Title: Chain of Iron
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pub. Date: March 2, 2021
Pub: Walker Books
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
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.
This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible. This book was a little slow, but overall, very good. The chemistry and tension between Cordelia and James is *chef’s kiss* so good. The ending leaves you repeatedly saying fuck because now we have to wait for the third one. Because it ends like that. If you’re interested, you can check out my review for Chain of Gold.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about this book. I loved it.
It did take me a minute to get fully invested – for two reasons. The first being, I barely remember anything concrete from Chain of Gold – just feelings. The second being, it really wasn’t what I wanted to read at the time, but I refused to be inadvertently spoiled.
Ultimately bits of Chain of Gold came back as I read, and I remembered more. I probably should have done a quick reread prior to Chain of Iron, but who has the time lol. And despite it not being what I wanted to read – I thoroughly enjoyed it and died at the ending.
I really can’t believe we have to wait for the next book after how this one ends. Like, what the fuck.
I seriously loved being back in this world, with this set of characters. I love the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, Lucie, Anna and Co. They’re just so much fun to read about.
I’m also kind of annoyed that I ended up liking Grace Blackthorn a little bit by the end. Getting more of her backstory really helped and made her less cold and conniving. I really was not a Grace fan in Chain of Gold – she pissed me off, and her actions sucked. So, the fact that she’s humanized and as the reader, I sympathized with her…I’m not happy about it, and her actions still sucked, but I can appreciate the character arc.
My poor Mathew. He’s still my favorite, but Jesse might be a close second. But Matthew. Hearing more about his past, his trauma, why he acts the way he does, I just want to give him a hug. I also kind of loved the tension between him and James. I know. I hate that the tension was there, because they’re Parabatai, but at the same time, it added such an interesting element to their relationship. I do think Matthew abused his relationship with Cordelia, but that remains to be seen.
And speaking of Cordelia and James – I have never met two characters who have been so on the same wavelength, without actually being on the same wavelength. Like, omfg. I get that outside forces are at play, but if they’d just fucking talk to each other instead of assuming how the other was feeling DO YOU KNOW HOW GOOD THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN?
I loved reading about their day to day and how comfortable they quickly became. The way they navigated their relationship was wonderful (for the most part – James, you fucked up at the end, dude. Like, I get what you were trying to do, but you fucked up.)
Funnily enough, the reason I wasn’t in the mood to read this when I did, was because I wanted spice, and umm…👀
I’ll take a James Herondale tied to a bed for a thousand.
Cassandra Clare was like, add a little spice.
And in terms of spice, it was still pretty PG, but like…👀👀👀
Here I was thinking that it was kind of weird that these two teenagers, these little baby shadowhunters, were getting married and settling down. I’d settle down with James. Though…there’s also Matthew…
Plus, there’s the whole Lucie and Jesse plot line – and holy hell, I didn’t see that big final showdown happening the way it did. I was shocked and then terrified and I didn’t want anything bad to happen to anyone involved.
But Lucie and Jessie are adorable. I love how he’s just there for her. That he cares so much and it’s so painful because he can’t actually be there for her. Her single mindedness to help him, to bring him back – Lucie is amazing. Her coming more into her powers is scary and so satisfying. Watching her try to do what’s right – not for herself, but for Jesse who unfortunately drew the short end of a stick. Everything she does, she does it for him and I loved it.
I also loved that through the flashbacks of Grace, we find out how Jesse became the way he is.
Overall, I loved this book and I’m dying for the next one. I need to know how it all ends. I have so many questions and concerns and tbh rage with how it ended. I’m also terrified to find out what happens next. This book pretty much has everything you could want, and it still leaves you wanting more. I always end up falling back in love with the world of the shadowhunters every time I pick up a new book. It feels like coming home, but getting a new story and characters, but with familiar faces thrown in. I’m seriously contemplating finally doing an Infernal Devices re-read, but idk if I can live through the ending of Clockwork Princess again.
I cannot wait for the next book – the wait might kill me, because I need to fucking know what happens next.