September 14, 2015
Peaks: This second book really ramps up the tension in main character Callum Hunt's life. Call has now spent a year at the secret school of magic known as the Magisterium. He's made friends, he's acquired a rather unusual pet, and he's found out some rather alarming secrets about his own identity (minor spoilers, if you haven't read book one)—he's supposedly harboring the reborn soul of the evil Chaos magician Constantine Madden. So he's constantly on the lookout for signs he might be turning into an Evil Overlord, which is both hilarious and sad.
As if that isn't enough, Call comes home one day to find that his wolf, Havoc—whom his father was never really comfortable with—has been locked up in the basement, possibly for the purposes of some awful ritual. And he finds incriminating evidence of something scary going on: the plot to steal a powerful magical object (the copper gauntlet of the title). Is his father trying to kill Havoc? Or worse, is he trying to kill Call? For their own safety, Call and Havoc decide that Back to School should happen just a tad bit early this year…but of course, even being back with his friends Aaron and Tamara and their teacher Master Rufus is no guarantee of safety.
I love how the friendships (and even the frenemies, like Jasper) are portrayed in this book. There is a strong message of loving your friends for the people they ARE, rather than fearing them because of what others say they're supposed to be. And there is another important take-away, which is that you can be allies with someone even if you aren't friends with them…and even if you don't particularly like them.
Valleys: I guess this is one of those where I have to say the only drawback is the next book isn't out yet.
Conclusion: This is another action-packed read which should appeal to fantasy readers of any gender (boys and girls alike get to do cool and exciting things), and particularly to fans of the early Harry Potter books and Tamora Pierce's novels for younger readers. It's a wonderful blend of fantasy and humor, is both fun AND just a bit scary, and it plays off both authors' strengths in terms of infusing magic into a contemporary setting.
I received my copy of this book courtesy of the publisher at ALA 2015; all comments are based on the uncorrected review copy. You can find THE COPPER GAUNTLET by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!