Books & Literature

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

YA FANTASY: The first novel in a new Shadowhunters trilogy where evil hides in plain sight and love cuts deeper than any blade.

A fabulous new series where the reader is swept away in a world of battles, love and enduring friendships.

For fans of Cassandra Clare, she has done it again! If you have read both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series, you will want to continue the story with her new Chain trilogy.

Chain of Gold is set after the Clockwork Wars and is also a prequel to The Mortal Instruments. The main characters in this new trilogy are the teenage children of those we came to love in The Infernal Devices, including Tessa and Will. We still have the usual Shadowhunters, Downworlders and Demons, and like The Infernal Devices, Chain of Gold is set in the Victorian Era.

Part of the charm of setting this trilogy and the previous one in Victorian times is being able to use carriages, beautiful dresses, stately homes and other references from the era. Clare uses actual streets and taverns, and mentions people like Shakespeare, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Samuel Johnson to bring this period to life. There are also quotes throughout the book from famous poets and writers of the time.

Chain of Gold revolves around Cordelia Carstairs, a trained Shadowhunter who has moved to London. Her father is awaiting trial in the Shadowhunter equivalent of prison, and Cordelia is determined to find a way to help him. She meets childhood friends, James and Lucie Herondale, the children of Tessa and Will, as well as teenagers from other famous Shadowhunter families, like the Lightwoods and the Blackthorns. Cordelia has also inherited the sword “Cortana”. Cordelia is secretly in love with James, but he is unfortunately pledged to marry another.

London has been relatively free of demon attacks for a few years and the Shadowhunters have become complacent until one day, there is an attack in broad daylight. Demons are not supposed to be able to withstand the light. And why do the Demons only attack the Shadowhunters and not the mundanes (regular humans)?

The teenagers decide they need to save the world from what they believe is a planned attack by Demons with these previously unknown powers. James and Cordelia also both have a secret: a special gift that they have inherited. With their friends Matthew, Thomas, Christopher, Anna and Lucie, they set out on a mission to save the Shadowhunters from this unknown enemy. Who is behind these attacks and how can they save the world?

Chain of Gold is a welcome addition to the Shadowhunter books. There are references to The Infernal Devices series but Clare gives us enough information so that we can understand and enjoy this new series without reading the earlier one. Her stories are always exciting: full of battles, enduring friendships and love. It is a world where we can lose ourselves and imagine that Demons could be anywhere, if only we could see them. The reader is swept into a world where Shadowhunters must work together with warlocks, vampires and werewolves to find the answers they need.

Cassandra Clare is an American author who has had her books turned into movies and a television series. Her books are hefty and involved, but once you are hooked on the world she has created, it is hard to put the book down.

I am looking forward to book 2 in this new trilogy.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Walker Books Australia
Released: March 2020
RRP: $32.99

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