Review: “Chain of Iron” (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare

Rating

The Shadowhunters must catch a killer in Edwardian London in this dangerous and romantic sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Chain of Gold, from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare. Chain of Iron is a Shadowhunters novel.

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.

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"That love is complicated," said Cordelia. "That it lies beside anger and hatred, because only those we truly love can truly disappoint us."

I hope that at this point, I have thoroughly established that I’m Shadowhunter trash. I also know that these books really don’t need reviews. Chain of Iron is the second book to The Last Hours trilogy and the 20th (I think?) overall novel set in the Shadowhunter world. So I’m sure mostly people who are already fans of this world are continuing to read this series. But I have to put my thoughts somewhere so here it goes.

I have said this before and I’ll say it again, I think Cassandra Clare is one of the very few authors who has expanded their fantasy world so remarkably. If you haven’t read any of the Shadowhunter books and want to start from the beginning, I will admit the first few books (in my opinion) are nowhere near as great as the later ones.

Plot wise, I thought the book was lacking but the characters made up for it for me. The Last Hours has my favorite Shadowhunter cast of characters to date, I absolutely adore them all. I would be content at just reading a 800 page novel of them hanging out together and playing cards.

I think Clare spoiled me with her last couple of books starting from Lady Midnight because each novel that came after was better than the last. Chain of Iron however, kind of missed that mark with me. I did still love the book, I raced through it because I had to know what happens, but I think I would’ve liked more. I also didn’t think the writing for this one was up to par with her last few books.

The reason the book got a star docked is because of the ending that seemed… nonsensical (which I will get into later).

SPOILERS AHEAD

My biggest complaint about this book is the ending. It just seemed like everything happened to add more drama and that most of it could have easily been solved with more open communication. Like literally these people are SO BAD at communicating.

Will coming to James and telling him he has to go get Lucie because she’d listen to him? Honestly if she were to listen to anyone, it would be Cordelia and not James so that scene didn’t make sense. JUST GO GET CORDELIA FROM THE CARRIAGE AND YOU CAN ALL GO GET HER!! Why are you just taking James??!!

Also so very tired of all the love triangles though I don’t think this will be one. I don’t think Cordelia feels anything but platonic love towards Matthew. And I’m sure this whole thing will be solved by the next book but I’m just annoyed it’s happening at all.

Alastair Carstairs

“You will make yourself unworthy by considering yourself unworthy. We become what we are afraid we will be.”

Oh Alastair, I felt so much more for his character in this book than I have in the last one. The return of Elias really made me realize how much of his childhood Alastair has had to sacrifice for his family’s sake. It doesn’t make what he did to the Merry Thieves any better but I do want them to forgive him eventually.

Anna Lightwood

“We are special, unusual, unique people. That means that we must be bold and proud, but also careful. Don’t think you have so much to prove that it makes you foolish.”

I adore Anna and I realize her turning Ariadne away was to protect herself but I need that ship to sail.

Ariadne Bridgestock

I wanted more of Ariadne, I want to know more about her background and where she came from and what her life was and is like. In this book, we mostly see Ariadne in relation to Anna and not much about her.

Christopher Lightwood

That little meet-cute between Kit and Grace was actually kind of adorable. And kudos to Christopher for building the very first Shadowhunter gun! (granted only one person can use it but still… maybe two? but I don’t think we ever find out if Lucie was able to fire the gun).

Cordelia Carstairs

Cordelia was formerly my least favorite of the main characters, not because I didn’t like her but because I just thought all the other characters were more interesting. I still feel the same way honestly but I did grow to like her more.

The whole storyline of her “meeting” Wayland the Smith and becoming a paladin was interesting. At the time, I thought it just happened too fast and almost thought it was a flaw in writing but that whole thing being Lilith’s ploy was a good twist. I think knowing Cordelia is now a paladin to the mother of demons is going to be really good for her character development.

Grace Blackthorn

“Once upon a time, she had been someone else, she remembers that much.”

Grace was the character we learn the most about in this one and I have to say, I went from despising her to kind of rooting for her. There’s still a long way to go but I’m looking forward to a Grace redemption arc in Chain of Thorns.

Grace and Lucie’s team up was also really nice to see, I think they’re on their way to becoming friends.

James Herondale

Now that we know more about Grace’s bracelet and how much of an effect it had on James, I like his character a lot more. His mind has basically been manipulated since he was fourteen, he had been brainwashed for almost four years. That’s terrible!

But you know what else is terrible? HIS COMMUNICATION SKILLS! WHYY ON EARTH was he so cryptic to Cordelia when she asked him if he felt for her what he felt for Grace? Like boy you KNOW what she’s asking you. Can you please be specific??!! I truly have never wanted to smack a character more. Wanted to rip all my hair out.

Jesse Blackthorn

 “Don’t have too much hope, Lucie. Sometimes hope is dangerous.”

Oh Jesse my favorite little ghost. I just… cannot even. The fact that it was Jesse’s body doing the murders was not something I was expecting and it completely took me by surprise despite all the hints.

Lucie Herondale

“One should not questions miracles too closely.”

Oh my precious darling Lucie, I adore her so much. All the Lucie and Jesse scenes were so cute.

So we find out that Lucie is the person who will eventually be responsible for raising Annabel and showing Malcolm how she died which would lead to all the events in The Dark Artifices. ooof.

Matthew Fairchild

“I know what it is to be in pain, and not be able to seek comfort from the one you love the most, nor to be able to share that pain with anyone you know.”

Matthew is probably my favorite character. Which is why his current tragic hero storyline is so frustrating!! I know why he doesn’t want to tell James and the others about what he did to Charlotte but this whole thing needs to be resolved soon so he can finally be on the path to forgive himself.

Thomas Lightwood

Oh sweet sweet Thomas, he’s a cinnamon roll and I just want happy things for him (the happy things being in the shape of one, Alastair Carstairs that is).

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