Review | Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare

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.

“Secrets have a way of eating at relationships, Jamie. At love, at friendship—they undermine and destroy them until in the end you find you are bitterly alone with the secrets you kept.”

Chain of Iron wastes no time, starting off right where Chain of Gold ended. The drama and the stakes were immediately much higher than its predecessor, centering around a serial killer that specifically targets Shadowhunters. I love a good murder mystery, and while I did guess the identity of the killer, their motivations were a bit harder to piece together — and made for a very satisfying plot twist.

In typical Cassie fashion, most of the characters get paired up in this book. Of course, this means that the romantic angst and pining has also been dialled up, with miscommunication and secrets fuelling a fair potion of the plot. It also led to a lot of character development, even managing to turn Grace Blackthorn into someone with whom I sympathized and adding another complex layer to the Grace/James/Cordelia love triangle. And if one love triangle isn’t enough, the last 70 pages or so solidifies another one that will tear at your heartstrings.

Overall, Chain of Iron was one of my more anticipated reads of the year, and it more than lived up to my expectations. I can’t wait to see how this story wraps up in Chain of Thorns!

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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