Malec are back!
Oh my gosh, I really do not know where to start with this review because I didn’t even know if I could make it through this novel without breaking down into a giant ball of feels!
Let me just say that if you want to read this novel, please read it before reading Queen of Air and Darkness! I am saying this because there is another war in QoAaD and it confuses the timelines so so much when you pick this one up after. From what I’ve gathered, The Red Scrolls of Magic takes place after the events of City of Glass and the novella bind-up, The Bane Chronicles.
I haven’t done further investigation into this but I am planning on doing a chronological read-through of ALL the shadowhunter novels which will lead to an updated (chronological) reading order video on my channel!
All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.
Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.
Disclaimer: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
In this novel, we see the love that Magus has for Alec, and the love Alec has for Magnus. Magnus’ soft/ real and vulnerable side without all of the extravagance and glitter, as well as personalities of some of our favourite characters who previously haven’t had any screen (page?) time.
If you are going into this novel – like I did – unsure of when these events take place, you will find yourself very very (with a large emphasis on very) confused. Especially when some characters that have died suddenly appear in the story.
The Red Scrolls of Magic, as mentioned around page 6 of the novel, takes place after “a Great War”. Which is not to be mistaken with the one at the end of City of Heavenly Fire. The “Great War” that they reference, and many other events referenced in the novel, are in relation to the battle with Valentine and all events from City of Bones to City of Glass – or the first half of The Mortal Instruments.
I was not sure where this story was going to go. Like what other drama could Cassie have in store for my precious lovers? Apparently a lot. Jumping right into the plot, I really liked where she went with this story as it opens up a whole other side-mystery that is very confined to Alec and Magnus, and in part Aline and Helen. It feels like it could be a short dilemma for Magnus as the events at the end of City of Heavenly Fire have some restrictions for the mystery of whether Alec will discover Magnus’ true heritage or not.
I had to keep reminding myself that this story is set before the events of Sebastian’s uprising only because there are characters in this novel – like my precious angsty baby angel Raphael Santiago – whom we do not see anymore after the events of a particular novel. I am so glad to have more of him back and see more of his relationship with Magnus. It’s interesting though because I only thought his connection was with Magnus, but in this novel, we learn that Raphael was also friends with “the late” Ragnor Fell. This means he could also be friends with Caterina Loss, and possibly partook in shenanigans that Ragnor and Magnus got themselves into!!! I’m not screaming, you are!
Honestly, I could talk about this novel all day. Unlike other books, this one has characters that are very human and so full of love. For example, Magnus is trying to make this vacation perfect for Alec and show him how much he wants to make their relationship work, but at every turn, there is an attack or inconvenience and their plans change. Magnus never gives up on trying to make Alec’s holiday the best he can, being elaborate and accommodating but in a loving way. I dunno how much I can explain it, but he is guarded and secretive but just oozes love in such a soft and strong way that I’ve never seen any other character do before.
Alec the soft boi he is does everything instinctually and protectively to protect Magnus regardless of secrecy. The love he has for his partner – now husband, yes I am crying – is so strong. He shows Magnus that he (Magnus) is a good person regardless of what he (Magnus) thinks of himself, and thus we see all the ways in which our secret soft boi Magnus has helped and assisted people [see The Bane Chronicles for more funny and soft stories].
I think my (other) favourite part of this novel was learning more about Magnus’ back story and relationship with his father. There is a single mention of being kicked out of Peru with Ragnor (of which I am lead to believe now that Raphael was involved because it’d be funnier), but no more elaboration on the event. Instead, we were delivered soft moments with Malec by the campfire, while Magnus recalls his past and what events lead to him being not a sh*t downworlder. As well as the painfull moment with his father, Asmodeus, making him recall memories and learn things in a horrid way.
Other than this, we also have mentions of how much they both miss their families. The number of times Magnus mentioned that he missed Clary, kinda insinuating that she is like a daughter to him was far more than my fragile heart expected. Especially when a certain tragic event occurred and he thought she’d be the last person he’d see grow up. Holy Moly! It reminded me yet again what the timeline was and I was relieved because our precious bean now has two precious bean children with his soft boi husband.
AGH! I love these two so so much and I will literally talk about them and this novel all freaking day. Also, hit me up if you want to fangirl over Malec for hours on end because I’ll do that with you!
Not sure if I can end this book without actually talking about the ending, and because this is a spoilery review, I’m free to spoil. After all the sad mentions of Ragnor Fell’s death (and my knowledge that he is alive now didn’t make it any better because the characters were still in pain), the last scene in the story actually gave me a sick sense of relief. Like yeah the next book will have evil in it, and no, I may never know how Ragnor ends up in a cave on the beaches of the LA institute, but I do know that he is alive! That is some consolation for me as a reader, even if all those who love Ragnor still thinks he’s dead… Let’s not overthink it.
★ Rating ★
I rated this book ★★★★★ (5/5 stars). It truly deserves it (and more). I love seeing Cassandra Clare’s writing evolve over the course of the Shadowhunter chronicles, and it makes me so so happy that we now have a novel dedicated to Malec’s love for each other, and Magus’ backstory.