Chain of Iron
by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Read my review of Book 1 here
I don’t know where to start for this review. This book is worth 4.5/5 stars for me. It does not exceed my love for TDA, but it is a close match.
Why this book is better than Chain of Gold:
When I first rated Chain of Gold, I gave it a 3/5 stars. Then after some consideration, I upped it to 4 stars. I recognised that I had been exposed to so much hype and tidbits, there wasn’t much for me to grasp onto as the story unfolded. There wasn’t anything I hadn’t already predicted after reading all of Cassie’s other publications, as well as the family tree.
Book 2 was widely ‘unknown’ for my expectations.
Though, I did make a list of predictions in my review for book one. Let’s review them: (view spoiler)[
– Matthew getting help — NOT YET, BUT THAT WILL COME FOR BOOK 3, SURELY.
– Matthew x Magnus mentoring. — NOPE! BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT.
– MAYBE Matthew + James + Cordelia love triangle/wooing? — YES, AND IT WAS TOO SLOW.
– James + Cordelia wedding scene?????? (CAN THEY JUST CLEAR UP THEIR FEELINGS I DO NOT WANT TO RE-LIVE TID PLEASE GOD) — WE GOT 100+ PAGES YES BABY
– Anna Lightwood being wooed heheh — BORING AF, WHAT HAPPENED???
– The Blackthorns finally revealing their stupid plans — ONLY IN THE FINAL 100 PAGES WHYYY
– Malcolm Fade cameos with the Blackthorns — ACHIEVED
– A return to Idris! — NO. WHY.
– Charles leaving byeeee — THANK GOD YES.
– Christopher needs more time to shine. He’s clearly the one we don’t care (much) for in the Merry Thieves. — HE SCRAPED BY IN THIS.
– Will and/or Tessa helping their children — ABSOLUTELY NOT. WHAT.
– Jesse become interesting (so help me god) — ONLY AT THE END.
– Carstairs family drama?? I don’t really care about it tho. The Blackthorns are waaaaaay more messed up. — LOL. YES, IT GOT WORSE.
– Jesse getting possessed by Belial (as a loop-hole) — WHO’S SURPRISED???
– the Stupid Bracelet will be taken off within the first half of book 2 and we won’t talk about it ever again — NO, AND IT KILLED ME.
– CHURCH. WE NEED CHURCH. EVERYBODY NEEDS SOME CHURCH. — I’M CALLING THE POLICE WHERE IS CHURCH.
– Alastair slowly gaining trust/friendship from the Merry Thieves. — BARELY ANY DEVELOPMENT THERE, TOO.
– more excepts from The Beautiful Cordelia!!!!!!!!! — I’M HAPPY BUT WANT MORE. (hide spoiler)] In my opinion, there’s only one element of The Last Hours that beats The Dark Artifices
. And that is the friendships. TLH has the strongest, most likable friendship group in all of the Shadowhunter series. TDA obviously has a greater focus on family (in particular, siblinghood), but I think I still prefer to look at the chosen family (aka friendship group) over the Blackthorn siblings. TMI ranks last in everything in comparison, as usual lol. Overall, I really did enjoy ‘the bracelet’ issue. It doesn’t trump the angst of being in love with your parabatai, but y’know…… close second.
I love how much Cassie writes, I do. But only because I love staying in her world, surrounded by her characters.
My GOD: pages 200-400 were stale as fuck. We were stuck in a loop of the same cycle:
1. A murder happens
2. James sees it
3. James lives on with the rest of his day, typically falling a bit more in love with Cordelia
4. Repeat x5
Where was the unpredictability??? For TDA, I was constantly on edge, I didn’t know who or where or what half of the Shadowhunters were truly up to. It felt uncertain at every point.
Perhaps this isn’t fulfilling my need for ‘surprise’ as much because of the damn family tree. I’m not sure.
So, although Chain of Iron is better than Chain of Gold (IMHO), it should have progressed a bit further than what was given. Because there was already so much that we could predict and expect for 70% of this book (due to publicity beforehand, and common sense as a reader of the previous Shadowhunters books):
Cordelia and James get married. *Cue the angst.* Lucie schemes behind everybody, and falls in love with Jesse. OBVIOUSLY, both of these major plot points will be complicated and then converge. James will confront the issues with the bracelet, and perhaps the love triangle issue will fester. There are peripheral characters (all who are the ‘diverse’ ones), who rarely serve any purpose to the overarching issues in this series. Then there is a big battle, but it’s not damaging because: a) Book 3 needs to happen.
b) The. Family. Tree.
