Chain of Iron
by Cassandra Clare
Published by Walker Books
Book 2 in the Last Hours trilogy
Part of the Shadowhunter universe
Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted.
She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.
But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.
Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.
RATED: 14+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violence Young Adult Exciting
Some Steamy Scenes Fantasy
Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare is the second book in her Last Hours trilogy, and is another addition to her Shadowhunter universe. It centers around Cordelia Carstairs, who is now engaged to the person she has loved since she was a child. She has just wounded a prince of hell in battle, and she has found out her father is coming home. And her best friend, and James' sister, Lucie, is going to be her parabatai. She should be happy. But the engagement is a sham to cover up for a lie she told to protect James. Cortana, her legendary sword, doesn't feel right in her hands anymore, and she doesn't quite know how she feels about her father, knowing the truth about him. And Lucie is keeping secrets. On top of that, there is a murderer on the loose, targeting Shadowhunter's. Can Cordelia and her friends find the killer?
Oh boy. Chain of Iron exceeded my expectations. It's original in all ways except for one - two young men, who happen to be parabatai - in love with the same woman. *Cough cough* Will and Jem in love with Tessa *Cough cough* I have a prediction for the next book, but I will get to that. I was able to get over this though, because the story was so freaking good! It was fast paced, and exciting, and we got some answers to questions left from the last book. It flowed really well, and for a young adult book, there was just enough spice to it to entice the adult reader.
As with the last book, I will talk about my specific thoughts on specific characters and themes I liked/disliked. Spoilers will be hidden, but you can highlight the text between the arrows -------------------------------> yeah, that's the way! <------------------- if you have read the book already, or don't mind spoilers. So here we go!
James and Cordelia - So, my prediction before reading this book was that the wedding wouldn't happen. Something would happen in pure Cassandra Clare fashion that would delay it. And I was -----------> wrong! I was shocked (but happy) that the wedding went ahead, and very early in the book. I loved all their moments of domestic bliss together, and screeched in excitement every time James would give in to his draw to Cordelia. <----------------. As with the last book, I found myself constantly frustrated by Grace's presence. Even when she wasn't nearby, the thought of her was, and it was even more frustrating now, than it was in the first book. -------------> When that bracelet finally broke, and James realized what had happened to him, and that he loved Cordelia all this time. Ugh. My. Freaking. Heart. And how it ends in the book, with a heartbroken Cordelia, who thinks James for sure loves Grace, runs off to Paris with his best friend and parabatai, before James can tell her the truth. Fucking gut-wrenching. I'm woman enough to admit I cried, and it brought back how emotional I was when Will, after confessing to Tessa he loves her, finds out Jem loves her, and she has agreed to marry him. <---------------. Individually, I fell for Cordelia and James even more. Great, thorough characters.
Lucie & Jesse - Not much to report here, other than the fact that I also fell for these two together. Despite Jesse being a ghost, their interactions with one another are sweet. -------------> I'm not surprised that Lucie runs away with Malcolm Fade in order to find a way to bring Jesse back, but I am surprised she was willing to practice necromancy to do it. I want Jesse to come back, but not through anything evil. <--------------
Matthew - Matthew, I love you, but dude .... --------------> when he writes James a letter telling him he loves Cordelia, and content in knowing that James loves Grace, he is taking a heartbroken Cordelia to Paris ... I was heartbroken for ALL of them. James for the guilt and pain he is in. Cordelia for her pain brought on by hope. And Matthew, who is in love with someone who doesn't love him, and is risking his friendship with James. <----------- Also, while more attention was paid to Matthew's drinking, I was hoping there would be more to it. I do think Matthew takes a step in the right direction though by telling Cordelia why he is in such pain.
Alastair/Thomas/Charles - As horrible as the things Alastair has done are, I like him as a character. His struggles are relatable, and he is, underneath the hard exterior, a kind man. Thomas is also kind, but other than -------------> the confirmation that he is gay, his character fell a bit flat to me. I felt for both Alastair and Thomas at the end, when Alastair steps away. <----------------.
Anna & Ariadne - This also fell flat to me. -----------> Anna pushing Ariadne away emotionally, but hooking up with her because she is scared of being hurt again is too cliché, and Ariadne putting up with it because she loves her ... I feel like more could have went into the relationship, but instead its kind of thrown in there so we don't forget they have feelings for one another. <-------------
Grace - While we do get backstory with Grace this time around, and learn more about her power, and why Tatiana has forced her to do this, I know I am supposed to feel bad for her. That's what Cassandra Clare was trying to do. It didn't work for me though, and at the end of the book, I understand her a bit more, but I definitely don't like her. She could have gone to the clave for her mother's threat and protection, and she didn't. She chose to put James under her spell again. And for someone who doesn't like her power, she certainly uses it enough. --------------> When James finally confronts her, and the truth comes out, I freaking LOVED it. <--------------
Will & Tessa - oh, how I love them. They aren't around a whole lot in this book, as they are in Paris for a portion of it, but when they are, we get some of that classic Will & Tess love. ----------------> that part where a demon shows up after a party, and Will looks at Tessa for permission to chase after it ... I was cackling! To know its almost tradition for this same demon to come find Will after parties to essentially play chase is just hilarious. <-------------.
