Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Alastair Hunt, a mage that has been fighting in the war against the Enemy of Death, climbs the side of a glacier. People too weak or young were in a cave hidden from battle as Master Rufus had insisted. When the Enemy didn’t show, Alastair made his way to the cave. He finds bodies too burned to recognize. In the back, he finds his wife, Sara, dead and holding her dagger, Semiramis. He hears a cry and finds his son, Callum with a broken leg. He brings the baby back to his wife’s body and sees she has scratched “kill the child” into the wall.
Callum is known for causing trouble in his home town in North Carolina. He hasn’t ever really been accepted by the other kids and isn’t allowed physical activity because of his leg. One day while walking home, a few older kids start beating him up. Callum is knocked out for a second. When he wakes up, the kids are running and the ground is split. His dad tells him he may have magic and starts telling Call all the horrible things the mages do. He says magic killed Call’s mom and he refuses to use his own. As he waits at school to be picked up, a girl leaving early waves to Call. Alastair arrives in his Rolls Royce Phantom he is constantly obsessing over. He keeps telling Call that he must fail the Iron Trial or the mages will make him to to the Magisterium underground. They arrive at an old airport hangar in West Virginia. They go inside and Call sees the mages.
Master North starts welcoming the families. Master Phineus gives instructions in the heads of anyone with the least bit of magic. The aspirants go to the six mages and are sorted into groups. Call is with Master Milagros. He accidentally runs into a girl name Tamara. She is annoyed but her attention is soon claimed by Jasper. They are led into a white room that has desks with test pamphlets on them. Call asks what will happen if they don’t want to attend the school. She tells them it sin’t optional because uncontrolled magic is dangerous. Everyone looks at Tamara. The teacher tells them to shake their pens and begin. Call can’t get his pen to write so he shakes it. Ink starts to spray everywhere. He lets go and it stops.. He is sent to the bathroom to clean up. As they start making their way to the second test, they are split into new groups. The girl from his school, Kylie, is in his group, so he goes to warn her about the school. Before he can tell her, she asks him not to talk to her because she wants to fit in. Master Milagros leaves them with Master Rockmaple. He tells them to climb a rope ladder with wooden rungs to touch a ball hanging from the ceiling. Jasper insists on going first and finds the rope gets longer the more he climbs. He falls and whines about needing a second try. Master Rockmaple says he can try again after everyone has a turn. A blond athletic boy, Aaron, is the only one able to make it to the ball at the top. When it is Call’s turn, he explains that he is not supposed to do physical activities because of his leg. Master Rockmaple tells him he doesn’t have to, but Call gets infuriated and goes with his bad (left) leg first. He immediately falls. He stares up at the red ball with hatred and it pops, melting everywhere. Master Rockmaple orders them out. Call can hear the others calling him a freak.
The Aspirants are moved to another classroom and told to make paper float. Call concentrates on making sure his piece doesn’t move and it becomes part of the desk. The last test is given individually. Call is to keep a flame going in a bowl of water. When he picks up the bowl, the flame gets bigger. When Master Rufus mentions his mom, the bowl shatters and the flames hit the floor continuing to burn. Rufus fails him and sends him out to be with his dad. Alastair is relieved that Call is the lowest ranked aspirant. Each master can choose up to six apprentices. Rufus is the most senior, so he goes first. He takes the top two ranked - Aaron and Tamara. He then calls Callum’s name. Alastair tries to drag Call out of there, furious Rufus is trying to take his son. He tries to offer to teach Call, but Rufus points out he had twelve years to teach him and failed. Call is ripped away from his father by mages as his dad is forced out of the building. Alastair throws Semiramis at Call and Aaron snatches it out of the air and gives it to him. Jasper is chosen by Milagros and shoots Call a hateful look.
