James and Cordelia must save London—and their marriage—in this conclusion to the Last Hours series from author Cassandra Clare.
Chain of Thorns is a Shadowhunters novel.
Cordelia Carstairs has lost everything that matters to her. In only a few short weeks, she has seen her father murdered, her plans to become parabatai with her best friend, Lucie, destroyed, and her marriage to James Herondale crumble before her eyes. Even worse, she is now bound to an ancient demon, Lilith, stripping her of her power as a Shadowhunter.
After fleeing to Paris with Matthew Fairchild, Cordelia hopes to forget her sorrows in the city’s glittering nightlife. But reality intrudes when shocking news comes from home: Tatiana Blackthorn has escaped the Adamant Citadel, and London is under new threat by the Prince of Hell, Belial.
Cordelia returns to a London riven by chaos and dissent. The long-kept secret that Belial is James and Lucie’s grandfather has been revealed by an unexpected enemy, and the Herondales find themselves under suspicion of dealings with demons. Cordelia longs to protect James but is torn between a love for James she has long believed hopeless, and the possibility of a new life with Matthew. Nor can her friends help—ripped apart by their own secrets, they seem destined to face what is coming alone.
For time is short, and Belial’s plan is about to crash into the Shadowhunters of London like a deadly wave, one that will separate Cordelia, Lucie, and the Merry Thieves from help of any kind. Left alone in a shadowy London, they must face Belial’s deadly army. If Cordelia and her friends are going to save their city—and their families—they will have to muster their courage, swallow their pride, and trust one another again. For if they fail, they may lose everything—even their souls.
This is a very satisfying conclusion to that trilogy but I have one or two complaints.
First what I love!
1)Cassandra Clare does the found family trope extremely well! I love the friendship, the Merry Thieves and their extended friendships.
2)The multiple POV: we follow several people as usual : Ari, Thomas, James, Cordelia, Lucie, Grace… and I loved reading every single one of them!
That’s a feat as usually with many point of view there are some I don’t care for but not here!
3)The character growth and them having to overcome flaws, guilt and feelings of being useless.
In Chain of Thorns, we’ll follow Cordelia and Matthew in Paris, see their blossoming affection until a dramatic event. Not only has Cordelia been lied to by James but Matthew did it too. And anyway, she is Lilith paladin so what use could she be to the others?
Guilt and self-loathing are something Cordelia will have to overcome If she wants to defeat Belial with her friends.
The same can be said between Cordelia and Lucie, there is a rift to mend there…And Lucie fears she has done something terrible that could help Belial’s hold on her.
Another character is trying to make amends: Grace! I have despised Grace since the first book for what she did to James but it will be her redemption story. I won’t say I am a big fan of her but she impressed me with her will to own her mistakes and become someone worthy, standing by Jesse and our friends to fight Belial.
Alastair will also own who he is and open up to the possibility of being worthy of Thomas. I truly adored their love story. It rang true and it was hot!
4)There was never a dull moment in this book, and I really appreciated how Cassandra Clare depicted alcoholism and what it entails to stop drinking. My father was an alcoholic and I can say that everything she wrote is true.
5)The action and the pace
Between finding love, fighting evil, battling against addiction and confessing secrets to regain your friends trust, the story progresses at a fast pace.
What are my complaints then?
First I wanted James to take some action much earlier in the story. I found his wait frustrating and creating some unnecessary drama. I hate miscommunication in books and Cassandra really “milked it” here. It drove me crazy!
Second, the love triangle. If I truly believed in Jem/Will/Tessa’s love triangle, I think Matthew would have been more credible as Cordelia’s friend than pinning for her. Especially if it was brushed under the rug at some point and his lot at the end of the book is bittersweet. I don’t appreciate people’s feeling being hurt in books, especially when I came to care a lot for them.
Third, and that’s probably the most important, I didn’t like the fate Cassandra reserved to one of the protagonists. I won’t say more but I think the action could have progressed all the same if she had done a different choice. It’s plenty dramatic but does not further the plot and unnecessarily hurt readers.
That being said, this remains an excellent series, filled with very loveable character, great heroes ready to sacrifice themselves to save humanity. I am still a huge fan of Cassandra and I can’t wait for her next book!