My Spoilery Review of Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Summary: 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.
Category: YA, fiction, modern fantasy
My rating: 4/5 (Definitely would read again)

Howdy everyone! Welcome back to my nerd corner, where you get to see the nerdier side of me. Last week, I finished Chain of Gold, the first book in a new Shadowhunters series by Cassandra Clare! I’ve long awaited this book, being a huge fan of Will, Tessa, and Jem. (Oh my goodness, Jem makes me ridiculously happy. He has been since 2014.) Even though my reading has evolved more into psychological thrillers and suspense, I find myself going back to the YA genre for a few authors, that including Clare.
My thoughts
So, seeing as how I read the City of Bones series before the Clockwork series, I found it way harder to figure out which descendant belonged to which of the characters in this story. (Damn Lightwoods) I loved almost everything about this book, notably James and Cordelia’s friendship/romance. Lucie was just a tad… too flighty and whimsically in her own world, while the appearance of Magnus made me squeal with joy.
I loved seeing so much LGBTQ+ representation in this novel, but I feel like it was almost… too overpowering. Perhaps it would have done good to be in the small novellas, but not as an overarching subplot that had me going, “wait, what’s their identity again?” A book, especially one filled with so much action, shouldn’t take away from the main arch by trying to keep everyone’s backgrounds and their secrets in order. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed Matthew and Anna. I felt like they were the most authentic, with Christopher and James being undoubtedly the most lovable characters. I did feel, however, that Clare wrote Lucie as a bit childish, so I was always confused at her age and it only really showed when she fought. Other than that, it was repeatedly talking about her book or her wish to be parabatai with Cordelia in that same childish tone that bothered me.
Let’s get to the heart of the problem here. Grace and Tatiana Blackthorn. For the latter half of the book, I felt myself getting annoyed and frustrated that no one figured that Grace was performing some dark magic on James with that damn bracelet. It’s so aggravating! Not even James figured, but the way he treated Cordelia every time that thing was on, he was the ultimate relationship destroyer. I believe that if this had been separated away from everyone else’s problems in the story, it would have been less teeth gritting and enraging.
Meanwhile, I truly did feel sad for Tatiana’s situation. I understand losing a child and your husband is tragic, (albeit if my husband had been killed by his father-in-law turned worm, I’d have bigger problems on my hands. Like having a worm dad), but the Clave’s constant dismissal of her actions as being harmless and treating her like a nonthreatening grieving widow really made this book eye roll worthy and not the five stars it should have been. Like sure we’ll let you have this baby, lady. Oh, we’ll just not keep an eye on you even though you accuse everyone of betraying you and we find demons in your greenhouse. NO PROBLEM AT ALL.
The excuse that the Clave didn’t find Jesse’s glass coffin because it was in her bedroom felt admittedly like a scapegoat to explain why it’s now in the shed, which to me is also a bit… lacking in terms of her usual style. Why wouldn’t the Clave search all rooms if this person serves a likely threat? They disregard all senses of the word privacy, why does that suddenly stop them from opening the door and seeing this lady’s glass-encased son chilling in the master suite?
To be frank, if this book had separated itself magically into categories that I could sift through to understand, I would have probably rated this a five star. But the simple fact that literally it was a giant coming out reveal for half of the cast of characters, a crazed grieving widow, Matthew’s drinking, Cordelia’s family, and James’ enchantment, it was, a, lot. What I will say about this book is that I absolutely loved the Will and Tessa short story in the back. The wedding, the way Tessa and Will interacted… it so reminds me of my personal life and finding that relatableness during all the drama was heartwarming. Also, am I the only one who didn’t know Will’s middle name was Owen? I REALLY wish I could have more of that short story, because each page had me for sure smiling and feeling all the happies.
So, if you’re looking to jump into a world of someone else’s problem for a while, I sincerely do recommend this book. You’ll find yourself wanting to connect all the 20th century Shadowhunters to their 21st century descendants. It also explains why Jace has those eyes in the City of Bones books! Major win! I hope you all enjoy the book if you do indeed read it! Stay safe!