As I said to a friend: I am not concerned about James x Cordelia, or Jesse x Lucie, because I can SEE the family tree. I think of their future generations. I think of Jace with his gold eyes, or the Blackthorns with beautiful blue and green eyes. So there isn’t a doubt in my head: these characters will live, and live long enough to have SEVERAL children.
The only ‘unknown’ lineage is the Fairchilds. Who is Clary linked to– Charles, or Matthew? And who are their counterparts? I loved Matthew’s character the most, and it’s a shame. Because he fades away in this book.
He is hardly noticed by James or Cordelia or even Lucie, unless he is used to help THEM progress to the next part of the book. I understand that’s his function as a supporting character– but it also has left him being more two-dimensional than the first book, where he felt like he was ‘his own’. And how OUT OF CHARACTER is it that the second he (view spoiler)[has the safe opportunity to confess his feelings for Cordelia, he jumps on it? (hide spoiler)]
Why? What about the whole parabatai loyalty thing that we’ve had harped on to us since the novellas? Was it to show that Cordelia is REALLY worth it?
Here’s what I would have loved to have seen in Book 2 instead:
– James and Cordelia’s wedding.
– Slow (but not 300+ pages worth) confrontation of the issue with James’ bracelet
– Matthew having more narration so we can see what actually made him ‘fall’ for Cordelia, as it hardly makes any sense besides his love for unrequited + hopeless affairs.
– Cordelia to develop more on her own, without the influence or focus on other men (including her dad, James, her friends, her brother, all of them– gonezo for just a second).
– Matthew be suspected on poisoning/killing
– Tatiana to secretly be one of the maids at James and Cordelia’s house!!! Slowly sabotaging James, including sneaking into his room and framing him as the murderer of the crimes.
– This would lead to ANOTHER accusation at James, as well as Cordelia, and the Mortal Sword to be called for the trial.
– Reveal the scheme behind the wedding in the first place, as well as Belial + the new issues with Lilith.
– Have Lucie implicated in the mess too due to being the one to control ghosts.
– Either end with Cordelia, James, and Lucie being found guilty of the murders *end of book 2* OR have the other Merry Thieves etc be the heroes at the end (but not well enough that things are over).
I am really excited for the final book! I think this will be the only one that I can’t predict much for. Here’s what I think will happen: (view spoiler)[
– The Herondales find Lucie, and she’s totally fine. But they’ll push her to reverse the evil that she’s done.
– Cordelia will totally friendzone Matthew within the first 2 chapters and Matthew will be fine with it, and be seen having his regular flukes.
– Matthew will relapse in Paris but also in London, however he’ll learn to deal with it only after confessing to his family what he did that eats away at him.
– Cordelia and James will be forced to battle one another, representing/possessed by Belial and Lilith.
– idk how but Cortana will be un-cursed.
– Christopher and Grace have to somehow get together or else how do we get Alec and Izzy Lightwood???
– Will will finally have a one-on-one about EVERYTHING with James.
– Sacrifices will be made by Cordelia and Jesse, for Lucie’s benefit.
– Matthew, Anna, and Christopher will be absolutely useless for the final battle.
– Alastair will fuel whatever involves Cordelia’s b-plot.
– But… Thomas will die, to give a similar impact as when Livy died in Lord of Shadows.
– Grace will be selfless at some point and probably be the literal the ‘saving grace’ for James and Cordelia.
– Ariadne has to face a near-fatality for Anna to care again.
I forgot to even predict a single thing to do with Tatiana– and what does that say??? She’s the villain. And I don’t even worry for her. She’ll be squished within the first half of the book, and the REAL issue will stand (view spoiler)[Cordelia is Lilith’s paladin, and how to un-do that (hide spoiler)]
. As a quick thought, do I really care what happens to Inquistor Bridgestock either??????? Probs not. But I’m going to predict that the Bridgestocks, the Highsmiths, all of those unimportant Shadowhunter families will be important for the final Shadowhunters series (set post TDA).
I still wish (but no longer believe) Magnus will be of much of a presence in this. I realllyyyyy want to see him mentor Matthew tho argh.