Chain of Gold
- Author: Cassandra Clare
- Genre: YA Fantasy
- Publication Date: March 3, 2020
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
- Series: The Last Hours #1
CONTENT WARNING: blood, self-harm, gore, mention of chronic illness, mention of miscarriage, death, murder, alcoholism
An inheritance of shadows. A love in chains. An unconquerable foe.
Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.
But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those that Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia’s friends discover that a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and now forces a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.
I happened to read this after a particularly disappointing book, and it was like the most refreshing palate cleanser. I’ve only started getting into the Shadowhunter books within the last year or so, but they’ve become like putting on a very comfortable pair of sweats, where no matter what, you know they’re going to fit just the way you like. And this one was no different, even though it starts off a new series in the Shadowhunter world.
This series picks up with Tessa and Will’s children, James and Lucie, and the world that they are living in is very different than that of other Shadowhunters. Demon attacks are at an all time low, and the Shadowhunters are lulled into a strange kind of peace, although there is a lot brewing under the surface (of course). There is a major overarching plot, and then several individual subplots, making this an extremely intriguing and fast-paced read, with no shortage of plot twists to keep things exciting.
The characters are realistic and well-rounded, and while I was initially confused about the Merry Thieves, I eventually got them sorted out after a bit. Each of them has a unique personality, motivations, and flaws, and I couldn’t help but like the majority of them. It didn’t hurt that there was significantly more diversity, and so much queerness throughout the story! One of the major perks of following the Shadowhunter books is that, despite the way these series take place in different time periods, some of the characters are immortal (or just extremely long-lived), and thus appear in many of the books, so I got to revisit with some of my favorites. Yeah, I’m talking about Magnus. He makes a cameo, and I have to admit that I’d feel a little cheated if he didn’t appear in a book at some point. He’s such a character! I love seeing the connections between not just the individual characters, but the generations as well, which is even more clear in this book, since it’s only a generation away from the characters in The Infernal Devices. Plus, this book had the cutest little bonus story at the end, about Will and Tessa’s wedding.
Even though there is magic, action, drama, and angst in large amounts, there’s also wit and humor. There were several parts that made me laugh, just because the personality of certain characters came through so clearly, and even though some of them have aged, that humor hasn’t gone away:
“‘Cordelia has a tendency to throw herself into every situation headlong,’ she said to Tessa and Will. ‘I’m sure you understand.’
‘Oh, we do,’ said Will. ‘We’re always speaking very sternly to our children about that very thing. ‘If you don’t throw yourself into situations headlong, James and Lucie, you can expect bread and water for supper again.’’”
This book ends on the perfect balance of wrapping up loose ends and leaving the reader hanging on for the next book. It does end with a bit of a cliffhanger, so you know I’ll be doing my best to pick up the next book in the series as soon as possible, although the third book isn’t out just yet. Once again, the struggle!
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 16
Categories: Book Review