The Silver Mask, by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Silver Mask, by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (Scholastic, upper MG, October 2017), is the fourth book of the Magisterium series, and I feel that by the time the fourth book comes along, anyone who will care to read about it will already have ready the first three books, so I'm going to be free with my spoilers!

If you  haven't, here's a link to my review of the first book, The Iron Trial, and you can go back and start at the beginning.

So if you recall from the earlier books, there was a prophecy about Cal and Tamara and Aaron-- 'One will die, one will fail, another is already dead.'  Cal is already dead in a strange and twisted sense of having had his soul kicked out of his body in infancy, and replaced by that of the arch villain of bad magic, aka The Eater of Death.   The end of book 3 was a killer, literally, and poor Aaron became the one who would die.  Which leaves failure for Tamara. 

So I was expecting that this book to be about that.  It wasn't.

It starts with Cal being broken free from prison, which doesn't (no surprise) lead to a peaceful time spent recovering in some pleasant refuge.  Instead, Master Joseph holds him and Tamara, and another student met in the first books, in a different sort of prison.  Master Joseph is determined to make Cal into the Eater of Death for real, and as an incentive to force Cal to master death, Aaron's dead body waits for Cal to bring it back to life.  It's a horrible psychological torture.

And that's all I'll say about the plot, except for one last detail. The nascent romance begun in the earlier books becomes considerable less nascent...and it's nicely awkward, as befits a story for tweens (10-14 year olds).

This is a great series for that age group--the snarky, conflicted, Cal relying on his good friends when he can't do it all alone is the sort of character kids (and grownups, for that matter) love, and the stakes are high, but hope is always present and there are many touches of humor to make readers chuckle even when things are dark.  The ending will have readers of all ages wanting the next book Now Please (except that the next book is the fifth of a planned five, and though I want things to end happily, and though binge rereading the whole series will be fun, I'd like more than five....)

Here's another review, at Jen Robinson's Book Page.

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher


  1. I'm definitely ready for book 5 now, too, and agree that this series would be a fun binge read. Thanks for linking to my review :-).

  2. You've is perfect. More than that, and the first books fall apart before the last one comes out. While I live the Duane Wizards books, nobody gets further than six or seven, but I feel I need the whole series, which just sits there gathering dust. I like that these books are all a modest length as well!


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