After all the apprentices have been chosen, they are piled into buses according to their Masters. Jasper (who Call notices is wearing patched up hand-me-downs) can’t stand that Call took the last spot with Master Rufus. Call tries to explain that he’d rather go home, but Jasper storms off to ride a different bus. Call has nothing to load onto the bus, so he takes a seat. After a quick stop at a gas station, Call asks Aaron where the school is. Tamara joins in their conversation and Call tells them some of them are going to die at the school. When they find out his mom died on the Mountain, they start to explain what the Third Mage War was about. The Enemy of Death, a rare Makaris (can make something from nothing) started putting the void (5th element) into animals and then people. Rather than meeting the Makaris on the side of good, Verity Torres, the Enemy went to the Mountain and killed those hiding there. Call blows off the story and infuriates the kids who think those at the Mountain were heroes. Call points out they were victims killed because of magic. The kids start talking about the Enemy’s chaos ridden animals (told by their pale eyes). Celia has heard the eyes don’t always tell and the animals can be spies. The bus stops. Call gets out and looks around.
Call looks at the mountain-side with the double doors in it. Master North introduces them to the history of Magic and how it sprung from alchemists finding people who could do what they couldn’t. They are led into a large entry hall with a river flowing through it. Aaron grabs Call’s sleeve to get his attention. They follow Master Rufus through the tunnels to their rooms. There is a living area with three doors that each have one of their names on it. Master Rufus gives them each a wristband that will be added to with the accomplishments. He pulls out bread and bologna and makes three sandwiches. He then has each kid concentrate on their favorite meal and makes the bologna transform into it. Call asks if he can call his father. Rufus points out they don’t have phones, but promises they will contact him after he’s had a chance to calm down. Call goes to bed, but it takes him hours to fall asleep.
An alarm goes off and wakes up Call. Aaron and Tamara come into his room already dressed and ready to go. they point out his uniform and tells him to get ready. After he is dressed, Call wraps his knife in an old sock and puts it in his boot. Rufus arrives and tells them they are late. Tamara is about to blame Call when Rufus points out the team must work together. He leads them to the Refectory. Aaron hands Call his wristband to put on (they aren’t supposed to have them off). They get in line for breakfast and are surprised by the odd looking food. Call is pleasantly surprised at how good it is once he starts eating. Tamara waves to her older sister and tries to ignore Jasper trying to get her attention. Reluctantly, Tamara asks Rufus if he would consider taking Jasper as an apprentice. He tells her he has picked his team and is not interested in changing the combination. He has them get up to go to their first lesson.
Master Rufus takes them to a river and has them get into a boat he uses magic to make move. He explains this is the best way to get around the Magisterium. They eventually arrive in a room with a pile of sand in the center. Rufus goes over the Five Principles of Magic:
Power from imbalance; control from balance
All elements act according to their nature
Exchange of power
You can change something’s shape, but not it’s essential nature
All elements have a counter weight (chaos’ is the soul)
Master Rufus then tells them to sort the pile of sand into dark and light piles. He leaves the three students and they get started. Lunch is brought to them by a third year student. They eat and then get back to work. Call gets annoyed at how little they have accomplished and accidentally messes up the piles. Aaron and Tamara are still mad when they are dismissed for dinner. They listen to the other first years talk about their first days which sound better than their day with Rufus. Celia asks Call if he wants to go to the Gallery with her to have fun, but he decides he is too tired. The three students are surprised when they continue to sort sand for weeks. Finally Call asks either of them if they know of a better way to accomplish the feat. Tamara mentions that you can gain more power by ingesting a piece of the sand and opening themselves up to the elements. She warns them it is dangerous. If one gets too much power, their soul can be burned away and replaced with the element. Tamara explains elementals come in all shapes and sizes. They promise each other to be careful and then eat a bit of sand. Call lifts the entire pile up and Aaron spreads it into two piles. Tamara swirls it in the air when Rufus storms in. He asks Call what he did and tells him to come with him. He is taken to Rufus’ office where he wants to explain why he brought Call to the Magisterium.
