I’m incredibly behind with these What I’m Reading posts, so I hope you’re ready for a bunch of them!
This book, Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare, was number 24 of this year’s attempt at the 100 books in a year challenge. If you’re thinking I’ve skipped a number then you would be right! The Red Scrolls of Magic was number 23 but I’ve already done a blog post about that the last time I read it so check that out here if you’re curious, especially with The Lost Book of the White having come out a couple weeks ago!
This also marks the final book in my plan to re-read all Shadowhunter books over the last few months! So this will be my last extremely biased review of a Cassandra Clare book, I promise! (until I get round to reading her latest book because I love a bit of Malec)
This is a big book, so get ready for a long one:
First off, I will start by saying that in terms of Clare’s other books full of hear rendering, angsty, fiery romance, this is a little tame. I found a meme about Chain of Gold saying that it’s main theme is that no one’s with who they’re supposed to be and this couldn’t be closer to the truth! This story follows the children of the characters we meet in The Infernal Devices series, first introduced to us in the short stories available in The Bane Chronicles and Ghost’s of the Shadowmarket. I was so excited that we’d get more books involving Will and Tessa’s children!
After years of the demonic threat in London being mysteriously quiet, a series of attacks begin on the younger set of London Shadowhunter’s, for whom patrols have thus far involved very little demon hunting. The renewed attacks seem mysteriously linked to James’s extra abilities, care of his mother’s demon heritage and result in an infectious poison that quickly spreads from the one who was initially attacked; a detail that felt particularly apt in 2020, especially as the Shadowhunters go into lockdown in London. Gabriel and Gideon’s mad sister and her adopted daughter, Grace, seem somehow linked to these attacks as well.
FYI… I literally cannot describe anymore of the general overall plot without doing massive spoilers, sorry, I tried in the first draft…
The tangled romances:
James and Grace formed a secret attachment to one another during the long summers he spent in Idris in the house next door to Grace. When Grace finally comes to London he hopes this means the end of all the secrecy but he is left disappointed. Cordelia Carstairs, another childhood friend of both James and Lucie (Will and Tessa’s children) also arrives in London to stay permanently for the first time. She arrives nursing a long held crush on James and with the hope of gaining some influence in Shadowhunter circles before her father’s imminent trial, to help uphold the family name as damage control before their inevitable disgrace. She is also planning to be Lucie’s parabatai (warrior partners bound to one another through a rune). James seems to be completely unaware of Cordelia’s feelings for him but if he wasn’t so infatuated with Grace, he would see (as it’s obvious to you as a reader) that he also has feelings for Cordelia in return. Mathew Fairchild (Charlotte and Henry’s son), is James’s parabatai, he holds an old crush on Lucie but quickly becomes enamoured with Cordelia too but he must hold everyone at arms length, despite their increasing concern over his drinking because of his ‘dark secret’ (as told in Ghosts of the Shadowmarket). Also, Lucie has a mysterious back story with a mysterious boy she met in the woods a few times in Idris, who no one knows about. Charles Fairchild (Charlotte and Henry’s son also) is engaged to Anna Lightwood’s (Cecily and Gabriel’s daughter) former love, Ariadne, but is also entangled in some way with Cordelia’s older brother, Alastair (a.k.a James’s school bully). Thomas Lightwood (Sophie and Gideon’ son) and Alastair also have a mysterious back story. The only person free of this messy bundle of romances is Christopher Lightwood (also Cecily and Gabriel’s kid) and he is an adorable little critter who must be protected at all costs, in my opinion.
… I think I got all of that right and whose children they are, I’m sorry if you find an error, it gets very tangled when you lay it out like that.
(I also tried my best to make sure there were no spoilers!)
What did I think?
It’s a huge book and there’s lot of time spent building this tangled web I’ve just laid about above, let alone dealing with this series’s mysterious big baddy. I will confess at times the build is a little slow but it’s so rich in character depth and world building, you don’t feel the slower pace as much. Nor did I feel this one ended in the typical huge Clare cliffhanger, rather, it left so many loose ends that you end up with a series of little ones.
Overall, I loved it as much as I’ve loved all the Shadowhunter books. I loved seeing the world of Will and Tessa through their children’s point of view too, seeing them transformed into responsible, loving parents. I can’t wait for the next one, Chain of Iron, whose cover art was released recently. It’s rare to find an author who can churn out books at this pace, set in the same world but never reusing the same tired stuff from the previous novels. The quality is consistent, if steadily improving, as with any writer, with each novel.
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