Set in Edwardian London, Chain of Gold, follows a cast of characters from all the Shadowhunter families you already know: Lightwood, Herondale, Fairchild, Blackthorn, Carstairs, etc. And a few you haven’t heard about yet: Bridgestock, Townsend, Wentworth, etc. As with all of Cassandra Clare’s novels, this is a wonderful romp through London with plenty of danger, intrigue, romance, twisting plot points, and more!
Really, I only had a minor criticism of the book, characters get confusing at the beginning, but it eventually clears up. It’s a little weird that all the character traits, blue eyes/black hair/gold eyes/red hair, are all mixed up from the original Shadowhunter Series. I understand needing to describe people, but suddenly a Lightwood doesn’t look like a Lightwood because in the years between Chain of Gold and the Mortal Instruments series many people have married each other and it’s just a bit odd. Also, everyone is someone’s cousin. I may have waited too long from reading the last Clockwork book, but I’m not sure. This is honestly a minor criticism. Around the first 1/4 of the book, I didn’t care about who had which last name because the characters really grew into their own!
I’m really loving the use of characters who identify as LGBTQ, and the depth of these characters is honestly amazing! You love to see it! Since this book came out, I’ve seen some comments that Clare used too many characters that identified as lesbian, bi, or gay for the time period. I really don’t think that criticism should be applied here, Cassandra Clare recently tweeted in response to comments about this issue saying that LGBTQ people existed in the time period, just because you haven’t heard about them does not mean they did not exist. I absolutely understand where she is coming from and I have to agree. Persons who identified as a sexual orientation that does not conform to the society in which they live have been a part of humanity since the dawn of time. This isn’t a new thing. The only thing new about it is that we, as humans, are much more aware and conscious of the free expression of love.
I appreciate the use of flashbacks to tell backstory; it helps with the continuity and ultimately enhances the narrative. My favorite character is probably Matthew, he reminds me a lot of Jace from The Mortal Instruments series. He’s broody, sometimes distant, headstrong, and seems a bit careless. Definitely a guy I’d like to meet in Edwardian London!
Overall, this book is another exciting adventure by Cassandra Clare and I would encourage you to pick it up ASAP! If you have not read the Mortal Instruments Series or the Infernal Devices series, you can still read this book. You may miss a few of the jokes that reference earlier books, but it stands well on its own as a new series set in the Shadowhunter Universe!