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.
Chain of Gold is the first in Cassandra Clare’s latest Shadowhunters trilogy; set in Edwardian London, following the generation of Shadowhunters born to our heroes from The Infernal Devices trilogy.
I’ve been looking forward to it for several years.
I loved it.
N.B: this is not intended as a fair or balanced review, but a totally biased and unabashedly enthusiastic squeal on all the things I loved about the book. This is pure, unrestrained fangirling!
❗️Mild spoilers ahead!❗️
👍Oh my God, everything.
👍The characters are great; a huge new ensemble where each character is distinct, with their own clear and believable arc and motivation – and complicated ties to everyone else. The Infernal Devices series is one of all-time favourites, but I didn’t even want more Will or Tessa. That’s how much I loved this cast.
👍For such a huge book, the plot is great; it didn’t feel overstretched or over-packed. The whole plot of Chain of Gold was a real slow burner, but it just meant that things were layered well enough to have real meaning when the impact hit – for the reader, and the character.
👍I also appreciated the social commentary. The Carstairs are a family of colour, and all three of them experience prejudice over it; Cordelia with the added torment of misogyny and patriarchal Edwardian culture, something she directly rallies against. And Matthew’s and Elias’s struggles with alcoholism are a really interesting take on a mundane issue in a supernatural story; one I thought was handled with care, without losing any of the hard reality.
👍Oh, and the Easter eggs: mentions of Will and Tessa loving balconies; of demonic landscapes with red moons; of Christopher blowing up the Shadowhunter Academy. I’ve read every single piece of Shadowhunter fiction Cassie’s ever released, and these little tidbits of fan-service were not lost on me.
❤️Oh, the relationships. Trying to track how each character relates/connects to the others makes that red string meme look like a Paint-by-Numbers. It’s complicated and messy in the best possible way. James and Cordelia! Grace and Jesse! Lucie and Thomas! I want to know so, so many things!
🌟Favourite character: It’s tough, but Cordelia wins out. I dare anyone not to love her.
🌟Favourite quote: ‘”I must be off. There’s an orangery in Kensington Gardens that needs smashing. Ladies, lock up your outbuildings. James Herondale is in town and he has been slighted in love!”‘
🌟Favourite moment: The fill-ins of Days Past; getting to see the long-developing motivations behind each character’s mindset and actions.
This book is:
A standalone🔶Part of a duology🔶Part of a trilogy🔶 Part of a series
Clever🔶 Comforting🔶Creepy🔶 Dark🔶 Emotional🔶Funny🔶 Gripping🔶 Haunting🔶Heartbreaking🔶Intense🔶Mysterious 🔶Powerful🔶Quirky🔶Romantic🔶Sad🔶Scary🔶Sweet🔶Tear-jerking🔶 Tense🔶 Touching🔶Twisted🔶 Violent🔶 Witty
Middle Grade🔶YA🔶 Adult