The Copper Gauntlet: Magisterium, Book 2

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
The Copper Gauntlet: Magisterium, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Hasty setup, exciting finish in magic-school sequel.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Since this is a school of magic, readers can make obvious comparisons with other books about magic. Here there are no wands, and the mages work to control the elements: earth, water, fire, and air. 

Positive Messages

For the series so far, the underlying struggle is good vs. evil, in the world and within individuals. Loyalty and bravery, acceptance, and friendship all are important themes. Book 2 explores the value of honesty. There’s a struggle to understand which secrets to keep and which to tell.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Callum struggles with his identity and how to protect his friends, possibly from himself. He doesn’t always act altruistically -- some of the secrets he keeps could really endanger his friends -- but he’s brave when danger strikes. After fighting with his dad, he tries to make amends. Aaron is getting more comfortable as a hero figure. He makes a decision to protect others instead of letting others protect him. Smart and resourceful Tamara also has strong convictions.


A severed head plays prominently in the climax; the mutilation scene is omitted (and the person was already dead), but the head is carried around, then presented afterward. Another severed head is nailed to a door. A crypt shows bodies magically preserved just after death. A woman dies after an attack by a giant metal monster; teens fight the monster with magic. Hundreds of zombie-like creatures kidnap teens. Fights with magic send things into an abyss or cause people to be thrown against walls; there’s one concussion. Talk of/fear of a procedure where a soul is removed using the cut-out heart of the main character’s pet wolf. Mentions of a massacre that killed Callum's mother and many others.


Some kissing among teens.


A few quick mentions: Ruffles, Hershey's, Chef Boyardee, Butterfinger.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink champagne at a fancy party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Copper Gauntlet is the second book in the Magisterium series by accomplished fantasy writers Holly Black (Doll Bones) and Cassandra Clare (City of Bones). Both often write for a teen audience, but this series about a magic school is aimed at tweens. Though the violence usually sticks to fights with magic, matter is sent into an abyss, a climactic moment involves a severed head, and another severed head is nailed to a door. Neither mutilation is depicted, but it’s clear that a teen has used a knife to sever the head of someone already deceased. The main character, Callum, spends the book searching for the good within himself and learns he can be honest with his friends. Good friends stay loyal even when they know your darkest secrets.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byabbacus January 17, 2016

Amazing! You'll love it if you liked the first!

This book did a great job of improving off of the first one! The first half or so of The Copper Gauntlet was a little slow, but once the action got started this... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySlytherClaw21 April 15, 2019
I liked it okay.... they do press the gay issue quite a bit first parents, I cant remember why I quit, but its not mentioned in the common sense review, I did n... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMike the reader December 10, 2017

Fantasting book

should you be a fan of MAGIC, you have to read this book. The masterpiece will make you fall in the tornado of curiosity and twists as well. You will never expe... Continue reading

What's the story?

It’s summer break, and Callum should be chilling out with his dad, Alistair, and his pet wolf before his magical education continues at the Magisterium. But Callum knows something is really wrong when he comes home from the movies and his wolf is gone. Late that night he tracks the wolf to a secret room. He's tied up next to a set of chains Call's size. And strewn across a desk nearby are magical spells to remove Call’s soul -- or rather, the soul of Constantine Madden, an evil magician whom Call and his father fear took over his body as a baby. If that's not enough to ruin summer break, what is? Call takes the wolf and runs for the bus station, then his friend Tamara's house, to finish out the summer. When Alistair tries to track him down at school to explain, Call won't hear him out -- especially when he figures out that his dad stole something from the Magisterium as part of his plan: a magical gauntlet that, if it gets in the wrong hands, could unleash an evil greater than what may be living in Callum. When Call discovers his father has gone missing and could be in danger, he confides in his friends. Together they realize they have to get to Alistair before the enemy does.

Is it any good?

Though this sequel suffers from a hasty, somewhat clunky setup, it makes up for it with a rousing second half and some intriguing, magically talented friends to share the adventure. Veteran YA fantasy authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare saddle the main character, Callum, with the knowledge that he's supposed to have the soul of some evil overlord. Think Harry Potter's connect to Voldemort, only Call knows about it -- and knows it could possibly control all of him. Yikes. It's strange that he’s still desperate to go back to school and possibly endanger everyone there. And that he doesn't seem remotely evil, even on a bad day. Just dishonest.

Though the idea of possession doesn't seem that believable, the interactions with the teen characters feel quite real. Adding Jasper, a rather conceited frenemy, to the mission, makes for some fun sparring. It lightens the mood at the right times, such as when hundreds of zombies show up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about secrets. When do you keep secrets, and when shouldn't you?

  • How is the type of magic Callum and friends learn at the Magisterium different from the magic in the Harry Potter or Septimus Heap books? Which kind of magical learning do you prefer?

  • Will you keep reading this series? What do you like best about it?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and magic

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