My poor heart can’t take this anymore!
This book equal parts invokes a stress response within my body and brings me great joy whenever I think about it. I am so so in love with Cassandra Clare’s writing and the fact that it can ignite all of these emotions and passions within me at the thought of her work is just testament to how brilliant she is at her craft.
Blurb: 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.
There is so much to talk about in terms of depth of the characters, storyline, just general gushy stuff, etc. that is entirely possible that this review is and will remain spoiler-free.
Background: Chain of Gold is the first novel in The Last Hours series, a separate trilogy following the children of our beloved characters in The Infernal Devices series. It, of course, centres on the Herondale family, their friends and drama within the Shadow-world. It’s a wild ride and one that I cannot wait to continue!
Starting this novel hit me full force with nostalgia. The Infernal Devices was actually what sparked my love for all things Steampunk but also introduced us to the start of the chaotic Herondale line. Much the same as when I’m reading any Shadowhunter novel, I didn’t want to even read Chain of Gold because I was too afraid it would be over before it even started.
So, as with all Shadowhunter novels, this one is written in a weird type of third-person perspective in which we have a sort of top-down view of the story but from multiple perspectives. It causes a lot of emotional pain for me as the reader as there is so much more we are privy to that the characters don’t know and watching them suffer is horrible. Especially when they suffer apart.
The worst part of all is seeing my favourite
humans shadowhunters suffer and not being able to point out the obvious! Either because they’re so blinded by love or that there is something else troubling them.
At times I felt as if there were too many perspectives. This was probably due to the depth behind each individual character. My theory is, that with these more historical novels, I find that with all the rules of society from that time – especially in terms of expressing emotions, oppression, etc. – the characters are more damaged emotionally. This means they act in damaging ways to express these misunderstood and bottled up emotions, hence a more tragic backstory. In the end, all the perspectives really came together perfectly, into a bittersweet ending that as always managed to break my heart.
In regards to the whole multiple perspectives thing, I really do desire a bind-up of stories from Anna Lightwood’s perspective and also something more from inside the mind of troubled Matthew Fairchild, whom I fell in love with, in Ghosts of The Shadow Market, before I even knew who he was.
There are some references to short stories published in past bind-ups such as from The Bane Chronicles and Ghosts of the Shadow Market. These stories are mentioned multiple times as significant events within the novel, although aren’t necessary to have knowledge of prior to reading the novel. Having read the short-stories though is almost like being privy to little secrets that add value to the overall story. It goes to show the thought and detail being put in the timeline from Clare by building-up the story through the eyes of Magnus Bane and Jem Carstairs, leading to this trilogy.
For a Shadowhunter novel, it is normal for there to be drama, but in a whole different century, the drama meter was cranked up to drama and scandal, adding to the already complicated Shadowhunter storyline. There was historically accurate behaviour as well as descriptions and language that made me feel as if I had been picked up and dropped into early 1900’s London.
Oh, it wouldn’t be a Shadowhunter novel without relationship drama, but more importantly, queer relationships that defied society’s rules. I almost just want some stories with shenanigans involving Magnus Bane (who of course makes an appearance), Anna Lightwood and one other, whose name will invoke the spoiler Gods. Although these aren’t the only queer characters in the novel.
I would like to note, that the longer the Herondales dominate the stories, I actually have begun to find the Lightwoods far more interesting in terms of character and I really want more from them. In Chain of Gold especially, they have mundane interests and overall soft/ chaotic energy to them that just makes me want more from their perspectives.
Just let it be known, that I would do anything Anna Lightwood asked me to, including… well… anything. I would also burn the city down for Matthew Fairchild, so Cassandra Clare, please do right by him. Please!
★ Rating ★
I rated this book ★★★★★ (4.85/5 stars). It was almost a 5/5 but something in my gut is telling me at it’s not all there. It’s probably because there were so many perspectives and changes in the angle that it felt jarring to read at times.
As always, the Herondales stole the show and shone, but other characters have such impactful backstories, internal struggles and trauma that has made them the person they are in C.O.G. I really hope Clare will explore them and their perspectives further in future novels or in short-stories.
Also, why can’t all of them just have happy unproblematic lives whilst being able to pursue their interests and love whom they want to love? Is that too much to ask? Can I just give them all a huge hug and tell them it’ll be okay? Please?
I hope you enjoyed this review! I had so much fun putting it together and yes, I am utterly ruined by this novel that I want to sleep until the release of the next one xx
See you back here on Monday’s (book reviews), Wednesday’s (storytime/ writing updates) and Saturday’s (other bookish content).