Chain of Gold by Cassandra Claire Book Review

Updated: Jan 22

Chain of Gold

by Cassandra Clare

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Book # 1 in The Last Hours Series

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.


Violence Supernatural Exciting


Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare is the first book in The Last Hours series, a new series in Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter world. This series centers around London's next generation of Shadowhunters after the Infernal Devices series. The Infernal Devices couples children, and other family relations, to be exact. We have James and Lucie Herondale (Will and Tess's children), Thomas Lightwood (Gideon and Sophie's son), Christopher and Anna Lightwood, (Gabriel and Cecily's children), Cordelia and Alistair Carstairs (Jem's neice and nephew), Matthew Fairchild (one of Charlotte and Henry's son's), and lastly, Grace Cartwright and Jesse Blackthorn (Tatiana Blackthorns adopted daughter, and son from her dead husband).

This is a HUGE book ... which, is awesome, considering how long fans have been waiting for it. So bear with me. Lots of thoughts here and lots of interweaving stories and characters. I'm just going to jump in from the start of the book and work my way to the end.

Lucie and Jesse - Their whole thing going on ... I love it. Their first meeting is innocent and precious. Their friendship that builds throughout the story, to what I feel like in genuine love on Jesse's side (I don't think Lucie has figured that out yet) is rather beautiful for its simplicity and innocence. Jesse willing to give James his "last breath", the one thing that might truly bring him back to the living, is heartbreaking ... he is still around, however faint, but I believe Lucie will accomplish her promise to help bring him back ... despite him asking her not to.

Cordelia and James - I love, love, LOVE Cordelia. She is truly the epitome of a self-less character. She is kind, intelligent, and loving, fierce and brave. I love how she jumps into anything with no hesitation if it means helping a friend, or doing what is right. I love James too. He is essentially his father, and I have loved Will since I first read the Infernal Devices years ago. Honorable, kind, loyal and strong, he is an easy character to love. Makes it easy to see why these two characters are obviously head over heels in love, and if it wasn't for Grace and whatever is up with her (a weird power where she can seduce anyone?), and that damn bracelet that she locks on James and binds him to her, they would be together. In the end, when Cordelia ruins herself by providing an alibi for James by saying they spent the night together, and in return, he proposes marriage for a short term to help her redeem herself in society's eyes, is bittersweet. Because Cordelia, who has always loved James, is getting to marry him ... but James is under this weird spell, which makes him think he loves Grace. It's annoying. By the way, I totally predicted that Grace would put that damn bracelet back on him. Ugh. Almost threw my book.

The Merry Thieves - James, Matthew, Thomas and Christopher, best friends, and nicknamed the Merry Thieves. It's always a riot when they are altogether, and I loved the strong connections they all have with one another.

Matthew - I can't wait to find out what happened to this poor character who is so sad, he drinks himself into a stupor everyday. All we get to know, it that he vows to never tell anyone, not even James, and that he murdered someone he loved ... or thinks he did. I suspect there is a lot more to this story, and we will find out in the next one. He is a fascinating character, really. Openly bi-sexual to an extent, funny and loves a good time ... but how he goes from loving Lucie in the first half of the book, to falling for Cordelia ... makes me wonder why. This book loses half a popint for originality, only because James and Matthew, parabatai, both loving the same woman, when this is a spin off from the infernal devices, where Jem and Will both loved Tess ...

Alistair - he is a rather interesting character, and while at times he is easy to dislike, by the end I truly feel bad for him. He obviously was a bully in school, and put up walls against everyone, including Cordelia, to protect himself against torment. Now that he finally realizes that he doesn't have to be that way, and doesn't have to settle, it comes out some of the horrible things he has said about Thomas and his family, and he ends up hurt. This, on top of being gay in a time where it is highly frowned upon, therefore having to hide who he is, it will be interesting to see where his character goes.

Anna - Probably one of my favorite characters of this book. I love her confidence, and she is just draws you in. I love that despite living her life her way in a time where it isn't accepted, she still does it anyway, and with the love and support of her family and friends. And while she says she doesn't believe in love, her small gesture to help Cordelia stand out in Jame's eyes with the dresses shows she believes in it enough for other people.

