Title: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pub. Date: March 3, 2020
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…andso 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.
This will be a spoiler free review!
I’m going to start with, I can’t believe that I got to read this book early. I don’t know how I won a giveaway for this book, but I did.
It’s been a hot minute since I last read a Shadowhunter book, or anything set in this expansive world. I mean, it’s been since Lady Midnight…yeah, I haven’t finished that trilogy yet. It’s been even longer since The Infernal Devices (my favorite books in the whole Shadowhunter series) …since Will and Tessa.
I keep meaning/wanting to re-read them, but it still feels like it’s too soon. It’s only been like 7 years…but I start thinking about that scene at the end where Tessa rolls over in bed to tell Will something and he’s not there.
And, now I’m crying.
See, I’m not over it.
Will I ever be over it?
I don’t know.
It’s why I haven’t gone back and re-read that trilogy, even though I really should and really want to.
But Chain of Gold is fun because I get more Will and Tessa…married Will and Tessa and their children + friends! It’s like the best of both worlds! I get to visit some old friends, make new ones, without the sad ending. If you’re a fan of The Infernal Devices – like if they’re your favorite books in this world, then you’re going to love this book. Same feeling, same characters and the stakes are higher than ever. I really enjoyed this book and its characters. Matthew Fairchild might just be my favorite character. Though, with that being said, I really loved the whole band of Merry Thieves – Thomas, James, Christopher and Matthew. Thinking about it, they kind of gave me Marauder vibes, and honestly, I’m here for it. But before I jump into the characters, let me talk a bit about the book.
I was excited to go into Chain of Gold, but for the first quarter of the book or so, I was a bit unsure and a bit confused. Maybe it was because I’d been gone from this world for so long, or maybe it was just the massive info dumping and time jumping, but I found myself procrastinating when it came to picking up the book. Once I managed to start reading again, I was nearly instantly hooked and hated to put the book down for anything, but then I’d put the book down and the cycle would start all over again. It wasn’t until about the 50% mark that I became really invested and therefore really annoyed that I had to stop reading to do things like make dinner and eat dinner.
I blew through the second half of the book and I kind of regret doing that because now I’m stuck waiting for book 2 – Chain of Iron – and this one isn’t even properly out yet.
I guess I forgot how lengthy Shadowhunter book tend to be – even thought I look at the like 10 feet of shelf space they take up on a daily basis, but this book was long. A lot gets repeated in this book and I don’t quite get why. I understand that all of these various Shadowhunter series are meant to stand alone, but also build upon each other, but don’t require you to have read the previous series, but I don’t need to be told over and over and over and over by every other character the same sort of information. I lost count of how many times I was told about the Silent Brother’s and Iron Sisters and what they did. I don’t know how many times I was told about the stele’s and seraph blades.
I get that some of this is to inform new readers who might not have any of this background knowledge from multiple past series, but it still doesn’t explain why every other character explains it in their own way.
I’m just saying that it was repetitive and had me groaning with annoyance.
But honestly, I think that’s probably my biggest complaint – the length and repetitiveness. And due to its length, I do think that the second half of the book is strong and more interesting. Major things were starting to happen, and it wasn’t just a bunch of info dumping and setting up the world. Overall, like I said, I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a pretty good read. I definitely think that I’m more of a Victorian/Edwardian Shadowhunter world over the more modern/current day one. I always thought that the Infernal Devices were the better books, so it stands that I’d choose this new trilogy over the other books.
Granted, I haven’t actually finished The Dark Artifices yet, so maybe I should do that before I make any claims.
But let’s move onto the characters, because there are so many to get through.
Like, so many.
Maybe almost too many.
Between familiar faces, to new characters, it’s a full cast.
And apart from the main core set, it was hard to keep track of everyone, and who they were related to, and how they were related, and finally, who was dating/liked who. I needed a freaking map to just keep everyone straight.
Since there were so many characters, we’re just going to focus on the main ones – Will, Tessa, James, Lucie, Matthew, Christopher, Thomas, Cordelia, Alistair, Jesse, Grace, Anna and Charles – otherwise I’ll be here all night…hell, I might be here all night with just the core group.
Okay, let’s keep this brief.
Will and Tessa
It was so fun being back with Will and Tessa and seeing them older, as parents. I don’t remember everything about them from The Infernal Devices, but I do remember absolutely loving them. I loved how in love with each other they still were, and how they made Lucie and James uncomfortable, in only the way parents can. I just loved being back in this world with them.
