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Book Review: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare (The Last Hours, Book #1)

Rating: <3 <3 <3

Pages: 582

Format: Physical book

Release date: 3.4.2020

Overview (Spoiler-Free!)

OKAY. Time to review my MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2020!! Honestly, my most anticipated book of 2019 and 2020, because 2019 is when it was supposed to come out initially. I’ve been waiting for more Will Herondale in my life ever since I finished reading The Infernal Devices four? years ago. He is my absolute favorite and I love him so much (if you want more evidence of how much click here and here). Even though he wasn’t exactly a protagonist in this new sequel trilogy (it’s about his children), it was so great to get to see him again. I also love the whole urban fantasy/historical London aesthetic, which was definitely a factor that influenced how much I liked this book. To be honest, I didn’t love it quite as much as Clockwork Angel as a series starter, but overall it was still quite well done and invoked a similar level of excitement, annoyance, frustration, and swooning as its predecessor. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of any of Clare’s other books, especially The Infernal Devices, which I would 200% recommend reading before this series because not doing so will ruin all of its major reveals/plot points (which would be a real shame, because that series is <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 ), and you won’t feel as connected to Chain of Gold‘s characters. If you haven’t read this book, feel free to read the summary below, but be warned that the section after that will! contain! spoilers!!


Chain of Gold, the first book in a new Shadowhunter series by Cassandra Clare, is a continuation of her Mortal Instruments prequel series The Infernal Devices. It follows the children of the protagonists from TID, as well as their parents.

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 by Cassandra Clare


If you’ve read some of my reviews before, this one is going to be a bit different from those. Because what I love most about Cassandra Clare’s books are the characters and the character development, I will be organizing my usual What I Liked/Didn’t Like/I’m not sure how I feel about categories in terms of the book’s characters. With that said, here’s the review! :

What I liked:

  • CORDELIA CARSTAIRS. Wow. I think Cordelia might be my new favorite female Cassandra Clare character. I definitely don’t relate to her as much as I related to Tessa, but it was so great to see how smart, strong, and fierce she was. She had her priorities in order; even though she was in love with James, she never let that distract her from trying to protect her father, or from doing what needed to be done to protect her friends, even when James was being AN ABSOLUTE IDIOT (okay fine, maybe we can blame Grace and her insane love bracelet/magic for that one, but still).

“That’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it, really? Instead of many who give you little pieces of themselves-one who gives you everything.”

― Cordelia Carstairs, Chain of Gold
  • The Will/Tessa/Jem appearances. Of course, Will and Tessa developed into the most adorable married couple EVER. It was almost disgustingly cute but also inside I was like AHHHH *heart eye emojis* And Jem! I loved his relationship with James Herondale, and how close he seemed to be with James and Lucie both.

“Will sat down beside his wife and pulled her into his lap. “I am going to kiss your mother now,” he announced. “Flee if you will, children. If not, we could play Ludo when the romance is over.”

“The romance is never over,” said James glumly.

Tessa laughed and put up her face to be kissed.”

― Cassandra Clare, Chain of Gold
  • Magnus Bane’s occasional appearances. I love how Magnus just shows up whenever our Shadowhunter protagonists need help throughout the centuries. One of my favorite quotes from Chain of Gold is this beautiful piece of Magnus Bane wisdom (very applicable for today):

“There is no better distraction in this world than losing oneself in books for awhile.”

― Magnus Bane, Chain of Gold
  • Thomas Lightwood. Okay the quote below. Is it just me, or does anyone remember Sophie (his mother!!) saying something VERY similar in The Infernal Devices?? Something along the lines of, it’s okay if our love is unrequited, as long as the person deserves it? Shoutout to Cassandra Clare for all of these callbacks <3

“We don’t always love people who deserve it.”

― Thomas Lightwood, Chain of Gold
  • Anna Lightwood. I really appreciated how much LGBTQ representation there was in this book (as in most of Clare’s books). Charles, Alistair, Anna, Matthew, Magnus, Ariadne, the list goes on. Anna Lightwood was such an interesting character, and it was so great to see how unashamed she was to be herself despite the judgement of the Shadowhunter community, and how she took Cordelia under her wing.

“The most interesting women are always the most whispered about.”

― Cassandra Clare, Chain of Gold
  • Jesse Blackthorn. FINALLY a Blackthorn that isn’t absolutely horrible. I have to admit he and Lucie are pretty cute, although it seems like he’s a lot wiser and better at decision-making than she is. I wasn’t expecting him to give up his last breath to save James, but that, and his insistence that Lucie not try to bring him back, solidified him as a good guy–sorry, ghost–in my book.