A miniature tornado in a jar turns into a man that says he needs to speak with Rufus. Rufus tells him he is unavailable and the man becomes a tornado again. He tells Call that he took him as an apprentice because it is his penance for another student and he didn’t want another Master to choose him for the wrong reasons. He knows Call has a lot of power that will be dangerous uncontrolled. He warns him that his magic can be bound before he goes through the iron gate, but he will always feel like part of him is missing and won’t remember why. He tells Call to go back to sorting sand grain by grain and think about his options. Call becomes determined to be the best mage and drop out after his first year so he can go home. He practices several techniques to sort the sand. Aaron and Tamara see this, but keep quietly to themselves. Call starts to dream about sand. Aaron and Tamara continue to ignore Call. One night, Call agrees to go to the Gallery with Celia. She shows him the snacks and a movie manipulated and projected by Rufus’ older apprentice, Alex Strike, a Bronze year. As Call starts heading back with some of the other Iron year students, later year apprentices start coming in through the mission doors. Many of them are injured from fire elementals. Master North yells at them for being there and they scatter.
The next day at dinner, the others Iron years are talking about their lessons. Call is not impressed with Jasper’s ability to levitate an inch. Jasper makes fun of Call and his limp and complains about him holding back Aaron and Tamara. Aaron tells Jasper he wasn’t picked by Master Rufus for a good reason and takes off. Jasper calls Aaron and Call crazy, so Tamara dumbs her bowl of pudding over his head and takes off. A few of the Masters come by to lecture the students about their behavior. Call goes back to their common room. He thanks them before heading to his own room. Tamara asks him to stay. She apologizes for suggesting they ingest the sand. She explains her sister, Ravan, pushed too hard and became an elemental. They all determine they are not mad at each other and promise to help each other.
The sand sorting continues and one day Rufus bring in a gramophone (magical music player). He blares classical music and throws candy worms at them while they continue to sort the sand. They learn to block it out and concentrate on their task. The next day, they are brought into a large room with the other Iron years for their first test. Master North explains they will be fighting elementals. Rufus tells his apprentices he has taught them what they need to know to win. The room dims and three wyverns appear through the wall. Jasper immediately goes t attack with a fireball, but it isn’t very effective and he looses his concentration. Aaron jumps on one’s tail and is flung off. Master Rufus catches him with a giant hand made of ice. Calls sees a boy named Drew in trouble and goes to help. Drew tells him to run, but Call falls when he tries. Another wyvern comes after him and he automatically smashes it with a wall of sand. tamara shouts at Call for his knife and he tosses it to her. She goes to stab it in the eye and it disappears into smoke. Tamara starts to float, so Call grabs her leg to keep her closer to the ground. Aaron and Celia smash rocks at one wyvern from opposite directions, Call looks around for the third, but Tamara says she had killed two. Alex comes over to congratulate them and tells Call he is like him. Call doubts it. Alex explains mages don’t usually run and so Call will be a good fighter. Master Rufus rewards his apprentices with pizza. When Call goes to bed that night, he finds a box sent from his father. It has clothes, his favorite candy, the Three Musketeers (they were reading it together) and a note. He says it isn’t Call’s fault and to keep his chin up. He signed his full name rather than “Dad.”
Call is so worked up over his dad’s letter that he can’t sleep. He decides to try using the boats to get to Rufus’ office. After getting in the boat, Call tries to talk to the water. Nothing happens and he lets the current take him. When he reaches his stop, he has to use his hands as paddles to get to shore. He has trouble getting out because of his leg and ends up soaked. Call makes his way to Rufus’ office. A lizard with a fiery back asks Call to let him out of his cage, but Call refuses. He goes to the tiny tornado and concentrates on his dad. Alastair is surprised to see him. He tells him it would be best for him to run away from the mages. He says they are worse than they seem and Call doesn’t know what he is. The lizard’s cage falls and breaks his concentration, breaking the connecting. While Call is cleaning up the mess, he finds a letter from Alastair to Rufus. Call opens it and finds a letter begging Rufus to bind Call’s magic.
