Chain of Gold Review: An Enjoyable Clare Novel as Cluttered It May Be

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

“The point of stories is not that they are objectively true, but that the soul of the story is truer than reality. Those who mock fiction do so because they fear the truth.”

- Cassandra Clare, Chain of Gold

Image Courtesy of Margaret K. McElderry Books (Screenshot from CHAIN OF GOLD)

Three diverse periods. The perspectives of three young women. The world of the Nephilim, from the imaginative mind of author Cassandra Clare, displays the usual contemporary themes that the genre entails but has grown with modern issues such as gender inequality. Readers have experienced the story of Clary Fray in the mid-2000s, Tessa Gray in the late 1800s, and Emma Carstairs in the most recent decade. In the newest edition to New York Times best-selling author Cassandra Clare’s collection of Shadowhunter stories and one of the most anticipated novels of 2020, Clare creates another cast of characters, the children of Tessa, Will, and the beloved characters of the Infernal Devices trilogy. With its fiery-paced action, carefully hidden secrets, and interwoven plots, Chain of Gold, the first in the Last Hours trilogy, will not disappoint fans of Clare’s works.

Cordelia Carstairs seems to be the only one in her family attempting to save her father from a crime she is sure he hasn’t committed; both her mother and elder brother Alastair seem indifferent to the severity of the situation and plan to relocate the family to London, home to the Herondales, Lightwoods, and Fairchilds. Here, Cordelia is reunited with her soon-to-be parabatai Lucie Herondale and introduced to Grace Blackthorn and the Merry Thieves, a group consisting of James Herondale, Thomas Lightwood, Matthew Fairchild, and Christopher Lightwood. Entertained by her new companions, enthralled by the astonishing sights of Edwardian London, and thrilled to have finally settled after years of traveling, Cordelia is content and determined to save her father without becoming a bride.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (Screenshot of CHAIN OF GOLD Author Cassandra Clare)

However, when strange demon attacks (occurring even during daylight) begin to terrorize London and spread an incurable disease, the inhabitants of London are immediately quarantined while the Shadowhunters desperately look for remedies and the source of the evil. Discovering the truth of a family’s lineage and its connection to the demon attacks, Cordelia and her friends work to find a solution with the help of warlocks, ghosts, and a Downworlder tavern. Interwoven with this primary plotline is the classic love triangles and tragedy that has become Clare’s trademark. Cordelia has been in love with James since their childhood, but James is infatuated with the cold, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Matthew Fairchild has been harboring a dark secret for years and has been living an intoxicated, carefree life as James’s parabatai until the arrival of a certain Cordelia Carstairs. Herondales have always seen ghosts, even more so than most Shadowhunters, but Lucie is startled by the presence of Jesse Blackthorn, Grace’s deceased adoptive brother, who no one else can see. Will this new group of heroes be able to remedy both the demon attacks and their secrets?

At first glance, Chain of Gold rests comfortably on the usual quality that readers would expect from Clare. From the bombastic plot that intermingles convoluted romances and action, it features all of the usual marks of a Cassandra Clare novel, however, there is a significant addition of scuffs that plague an otherwise enjoyable read. In Chain of Gold, Clare overburdens both herself and the reader by the devolved sense of focus when it came to the protagonists.

Despite previous novels having a similar number of main characters, Chain of Gold resulted in the consistent revisiting of the early parts of the books to identify characters. The main culprit at hand was likely the repetitive last names of many characters such as Christopher and Thomas Lightwood, who are incidentally a pair of cousins. However, as much as this factor detracted from the snappy and swashbuckling pace that other installments in Clare’s line of work boasted, I did enjoy reading from the shifting perspectives the story was told from, varying from major characters like Cordelia to less prominent characters such as Tatiana Blackthorn, Grace’s bitter adoptive mother. It was a welcome touch, one that helped balance out the pacing of the plotlines.

Image Courtesy of Margaret K. McElderry Books (Screenshot from CHAIN OF GOLD)

What it lacks in length (in comparison to some Clare’s previous works) and clarity to a degree, this novel makes up for it with several intricate plotlines with engrossing characters that readers will learn to love, hate, and a mixture of the two. Re-enter the world of Shadowhunters and enjoy the ride with Cassandra Clare’s Chain of Gold.

Image Courtesy of Margaret K. McElderry Books (Screenshot from CHAIN OF GOLD)

From #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare comes the first novel in a brand-new trilogy where evil hides in plain sight and love cuts deeper than any blade.Chain of Goldis a Shadowhunters novel.

Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.

But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

Chain of Gold is Available for Purchase Now.