MAGISTERIUM: THE BRONZE KEY

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

The third book in the Magisterium series sees Call, Aaron and Tamara return for another year at the titular school of magic, along with further developments in the growing influence of the remaining minions of deceased warmonger and master of chaos magic the Enemy of Death.

Call is still attempting to come to grips with the knowledge that he is effectively the reincarnation of the Enemy, and while he regularly convinces himself he is his own person, he also can’t deny certain similarities between them that begin to arise, growing ever more concerned that he might actually become the villain without even realising it. Even though the events of The Copper Gauntlet convinced the adult mages that the Enemy was truly dead, Call’s perpetual fear that someone might discover his secret still eats way at him.

The themes of loyalty that have so far driven the series continue to hold prominence, with the central trio’s steadfast belief in one another remaining a core aspect of their bond. Although each has their own mind and ambitions independent of the others, together they operate in constant harmony as a single unit. They also deal with more typical problems of high school students, such as jealously amongst peers, the pressure to succeed, and the emotional tribulations of first crushes. Now in their third year of their education at the Magisterium, their growth has reached a point where its gradual portrayal can be properly appreciated when they are compared to the nervous children they were when the series began. All children – and teenagers in particular – change a lot from one year to the next, both physically and psychologically, and it’s a testament to the writing that it sufficiently portrays the necessary shifts in character without being blatant about it.

The magical set pieces are as inventive as ever and showcase a wide range of practical applications for elemental manipulation, allowing you some idea of what exactly one might to with such powers after completing their education of them. There is also a big jump in the development of the overarching plot; although the book ends things at a point that feels unfinished and that it should have continued further to draw things to a more natural conclusion. However, it also leaves the reader with no doubts that the series is playing for keeps.

THE BRONZE KEY / AUTHORS: HOLLY BLACK, CASSANDRA CLARE / PUBLISHER: CORGI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
 


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