The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare fulfills the category “Book with Gold, Silver or Bronze in the Title” for the 2020 PopSugar Reading Challenge.
Since this is my first blog of the year, I went big. When you basically have Harry Potter fanfic by two amazing authors, you end up reading the entire Magisterium series. I read all five which included The Iron Trial, The Copper Gauntlet, The Silver Mask, and The Golden Tower. They were short, fun, and why not do all of ’em? Plus, I filled the category three times over.
I have read many books by both these authors and can recommend their other novels. I loved Holly Black’s Spiderwick Chronicles and of Ms. Clare’s stories, my favorites were The Infernal Devices—a steampunk twist on the series. Based on my brief research, I discovered that Ms. Clare used to write Harry Potter fanfiction. I don’t know if Ms. Black did. I mention it because The Magisterium series starts off like Harry Potter, version two.
The series begins with a twelve-year-old boy heading off to magic school. He doesn’t want to go because his dad hates the magical world. So not too much like HP until he gets to the Magisterium, a hidden school underground. As Callum Hunt navigates his Iron year there, he finds out more and more about his world, the price of magic, and the death of his mother. He discovers he might have a piece of The Enemy of Death’s soul inside him. (The Enemy of Death being the big bad of the series who killed Callum’s mom.)
Huh, soul exchanges, that sounds familiar. Being told in the first book was refreshing. We got to the meat of the story faster.
The books use the themes of HP and rewrite them for a new story. The first three books skirt the lines of fanfic. Not that I’m saying that’s bad. I just don’t want JK Rowling to sue them because they have a wizard school, soul exchange, and a trio of kids solving all the big magic world problems (two boys and a girl again).
The authors created a similar world, but it has its own rules, monsters, and consequences. By The Bronze Key, the story has taken a very sharp turn from its similarities to the HP world. Namely, necromancy plays a big hand in these books. Not for the lightweights!
The novels are rich, heart-wrenching, and allow for some silly teenage behavior. I like a hero-coming-of-age story that remembers the boy is fifteen once in a while. Some of the novels are driven by the kid’s lack of experience and understanding consequences. Some of the tales unfold because the adults are selfish and stupid. But the adventure is real.
I would highly recommend the series to any Harry Potter fans. In fact, I already have.
I give The Bronze Key, The Silver Mask, and The Golden Tower five chaos-ridden wolf puppies (because puppies are cuter).