The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Copper Gauntlet, by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, was published in 2015 by Scholastic. It is the sequel to The Iron Trial.

Spoilers for The Iron Trial.

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 get closer to an even more dangerous truth.

First off, apologies for not posting yesterday. I was very, very busy. I will post tomorrow so that I still get in my 3 posts a week.

My overall impression of The Copper Gauntlet is not a particularly good one, although I certainly liked some parts of it. Black and Clare stepped back from the “Harry Potter magical school” aspect of the book and had most of the second half be an extended road trip to chase down the baddie, so in that respect they ventured away from the typical “magical school” tropes. I’m still not overly impressed with their worldbuilding, though, and as with The Iron Trial, The Copper Gauntlet is formulaic and obvious in such a way that it’s a little annoying to read.

I’m probably most upset that Callum, who was looking to be almost refreshingly ordinary despite his secret, gets a sort of “upgrade” into Super Special Protagonist in this book. I’m really tired of Super Special Protagonists and I was really looking forward to Mostly Ordinary Protagonist with Super Special Friend, so that part of Callum’s characterization was disappointing to me.

I found The Iron Trial interesting despite its Harry Potter similarities; however, even though The Copper Gauntlet strives to step away from that, I found it more boring and slightly annoying. I’m less interested in picking up the next book in the series. The Copper Gauntlet is decent, but it’s an average MG novel that screams “average MG novel” with every word.

I’m also not fond of how many times the phrase “Chaos-ridden wolf” was used to describe Havoc. Too many times.

Rating: 3/5

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Warnings: None.

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Aaron was breathing hard. His face looked pale, with a hectic flush on his cheeks as though from illness. He didn’t look like someone who’d just done a trick. He looked like someone who’d almost gotten his friend’s mother eaten.

Call turned to Tamara. “What was that?”

Her eyes sparkled. “What do you mean? He did a great job!”

“He could have been killed!” Call hissed at her, stopping himself from adding that her mom could probably have been killed, too. Aaron was on his feet now, pushing his way through the crowd toward them. He wasn’t making very fast progress, since everyone seemed to want to move closer to touch him and congratulate him and pat him on the back.

Tamara scoffed. “It was just a party trick, Call. All the other mages were standing by. They would have interfered if anything had gone wrong.”

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