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.
So before we go any further, DO NOTE THAT THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER.
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!