Chain of Gold is the first novel in a new trilogy that stars the Shadowhunters of Edwardian London.
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.
“We do not get to choose when in our lives we feel pain,” said Matthew. “It comes when it comes, and we try to remember, even though we cannot imagine a day when it will release its hold on us, that all pain fades. All misery passes. Humanity is drawn to light, not darkness.”
*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
To start, I just want to say how blessed I was to receive this ARC before publication and I am eternally grateful for it. I have been a fan of Cassie for a large portion of my life and I have been dying to get my hands on this book since I found out about it three years ago. With that said, I had a thousand expectations going in and, as usual, Cassie completely rocked any that I had.
This book wasn’t anything like I had expected it to be. This book breaks the mold on how you view Shadowhunters and you get to see them at a completely different point in their life than us fans are used to. In every one of Cassie’s series to date, the Shadowhunters being in the thick of fighting demons has been a staple. But in this book, there has been an almost peace for years with barely any demons to fight and the Shadowhunters have almost grown… complacent. This was a breath of fresh air for me, but it was also very disorienting. It took some time to get used to this almost calm-like atmosphere and I spent a large portion of the book just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The Characters- This book has a LARGE cast of characters. Probably the most that we have ever seen. All of our favorite characters from TID makes appearances, but each of them have two-three kids now and almost all of their kids are involved in the story in one way or another. I had to keep a list written down to remember who everyone is and who their parents were. While it was slightly overwhelming in the beginning, I quickly came to realize that each of these characters provides something different to this story and I love them all dearly.
Cordelia- Cordelia is honestly the MVP of this book. She is so underestimated and you’d think the other characters would outshine her with their in-your-face personalities, but they didn’t. Cordelia has this soft grace to her that is so compelling to me. She isn’t the central focus in the room, but your attention is somehow always drawn to her. She is just so supportive of everyone around her and one of the bravest, kindest, most loyal people out there.
James- While I love James, I thought he would be… more? For someone who is a Herondale man and has Will as a father, I thought James would be this sarcastic, witty, arrogant, bright star. Instead, he was sweet, honorable, brave, and wholesome and not at all what I was expecting. I was disappointed, but also pleasantly surprised by him. There was a portion of the book where I was rolling my eyes at him constantly because of his stupid obsession with Grace Blackthorn, but more on that below.
Lucie- Lucie, yet again, was completely different from what I was expecting. There’s no other way to describe her except for a dreamer. She has so many aspirations and dreams and she’s not letting anyone or anything get in the way of them. She also has this naïve, yet childlike quality to her character that makes her unique to follow. She gives everything her all and doesn’t hold anything back. She’s completely dedicated to her friends and her family and she’s one of the most relatable characters in this whole series.
Matthew- Unfortunately, I made the mistake of going to the Shadowhunter wiki page before reading this book, so I knew more about Matthew than I probably was supposed to. I know why he acts the way he does and why he is always drinking. We never do completely find out in this book so I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but I’ll say that I empathize with Matthew on a level that is hard to put into words. The amount of self-hatred and guilt he must feel is overwhelming to contemplate and I hope he owns up to it and eventually finds happiness.
Alastair- Alastair was a bit of a shock for me. I went into this book knowing nothing about him except for his family name and that made him all the more mysterious. I wanted to know more about this mean and beautiful boy that kept everyone at arms length. Honestly, he filled the role that I expected James to play and I fell for him instantly. After more of his character came to life, I realized that Alastair reminds me a lot of Alec from TMI. He has some hurt in his past and he selects a few people to see the real him. I loved his progression in this story and I ship him and Thomas so hard it’s not even funny.
Thomas- I love Thomas. He is this calm and gentle giant that is a rock for the group. He reminds me a lot of his father in that way. I’m eager to see more of him and his relationship development with Alastair in the future books.
Christopher- I just adore Christopher. He is so inquisitive and gentle and I would hate for him to be hurt in any way. I feel for him much like I felt for Henry in TID. I’m just hoping he survives everything because his chances aren’t the best when it comes to making it to the end.
Anna- Gosh I love Anna. I love how she is a spin on the character mold of “the rake” and her popping in occasionally to set everyone straight is hilarious. I ship her and Ariadne so much and I’m eager to see Ariadne win over Anna’s closed heart. The only minor complaint I may have here is that I felt like, especially in the beginning of the book, there was an overemphasis on Anna’s clothes. I know it is supposed to be a big part of her character, but in the beginning I felt like Cassie spent too much on that aspect on Anna instead of other parts of her. Her personality and words are much more important than her clothes and I wanted more of those.
Jesse- Jesse has my whole heart like not even playing. He is so sweet and carrying, and what he did for Lucie and James just completely melted and broke my heart at the same time. I need him back in the next book so bad and I am shipping him and Lucie HARD.
Grace- I don’t know what it was, but from the very first moment that Grace walked on the page, I knew something wasn’t right. I didn’t like her at all and every piece of her actions throughout this book just cemented that further for me. I am so over James worshiping at her feet and I hope she’s revealed for the person she really is.
The Old Characters- Y’all, I literally cried so many times in this book from seeing the old characters from TID. It was so surreal to see them be themselves again, yet be so grown up and different. Uhhh I feel like a mom whose kid is all grown up and had their own kids.
After finishing the last line of this book, I can’t even describe the feeling I had. I immediately felt like I had lost something really important to me because this was over and I was going to wait at least a year for the next one. This book might have had a slow start, but about halfway through, it had my whole heart and I am so sad to see it end. I am dying to get my hands on the next book and see where Cassie takes this story, which I truly feel is just beginning, next!
Other Books in the Series:
- Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) – To Be Released
- Chain of Thorns (The Last Hours #3) – To Be Released