Call is furious with his father’s cryptic messages. He takes the letter and the wristband that came with it. The caged lizard points out that he is stealing and plans to tell Rufus unless Call frees him. Call decides to steal the lizard elemental as well. The lizard, who agrees to be called Warren, offers to lead Call back to his room in exchange for letting him out of the cage. Call agrees to let him out after they get there. Along the way, Call overhears the masters talking about the tests. One is impressed with Jasper’s bravery, but another points out the brave apprentices that came back injured because the elementals have started working together. They think the Enemy is behind it, but have no proof. Call thinks about his dad saying they would drag him into their dangerous history. Call continues on and Warren leads him into the library. Celia is helping Jasper, but he is not getting whatever he is trying. They hear Call and he tells them he just go lost. He apologizes to Jasper for taking his spot with Master Rufus. Jasper says it is even worse that Call doesn’t want the spot. Jasper’s family lost everything in the Second Mage War and he is trying to be the best to redeem them. Call makes it back to the dorm. Warren convinces him to let him out and then follows Call to his room. Call goes to bed.
The next morning Call overhears Rufus asking Milagros about his lizard. He then takes Call, Aaron, and Tamara to practice using air to float themselves. Call gets the hang of it at the end of the lesson. In a lecture with Master Lemuel, Call asks how to counterweight chaos. The master thinks he is joking and scolds him. Their next guest lecture from Rockmaple is about elementals and Call starts to worry about having Warren in his room. As fall rolls around, Rufus decides his apprentices need to start exploring the Magisterium on their own. He gives them a map and tells them to go to the Butterfly Pool while leaving a magical trail to follow back while carrying water from the pool. They find the room with water the color of a blue monarch butterfly flowing into a pool. Tamara holds a bit of water with her magic, but drops it when the map burns away. They forgot they wouldn’t have the map on the way back and only it a total of three stones along the way. After getting lost and having a brief argument, they all admit they were at fault and decide to work together. As they talk about what they miss from home, they come to a remarkable room.
The apprentices find themselves in the Hall of Graduates. Call finds his parents names inside their handprints on the wall. Aaron finds the Iron Gate, but it doesn’t seem to be active. Warren shows up and says he will show them the way in exchange for what they have in their pockets. He leads them to a Devoured. Tamara warns Aaron to stay away from it so it doesn’t absorb him. It tells them one will fail, one will die, and on is already dead. Master Rufus arrives to rescue his apprentice. He tells them the Devoured, Marcus, was once his master. He tells them not to listen to what he said because he has gone mad. When they tell the other Iron years about he prophecy, Drew asks to talk to Call. He asks if it was smart to tell everyone about it. Call is confused. Drew asks how he doesn’t know what he is and then leaves saying he has to go.
Call hears something outside his door that night. When his door opens, he grabs his mom’s knife (which they nicknamed Mira) and crouches to fight off whatever is coming for him. Masters North, Rufus, and Lemuel tell him to come with them. Aaron and Tamara are already in he common room. The masters tell them they need to get dressed because Drew ran away. While getting ready, Tamara comes in to see Call looking at the wristband his dad sent to Rufus. She asks to see it and points out it can’t be either of his parents because it ends at Silver year and both of his parents graduated. Call shoves it in his pocket and they follow Master Rufus to the mission gate. He tells them to stay close to Alex. Aaron comes over to see what Call and Tamara are talking about. When Tamara doesn’t say anything, Call decides he can trust them. He tells them everything. Aaron thinks they should ask Alex about it, but Tamara has a different approach. She asks Alex about his own wristband. He starts to explain when they see a light on a hill. Alex tells them to stay. Call sees something slithering above Alex and runs after him to help. He falls at the bottom of the hill and finds Drew stuck there with a broken leg in the ground. Call starts using earth magic to bind the leg, but Alex finds them and rips Drew’s leg out saying they have to leave immediately. Call realizes the chaos ridden are there.
