So, first things first (but not necessarily in that order).
This book is about magic. Yes, magic. Elemental magic.
There are five elements arranged into a quincunx, which looks like this:
The proverb that goes along with this is Fire wants to burn, water wants to flow, air wants to rise, earth wants to bind, chaos wants to devour.
A mage can generally access four of the five, while having a specialty for one element. However, there are mages who can tap into all five elements. These mages are called Makaris, or Makars. They have control over the void and are extraordinarily powerful, with just one appearing each generation. Makars are not bad (But the big bad dude, the Enemy of Death/Constantine Madden was) and there are three Makars either mentioned or written about who are fighting against the Enemy.
Callum Hunt is a twelve-year-old boy. He lives in North Carolina, and he’s the troublemaker of the town. His father, Alastair Hunt, was a mage until magic killed Call’s mother. Now, Alastair says that Call must fail the Iron Trial-the test for possible mages of twelve years old. Call takes it-he fails with a score below zero. But somehow, he gets taken to the Magisterium. He is apprenticed to Master Rufus, along with two other twelve-year-old apprentices, Aaron Stewart and Tamara Rajivi.
They get settled at the Magisterium until another student, Drew, runs away and breaks his ankle. Call discovers that he can heal himself and others. On the way back to the school, they are chased by a pack of wolves who have been experimented on by the Enemy, making them soulless slaves of chaos. Aaron accidentally sends them to the void and reveals that he is an unknowing Makar. Aaron is taken for special training and is eventually kidnapped. Call and Tamara, being fellow apprentices of Master Rufus, go to rescue him, which almost kills all three of them. Part of the truth behind Constantine Madden/the Enemy of Death is revealed, showing that Constantine was driven by the grief of losing his brother Jericho to find a way to cheat death.
Naturally, when they get back to the Magisterium, there is a massive inquiry and the three of them get into a massive amount of trouble. But the suspense doesn’t stop there – in fact, it gets better in the second book.
This book is currently at the time of writing in a series of four books, the fifth, the Golden Tower, having an estimated publish date of mid-2018. The series is co-created by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. I’d recommend this book for ages nine to seventeen.