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review 2018-08-07 11:11
How do these people call themselves teachers?
Magisterium: The Copper Gauntlet - Holly Black,Cassandra Clare

So, apart from the fact that I'm convinced that the only reason that the kids at these schools are literate is their education before they go to the fancy schmancy magic schools.  It's more College type teaching than ensuring that they have any education and most of it seems to consist of the students being left to their own devices to sink or swim, my father would be appalled.


My father was a building construction and carpentry teacher (I believe they call them Material Technology teachers now but he's retired...) and to me magic should be like this.  Magic isn't safe, like using chisels, it needs supervision, because even if you do supervise carefully some idiot will try to cut a finger off (like someone did in my brother's class) and now I'm starting to plot how a magic school would operate, in reality.


So Call discovers that his father has plans, that involve Havoc, his well demon dog, and they're not good, so he runs away from home to one of his friends houses and then to school where the year starts okay but things go downhill rapidly and he runs away from school too.


I'm getting too old for these books.  I'm seeing more plot hole than plot and weak worldbuilding rather than being drawn in but I'm not really  the market for this so I can't really tell if it would work for the market.

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review 2018-01-04 05:17
Silver Mask
The Silver Mask (Magisterium, Book 4) (The Magisterium) - Holly Black,Cassandra Clare


This is book 4 in the series that began with The Iron Trial (review here). The series started off closely paralleling the Harry Potter series, but as it continues, it becomes something more and in its own way, better.


The series is full of magic, adventure, danger, heroes & villains, and even friendship & typical teen issues. The story begins with Call in magical prison because of who people think he is. He is rescued and then asked to do the one thing magic hasn't been able to do -- raise the dead.


I am still enjoying this fantastic series and I can't wait to see what comes next.

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review 2017-12-07 00:30
Necromancy and toilet humour make for surprisingly good MG
The Silver Mask (Magisterium, Book 4) (The Magisterium) - Holly Black,Cassandra Clare

This latest entry in wonderful MG magic-school series Magisterium balances some seriously dark themes and action with laugh-out-loud lines.


The first book or two's Harry Potter overtones with all the joy of discovering a new magic world were more fun, to be honest, but as the penultimate book, I can see how things are ramping up. I


'd say this is borderline YA - as the kids move on through the school years/grades, they're heading into teen territory, adding kissing and mild romance angst to death, identity crises, and necromancy. I'd recommend for older kids, maybe 10 or even 12+. But the relatively simple language and style of expression are solidly middle grade. Looking forward to the big wrap up in book 5!

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review 2017-01-11 02:15
Book 3 in the series continues to mesmerize me
The Bronze Key (Magisterium, Book 3) - Holly Black,Cassandra Clare


The story continues at an awards ceremony for the heroes from The Copper Gauntlet (book 2). The ceremony is hit by tragedy and the students are in danger when they return to the Magisterium (magic school). There is a spy at the school, and time is running out to discover who it is. The students discover that magic is only as good (or bad) as the person who wields it.


I don't want to give anything away. This remarkable series continues to surprise and enthrall me. The characters, the setting, the story are all fantastic. There are many similarities to stories like Harry Potter, but enough differences to really set it apart. I had an idea who the spy was, but I wasn't sure until the end.


I highly recommend this series to readers in grades 4 and up who enjoy fantasy and magic.

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review 2016-09-24 07:01
A Prophecy Fulfilled: The Bronze Key | Review
The Bronze Key: The Magisterium, Book 3 - Holly Black,Cassandra Clare,Paul Boehmer,Listening Library

The camaraderie really clicks in this MG Contemporary Fantasy installment - just in time for things to really go sideways.


Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world. But now the chaos is fighting back. Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer...and risk their own lives in the process.


As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm - unless it is stopped in time.


Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.

Source: I borrowed this book from the library and have added it to my Wishlist.



The Bronze Key by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare, read by Paul Boehmer, published by Listening Library (2016) / Length: 8 hrs 30 min



This is book #3 of the "Magisterium" series. There are expected to be five in total, with #4 & #5 (currently titled The SIlver Mask & The Enemy of Death) to be published in 2017 & 2018 respectively.


**This review contains spoilers for the previous book(s).**



This series is just getting stronger; and, although I continue to wish for more development of the side characters, Call is a current favorite protagonist.


This is a really fast read, with excellent pacing. And while I had correctly guessed who the spy was long ago, there was another secret revealed that completely surprised me.


As was revealed in various summaries, there are some deaths in this book; and while I was sad, the ending really left me excited for the next one.



Callum Hunt: He starts the book in a really good place. He has accepted himself and no longer feels the need to evaluate his every action for potential evil overlordness.


That's not to say that everything is perfect in his life. He still feels insecure in his friendships, although they have moved beyond the conflict of the previous books. Even Jasper has ceased to be his nemesis and is officially labeled "frenemy."



We only visit one new major setting in this book - the Collegium (where the students move on to after the Magisterium). But we also see some new places in the Magisterium and learn a bit more about the magical society, which is still a bit dystopian if you ask me.



I loved the beginning. Aaron is staying with Call this summer and it sounds like they really had a lot of fun. We get a bit of Tamara via phone. The catch-up/reminder stuff is well integrated. Call is a thinker and it was done via his thoughts, in a very natural way.


The end is definitely a cliffhanger that will leave you desperate for the next one.



  • Robot wars.
  • They discourage a potential new roommate.
  • Call's disability continues to be acknowledged. Sometimes magic helps, but other times he has to let his friends do what he can't.


I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: The angsty "dating" & relationship stuff. It has never felt necessary to me. / Algae tea



Character voices differentiated = Yes / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes. His voice is very deep, so the voices don't sound at all feminine but aren't falsetto or annoying. / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good. He continues to really capture the feeling of Call's story. / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual.



The Bronze Key (Magisterium #3) by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare, read by Paul Boehmer, published by Listening Library (2016) / Length: 8 hrs 30 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

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