Review: Chain of Iron

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours, #2)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)

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) 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:
(view spoiler)

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)

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). 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.

Best and Worst of My 2020 Reads

Long time, no see! 

The last time I posted was in September 2020. I’d apologised for my absence, but who cares. I hope you’ve all had a great year despite our universal challenges. When lockdown hit, I (eventually) thought (after the seven stages of grief, naturally): yay, cozy. Time to stay inside for the year, focus on my studies and just keep reading. 

 

For some reason, my university thought “you know what? Here is an unprecedented amount of work and expectations for you all. Enjoy ‘staying at home’, you bludgers.” 

And to top it off, I began my year-long journey for Honours. I can positively say: I hated 2020’s impact on my learning at uni. But that’s over, and I’m not going to think about it again until mid-Feb. 

 

Since I was in my fourth year of university, I’ve had to complete a lot of readings. As in, seven days a week, 9am til 11pm, researching and reading. As you can imagine, I was fatigued on reading, and I didn’t want to spent my breaks picking up an anticipated YA novel or non-YA literature, including SJM and Cassie Clare’s newest releases– who am I? What has uni done to me??? 

 

Here are fave books of 2020: 

The Runner Ups (3 or 4 stars): 

The Perfectionists 

20525623

Published: 7/10/14

Format: Audiobook 

Rating + Review: 3.5/5 stars 

Yes No Maybe So 

52202671. sx318

Published: 4/2/20 

Format: Audiobook 

Rating: 3/5 stars (no review because I got distracted for 6 months) 

The Wicked King 

26032887. sy475

Published: 8/1/19

Format: Audiobook (even though I pre-ordered a copy) 

Rating + Review: 3/5 stars — this was the worst instalment IMO

The Evil Queen 

51140468. sx318 sy475

Published: 20/7/19

Format: Paperback 

Rating + Review: 4/5 stars

The Hand on the Wall 

48812225. sx318

Published: 21/1/20

Format: Audiobook 

Rating + Review: 4/5 stars 

Four Dead Queens

40367270

Published: 26/1/19

Format: Paperback 

Rating + Review: 4/5 stars

Queen of Air and Darkness 

36538785

Published: 4/12/18

Format: Hardback 

Rating + Review: 4/5 stars

 

And now… for the 5/5 stars: 

The Fountains of Silence 

51085583. sx318 sy475

Published: 1/10/19

Format: Paperback 

Review: Read this even if you hate historical fiction

Happily and Madly 

41555954

Published: 21/5/19

Format: Hardback 

Review: If you loved We Were Liars and Gossip Girl’s Season 2 Premiere, READ THIS 

Red Hood 

46159058

Published: 25/2/20 

Format: Hardback 

Review: FEMINISM. SO MUCH FEMINISM. I FEEL SO EMPOWERED. READ IT. 

House of Salt and Sorrows 

53130988. sx318 sy475

Published: 6/8/19 

Format: Audiobook 

Review: Gruesome and picturesque. Gothic with pretty girls. 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely 

43204703. sy475

Published: 29/1/19

Format: Paperback 

Review: THE SECOND BEST BEAUTY AND THE BEAST RETELLING AFTER ACOTAR. 

The Queen of Nothing 

44429791. sy475

Published: 19/11/19

Format: Audiobook 

Review: I’M RUINED. RUINED. 

The Grace Year 

43726482. sy475

Published: 10/10/19 

Format: Paperback 

Review: I told all of my friends to read this. FEMINISM. SEXY CHARACTERS. DYSTOPIA. LOVE. 

 


Here are some of the books that I simply ‘did not vibe with‘: 

Call Down the Hawk

48766487. sx318

Published: 5/11/19

Format: Audiobook 

Rating + Review: 2/5 stars

DEV1AT3

40177770. sy475

Published: 25/6/19

Format: Paperback 

Rating + Review: 2.5/5 stars 

The Lady Rogue 

43822758

Published: 3/9/10 

Format: Hardback (disappointingly, I own this) 

Rating + Review: 2/5 stars

King of Fools

37545571

Published: 30/4/19 

Format: Paperback 

Rating + Review: 2/5 stars


What were your hits and sh*ts of 2020? 

Review: Lady Rogue

Over a month later, and I finally post my review (oh, the procrastination!).

Header credit to @darkfaerietales_

Rating: 2/5 stars

Overall thoughts:
This was a big ol’ disappointment. When I read an early-version of the blurb, it promised me vampires and romance and travel. That is technically the case, but I feel ripped off.

What made this book worth 2 stars:
The book is actually entirely historical fiction. It’s about a rich young girl whose father is missing, and she travels via the Orient Express to track him down, using his journal. She doesn’t travel alone— she has her bestie and sorta love interest from the past, join her. He’s 2 dimensional, there’s nothing else to write about him.

Anyways— the story is fast paced. They drop into several Eastern European towns, and are chased by evil men and wolves! Oh my!

This would have been more enjoyable if it didn’t happen three times: the couple squabble, they go into the town, split up, then the evil men come by, and phew, they forgive each other. Back onto the train.

It was as formulaic as a Scooby Doo mystery.

Something that makes this book unique/interesting was:
I absolutely adored the atmosphere. It was the 1930s through the eyes of a rich American while in Eastern Europe. It’s hardly ever something we see in YA lit, and it was magical in its own right. But it was NOT creative.

Something I’d have like to have seen go differently/improve on:
1. Don’t sell us something that this isn’t. The plot was nothing like the blurb prefaced it to be. Absolute SHAM.
2. The characters need more ‘realness’ and consideration into them. They actually come off EXTREMELY privileged, but there is no journey to them being challenged by that. The resolution deals with nothing: she’s still beautifully rich, but her family is okay. (????????????)
3. More vampires, less ‘folk lore from the village people’ if you’re going to sell the plot with ‘vampires galore!’.

Review: The Hand on the Wall

The Hand on the WallThe Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before you read on! I recommend you read my review of book one. For some reason I forgot to review book two (but I loved it).

Cover image by ella_a_novella (IG) 

Continue reading “Review: The Hand on the Wall”

Book Nook #2 | BOOKISH NEWS

Hosted by Create with Joy: Share book-related news and fill you in on what’s happening around the blogosphere. Read more to find out all the bookish buzz on my radar!

Continue reading “Book Nook #2 | BOOKISH NEWS”