book reviews

Chain of Gold

Cassandra Clare

Cordelia Carstairs arrives in London and is quickly swept up in the chaotic going on’s of the demon-killing Shadowhunter’s who live there. After an unusually quiet period free from the evil creatures that terrorize the earth, a series of alarming and deadly attacks begin taking place across London, leaving Cordelia and her gang of new Shadowhunter friends to figure out what is causing the sudden spikes in activity. Can the young Shadowhunters put an end to it before even more people are hurt?

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare is the book of the year. I can vividly recall being in high school and finding out that this series was in the works, and then finding out that I would have to wait years until I could actually read it. Well, all those years of waiting and wondering were ended in only two short days as I tore through the pages like the mad bookworm that I am. 

Like all of Clare’s books, the characters in Chain of Gold make the story. You either want to be best friends with them, or you want to punch them in the face — there is no in-between. And if the love for the new characters isn’t enough, fans of The Infernal Devices series will be elated to see those main characters pop up in this series as well. 

Now, obviously, I am completely in love with Chain of Gold. However, I don’t think it quite lives up to Clare’s other novels. I was so excited to absolutely adore the main characters, but they fell kind of flat. I have concluded that this has to do with the sheer number of central characters and points of view packed into the book. I think there are ten to twelve MAIN characters and I, as a massive and obsessive fan who knew all the characters going into it and had read all the snippets and short stories, still found myself confused and disoriented. It was impossible to keep straight who was related to whom and whose kids were whose, and even the plot felt a little confused. While Clare says you don’t have to read any of the other Shadowhunter universe series to understand another, if you want to read Chain of Gold but haven’t read the Infernal Devices yet, you should — not only because that is my favorite series in the entire world and I will do whatever I must to spread its wonderfulness, but it will establish the foundation for all the characters introduced in Chain of Gold.

Being the first in the trilogy, I respect that this whole book was pretty much just setting up the rest of the series, but in doing that it lost its own authority. Maybe it’s just that no matter how much I read I never seem to get enough of a book and maybe my expectations, over years of waiting, had risen too high, but I wanted more from Chain of Gold than I got. 

All dismay aside, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading this. London near the turn of the century is a wonderful setting, and the relationships, both familial and friendly, between all the characters, are adorable. The ending left me screaming and in tears and asking why, God, do I have to wait another year to see where this goes?! I will take full responsibility for any emotional damage sustained while reading Cain of Gold if you are willing to give it a try. There’s a lot going on, but that means there is never any shortage of action and suspense, and no shortage of characters to fall in love (or hate) with.

I give Chain of Gold only four stars, which kills me to write but don’t let it discourage you from reading it. Four stars come not from dislike, but from the fact that it simply cannot live up to Clare’s other novels. Some books are just too fantastic and that’s okay — but still give this (only slightly less so) fantastic book a read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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