No spoilers in this rapid review of Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. This is my favorite Shadowhunter setting, and Clare is the master of desperate, doomed love stories. This book had its faults but was good overall.
Chain finds us back in the London of the past, this time a few years later in the Edwardian era. This series is about the next generation of Shadowhunters, the children of Will, Tessa, and gang. Things are changing in the mundane world around them, and things have been different in the Shadowhunter world for a while.
Demons have been rare as of late, and teen warriors of this era haven’t seen much action even though they’ve trained as all Shadowhunters do. Most of them haven’t had many worries or stresses up to this point in their lives. That all changes when a new brand of demon—one that attacks during the day—surfaces in London, and the young Shadowhunters are at the forefront of the fight, both in the investigations about and the battles against these new foes.
As per usual in Clare’s books, I cared more about the love lives of the characters than the struggle against the villains they’re facing. It’s because she creates the most interesting obstacles to love. In each series, the obstacles feel impossible to overcome, and the romantic tension is well written. This time around, we have the added intrigue of the family tree to reference as we wonder with whom each character ends up. Clare has warned us that the tree is not 100% accurate, but I found myself referencing it often as I read.
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Even though the romantic aspect was the best part of the story, there were intriguing bits as the teens studied these new demons, particularly how James and Lucie’s unique powers played into the investigation. Based on a passage late in the book, I’m a little worried about where Clare’s going with a certain Great Demon, but hopefully it won’t be as controversial as I’m thinking.
Clare’s other strength lies in her ability to create characters who feel real. They each have a distinct goal and a defining characteristic that remain consistent throughout the story. They live and breathe on the pages of her books. That’s why I keep coming back to her stories even though I’ve been disappointed in her plot or villains or politics in past series.
And Clare came through once again in Chain character-wise. My favorites were the main characters: James, Lucie, and Cordelia. I enjoyed getting to know each of them and was much more engaged during their chapters than in those from other points of view. And I (of course) loved every scene Will was in!!!
But do I recommend this book? It’s been hard for me to rate Clare’s last few Shadowhunter books because there were things I loved and things I really didn’t. I think I’ll leave a numerical rating off this one just like I did in Queen of Air and Darkness. I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this book, but I realize that, like me, many fans of Clare’s past series (especially The Infernal Devices) will want to continue reading about the characters and setting we’ve grown to love.
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