Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Book Review: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Copper Gauntlet – Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Scholastic Press
First published: September 2015
Cover: Hardback with dust cover
Pages: 264
Blurb:    The enemy is close. Very close.
                                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 come closer to an even more dangerous truth.
History of my copy: I received this book for Christmas this year (2015) from my parents. I’ve been eagerly anticipating it since reading The Iron Trial not long after it came out.

This book, and indeed the entire series, has received a lot of negativity for being too similar to Harry Potter. I am an enormous Harry Potter fan and yes, there are some similarities – a man character with black hair (and containing the soul of the enemy), a magic school – but that is about it. The Copper Gauntlet and the rest of the Magisterium books deserve credit in their own rights. After all, J.K. Rowling wasn’t the first to have a school for wizards. All authors gather inspiration from other places, and you could spend hours comparing books with others to find parallels, or you could just enjoy them for what they are.
Plot: The Copper Gauntlet carries on right where The Iron Trial finishes off, which was a little difficult at first as I have forgotten some things that happened in it, so I would recommend re-reading it before starting this one. It follows Call and his friends through the summer and the beginning of the new term as they hunt down Alastair who has the Alkahest. It is a relatively short story, but a decent length for the plot it contains. Black and Clare kept the plot fast paced and interesting and, although there were a few places where they could have expanded the story a little more, they did a good job of not dragging it out and making it boring.
Setting: The Copper Gauntlet is set in numerous places from the eerie caves of the Magisterium to the extravagant house of Tamara’s family. The new settings were described fairly well, although more words could have been dedicated to re-describing the school, and perhaps adding a little more to Alastair’s barn and the tomb at the end of the book.
Characters: This book focussed a bit more on the background of Callum and his two friends, Aaron and Tamara. Although known that Call’s father, Alastair, hates the Magisterium, it still isn’t really explained why. However, the book shows a drastically different relationship between father and son than before.
                One downside of this series is that none of the characters stand out as particularly special. Yes, the main trio have both their good and bad sides, but their personalities aren’t really described.
                One problem I do have with the main character, Callum Hunt, is that for the first half of the book he is just full of angst about who he is, which does get a little dull after a while. Also, even though it is addressed by Tamara at the end of the book, Call is severely angered by Tamara lying, despite the fact he is hiding an even bigger and more dangerous lie from them all.

To read or not to read: Read. Despite my dislike for the lack of development of the characters, I did enjoy the plot and story of The Copper Gauntlet and thoroughly enjoyed the read. Don’t bother if you disliked The Iron Trial as I wouldn't say it gets better, but do try it out if you liked the previous book.

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