*Art by Cassandra Jean
James and Lucie
Ugh, I loved them, but I wish there had been more one on one time between the two of them. I just wish there had been more about their sibling bond, thought I suppose there are two more books to get that from. James is fiercely loyal, and Lucie is a dreamer and wants to experience the world. For being Will and Tessa’s kids, that seems to fit pretty damn well. They’re also fiercely protective of each other and I love them. I also love how Lucie is writing a book and everyone she knows in real life is in it in some capacity.
*Art by Charlie Bowater
Matthew, Christopher and Thomas
The other three who make up the Merry Thieves. Like I said before, very Marauder-esque. Matthew is probably my favorite of the four boys, he’s suffering, and I think, in need of a hug. Christopher is brainy and likes to tinker around with things, to mash mundane science with angelic tools. Thomas is like the gentle giant, loyal to his friends without fail, but also open to seeing other sides of things. Together they all complement each other very well, and I just want all of them to be happy.
*Art by Charlie Bowater and Cassandra Jean
Cordelia and Alistair
Cordelia is a bad ass, and Alistair needs a hug as well. I really like the two of them, I liked Cordelia from the beginning, whereas Alistair took a long time to feel for. They’re both dealing with so much, individually, personally and as a family. I really liked their bond though, even when it seemed utterly stretched taught at times. You could tell that Cordelia loves her brother, despite his faults. I didn’t actually anticipate feeling anything for Alistair, but by the end of the book he was one of my favorite characters. We all make mistakes, and I think he’s one who will actually grow into a better person because of them.
*Art by Charlie Bowater
Jesse and Grace
I love Jesse, not a fan of Grace. Like, I could do without Grace to be honest. I know we can’t just get rid of her because plot things, but I can wish. When I figured out what she was doing, when that little plot thing clicked…Ooo, let me tell you, I got so mad. Then at the end of the book…I groaned and raged, because what happened was what I didn’t want to happen. Jesse seems so soft and sweet, while his sister is like the opposite. So, I’m hoping we get more of both of them, because I’m pretty sure they’re a pair, and I can’t pick and choose.
*Art by Charlie Bowater
Anna and Charles
Loved Anna, she’s awesome. I loved how observant she is, and how knowing. It’s like she knows what you want before you do, and that comes with a cocky knowing arrogance that I love in characters. Oh, Charles. I’m still kind of on the fence about him. Like I don’t know whether to write him off or wait to see. He’s made some mistakes, he’s a bit power hungry, but I think his heart is in kind of the right place. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, he just does things for the wrong reasons, or in a wrong way.
*Art by Charlie Bowater
It’ll be interesting to see where all these characters end up in the next two books. I’m really hoping that Alistair gets a few friends, that Matthew stops being so sad and drunk all the time, that Lucie gets the experiences she craves, that Cordelia’s heart doesn’t break, that James can come to terms with his ancestry, that Thomas and Christopher continue to tinker, fight and be there, that Jesse gets the ending he deserves as does Grace, and that Anna gets to have her heart’s desire, and that maybe Charles learns that power isn’t everything. I also hope that we don’t have to live through a certain character death again, at the end of this series. You hear me Will Herondale, I can only live though it once!
Also, if you haven’t seen, Charlie Bowater did character art for most of the characters I’ve mentioned, and as always, they’re gorgeous. I actually saved them all down to my phone, so as I was reading, I could go look at them, and remind myself of what the characters look like. With a huge cast of characters and so much happening in this book, the portraits of the characters she did, were so useful.
Seriously, so much happens in this book, and while the plot was full of so many scenes, my favorite parts were the character relationships. The bonds they share and form and all the interactions. Ugh, I want to say more, but I also do not want to spoil this book for anyone. So, if you want to talk about this book – whether you’ve read it early, or after its release, feel free to DM me over on Twitter and I’ll be more than happy to talk. As it stands, I have no one to talk to and there’s this certain scene I want to talk about, and I can’t.
I’m so excited for Chain of Iron and this wait is going to suck.
I have no idea what to expect, or how this trilogy is going to turn out, but I have a feeling it’s not going to disappoint. I have my predictions, my hopes for who is going to be endgame, but really, I have no idea what could happen plot wise. I know the books are going to be chocked full of action moments, sweet moments, gushy moments and probably heart breaking moments, but everything else, I have no idea, and I’m ready and quite terrified to find out. I love these characters now, and don’t want any more harm to come to them.
I’m excited and you should be too!
Chain of Gold is out March 3, 2020 and
“The entire first print run in the US and UK will be a special first edition. It will contain a beautiful portrait of the main characters by Cassandra Jean, and will also include the long-awaited short story Fairy Tale of London, about Will and Tessa’s wedding! Preorder your copy from any of the links below to make sure you get the special first edition.”
So make sure you order your copy soon!