Review: The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (UK edition)

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (UK edition)

Title: The Bronze Key (Magisterium, 3)
Authors: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Sword & Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Corgi Books (1st September 2016)


It should be a time of celebration. The Enemy of Death is dead; a severed head proof of his downfall – Callum, Tamara and Aaron, all students of the Magisterium, are heroes.

But when a fellow pupil is brutally murdered, Call’s worst fears are confirmed: there is a spy in his magical school.

No one is safe.

Now, using the powerful magic they’ve been taught, the trio must risk their lives to track down the killer. But magic is dangerous – in the wrong hands it could bring terrible destruction. And reveal the deadliest secret of all . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

THE BRONZE KEY is the third book in Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s brilliant middle grade fantasy series Magisterium. This book continues the story of Callum Hunt – or Call to his friends – as he attends magic school. The Enemy of Death has been defeated, and Call is about to start his third year at the Magisterium. Call had a good summer with his father and best friend Aaron away from the world of magic; he hopes his third year will be less eventful than the previous two. Unfortunately that isn’t to be, as not long after his return a pupil is murdered.

After the ending of THE COPPER GAUNTLET (review) I have been looking forward to this book because I was curious how Black and Clare were going to handle the repercussions of events at the end of that book. In some ways this book felt a bit like a placeholder; almost like a stepping-stone before the next plot arc for the series could begin. I found the main villain of the piece a bit “meh” and I didn’t think there was much foreshadowing. Equally the events at the end of the book also left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed – though I am curious as to what becomes of Call, Tamara and Havoc. One of the things I did enjoy in this book was Call’s reactions to Jasper’s antics in various sections of the book.

I definitely got the feeling with THE BRONZE KEY that there was more going on than Call is aware of. There seem to be a lot of different factions with different end goals, and at times for me this made the book seem a bit chaotic. There seems to be no real villain of the piece in THE BRONZE KEY in the way that there is in the previous two books. I don’t know if that’s because Black and Clare only had a limited amount of space to work with – my copy of the book is 249 pages – or if it was something else, but in a lot of ways I think it might have worked better if the book was longer so I was more invested in events. The ending pulled everything together for me; it left me wanting to get my hands on the fourth book ASAP because I must know what happens next!

Having read my review so far you would be forgiven for thinking that I didn’t particularly enjoy reading THE BRONZE KEY, as I haven’t said a lot that is positive, but I did think it was a good read, if not a particularly innovative one. It was easy to fall back into the world of the Magisterium in THE BRONZE KEY and I enjoyed being reunited with Call and his friends Tamara and Aaron. I think readers of this series will maybe not love this book, but they will definitely like it. THE BRONZE KEY poses a lot of new questions, which I am looking forward to seeing answered in the next book.

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