Chain of Gold

- Cassandra Clare


An inheritance of shadows. A love in chains. An unconquerable foe.

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's friends discover that 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.



Lucie Herondale was ten years old when she first met the boy in the forest.



I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or the worst reading slump I’ve ever had or if Chain of Gold is just boring, but I could not make myself care about this book. It felt so long and nothing happened, and every time it felt like something might happen, it was really just Clare finding a way to take the most basic plot point and make it as convoluted as possible.

Chain of Gold should have been a 300-page book; in and out in a few hours, adrenaline and action and unrequited (or is it?) love. Instead, almost 600 pages and five days later, I’m falling asleep even thinking about it. Clare took the time to describe the most mundane details while skipping through anything that could be exciting. And with all the potential for good queer love stories and found family and ‘brotherhood’, we’re left with closeted beards, ‘bohemian’ and anti-love non-politicals, superficial friendships and that rich fraternity that throws the best parties, but keep your eye on your drink and watch your back.

Clare hyped up this parabatai nonsense, but it fails on every level. Matthew can’t tell when James isn't being himself and is being forced down a path he doesn’t truly want. James can’t tell that Matthew is always drunk and clearly struggling with his past and present. Neither of them seems to know the other very well, and most of the time they spend together seems to be in silence or hunting demons, where James takes the lead and Matthew does as he’s told if he’s not too drunk. As the relationship that defines what a parabatai is for the reader, it does a very poor job.

There are a few genuinely interesting concepts that I wish had been developed further. The whole Jesse situation was the hook that started this book, but so little time was spent on Lucie, let alone on her attempts to learn more about Jesse, that it barely progressed past the first few chapters.

The whole Alastair versus the world thing is very overplayed. I was expecting a lot worse than petty schoolboy gossip to be the reason for the vitriol directed towards him.

And I’d love to know what Grace is getting out of this pathetic (and overplayed and boring) game she’s playing. I can only assume this book is rated so highly because of the author and an already existing fan base for Shadowhunters. As my first Clare book, Chain of Gold might not have been the smartest choice, but I might give Chain of Iron a chance to see if an editor decides to come on board.



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