Tuesday, 28 February 2017

'The Bronze Key' (Magisterium #3) by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Image result for the bronze key cassandra clare
*This review will contain spoilers!*

"In Europe," she said, "when they discover someone is a chaos mage, they don't celebrate them. They kill them."

'Call made a few final tweaks to his robot right before sending him into the "ring" - a second of garage floor outlined in blue chalk.'
Boring. This might be one of the most disappointing first lines I've ever read.
Seriously, I'd been excited to rejoin the world of the Magisterium because I'd been waiting so long to read this third installment, and this really took the wind out of my sails.

It's Call, Aaron and Tamara's third year in the Magisterium (if you hadn't guessed from the title, their Bronze year) and they're still dealing with the fallout of the events of 'The Copper Gauntlet'.
Aaron and Tamara finally found out that Call's soul is that of Constantine Madden, the Enemy of Death, the big bad who created chaos-ridden animals and an army of zombies he could command.
Having decapitated Constantine's preserved body, the gang ensured there was no longer a chance for the Makar's soul and his body to be reunited.
The Magisterium and Collegium join forces to celebrate the group - including Call's father Alastair and nemesis Jasper DeWitt - thanking them for finally ending the cold war that has been plaguing the mage world for decades.
When they're at the party someone tries to kill Call. He's lured to another room using a fake note from Celia, then a chandelier is almost dropped on his head. Jennifer, the girl who passed him the note, is found dead, floating in the water with a knife sticking out of her stomach. The Masters have no leads as to who could be trying to kill students left, right and centre.
The search to find whoever attempted the assassination is on. They introduce new security measures throughout the school, installing Anastasia Tarquin - Alex Strike's mother and a member of the Assembly - to guard the powerful elementals kept their following a previous attempt on Call's life.
But he's still not out of danger. Despite all of the security, someone still manages to loose an air elemental who attempts to attack him. Soon after, his school equipment is being tampered with, putting his life in terrible danger.
Call has no idea who is after him, but he knows why. Someone else must have figured out that he was the Enemy of Death, and must have decided to take him out.

God, this was bland.
I'm grateful that the words coruscating, stalagmites and stalactites were used less in this installment, but that's the only thing that's improved from the first two books in the series.
There are many reasons I hated this novel.

  • It has no plot, then a "shocking" event (that you could see coming from miles away) happens at the end of the novel - the only thing that happens during the entire story - but it dupes readers into thinking something has actually happened, explaining how it has such inexplicably high star ratings on Goodreads. 
  • Aaron dies. Yep. It's foreshadowed like hell but is still unnecessary and avoidable. It's using the shock factor to the max, trying to make people care about an uninteresting series with cookie cutter characters. Aaron, Tamara, Jasper or Celia could have died, and it would have had elicited the same response in me - nonchalance. 
  • This is 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' without the satisfying conclusion. Anastasia reveals she was Constantine Madden's mother in a revealing and impassioned speech, then the book just ends. It means people are still going to read on to the fourth installment, 'The Silver Mask', despite the fact that...
  • There's no compelling story to be told. Wow, Call has the soul of a big bad evil, that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to become evil. He's an average, neutral good character, and could have been written so much better.
  • It's repetitive. I felt like I'd already read huge sections, because they echo the events of the previous books so closely.
  • There's random romance, for no particular reason. Celia wonders if Call is going to ask her on a date, Call likes Tamara but thinks she likes Aaron, so Celia and Jasper end up dating. Sigh. Is this really necessary in a book for kids? I know both authors are popular for the romance that they write in their YA novels, but COME ON.
  • It's just filler. Other than Aaron's death, nothing integral happens. When you look back at the Magisterium series as a whole, when the last two books are out - and please, dear god, let those be an improvement on this one - you won't be able to remember anything from 'The Bronze Key'. Even the key itself is such a forgettable part of the plot.

The writing duo seem to have had no idea what to do with this book. This is the shortest Magisterium book so far, but despite that there still wasn't enough action to fill 250 pages.
This story would have made more sense as a novella - particularly because it's very similar to the events we've already read featuring Master Joseph and Drew - but instead this was a half-hearted and disappointing release from two insanely popular authors.
I'm going to continue on with the Magisterium series, because I'm interested to see what happens after the closing events of this book, but I don't have my hopes too high anymore. It's still possible for this series to be redeemed, but it's going to take a lot of hard work.

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