Chain of thorns by Cassandra Clare

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Fans of The Last hours series (Chain of Gold and Chain of iron will be thrilled to see the final in the series. James and Cordelia must save London from Belial who plans to take it over, as well as saving their marriage. Their friends Lucie, Matthew, Thomas and Christopher, all must face their innermost fears about love as well as their destinies as Shadowhunters.

The Collector’s first edition is a massive 677 pages, plus a short story starring Cordelia and Lucie and starts off directly after the cliff ending in Chain of iron, with Cordelia fleeing James and travelling to Paris with Matthew, hoping to find some peace after witnessing James’ relationship with Grace. It is not a stand-alone and readers need to read the three volumes in order. The collector’s edition has internal illustrations by Alexandra Curte, which add interest and understanding to the narrative.

While Chain of iron was very long, the action throughout kept the reader immersed and eager to finish it quickly. However the first two thirds of Chain of thorns moves slowly - although fans of romance will love it. It flicks from one, sometimes steamy, romance to the next, with James realising his love for Cordelia, Matthew struggling with alcohol and his feelings for Cordelia, Lucie and Jesse forming a relationship, Ari and Anna coming to grips with their feelings for each other, Thomas and Alastair starting to become open with each other, while Christopher brings out the best in Grace.

The action becomes more tense in the last third of the book and will be welcomed by fans, when Cordelia and James, ably supported by Matthew and Luce, face the demon Belial. Scenes of London being overtaken are horrific and the heroism of the other Shadowhunters as they battle for their very existence is very exciting. The epilogue brings to a close this series, although there are openings for more Shadowhunter adventures.

Themes: Romance, Fantasy, Coming of age, Alcoholism, LGBTQI+.

Pat Pledger