Book Review

Chain Of Iron

Chain of Iron

  • Author: Cassandra Clare
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: March 2, 2021
  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Series: The Last Hours #2

CONTENT WARNING: murder, blood, alcoholism, death of a parent, mention of miscarriage, gore

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend, Lucie Herondale, and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade. 

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn, whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.

I read this book (sort of) as a buddy read with what might possibly be one of the biggest Shadowhunter nerds in the entire world. It was working out just fine until we were hit with a hurricane warning and I was *forced* to binge read the majority of this book to manage the flare caused by the weather. Thankfully, Cait wasn’t overly upset by my failure to keep to a timetable. 

After reading Chain of Gold, I couldn’t wait to start reading this and find out what happened next. At times I wished that a family tree was included at the beginning, so I could keep track of which of the Merry Thieves belonged to which set of parents. That was really the only thing that I struggled with in this book, as well as the last. But overall, starting this book was as easy and comfortable as slipping on the most comfortable pair of sweatpants I own. 

The story starts the day before James and Cordelia’s wedding, and naturally there are shenanigans planned. I’d have expected nothing less. Naturally, the action starts fairly quickly, and I could never predict what was going to happen. There were so many twists and turns, making for an enjoyable read.

Each of the characters is so vivid and memorable, that I became quite attached to all of them. As I’ve come to expect from a CC book, there are so many subplots that I’m always intrigued. When the perspective shifts, I’m never disappointed, since I want to know what is happening in each of the character’s timelines (although I do have to admit that I have some favorites). There’s secrets, love triangles, guilt, so much angst, and potential romances. A lot of the discussion that Cait and I had centered around two main topics — figuring out who the villain was, and trying to predict which characters would end up together. 

I truly felt for Cordelia. All I wanted for her was to see her get a happy ending with James, but since there’s another book forthcoming, I already expected that I’d have to wait for that. My heart broke for her, realizing that she’d be trapped in a marriage to a man that she loves but who doesn’t quite realize yet that he loves her back.

“The teasing and laughter after was often the best part; Cordelia had loved James as a friend before she’d ever loved him another way, and this was when she was reminded why.”

All the secret keeping was so frustrating! It makes for a great story, but man, I just wanted to reach directly into the book, shake the characters, lock them in a room, and force them to tell each other the truth. Although in all honesty, that wouldn’t have made a very good story.

“Matthew was right, it seemed—she was keeping secrets, perhaps too many. James and Matthew were parabatai, and Cordelia and Lucie were meant to become parabatai as well. Yet it seemed to Lucie that none of them were being honest with each other.”

Part of what consistently draws me to CC books is the beautiful way that she manages to provide just enough closure to make me feel satisfied, but not quite enough to feel completely fulfilled. This leaves me wanting more and ready to snatch the next book as soon as I possibly can. I think this is definitely one of my favorite series by her, and I love everything about it: the time period, the plot, the characters, and the way that they interact with each other. It doesn’t hurt that some of my old favorites pop up (yeah, of course I’m talking about Magnus). This is definitely a series not to be missed.

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: 12

4 replies »

  1. Yay!! I’m happy you enjoyed this one! I repeatedly say I wish a family tree was included in all of these books. I usually end up googling it, terrified I’ll get spoiled. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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