PREDICTIONS for the next book: (highlight as they contain spoilers from this book)
Obviously, Cordelia and James work things out and remain married.
Jesse comes back to life, but I don't think it will be because of necromancy. I think Lucie will bring him back somehow with a power she has yet to discover.
I have this terrible feeling that Matthew will either die, or stay in Paris, distancing himself from Cordelia and James. I know Magnus is in Paris for a time ... I wouldn't be surprised if Matthew and Magnus live together for a time.
Thomas and Alastair will have a few more moments together, before Thomas sacrifices himself to save Alastair. I suspect Alastair and Charles will carry on in secret, but marry and have children to keep up appearances (something I can't picture Thomas doing morally, unless its an arrangement)
Anna and Ariadne will end up together, but because of the time, it will be secret. I wouldn't be surprised if Charles and Ariadne married as an arrangement to hide their sexuality.
Grace will have a redemption arc, and because a specific family tree says she marries Christopher, (and there are hints there is mutual affection between the two in this book), she will partner up with Christopher, and help him figure out an important piece of whatever mystery the third book has.
Jem will help Cordelia break free from her paladin status with Lilith.
Chain of Iron blew the last book out of the water. It was more thrilling, more intriguing, and faster paced. Were there some weaknesses? Of course, which is not surprising given how huge a book this is, and the amount of characters. The Last Hour trilogy might just be as good as the Infernal Device ... and I never thought I would say that.
James getting Cordelia a necklace with a globe because of their love of travel
James breaking society norms and dancing with Cordelia at the ball
Anna and Ariadne in the pantry
Will chasing after the demon at the party
Lucie and Jesse telling each other how they felt, and Jesse wanting to dance with her
Cordelia telling James about Constantinople to calm him down
Seeing a little bit of Henry in Matthew when he was excited to take the train
How cool is James gun? Loved when he saved Cordelia from a demon with it
Matthew telling Cordelia why he is in so much pain
Cordelia asking James to kiss her, after he admitted to kissing Grace, and it was hot as hell
Jesse and Lucie's first kiss.
Thomas and Alistair's make out
James breaking the spell with Grace by realizing his feelings for Cordelia, and them ALMOST consummating their marriage!
I loved Lucie thinking of all the wonderful things Jessamine and her did as she was growing up. Loved that Will trusted Jessamine to look out for Lucie while he was away.
Will asking Thomas under the Mortal Sword if Gideon remembers he owes him twenty pounds.
James helping Cordelia hold back, bringing her into the shadow realm, and getting a second mortal stab on Belial
James confronting Grace
James trying to get to Cordelia before she left.
Matthew: "Hello, my dear. I've come to bring you to a large hill, which we will both hurtle down on rickety, out-of-control bits of wood."
Cordelia: "Sounds marvelous. What will we do after that?"
Matthew: "Unaccountably, we will climb back to the top of the hill in order to do it again. It is some kind of snow-related mania, they say."
Alastair: "Why are you not even wearing a hat?"
Matthew: "And cover up this hair? Would you blot out the sun?'
Lucie: "To the end of freedom! To the beginning of a joyous captivity!"
Edwin: "Greetings, lovely ladies. Which of you dazzling beauties yearns to dance with me first?"
Lucie leaped up
Lucie: 'I shall dance with you. You're a vampire, aren't you?"
Edwin: "Er - yes?"
Lucie: "Capital. We shall dance, and you will tell me all about vampirism. Do you stalk beautiful ladies through the streets of the city in the hopes of snatching a sip of their genteel blood? Do you weep because your soul is damned?"
Will: "Might I give you a bit of marital advice?"
James: "Would wild horses be able to stop you?"
Will: "That depends. Do you currently have access to any wild horses?"
James: "Not at the moment."
Will: "Then no."
Filomena: "Are you the groom? What a waste. You are very handsome."
James: "Well, you know what they say. All the best men are either married or Silent Brothers."
Christopher: "Supposedly I'm meant to wait a year and then eat this. It should have grown some very interesting mold cultures by then."
Cordelia: "I look forward to the results."
James: "I wanted to give you the world."
Tessa was smiling up at Will as she tucked her hands into fur-lined gloves; he bent to brush her hair from her forehead.
James cleared his throat loudly. Cordelia glanced up at him.
