Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
I was desperate to read this book.
I’ve been part of the world of the Shadowhunters for more than ten years, The Infernal Devices being my favorite saga. I clung to the memories of the London Institute, of holy water and blood, of crushed hearts and clockwork angels and faded parabatai runes through happy times and difficult times, ever since I finished Clockwork Princess. When my hands touched Chain of Gold, when I breathed in its pages and sank into the familiar lives of the Nephilim, it felt like I returned home after a long, bittersweet journey. And yet… And yet a part of me, a guilty part of me wishes that The Last Hours trilogy would remain a distant hope, an expectation rather than a fact.
A part of me wishes it were never written.
“Whither thou goest, I will go, James. Even unto the tedious suburb of Highgate.”
The Shadowhunters have grown soft. Demonic activity is scarce, leaving room for frivolity and other mundane pleasures. But old debts must be paid, and a terrible storm is brewing, aiming to destroy the Nephilim once and for all. In the center of this new conspiracy, there is one of mixed heritage. Half angel, half demon, James Herondale and his friends shall fight, lie, bleed in order to uncover the mystery behind the irregular massacres and the poison that has infected the London Enclave, before it is too late.
“We don’t always love people who deserve it.”
I can hear my younger self shouting expletives. You were gifted with more time with Will, she says. With Edwardian Shadowhunters. With demon slaying and cosmic friendships and did I mention Will and Tessa as parents? It is true, my soul rejoiced and clenched and drowned in nostalgia and longing. The tether that binds it with the world of the Nephilim remained firm, and I fell in love with the new generation (with James and Lucy and Cordelia and Matthew and Thomas and Christopher and Anna and Jesse), I loathed some evil spawns (Grace and Charles), I am confused about my feelings for others (yes Alastair, that’s you) and in general, I was lost in a place where I always found myself. And yet, there are reasons Chain of Gold felt discordant. Like Cassandra Clare was playing a song she has mastered but missed a couple of notes, and I can attribute it to two factors.
First, the Shadowhunters Chronicles are no strangers to death. Many beloved characters have perished, leaving fresh wounds in their wake. However, I never wanted to experience such losses through the eyes of the teenagers I once rooted for so deeply. Will, Tessa, Sophie, Gideon, Cecily, Gabriel, Henry, Charlotte, they went through so much that it seems unfair to witness their lives unfold in a manner that will break them. I would prefer the ideal picture I built in my head about their happily ever afters free of revenge, pain and loss. The price of watching them become parents is simply too steep.
Second, a famous ingredient of the Shadowhunter Chronicles is teenagers rebelling against the adults who refuse to listen. In the past, the Clave has been a de facto enemy, the corrupt or scared or stubbornly ignorant authority that forces our valiant heroes to sneak, steal and lie in order to save the world. Now, the Clave consists of said heroes. That’s why all the secrets and unnecessary risks seem so mind-numbingly stupid. It’s Will Herondale. It’s Tessa Gray. It’s Charlotte Branwell. It’s Gabriel and Gideon Lightwood. Why, by the Angel, did Cassandra have to present lame excuses and misguided promises in order to keep the parents in the dark? They would assist, they would dive into danger headlong because they value and trust their children. Instead their children lied to their faces, withheld vital information and that was a stab in the heart. A betrayal to the heroes of The Infernal Devices.
“Did you expect more fear? Then you do not know my father. You do not know my mother. You do not know my family, or me.”
On a more cheerful note, Chain of Gold was equal parts painful, engaging and amusing, as expected. The relationships tangled as ever. And the characters? They were shooting starts. Vibrant. Burning brightly and fiercely, with love being their greatest strength and most dangerous weakness.
The Merry Thieves are heart stealers. The leader, the scientist, the libertine, the kind one, with the addition of the Beautiful Cordelia (slay Queen, slay) and none other than the aspiring author, ghost-whisperer Lucie, they are all my cinnamon rolls who must.be.protected.at.all.costs. As for the romances? You didn’t expect simple, did you? Forbidden, hopeless, devastating, that’s Cassandra Clare’s way, and the road ahead is paved with suffering and pain. And even though I mentally prepared myself to deal with it, there are already cracks in my armor that will eventually leave me exposed to the tragedies which are bound to happen.
Chain of Gold was the beginning of a powerful story of revenge, blood and love which will undoubtedly wreak unimaginable emotional havoc.
I am equal parts excited and terrified.
P.S. Did it ever occur to you that for people bound by the holiest of bonds, the parabatai never talk to each other about their romantic aspirations? I sincerely hope that history shall not be repeated, and a love triangle similar to The Infernal Devices will be avoided. Because once was quite enough.
P.P.S. WILLIAM OWEN HERONDALE IS STILL THE LOVE OF MY LIFE MY HUSBAND MY SUN AND STARS