Thank you so much to Bookish First and Margaret K. McElderry Books for the ARC of Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare! The book was won in a bookish raffle and given for free in exchange for an honest review.
Guys I apologize because this is one of my rare “more-rambly-and-less-literary” reviews. It is good to be back in the Shadowhunter world, especially Will & Tessa’s time. The Infernal Devices is by far my favorite of Clare’s trilogies, so I was thrilled when I heard the next generation of Herondales and Lightwoods (and Carstairs and Blackthorns) were getting a series.
The Description from Goodreads:
“Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love”
Let me come up front with my biggest gripe about the book: The first 150 pages held very little action at all. Clare used the space to introduce the entire next generation – a TON of characters – their friendships, lives, and surface connections to each other. We got to see what Will and Tessa and Charlotte and Sophie and Gideon and Cecily and Gabriel and their entire HOST of offspring have built in the peace following the clockwork war. I was also happy to hear that Henry’s injuries didn’t affect his babymaking abilities. It took me most of the book to have the characters straight. I drew one but it would have been cool if she had included a family tree up front.
Anyway, once the action got going I really enjoyed the book. The typical Clare themes of strong young women, magical weapons, self discovery, friends with secrets, and a tangled web of romances present themselves per usual. It was different to have everyone on the same page as a shadowhunter already, as in prior books someone is always having to discover their true identity and abilities. There is a healthy amount of this in the Herondale children though, I mean, What kind of abilities would TESSA GRAY’s children have? My favorite part was finding out. James and his shadow travels and Lucie with her affinity for ghosts were both awesome story lines. Cordelia with her Cortana are obviously going to be great heroes and I love her as well. There is a full cast of other characters including Sophie and Cecily’s kids, Charlotte and Henry had a few too, and crazy old Tatiana Lightwood is even a main character with her stuffed bird hats and general lunacy. I won’t share ARC quotes but believe me, the banter continues to be most excellent.
As for the bad guy – the villain – First we had Valentine, then The Magister, and now… wow. I can’t really go too much into the villains here without spoilers but there is a manticore demon and plenty of adversarial magic for the young friends to ward off. Learning more about warlock magic and demons was cool, it was explored more in this book than in prior series. I really enjoyed the build up to the reveal of the villain (and the world building) in this novel, Clare took her time but it worked. The villain is definitely worthy of the series, and that’s all I’ll say on the matter.
Speaking of the ghosts, how about Jesse and Jessamine! How about the warlocks? I was so excited to have Magnus Bane gone before he showed up. I am ready for a new warlock. If nothing else, Clare does like to recycle her characters a bit. I think she honestly needs to quit this universe after this trilogy, there are just so many repeating themes and fan fiction with those short stories now!
Yes yes yes, I am talking about Chain of Gold, not Clare’s formula. I want to divert one more time and say that YES, these books are paranormal…romance. Girls like boys, boys like girls, boys like boys, boys like both, and someone is a crossdresser. None of these things are too heavy but be aware that it’s there in greater quantities than in previous books if those things bother you, although if you’re still around after Malec I’m assuming they don’t. The worst than anyone does is kiss anyway, with mentioned themes of seduction and spending the night.
I guess the most important question a lot of you will ask is: Can I read this book first? If you have never read a shadowhunters novel, (I personally HATE The Mortal Instruments) and would start with The Infernal Devices, then back track to TMI, then you’re home free with either this series or the one with the LA shadowhunters. You literally can’t read Chain of Gold first without a shit TON of spoilers that will ruin your reading of The Infernal Devices. Clare’s writing is getting better as she goes though, I’ll give her that.
Thank you again to Bookish first and the publisher, All opinions are my own!