Alex carries Drew over towards the other Iron years. He tells them to form a circle around him and Drew so he can heal him. Call is between Celia and Jasper when the chaos ridden wolves appear. Call finds himself mesmerized by their eyes. When Tamara calls to him, he realizes he is moving towards them. He slips down a hill and Tamara follows to try to get him back into position. He puts her behind him and has an odd feeling. As the wolves start to attack, Aaron jumps in front of them and uses chaos to make the wolves disappear. The masters show up shortly after and tell Aaron he is the Makar they have been waiting for. They take him away to tell him about his powers so that he doesn’t hurt other students.
As the rest of the Iron Years start making their way back, Call notices something following them. He finds a chaos ridden wolf puppy that probably just had his mother killed. He stuff the pup into his jacket and catches up with the others. Jasper tells them the Enemy of Death, Constantine, and his brother, Jericho, came to the Magisterium when there was still an emphasis on experiments. When Master Joseph found out Constantine was a Makar, he started working with him. Jericho agreed to be his brother’s counterweight. Their experiments got to be too much and it ended up killing Jericho. Constantine started experimenting on animals and then people to try to bring his brother back to life. When the masters found out, Joseph helped him escape by blasting through a wall. Constantine was scarred and now wears a mask to hide it. They arrive back at the Magisterium and Call rushes back to his room. Tamara is suspicious of Call’s extra bulk, but he shuts his door on her. He lets the puppy out and it ends up curling up against him to sleep. He thinks about what Jasper said - the chaos ridden not having any personality. He notices the puppy has plenty despite having chaos.
Call wakes up to a hungry wolf puppy and sneaks out of his room to find Tamara on the couch. She explains classes are cancelled and breakfast was brought for them. Call grabs a couple sausages and goes back to his room to change. He gives the food to the puppy and struggles to get dressed while the pup wants to play. When Call emerges for more food, Rufus is there to take them to a meeting. The entire Magisterium is gathered with members of the Assembly. Master Rufus speaks to them all saying their treaty with the Enemy is wrong. It requires them to trust Constantine while he builds up their forces against them. He points out they have allowed this because they didn’t have a Makar. He introduces Aaron. AN assembly member comes up to Aaron, talking about maintaining peace, and gives him a black gem (onyx) for his wristband. Call realizes the wristband he has must have belong to a Makar - either Verity Torres or Constantine.
The students are given the rest of the day off and most of them are excited. Call and Tamara go back to their room to find Jasper outside their door. He asks for her help. She makes him apologize to Call before she agrees. Call goes inside alone and feeds the puppy the leftover breakfast after sneaking him out the mission gate to go to the bathroom. Call is playing with him when he hears someone come in. Call goes out into the living room to find Aaron upset. He is worried because the last Makra died at fifteen and so have the last two counterweights. Call suggests that Aaron could run away. Aaron admits he was a foster child passed from home to home and has no where to go. Call offers to be his counterweight and Aaron is grateful. Tamara returns and is excited to see Aaron. The puppy starts to bark.
Tamara opens Calls door and the puppy runs out. She wants to get rid of the chaos ridden animal immediately, but Call refuses. Aaron points out that it is friendly and Tamara reminds them they can get in trouble. Call reminds them they wouldn’t kick Aaron out of the Magisterium. They agree to keep the wolf and Call names him Havoc. They all agree to sneak him as much food in their pockets as they can. Tamara turns the conversation to the wristband Call’s dad sent. They realize it must be Constantine and that Alastair was at the Magisterium at the same time as the Enemy. Going back over all their clues, Tamara suggests Call is chaos ridden but doesn’t show signs because it happened when he was a baby - like Havoc seems to be normal. Aaron refuses to believe it and they continue to wonder what Call is. They weeks go by and Rufus has to split up their training because of Aaron’s new found abilities. Call and Tamara spend a lot of time studying independently or with other masters. Lemuel is no longer allowed to teach at the Magisterium because Drew told the Assembly how he tried to keep him constantly stressed in order to do better. His apprentices are split among other masters. Call wants to talk to Drew to see what he knows, but he can never get him alone.
