A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Chain of Gold is the first book in The Last Hours series set in the vast Shadowhunter world of Cassandra Clare. Chain of Gold takes place chronologically after The Infernal Devices (early 20th century) and involves James and Lucie, the children of Tess and Will from that series. Like all Shadowhunter novels, there are demons to fight. Ichor spills freely in battles and the demons disappear in a cloud of ash, but this time they poison Shadowhunters before they dissolve. One person dies and others are gravely injured. There's also a description of a rotting body that had been ripped apart by demons, a near-death from drowning, and possession and manipulation by demons. Other mature content includes light swearing and heavy drinking: one teen character is an alcoholic and drinks constantly, and other teen Shadowhunters drink in company with friends. Sexual content includes straight and LGBTQ passionate kissing and innuendo about a character with many lovers. Throughout Chain of Gold, teen characters grapple with who they are in relation to their families. They begin to learn that they don't need to feel shame or carry a burden because of who their ancestors are or what their parents have done.
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What's the story?
In CHAIN OF GOLD: THE LAST HOURS, BOOK 1, Cordelia is both excited and nervous to move to London. She's excited to train with her future parabatai (magically connected demon-fighting partner for life) Lucie, and to see Lucie's brother, James, whom she's always had feelings for. She's nervous because she's tasked with helping clear the name of her father, who's awaiting trial in the Shadowhunter city for a demon-fighting mission gone wrong. But Cordelia's plans go awry as soon as she arrives. Demons attack Shadowhunters with a poison that has no known antidote, making it impossible to draw attention back to her father's case. And Cordelia can't seem to get James' attention when another young lady comes to town: Grace Blackthorn. Rather than spend her time being jealous, Cordelia becomes friends with the crew James hangs around with, nicknamed the Merry Thieves. This talented group of young Shadowhunters, frustrated with their government's slow response to the crisis, take action to stop the poisoning demons.
Is it any good?
Fans of the Shadowhunter world have another exciting series to devour and another set of demon-fighting star-crossed lovers to moon over. The Last Hours series takes place after The Infernal Devices series, still in old London -- early 20th century -- with fancy balls and coaches and big dresses to enjoy between bouts of demon goring and ichor showers. There are also exciting new powers for James and Lucie, offspring of a Shadowhunter and a warlock, to discover here. By the end of Chain of Gold, readers will be pondering just how much extra magical oomph they possess. In James' case it's not all good news. There are those who want to use and manipulate him for who he is, which is positively ruining his chances with Cordelia. As usual, it will take hundreds and hundreds of pages and some serious wrong turns and misunderstandings and probably a trip to a fairy realm to sort out this relationship. Yes, Chain of Gold follows a formula you see in so many of Cassandra Clare's books, but it will captivate mature teen fantasy fans all the same.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how an alcoholic teen character is portrayed in Chain of Gold. How do his friends talk to him? How does he talk to himself about it? Is this portrayal similar to what you've read in other books or seen on screen?
Most book and screen portrayals of bullies paint them as villains and that's it. How is Alastair different? As a reader, do you like having some sympathy for this type of character? Do you have sympathy for him?
Will you read more in this Shadowhunter series? Which is your favorite Shadowhunter series so far? Who are your favorite heroes in the series, male and female?
- Author: Cassandra Clare
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: McElderry Books
- Publication date: March 3, 2020
- Number of pages: 624
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: May 16, 2021
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