Book Review: Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare



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.


I want to start this review by saying I’m not usually the type to include spoilers in reviews, but I can’t talk about Chain of Thorns without mentioning spoilers. This is probably going to be the type of review where I loved the book so much I don’t actually know how to put it into words, I do have a few negative points to comment on though.

Firstly, The Last Hours has been an incredible series and it’s definitely up there with some of my favourites of all time. I love the time period it is set in, the fact that it’s in London and this cast of characters might be my favourite ever from Cassandra Clare – it’s a close tie with The Dark Artifices. 

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first so I can spend the rest of my time gushing about James and Cordelia. 

The Paris trip – I hated it. I really thought for a second Matthew and Cordelia were going to get together for real and that did not make me happy. It’s obvious that Matthew has an infatuation with Cordelia because she is the only one that knows the truth of what he did at The Shadow Market and didn’t judge him for it. This is not something o build a relationship on and when they kissed I was fuming. If she hadn’t been in love with James since she was young and was also not married to him, maybe I would have liked them together. But no, I’m a big (maybe the biggest) champion of James and Cordelia. 

This brings me to my next point. Although I loved the angst between James and Cordelia, the love triangle went on a little too long and was too similar to what happened with Will, Tessa and Jem. I actually think if there was a love triangle between Jesse, Lucie and Matthew that would have been better. Matthew did admit to having feelings for Lucie in the past, which I did pick up on and thought was where the series was going to go. 

My biggest upset with Chain of Thorns was Christoper’s death. It felt like there was little point to it and it was incredibly anticlimactic. We know Cassandra Clare can write heartbreaking deaths (The Dark Artifices – one of the saddest book deaths ever) and Christoper’s felt cheap and basically only happened because someone had to die. This isn’t really the case, no one had to die, but you can’t expect them to go through a huge battle and have no one die. I loved Christopher though, so I’m very sad about it.  

I’ve seen a few people complain about how anti-climatic the ending was and honestly if Chain of Thorns wasn’t the end of the entire series, I might have felt the same. But I quite liked the ending. Belial was defeated, which took a great sacrifice that wasn’t really one (but still), and everyone overcame some type of flaw or fear. I really liked the scene where people buried something in Jesse’s coffin, it was very symbolic. 

I really love this cast of characters, which I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned in previous reviews. Cordelia is one of my favourite book characters ever written, and while she was a little dumb in Chain of Thorns, I still love her. I love that Ari and Alistair became proper members of the group, they are two of the best characters in my opinion. Don’t get me started on Thomas and Alistair, they are so freaking cute and I love them very much. 

James hasn’t quite taken the top spot as my favourite shadowhunter man, that title is still firmly held by both Will and Julian (I can’t choose between the two of them), but I do really like him. Especially with how pathetically in love with Cordelia he is in Chain of Thorns. I am completely obsessed with the two of them together and getting to see them finally be happy and know the truth of everything made my heart sing. I don’t often cry at books, but they had the happy tears very close to the surface a few times. 

I’m now massively regretting not making review notes as I read this as my brain just cannot process everything that happened. So I don’t know what else I can say that just isn’t me gushing over this series. I spent pretty much every waking moment that I wasn’t working glued to this book. The Shadowhunter Chronicles will always be some of my favourite books and I can’t wait to see what happens in The Wicked Powers.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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