YA FANTASY,  YOUNG ADULT

[BOOK REVIEW] Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare (The Last Hours #1)

“We do not get to choose when in our lives we feel pain,” said Matthew. “It comes when it comes, and we try to remember, even though we cannot imagine a day when it will release its hold on us, that all pain fades. All misery passes. Humanity is drawn to light, not darkness.”

Finally. After having waited for over 6 years, when I first finished reading Clockwork Princess, Chain of Gold is here. After having read some things about the characters in already published books/novella’s in the shadowhunter chronicles, I was super stoked and ready to dive into this one and then hopefully fall in love with a new story and new characters. Today I share my review of what it was like for me to finish reading this new book in the shadowhunter chronicles, the first one in this highly anticipated new trilogy; the Last Hours.

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.

The story takes place in the early 1900’s, set in beautiful Edwardian London – I really cannot get enough of the London settings in the shadowhunter books, no matter in which era the stories take place – and it was a joy to be back here again. I love how Clare writes about many well known spots in the city and then also gives her own twist to it all by adding shadowhunter world elements to it. I can tell you that Blackfriar Bridge is being visited – all the feeeeeels – and many more places we already visited in past books, but new places as well! Truly awesome settings, each and every single one of them.

“Whither thou goest, I will go, James. Even unto the tedious suburb of Highgate.”

I’ve experienced the same thing now that I also experienced when I read Lady Midnight for the first time > A bit of a slowly start (which is explainable, seeing how many characters are present and a storyline has to be set up. But still…) and build up. But when I was getting further into the story, things picked up really fast and really well and that familiar feeling when reading a Clare book set in; I was hooked, invested, loving it so immensely much and lost my soul to it all. I felt so incredibly sad when I was suddenly already finished with it! Spending time in this now well known world but set in a new time era, elaborating on characters we’ve read only bits and pieces about up until now and also seeing well loved characters return, felt like coming home!

“Magnus Bane walked some distance into the Sanctuary, shaking his head as he studied the scene before him. “I want to know what you’re doing, but I must confess I’m afraid to find out,” he said. “A spot of demon-summoning, I gather?”
“It’s a bit complicated,” said James. “Hello, Magnus. It’s good to see you.”
“Last time I saw you, you were facedown in the Serpentine,” Magnus said cheerfully. “Now you’re fiddling with a Pyxis. I see you have decided to follow in the long Herondale tradition of poor decision-making.”
“So have I!” said Lucie, determined not to be left out.”

As always, the set of characters is really amazing. I was of course familiar already with some of the minor characters like Will,Tessa,Jem and others and it was such a joyous feeling to see them pop up every now and then. And I’ve had the opportunity to read about some of the now main characters in the Magnus Bane Chronicles and Ghosts of the Shadow Market novella’s for example, but getting to really know them now was everything I’d hoped it’d be when looking at character development in a first book. These characters are as interesting and lovable as the ones we’ve come across before and I cannot wait to see what more Clare has in store for them – and my fangirl heart, because it’s going the be shredded, I’m sure of it! Something that has to be mentioned separately is the fact that James & Lucy Herondale have some really interesting things going on; they both have abilities inherited from their mother and it was really awesome to read about that. I mean, shadowhunters in general are already quite different from a normal human and all of them have some abilities seeing they’re descendants of Angels, but Lucy & James are even more special and I love Clare’s take on it.

“They need a muse,” said Anna. “Someone to be inspired by. Someone to know their secrets. Would you like to be a muse?”
“No,” said Cordelia. “I would like to be a hero.”

I really liked reading about the already excisting friendships but the new ones as well between all characters. It was great to read about how each of them has his/her own ‘place and function’ in their group. The dynamics between them all was fun to get aquinted with. On the surface, you think you have them all figured out (there’s the inventor, the brooding one, the funny one, and so on) and have a feeling that they’re quite typical characters, but as always there’s so much more underneath the surface that you’ll discover in time – or won’t discover yet and that will probably be explained about in the next book hihi. The chracter build up for some of the characters is really well done (not all get the same amount of attention of course) and I can’t wait to get some answers about some of the mysteries that surrounds a couple of these characters. There’s too much to talk about each and every one of them and seeing the amount of characters present, it’s just not doable to talk about all of them separately haha. My favorites so far are: James Herondale, Cordelia Carstairs and Matthew Fairchild – but I thought all characters were truly interesting. I really hope the ones who haven’t gotten much attention in this one, will get some more in the next installment!

“Answer me, James!” Will shouted. “Why have you blocked this door? I demand to know what’s going on!”
“James isn’t here!” Matthew called, moving closer to him. “Go away!”
James looked at Matthew, puzzled. “Really?”
“I heard breaking glass!” Will called.
“I was practicing fighting moves!” Matthew answered.
“In the ballroom?”
“We’re trying to distract Thomas! It’s been a very emotional day!” Matthew shouted back.
“What?” Will’s voice was incredulous.
“Don’t you blame this on me!” Thomas whispered.”

The romances are still all over the place and it’s just early days of course < something Clare’s good at; to not make it a quickly developing romance and to make it something that takes several books to really come to fruition. The foundations for some romances are already there and I cannot wait to see their developments and what’s going to happen > although I’ll probably have my heart ripped out several times and have it blown to smithereens because that’s normally a given when it comes to Clare’s books hihi.

“Loving him might ruin her for any other love, but oh, at least she would blaze up in glory. She would stand close to the fire and know what it was like to burn.”

It takes a while for the plot to be formed and exposed, but it’s simply marvelous to see it all unravel towards the end. Clare really knows how to build things up and when it’s the perfect moment to rip that bandage off. The villainious characters that have been shown yet, are truly marvelous and I can’t wait to see all the dark and rotten things they’re going to throw at my beloved sadowhunters. The ending of the book is so full of promise… a promise that things are going to become very very interesting in the next installment. I have a feeling that if Clare’s able to keep developing every story aspect as gradually as she did it with the TID books, that this trilogy is going to be As emotionally destructive as TID was to me – and I mean that in the best way possible because the feels TID gave me and still give me are one of the best reading experiences ever, if not The best. And now we have to wait for the next installment when all I really want to do is continue reading. UGH. just UGH UGH UGH. I hate waiting *stomps her feet like a petulant child.*

“You decide the truth about yourself. No one else. And the choice about what kind of person you will be is yours alone.”

The way everything developed throughout and was perfectly balanced out together towards the end, made me end this book with such a happy sigh. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one. Clare is a master in weaving together new story-lines, character development and romance development with the right amount of drama added to it. This first book in the The Infernal Devices spin-off has all of those elements present that I love so much about her books and writing and it left me, as always when finishing a book by her, craving more more more!

“That’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it, really? Instead of many who give you little pieces of themselves-one who gives you everything.”

If you’re interested in reading Chain of Gold, I’d definitely recommend (if you haven’t done so already) to invest in the shadowhunter chronicles in it’s whole and read everything in the right reading order (to be found HERE). This way, you’ll get to experience the books the way they’re supposed to be experienced; with all the little details coming together and that shows off Clare’s exceptional writing!

Thanks for reading!

 

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