Grace - I just can't stand her. She has opportunities to be brave and be the better person, and she doesn't take them. It is hard for me to put aside what she is doing to James to try to see any redeeming quality about her.

Will and Tessa - I was obsessed with the Infernal Devices series years ago, so any little bit of time we get with Will and Tess, I love. I love that all these years later they still are head over heels in love. It breaks my heart that Will is aging, knowing that one day he will pass on, leaving Tess behind. Its interesting to see them as parents, especially Will, knowing how difficult he was at James' age.

Jem - Just like in the Infernal Devices, Jem ... now a silent brother, is just as calming in this series as he was in the infernal devices. His love for Will and Tess, and their children is rather beautiful, considering their bittersweet ending.

Tatiana - What a wacky old crow. I don't have too much to say about her, other than its truly amazing what she can get away with, when other shadowhunters are not as lucky.

Sexuality - First of all, I love that Cassandra Clare brings awareness to the LGBTQ through her writing. It's not seen enough, and it needs to be. There is just ONE inconsistency that bothers me. In the Mortal Instruments, Alex is in the closet for a long time. He won't even admit he is gay to Jace, his parabatai, because he is scared of the judgement and shame he will feel from the clave. This is relatively a modern time (2007), and he is fearful of being alone. In fact, the only other Shadowhunter who we know of who is gay is the Consul's daughter. So it's a little weird that it is so common in 1903, when it would be much more frowned upon than in 2007. Matthew is bi-sexual and doesn't hide it from James ... and he admits it to Cordelia shortly after meeting her. I loved how many relationships there were, and how they went across the spectrum, but the consistency of it I found just a touch odd.

Alcoholism - In the Infernal Devices, we got an inside look of opium, and its use to forget bad memories (Will in Clockwork Prince I believe uses it during a particularly rough time) It seems like alcoholism will be focused on in this series, with Matthew having an obvious problem with it (to the point where he starts to withdraw), and Elias, Cordelia and Alistair's father, who has been a drunk for years. I hope we see in the next book Matthew kick the habit and find some peace within himself.

In the end, I really enjoyed Chain of Gold. There were some really frustrating parts (particularly with Grace), but all the characters were great reads, and the chemistry between the main potential couples, like James and Cordelia, Matthew and Cordelia, and Lucie and Jesse was evident. There was a lot of loose ends left at the end of this book, which promises a lot more to come in the next two books.

Top 3 Favorite Moments

1. The memory of Cordelia taking care of James when he was ill.

2. Anna, Cordelia and Matthew taking tea, and ending up at the Hell Ruelle

3. Anna, Matthew, James and Cordelia's mission at the Hell Ruelle, and Cordelia performing a dance while telling a story to cause a distraction, in turn, entrancing James and Matthew, as well as many of the audience.

4. (bonus) Cordelia and James' rather intense make out at the Hell Ruelle.

5. (bonus) When Jesse admits he would use his last breath to save Lucie's life.

6. (bonus) Cordelia entering the shadow realm to go after James, and she ends up wounding the prince of hell

7. (bonus) Lucie visiting the Blackthorn tomb and talking to Jesse, promising him she will either bring him back or put him to rest.

8. (bonus) When Cordelia provides James with an alibi so he doesn't end up arrested for burning down Blackthorn manor by "ruining" herself by saying he spent the night with her, in her room, and James, after begging her to take it back so she doesn't suffer, proposes instead, as it's better to be divorced after a year of marriage than be ruined because everyone things they had sex before marriage.

9. (bonus) The bonus of Will and Tessa's wedding

Where to Buy


Paperback (amazon)

Paperback (Chapters/Indigo)


Google Play Books

Apple Books

Favorite Quotes:

Jesse: "Come along, now. Don't be frightened. What shall we talk about? Do you like stories?"

Lucie: "I love stories. When I grow up, I am going to be a famous writer."

