Book Review for “Chain of Gold” by Cassandra Clare

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Way back in the ye olde mid-2000s, Cassandra Clare and her books were everything to me. Her books were the only ones that I would buy on release day at full price. The Mortal Instruments series was perfection but I haven’t felt the same about any of the releases after it. I really enjoyed The Infernal Devices, mostly liked The Dark Artifices and hated The Bane Chronicles. I know that there are other short stories out there but I haven’t read them yet. Since I read most of these books before I started my blog, I haven’t reviewed them. I am planning to review every. single. one. of them before the next book comes out… that’s a lot of books. The Shadowhunter world is massive and it’s grown even larger with the addition of Chain of Gold, the first book in The Last Hours trilogy. Since this is a brand new release, I’m going to keep this review spoiler free. Let’s get into the synopsis!

Synopsis:

Chain of Gold is the first novel in a new trilogy that stars the Shadowhunters of Edwardian London.

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.

My Thoughts:

Chain of Gold picks up about twenty years after the events in The Infernal Devices. The Infernal Devices and The Last Hours are prequels to both The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices series. The last book in The Infernal Devices, Clockwork Princess, released in 2013. I read it when it released but haven’t read it again since. It’s safe to say I don’t remember much about it and unfortunately, that affected how much I enjoyed this book.

Of course, I remember the main characters. I love Will, Tessa and Jem. Getting a story about Will and Tessa’s children really pulled at the nostalgic heart strings but there were so many references in this book to The Infernal Devices that I just could not remember. This isn’t a fault of the book, I should have reread The Infernal Devices but not remembering certain details kept me from being as emotionally invested as I would have liked to have been. I definitely don’t recommend reading this book unless you have at least read The Infernal Devices but I think to get the most out of it, you need to read each series in order. I do wish Clare would stop alternating the timelines in her series. I personally feel this book should have been released directly after The Infernal Devices instead of jumping back to the future with The Dark Artifices.

Aside from the struggle to feel emotionally attached, I really liked this book. You give me a Herondale guy and I’m content. James won my heart just like Jace and Will. He’s angsty, stubborn, loyal and gorgeous… a typical Herondale. I also loved his younger sister, Lucie. She’s a young girl on the brink of maturity who’s just fun. The other true main character, Cordelia Carstairs, is now one of my favorite characters in the Shadowhunter universe. She’s tough but soft at the same time and I desperately want her to get her happy ending. I enjoyed most of the many other characters but not all of them. Cordelia’s brother, Alastair, is pretty awful and I hated any scene he was in but other than him, the rest were perfection… with one exception. Grace Blackthorn is excellently written but I loathe her. It’s difficult to explain why without spoiling the story but she is the worst and needs to disappear.

Despite my dislike of certain characters, Clare does an excellent job of making each of them unique. Not one of them has the same “voice” as any of the others. Clary is nothing like Tessa, Tessa is nothing like Cordelia, Isabella is nothing like Lucie and so on. It’s easy to get attached to the characters in the Shadowhunter universe because you feel like you know them. They’re dynamic and always experience their own specific characters arcs.

These characters, their world and the events that occurred in this book have left me desperately wanting the next one in the series. The Dark Artifices really disappointed me so it feels incredible to be excited for a Shadowhunter series once again.

Final Thoughts:

I’ve had my issues with previous books but I’ll never deny that Clare is an excellent writer. If she wasn’t, I wouldn’t have stayed loyal to her work for over ten years. Chain of Gold is a great story and I can’t wait for the next one, Chain of Iron. Have you read this book or any of Clare’s other books? Let me know what you think about them! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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