Spring rolls around and a lot of the classes are taken outside. Call and Tamara join Milagros’ apprentices on afternoon to work with juggling fireballs. Call and Tamara find it easy after all the sand sorting. Next, they pass fireballs back and forth to each other. Celia asks Call to be her partner. Last Milagros explains she wants them to use earth and water to balance on a log in a stream. Then they are to hold up fire using air. She tells Call that she has a different exercise for him because of his leg. He doesn’t listen and makes his way to a log Celia fell off. He can’t keep his balance and falls in. He tries to swim, but his good leg is stuck. Jasper pulls him out and Call has to go to the infirmary because his good leg has a sprained ankle. Master Amaranth shoos everyone out of the infirmary and packs Call’s leg in moss and mud. When he wakes up, Aaron and Tamara have brought Havoc to visit him. When Havoc starts to whine, Aaron goes to take him outside. Call admits to Tamara that he is worried about going home because he is afraid Alastair won’t let him come back. When Aaron has been gone too long, they decide to go find him. Tamara makes Call promise he will go back if it hurts too much. They get outside the mission gate and Havoc greats them. Aaron isn’t on the other end of his rope leash. They start to follow Havoc through the woods.
They follow Havoc through the woods, across a highway, and to a dirt road. Call doesn’t care if he gets in trouble and tells Tamara to go back. She tells him she doesn’t care about appearances , just about doing what is right. They continue through the woods parallel to a dirt road to find an abandoned bowling alley. They make their way inside and peak through a crack in the wall. Drew has Aaron strung up over a chaos elemental to devour him.
Call sends Tamara up the rafter to help Aaron while he distracts his captor. He bursts into the room with Havoc and Drew is shocked to see him. Drew explains he is a spy for the Enemy. He had to pretend to be bad at magic though he had more training then any of them. He releases the chaos elemental and it starts to go after Call. He slashes at it with Miri and Havoc attacks it. When it throws Havoc aside, Call is furious and starts attacking. The elemental turns on Drew and devours him. Call grabs Havoc and goes through a door into a lab. The elemental follows. There is a hooded man there that gets rid of the elemental using his onyx-topped staff. He looks at Call and points out his leg could have been healed if his father wasn’t so stubborn. He calls for Drew, but when he gets no answer, he goes into the other room to find his son dead. He comes back to Call, who prepares himself to die. the man with the silver mask and scars doesn’t have Constantine face. He tells Call he is not the Enemy of Death; Call is.
The masked man turns out to be Master Joseph. He has been carefully making sure the masters think the Enemy is still around. He explains that Callum Hunt died on the Mountain and Constantine put his own soul into the baby. Master Joseph starts showing Call memories of Constantine’s visit to the cave and Joseph watching Call as he first used magic accidentally. Drew revealed to them Call didn’t remember any of it. Call says he is going to go back to the Magisterium and tell them everything. Aaron and Tamara crash through the ceiling riding the Bowling Alley’s large sign from outside. Master Joseph is gone, but the Chaos ridden are surrounding them. Tamara pulls Call along until he and Havoc are following. He stops when he sees Aaron planning to fight. Call shakes him out of it and they run up the bowling sign and onto the roof to join Tamara and Havoc. They make their way to the ground and Call passes out.
Call wakes up in the infirmary with Master Rufus next to him. He allows Call to use the miniature tornado to talk to his dad. Afterwards, Rufus asks for Call’s side of what happened. He leaves out Master Joseph and the Enemy’s soul. Over the next few days, a lot of people come to visit Call, including Jasper. The masters allow Call to keep Havoc because Aaron says he needs to study a chaos ridden animal. When Call goes back to his studies, Rufus takes them to the Hall of Graduates. There is now a film over the gate indicating they are ready to pass through. After his friends have already gone, Call considers telling Rufus the truth. He thinks about leaving the Magisterium and his friends and steps through.