What I didn’t like:

  • GRACE BLACKTHORN. OK. THIS GIRL. She has absolutely no personality and all I know about her is that she 1) is totally playing James Herondale’s emotions with that bracelet she puts on him, because he seems to only remember that he’s in love with her when he’s wearing it, 2) has absolutely no feelings for anyone except for her brother Jesse (she literally says this), and 3) is willing to do anything to protect Tatiana, for no apparent reason (I mean the lady keeps you in a haunted house and doesn’t let you talk to anyone for your entire life…WHY ARE YOU PROTECTING HER??).

  • The fact that none of the protagonists told Will or Tessa or any parental figure about ANYTHING GOING ON. I mean, come on. What’s the harm in telling your parents?? You’re teenagers, and you have parents who have told you stories about themselves defying the Clave. They’re only going to help. I think a lot of the extreme conflicts in this book could have been avoided if the protagonists just made slightly better decisions in this regard. On the bright side, they did somewhat tell Magnus, so there’s that.

I’m not sure how I feel about…

  • Matthew Fairchild. Okay, I’m pretty sure I like him, but he also gets drunk all the time and seems very mysterious so I’m not sure if I can say how I feel about him for sure (much like my opinions about Will Herondale after Clockwork Angel). I do get the feeling that he’s been though more pain in his life than any of the other protagonists of the novel, because of his occasional pieces of wisdom about pain and because of how closed off he is. I so did not see his apparent love for Cordelia coming, but he was so sweet to all of his friends throughout the book that I honestly kind of ship them together, especially because James is so CONFUSING and needs to get his act together. Well, so does Matthew. I really hope this doesn’t turn into yet another love parabatai love triangle, but also I so do *shrugs* because I want one where both guys don’t somehow end up getting the girl ahhh.

“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.”

― Matthew Fairchild, Chain of Gold

“Cordelia was scanning the room for the nearest exit, ready to flee, when a hand grasped her arm. She was spun around and into an expert grip: a moment later she was dancing again, her feet automatically following her partner’s.

“That’s right.” It was Matthew Fairchild. Fair hair, spicy cologne, a blur of a smile. His hands were gentle as he swept her back into the waltz. “Just—try to smile, and no one will notice anything happened. James and I are practically interchangeable in the public consciousness anyway.”

“James—left,” Cordelia said, in shock.

“I know,” said Matthew. “Very bad form. One should not leave a lady on the dance floor unless something is actually on fire. I’ll have a word.”

“A word,” Cordelia echoed. She was beginning to feel less stunned and more angry. “A word?”

“Several words, if it will make you feel better?””

Matthew to the rescue!

  • Lucie Herondale. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about Lucie Herondale. I thought I would love her, but I feel like there just wasn’t enough of her in this book. Sure, she had her whole thing with Jesse, but otherwise I didn’t see a whole lot of her relationship with other characters, especially Cordelia. I was hoping to see scenes with the two of them together (they ARE supposedly best friends, and soon-to-be parabatai, after all), but I didn’t really get enough to care about their relationship all that much. Also, she basically tells Jesse she’s going to try to use necromancy to bring him back from the dead?? LUCIE!! Have you learned nothing from Tatiana Blackthorn?? I really hope that’s not where this series is going, but it sounds like it is.

“If it actually cared that James was related to an ‘important’ demon, it should have said something to me, too,” said Lucie. “I am his sister. I do not appreciate being overlooked.”

― Lucie Herondale, Chain of Gold

Other Random Quotes I Loved

“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

“Do not let those who cannot see the truth tell you who you are. You are the flame that cannot be put out. You are the star that cannot be lost. You are who you have always been, and that is enough and more than enough. Anyone who looks at you and sees darkness is blind.”

― Cassandra Clare, Chain of Gold


Overall, I thought Chain of Gold was a pretty fun read. I definitely think that because there were so many characters, I unfortunately didn’t really get to know too many of them very well. There were also some aspects of the plot that really frustrated me (how uninvolved Will and Tessa were in their children’s lives, and how no one realizes what Grace is doing to James) that made me like this book much less than The Infernal Devices, but ultimately the number of lovable characters and the unique plot, in addition to the resurfacing of my favorite characters from TID, made me love it regardless. I may be rereading this book in the near future to get more out of it, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Chain of Iron, the second book in the series, which is slated for release in March 2021.

Have you read Chain of Gold? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts/opinions/feelings down below!*

*Make sure to leave a warning if your comment contains spoilers!

Thanks so much for reading, and have an AMAZING rest of your day 🙂

<3, g

One response to “Book Review: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare (The Last Hours, Book #1)”

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