CHAIN OF GOLD | Cassandra Clare
Series: The Last Hours, #1
Publisher: McElderry Books
Publication Date: March 5, 2020
Bonus Content: Fairy Tale of London (short story)
“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.”
“That’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it, really? Instead of many who give you little pieces of themselves – one who gives you everything.”
Reading Cassandra Clare’s books is like a homecoming. I’ve been deeply involved in the Shadowhunter world since middle school and I have no intention of ever leaving it. There’s something so comforting and familiar in her stories that makes me feel as if I am a part of the supernatural world she has created. I will never tire of Cassie Clare’s books and I will always be happy to pick up another Shadowhunter installment. Chain of Gold is no exception. I was incredibly excited to finally have it in my hands, and as always, I was completely immersed and captivated by the Shadowhunters’ adventures.
Just as one would expect from Cassie Clare, the characters are a fantastic mix of personalities that are distinctive and leave a lasting impression. The new crew (James, Lucie, Cordelia, Thomas, Christopher, and Matthew) and others, such as Anna Lightwood, all have qualities that are interesting, relatable, and altogether endearing. Cordelia, especially, stands out as a strong protagonist. She may well just be my favorite heroine in the Shadowhunter novels.
I love her determination to be a good person, but I also respect her aspiration to be a hero, a hero to her people, her friends, and her family. She is admirable in a myriad of ways and all her imperfections and missteps make her all the more potent as a character. If anything, I wish there had been more scenes focused on Cordelia and her interactions with her future parabatai, Lucie!
The other character who stands out is Matthew. He is the most tragic of the bunch and for anyone who has read the short story anthologies, the reason is fairly obvious. However, it seems there is more to his misery and one can only hope for him to find his path to the light once more. He’s the most complex and interesting of the characters and I am dying to see where his journey ends/continues.
The rest of the characters shine in their own ways and Cassie Clare makes it so easy to fall into their stories and struggles, offering support and criticism of their decisions. At times, however, I mixed up names and characters, but mostly because the names are more generic than usual.
Clare’s strength lies in her ability to make her characters seem human, allowing us to sympathize with them and feel like we are a part of their stories. The family and friend dynamics are top-notch and you can’t but feel the same happiness and love that radiates from the relationships on the page. It warms your heart to see Will and Tessa hug their children, to see the Lightwood cousins love and support one another so fiercely, and to see the Carstairs siblings stand by one another no matter the situation.
The point of stories is not that they are objectively true, but that the soul of the story is truer than reality. Those who mock fiction do so because they fear the truth.”
Besides the characters and the outstanding family dynamics, the novel completely engages you with the various mysteries taking place. The plot might not be extremely unique, but many characters have hidden motivations and your mind races to discover the truth behind everyone’s actions. Grace Blackthorn is certainly a mystery to be solved and even up to the end I still have no idea what is going on in her mind.
My largest gripe with this book is there is an implied love triangle in the works and I can’t say I’m excited to read another Will/Jem/Tessa situation. It’s been done before and it was done very well. Love triangles don’t really work for me unless it is Will/Jem/Tessa and so I’m honestly not fully looking forward to another three-way romantic dilemma. Besides all that, though, this book is just as strong as any of the other installments in the series.
It was heartwarming to see all our favorite TID characters return and I will never tire of seeing Will, Jem, Tessa, Henry, and Charlotte in the roles as parents and responsible adults. Also, Magnus Bane is always welcome in any Shadowhunter novel.
Chain of Gold is a treasure trove of engaging adventures, wonderfully dynamic characters, and potential romances. Clare does an excellent job in creating a story loosely based on Great Expectations and this first novel promises more gems to be discovered and mysteries to be unraveled in the last two installments. I can only wait impatiently to see what happens next.