas. It's a fairly captivating story, one which would be ideal for teenage readers.