Rich Mysteries, Real World Parallels and More in “Chain of Gold”

by Mariana Duque, Contributor

Cassandra Clare has been entertaining readers since her debut in 2008 with “City of Bones,” the first installment of the Shadowhunter Chronicles. As one of her major fans, I had to jump on the bandwagon of her latest adventure following her infamous shadowhunter characters. 

“Chain of Gold”, her first installment of “The Last Hours” trilogy follows Cordelia Carstairs, a shadowhunter– a half angel, half human tasked with ridding the world of demons– trying to figure out how to rescue her father who is under trial in London. Set in the Edwardian era and featuring characters from “The Infernal Devices” trilogy, Clare does not disappoint and wastes no time in displaying the action, interesting characters, immersive world building and high moral stakes. 

The characters are faced with mysterious demon outbreaks in plain daylight, but also with a scandalous love triangle between the main characters Cordelia and James. If both external and internal pressures were not enough, James Herondale has access to a shadow realm that is unknown to everyone and poses an even greater threat, as he gets lost in it from time again. 

Filled with interwoven storylines between Cordelia and her brother, James and his family, and a mysterious new character Grace, Clare manages to structure a general plotline and character arcs that are as intriguing as well as fascinating. 

I cannot pinpoint exactly what I really liked about this novel, because there were a lot of aspects that kept me at the edge of my seat for quite a while. First of all, James’ entire character arc was fascinating, including his access to the mysterious shadow realm. Plenty of questions went through my head as I analyzed the reason behind this, as well as his love for Grace Blackthorn, which I did not think could last. 

A character I also loved was Cordelia’s older brother, Alastair. At first, he was the stereotypical older brother, and in that era, he behaves as a second parental figure to her. However, a secret of his is revealed midway through the story and it kept me intrigued as it introduced yet another, though impossible, love triangle. 

With regards to the plot itself, I found it fascinating how, after the mysterious attacks, it parallels the COVID-19 pandemic in the real and contemporary world, as many of the characters in the story are quarantined and taken care of in several of the infirmaries. The main characters are not affected by the attack directly, so they take it upon themselves to find the antidote and at the same time, the source of the attacks. This parallels the doctors and nurses fighting the real life pandemic. This is very interesting to see in a book released just before the world shut down in mid-March last year. 

I really enjoyed this book with its interesting storyline, complex characters and rich world. Additionally, as an up and coming fantasy writer myself, it is a great book for picking up cues of worldbuilding and complex characters, as many of her shadowhunter novels. 

On March 3, Clare will be releasing “Chain of Iron,” the continuation of this trilogy, and I personally cannot wait to continue the journeys of these lovable and interesting characters. So, if you do not have anything else to do, or you want to go and enjoy a rich historical fantasy, pick up “Chain of Gold.” The new queen of fantasy does not disappoint