James: "Otherwise they'd start kissing. Believe me, I know."
Cordelia: "I see that I have married into a very peculiar family."
James: "Don't pretend you didn't know that already."
Jesse: "When I am with you, I imagine that my heart is beating, though it has not beaten in seven years."
Matthew: "You're as beautiful as all the stars, but better, because you have coffee."
Thomas: "May I have your permission to shout, keeping in mind I am not shouting at you?"
Cordelia: "Oh, quite. I like a good shouting in general."
Jesse: "You were wrong in what you said - but only when you claimed you are not like Princess Lucinda. Not brave or resourceful or clever. You are a thousand times those things. You are better than any imagined heroine. You are my heroine."
James: "In case you are curious, Christopher is utterly furious to have been left out of the goings-on yesterday and has decided to have revenge upon us with a large pile of books."
Cordelia: "If he wishes to revenge himself with books, he has picked the wrong audience."
James: "Cordelia and I are friends only. You know I am pledged to Miss Blackthorn."
Matthew: "She cannot hold a candle to Daisy."
Ariadne: "I'm not leaving."
Anna: "Why not?"
Ariadne: "Because when you want something very much, you are willing to accept the shadow of that thing. Even if it is just a shadow."
Alistair: "I cannot mourn my own father. What does that say about me?"
Cordelia: "That love is complicated. That it lies beside anger and hatred, because only those we truly love can truly disappoint us."
Matthew: "I know what it's like to hide what you feel. I know what it's like to be in pain and not be able to explain why. I know why you're not with James tonight. Because when we are in pain, we are flayed open, and when we are flayed open, we cannot hide our true selves. And you cannot bear for him to know that you love him."
Cordelia: "Goodness. You're an awful flirt."
Matthew: "Not at all. I'm a diabolically excellent flirt."
Cordelia: "I, am an old married woman."
Matthew: "That is not what I see when I look at you."
Grace: 'I don't know who you were kissing just now, James Herondale. But it certainly wasn't me."
Thomas: "So how are we planning to stay awake all night?"
Lucie: "I could read to you all from The Beautiful Cordelia. I have some pages in my handbag. One never knows when inspiration may strike."
Matthew: "Oh, Lord. In that case, I'll be needing brandy. What was it Lord Byron said? 'Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication.'"
He raised the flash in salute.
Matthew: "Lucie, begin. As the demons of Hell are battled upstairs, so we hall battle the demons of romantic prose in the drawing room."
Bridgestock; "How did you lot get in here?"
James: "I live here. I have all the keys."
Christopher: "Actually, you live on Curzon Street - all right, never mind. It was a jolly good answer."
Cordelia: "If they don't have the Mortal Sword here by tomorrow morning, I'll break you out with Cortana."
Charlotte: "I heard that!"
James: "I think what he means to say is that it cannot be the responsibility of one's friends to prevent one from doing something one believes is right. It is, however, the job of one's friends to rescue one from the consequences of one's actions when it all goes skew-whiff."
Jesse: "If it were not for you, I would have faded a long time ago. I knew something was keeping me anchored here, when by all rights I should have vanished. For these past months, I have been able to see the moonlight reflected on the river, feel the wind and rain against my skin. I remember what it is to be hot or cold. To want things. To need things. All those things are real for me again, as nothing else has been real to me since I died - except for you."
Jesse: "If I must fade, I would like to fade remembering this as my last waking dream."
Lucie: "Don't go. Hold on, for me. We are so close."
He touched her cheek.
Jesse: "Only promise me one thing. If I do go, give us a happy ending, will you? In your book?"
Lucie: "I don't believe in endings."
James: "I thought of you, and it was as if you were there, with me. I saw your face. Your hair ..."
He wound a finger through a dangling curl beside her face. She could feel the warmth of his hand against her cheek.
James: "And I was no longer afraid. I knew I would be able to come home, because of you. That you would lead me back. You are my constant star, Daisy."
Will: "Is Gideon aware that he still owes me twenty pounds?"
Thomas: "Yes, but he is pretending not to remember."
Will: "I knew it!"
James: " 'Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor demons, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, shall be able to separate us.' Do you understand? Keep hold of me, Daisy. Keep hold of me and don't let go."
Lucie: "Math, could we borrow your ridiculous overcoat? To wrap Jesse in?"
Matthew: "Yes, but it isn't ridiculous."
James: "It isn't nearly your most ridiculous overcoat."
Matthew: "So I told myself to stop."
Cordelia: "Stop what?"
Matthew: "Hoping, I suppose. That you would see that I loved you."
Matthew: "But love is not always a lightning bolt, is it? Sometimes it is a creeping vine. It grows slowly until suddenly it is all that there is in the world."
Check out the rest of the Last Hours Trilogy below