Jesse: "That sounds wonderful."

Lucie: "I'm so happy you're here. I never thought it would really happen."

James: "Why not? The Law demands you train together before you can become parabatai, and besides, Father adores Daisy, and he does make the rules ..."

Cordelia: "Your father adores any Carstairs. I'm not sure it's to my particular credit. He may even like Alastair."

James: "I think he has convinced himself Alastair has hidden depths."

Cordelia: "So does quicksand."

Matthew: "Jamie, Jamie, Why must you chivvy a fellow so? I was peacefully napping."

Jamie: "Well, wake up. You're needed in the ballroom to make up the numbers. There are a shocking number of girls out there."

Matthew: "Damn the ballroom. Bother the dancing. I intend to remain here and get thoroughly foxed. You can join me if you want."

Jamie: "That's my father's port. You'll be vilely ill in the morning."

Matthew: "Carpe decanter. It's good port. I've always admired your father, you know. Planned to be like him one day. Though I once knew a warlock who had three arms. He could duel with one hand, shuffle a deck of hards with the next, and untie a lady's corset with the third, all at the same time. Now there was a chap to emulate."

James: "You're already foxed."

Matthew: "You know what they say. Drink, and you will sleep; sleep, and you will not sin; do not sin, and you will be saved; therefore, drink, and be saved."

Anna: "Matthew, you could sin in your sleep."

Matthew: "That's right.. Just - try to smile, and no one will notice anything happened. James and I are practically interchangeable in the public consciousness anyway."

Cordelia: "James - left."

Matthew: "I know. Very bad form. One should not leave a lady on the dance floor unless something is actually on fire. I'll have a word."

Cordelia: "A word. A word?"

Matthew: "Several words, if it will make you feel better?"

Matthew: "Have you really read Oscar's work?"

Cordelia: "Just Dorian Gray. It gave me nightmares."

Matthew: "I should like to have a portrait in the attic that would show all my sins, while I stayed young and beautiful. And not only for sinning purposes - imagine being able to try out new fashions on it. I could paint the portrait's hair blue and see how it looks."

Cordelia: "You don't need a portrait. You are young and beautiful."

Matthew: "Men are not beautiful. Men are handsome."

Cordelia: "Thomas is handsome. You are beautiful. James is beautiful, too."

Matthew: "He was a very unprepossessing child. Scowly, and he hadn't grown into his nose."

Cordelia: "He's grown into everything now."

Matthew laughed, again as if he was surprised to be doing it.

Matthew: "That was a very shocking observation, Cordelia Carstairs. I am shocked."

Cordelia: "Can you do that?"

Matthew: "I think you'll find I can do whatever I want, and I usually do."

Sona: "Cordelia has a tendency to throw herself into every situation headlong. I'm sure you understand."

Will: "Oh, we do. We're always speaking very sternly to our children about that very thing. 'If you don't throw yourself into situations headlong, James and Lucie, you can expect bread and water for supper again.'"

She quirked a smile at him.

Will: "What is it?"

Tess: "You're posing. It makes me want to paint a portrait of you. I'd call it Gentleman, Dissipated."

Will: "You can't paint a line, Tess." he said, and came over to her putting his hands on her shoulders.

Will: "Much less capture my glorious handsomeness, which, I hardly need to point out, has only grown with age."

Tess: "I'm well aware of that. I saw Penelope Mayhew flirting with you tonight. Shamelessly."

He bent his head to kiss her neck.

Will: "I hadn't noticed."

Will: "Tess, Tess. Do you think when you stopped growing older, you stopped aging in your heart? You never became cynical and fearful? Is it old age catching up with me, that I am so fretful and disquieted over nothing."

She seized him by the chin, turning his face to hers.

Tess: "You are not old. Even when you are eighty, you will be my beautiful Will."

She kissed him. He made a pleased, startled noise and his arms cam up around her.

Will: "My Tess. My lovely wife."

Sona: "Cordelia. Really? Alone in a boy's bedroom?"

