Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.
I know, I know, I’m going to preface this with something about the other series in this world, but to understand my review and rating you have to understand my feelings on the other series. I did not like The Mortal Instruments. I also was not a fan of The Dark Artifices. It was a bit better that TMI. However, my favorite series was The Infernal Devices. I loved that series, and I loved the characters (Tessa and Jem have my heart) so when I saw Chain of Gold was going to be about the children of Tessa and Will I was intrigued. And reluctant.
Clare’s writing has improved so much over the years. From her first book to now – it has become so much better. I think the writing in this is her best yet, although as I commented in my Goodreads updates we do not need to know how handsome James and Matthew are every other page. It gets redundant, and it was one of the issues that I had with the book. Overall, I thought the writing was good, and it flowed.
The pacing on the other hand was a bit of a problem. I have said, and will continue to say, Clare puts a lot of filler in her books. Unnecessary filler to me. She would have been better served to take her time and explain all the relationships for people like me who have read the series, but still get confused. Or a family chart. Anyways, the pacing at first was off for me, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it. I liked getting to know the characters.
The plot…what plot? THERE IS NO PLOT. Just kidding – kind of. It doesn’t really appear until the second half of the book. Which is…fine. Because there was a lot to get through first. I have mixed feelings, because I thought when we got to the plot it was EXCELLENT. And I had the villain picked from the start. I like how it ties in with TID and it is cohesive. I think it worked well for the book, and the story.
Hey, so, Clare’s characters are getting better the further we move away from Clary and Jace duplicates. What I did like was that James, unlike her other main boys, does not have a tragic backstory. I think it made all the difference for me in this book. Had he had one, I think I would have been less forgiving. But he at least, has a slightly different personality than his predecessors. I appreciated that. I liked him! (Okay, not all the time. Most of the time.)
I also really loved Anna, Lucie and Cordelia. As well as Matthew, Thomas, and Christopher. I actually pretty much loved the entire cast, including Alistair.
Cordelia was nice, because I felt she was more like Tessa, and a bit more independent character. I liked her personality, and I liked her actions. She was a nice character, and I love friendships, so I loved her friendship with Lucie, and I would love to see more of it.
Alistair is my grumpy protective older brother whom I love. Enough said.
Anyways, I feel the romances are where I am let down most often. I am tired of love triangles, there are many more unique ways to make romance complicated. I feel this series isn’t quite going the route of a love triangle yet (I hope it stays clear of it) because the set-up right now works without being overbearing. The funny thing is, I often think the characters she considers friends have more chemistry than the expected romance partners!
Anyways, there is great banter in this book, and I enjoyed that. The boys’ and the girls’ groups are great, and I loved how all the friendships unfolded.
The World building
I like it, if you don’t pay attention to the details, sometimes you can miss things. Or sometimes you notice a deviation from a previously established thing. Whatever. So minor that most of the time you don’t notice. I love historical fiction, and so I am happy to report that I did enjoy this one.
Overall, I enjoyed it. A four-star rating for sure and it tops book one of TID for me. Which is impressive to say the least. I think this book was far more powerful than TMI and TDA and it is on par with TID for me. I am highly impressed, especially as Clare tends to be a hit and miss author for me. I am so pleased this one worked!!!