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Callum Hunt has finally got his heart’s desire and been accepted at the Magisterium, the school for magic, but along with gaining new friends Callum has also discovered that he carries, not his own soul but the soul of the evil overlord Constantine Madden. As Callum returns for his second year of schooling he has to face the mystery of the Alkahest, an object which may be either his doom or salvation...
Magisterium: The Copper Gauntlet (2015. 264 Pages) is the second in the series of young adult books by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.
It’s odd that two writers who both have successful independent careers should join together to create something which is uncomfortably too close to a slightly changed retelling of Harry Potter.
When the story opens, Callum is in a dark place convinced that his father means to kill him as was previously requested by his mother. It is information like this, which is difficult to put into perspective, which compels you to read the first book The Iron Trial to make better sense of this book. The novel is not bad as a standalone, if you don’t mind being thrown straight into the action with little explanation.
Callum, as a character, is quite likeable; if a little obsessed regarding his potential evil overlord future and has a bit of a mean streak, possible due to not having his own soul. The whole soul thing takes quite a leap of faith. So if the original soul which belonged to Callum has been ripped out and replaced by Constantine’s, why is Constantine not more in control of the body? I tied myself in knots trying to figure out how Callum can think and act as himself, when for all real purposes he no longer exists.
The real shame is that the book is well written, although the first half is slow to get up momentum, the pace picks up in the second. The story also has its own share of twists and turns, but in the end you just can’t get away from the fact that the characters, environments and plot so resemble Harry Potter that I’m not sure what the point of writing them was.
On the other hand if you liked many of the elements of Harry Potter then you will find them in abundance in this series. So, it’s well written, not particularly original. The story is stronger than the first book, but a lot more Pottery so should satiate the needs of a Potter fan.