Cordelia: "Maman, he can barely sit up, and I'm a trained warrior who wields a mythical sword."

"I sought not fire, yet is my heart all flame. Layla, this love is not of earth."

James: "All I can do is swear to you that you will never lack at any social event in the future, someone to stand up with or dance attendance on you. You might not credit it, having met Thomas and Christopher and Matthew, but they are quite popular. We can make you the toast of the season."

Cordelia: "Really? Thomas and Christopher and Matthew are popular?"

He laughed.

James: "Yes, and I can make you a further promise as well. If I offend you again, I will wear a truly frightful gown to the next significant social gathering."

Cordelia: "Very well. We can shake on it like gentlemen do."

A demon lunged for Alastair: Cordelia brought Cortana down in a great curving arc, severing its head.

Alastair: "Really. I could have done that on my own."

Cordelia considered killing Alastair, but there was no time - someone was screaming.

Matthew: "It seems somehow blasphemous to use Marks to rid oneself of the effects of alcohol."

James: "I've seen you use your stele to part your hair."

Matthew: "The Angel gave me this hair. It's one of the Shadowhunters' gifts. Like the Mortal Sword."

Thomas: "Now that is blasphemy."

Matthew: "Please recall that I am the pale neurasthenic one and you are the stern heroic one. It is very tedious when you mix up our roles. We will have to think of something quite impressive to startle you."

Christopher: "So what is my role"

Matthew: "Mad inventor, of course. And Thomas is the one with a good heart."

Thomas: "Lord, I sound dull."

James: "Do you want to do something?"

Lucie: "I am doing something. I'm writing."

James: "What are you writing about?"

Lucie: "Well, if you don't leave me alone, I'll write about you."

James: "I must be off. There's an orangery in Kensington Gardens that needs smashing. Ladies, lock up your outbuildings. James Herondale is in town and he has been slighted in love!"

Matthew: "James. I don't know whether to embrace you as a brother or strike you down as a foe."

James: "I vote the first one."

Christopher: "And we all know what Grandfather Benedict was up to in that house. It's why he turned into a worm."

Matthew: "Ah, fond family memories."

Cordelia: "Might I inquire as to the problem?"

Evangeline: "Anna. I loved her - I love her still! I would have given it all up for her, all of it, polite society and all its rules, just to be with her, but she has thrown me out like a dog on the street!"

Anna: "Now, Evangeline. You can't say you've been thrown out like a dog when you've got your mama, two footmen, and a butler coming for you. Hello, Cordelia."

Cordelia: "Oh, dear."

She patted Evangeline gently on the shoulder.

Anna: "Besides, Evangeline. You're to be married Wednesday. To a baronet."

Evangeline: "I don't want him! I want you!"

Anna: "No. You want a baronet. Not to live in my messy little flat. Now go on, Evangeline, there's a good girl."

Evangeline burst into a fresh spate of tears.

Evangeline: "I thought I was the one. After all the other girls - I thought they didn't mean anything -"

Anna: "They didn't. And neither did you. Do come up, Cordelia, the water's already boiled."

Anna: "Well, at first it was because you're the new girl in our set, and I was wondering if you were good enough for our Jamie or our Matthew."

Cordelia: "Good enough for them in what sense?"

Anna: "Well, marriage of course. Anything else would be scandalous."

Matthew: "I have already had a maddening day. James has been slandered by Tatiana Blackthorn and my rotten older brother is backing her up to the hilt; James has gone off to rendezvous with Grace. I am here to get squiffy and try to forget what a foolish thing my parabatai is doing. Also, I have to be at Fleet Street by midnight."

Anna: "A dreadful tale. Shall we go?"

Matthew: "Certainly. Cordelia,it was lovely, if surprising, to see you."

Anna: "There is no need to say farewell. Cordelia will be coming with us. That was why I invited her here in the first place."

Cordelia: "I thought you wanted to have tea!"

Anna: "No one every just wants to have tea. Tea is always an excuse for a clandestine agenda."

Anna: "It is time for us to do what we do best."

Matthew: "Drink?"