My Review of the Wives, by Tarryn Fisher

Summary: Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.
But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.
What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.
You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.
Genre: Suspense/Psychological Thriller
Content warning for this book. Contains lots of discussion on miscarriage, adultery, domestic violence, infertility.
Holy hell guys, what the hell did I just read? Not even two hours after finishing this enthralling novel, my head is still spinning with a ton of “wtf did I just read!!!!” As some of you know, one of my favorite genres is suspense fiction, with a heavy dose of psychological thriller. It is Difficult for me to be impressed by this genre, as authors tend to take the cliché, abrupt, or just plain unsatisfying endings. This page turner was NOTHING like that. Before continuing, do note that my reviews do contain spoilers. I will only warn you once, otherwise buckle up, kids.
Released in late 2019, I came across this book by accident while scrolling through Audible suggestions. Piqued by the summary, I downloaded it and immediately got to work. First, not only is the protagonist’s name Thursday, she calls the other two wives Monday and Tuesday, (when really their names are Hannah and Regina.) Do take note that her name is literally never mentioned again until the last third of the novel, where it just seemed like the author overused her name to drive home the fact that she… might not be all there mentally.
Right so, Thursday and her hubby/partner/co equal co signatory de facto boy toy seem to have a somewhat normal looking marriage. He works and is out of town, she sees him once a week, jumps his bones as soon as she sees him, (cue eye roll from me, the reader.) Then she starts talking about the other two wives, and you get the note of jealousy that may hint she hates being the second wife. Considering she was supposed to be having his baby but has a miscarriage and becomes infertile, (???), his response is to get a third wife. Okay… sure, I guess?
We go through the story, seeing Miss Weekday grow consistently suspicious/jealous of the other wives. She starts sleuthing, making a dating profile and connecting with that real Tinder love with Miss Tuesday. She’s convinced that Regina is cheating on Seth and plans to drag it out. Meanwhile, she becomes besties with Hannah, not giving away her real identity. While living her best, fake… bake (???), life with Hannah, she sees bruises and becomes convinced that Seth is abusing wife number 3, who, might I add, is PREGNANT with Seth’s first baby. (Oof, you lost yet?)
As if this couldn’t possibly get any weirder, she comes home and finds Seth waiting, 100 percent pissed and 1000 percent about to break it off with Thursday because hey, who wouldn’t want to if your weekday literally did nothing but compare herself to the other weekdays, complain about her narcissistic mother and somewhat absent father? When Seth tries to confront Thursday, she completely flips out on him, revealing what she’s been doing and accusing him of assault on Hannah. Oh yeah, and totally dropping the fact that she met Hannah, oops. So naturally, at least for this novel, Seth becomes enraged that his weekdays are mingling and tells her she’s losing her mind. You know, typical gaslighting behavior that we roll our eyes at on the daily. She attacks him and in self-defense, he tries to stop her, but she hits her head. Only to her, he attacked her and was trying to kill her.
The next section of the novel was like drinking five Redbulls and running a full marathon. The pace of the book picks up, with Thursday being in the psych ward, everyone trying to convince her that she is literally losing her mind, and her adamant that Seth turned the universe against her. Once she’s managed to lie her way out of the hospital, she begins ultra-sleuth mode, AKA going to Regina’s office, where the weekdays fight it out and eventually Thursday comes to learn that Regina and Seth divorced three years ago because Seth was having an affair with Thursday. (OH EM GEEEEEE)
Regina then turns from evil foe, to slight nemesis, to nemesis with benefits as she tracks down Hannah, who has since gone “missing”. Unbeknownst to Thursday, Regina’s tricked her into confronting Seth and Hannah, where it is revealed that Thursday was never married to Seth, (!), Hannah was indeed Seth’s real wife, and after Regina bursts into the room like some cartoon superhero, she reveals that Regina and Seth divorced because of Thursday. So not only did Seth cheat on Regina with Thursday, he cheated on Hannah with Thursday and played into Thursday’s beliefs that she was married to him. Of course, the guy gets off scotch free, (well, as free as you can get by being shot and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of your life), blaming his behavior on an abusive childhood and polygamist parents who lived in, of all places, UTAH. Way to play into the stereotype of Utah, Fisher, bravo.
At the end, Thursday pleads guilty by insanity, ending up in a psych ward and diagnosed with multiple disorders stemming from the miscarriage of her child. Meanwhile, Seth lives with Hannah, his actual wife, while Regina comes to visit Thursday one year later. Not only does Reggie/Tuesday gaslight the hell out of a drugged Thursday by boasting about how she played Thursday because she’s the reason her life fell apart, but she claims she’s nothing like Thursday and could never be. So, what else could Thursday do but jump poor unsuspecting Regina and slam her head against the ground. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the story fades out. *fans self* As I said, BIG OOF.
All in all, this story was a constant dose of ‘what the actual hell is going on’, with a dose of sympathy for the protagonist, then the other wives, then confusion and finally… just stunned silence on my part. Tarryn Fisher really did an amazing job, and I don’t usually say that lightly because again, psychological thrillers are predictable most times. I would recommend reading this book so you too can be enthralled by constant gut-wrenching feelings of existential crisis.