Give it a chance
The similarities between Iron Trial and Harry Potter have been hounding this book from the moment the synopsis was released, and a few chapters in I was rolling my eyes. BUT I did that less and less as I got through the story (final scene excepted), and enjoyed it. I liked the sarcasm, the take on mages and how the school and the magic works.
It's a fast paced, easy read, though I never really liked Call so his POV annoyed me a bit. I like the dynamic between the characters, and the foreshadowing of how that might change in the future. I love the magisterium itself and the magic of this world, though the world building wasn't the strongest, and neither was the writing in my opinion. But then I remember that this is a middlegrade book (it's easy to forget!), so I'm probably being too harsh.
All I can say to anyone picking this book up is TRY to forget you've read Harry Potter and enjoy Iron Trial as it is, otherwise you'll be your own worst enemy.