Magisterium Series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
“Fire wants to burn
Water wants to flow
Air wants to rise
Earth wants to bind
Chaos wants to devour
Cal wants to live”
This is such a great series by two of my favorite authors. I really don’t get why it isn’t more popular or well known for that matter. If you have not read them and you are a fan of either author, I highly recommend adding them to your TBR.
This is the first book in the series, and it is really just an introduction to the world and the themes of the story. The Magisterium is a school for Mages of elemental magic; Fire, Earth, Water, Air and Chaos. It is in a cave somewhere in Virginia. I loved the cave atmosphere and the elemental magic. We are introduced to our three main characters: Callum who is the sole narrator, Aaron and Tamara. Cal is very much a reluctant and awkward hero in the series. But his voice is very honest about who he is. He has a connection to the Villain in the story, The Enemy of Death, which is revealed at the end of this book. Aaron, his best friend, is the heroic one and is also discovered to be a Makar, a Chaos Mage. Aaron is the one who has to destroy the enemy.
The second book continues with their next year of school. Their teacher, Master Rufus, reveals more about the Enemy of Death and Aaron’s role in defeating him. We are also told about the history of Mages and the many wars that have occurred over time. One of the funnier things is that Cal starts to keep a mental list of things that would make him an Evil Overlord. Help someone? Not something an Evil Overlord would do. Think about doing something bad to a friend? Definitely evil overlord stuff. The running list was quite amusing at times. Also, a new frenemy joins the group, Jasper is quite sarcastic and doesn’t appear to like Cal, but he is always there to help get him and the others out of jams. Even when they sort of kidnap him to go on a quest of sorts to save Cal’s dad, he can’t stop from helping out. We also learn more about the devoured, Mages who were devoured by an element, and the elementals, some who are very nasty. They spend most of this book on their quest, and Cal finally comes to terms with who he possibly is. He also discovers that he is also a Makar. By the end his friends know about his connection to the Enemy of Death.
This one was perhaps my favorite, but holy cow that ending! I won’t spoil it, but it was something that I did not see coming at all! This one was the most action packed so far and it was quite the ride. Again there is not much time spent at school, but lots of trying to save friends and family as well as defeating the Enemy. But friends are now becoming the enemy and it is hard to tell who the trio can trust. Jasper becomes a more willing participant in their dealings with the Enemy, but he also often provides a much needed comic break from the more serious story line. I loved his advice to Cal and Aaron about girls and dating. Cal becomes more confident as a Makar, but struggles with the knowledge about who he is and what he might become. Tamara is also becoming a strong mage in her own right, with an affinity to fire.
Cal, Tamara and Jasper are kidnapped by the Enemy of Death’s right hand man, and Cal is told that he must do some pretty morally gray things in order to survive. He didn’t struggle with this quite as much as I wanted him to, but I could see why he wanted to do it. Tamara loses a bit of faith in him, but her feelings for him are revealed as well as Cal’s for her. There is a bit of romance, and of course Jasper’s relationship advice is hilarious. There is a huge battle at the end, and there is a bit of a shocker at the end of this one too. But the Enemy of Death is finally gone along with all of his supporters, or that is what we are led to think.
I can’t say much about this book without spoiling it, but was an amazing conclusion. I really couldn’t predict after the fourth book where the story was going to go, but I was happy with the ending. Cal really came into his own, we find out way more about the Enemy of Death that no one knew about. There is an epic road trip where they all go to find elementals that are willing to help them out to defeat the new enemy. The final battle is also amazing and well done. I liked the way things were left in the end, a little bit on the open side, so maybe more stories sometime in the future? I would at least like to see more set in this world. It is a fascinating place to visit.
Some last thoughts: I listened to the audiobooks and Paul Boehmer does a very good job. It was a good way to do this series. The books are fairly short, amazing considering the authors, but very well done and a great series for middle grade fantasy fans.