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.
If you don’t already know, Chain of Iron is the second book in The Last Hours trilogy. This is a sort of follow up series to The Infernal Devices. I think what’s interesting about The Last Hours is that I really love this series so far, but I didn’t really care for The Infernal Devices. Anyway, you can find my review for Chain of Gold here.
Chain of Iron begins a few months after the ending of Chain of Gold. I didn’t love this, as I wanted to see James and Cordelia out in Shadowhunter society as an engaged couple, not just after they’re already married. But that was a small thing and didn’t really take away from my enjoyment of the story. I think the overall plot was interesting, but it’s absolutely not what kept me invested in this story. This is a character focused series, much like Clare’s other books, and oh boy, have I fallen in love with these characters.
I talked mostly about why I liked the characters in my review for Chain of Gold, which I linked above, so in this review I don’t want to do that. I think their relationships are so intricate and wonderful. The Merry Thieves are James, Christopher, Thomas, and Matthew. These four are the best of friends, some of them even cousins. I loved that we get to see them all together, but I especially liked seeing when they were one on one. Matthew and James are complicated. They’re parabatai, but Matthew is struggling. It’s very obvious that he drinks too much, but no one knows how to address that without causing problems. So, they just don’t address it. I think Matthew is still my favorite. We learn why he is so unhappy and drinks so much. Clare did a really great job of filling out each character’s development with more backstory for each of them. I love how odd Christopher is considered in the Shadowhunter society and I love that the Merry Thieves accept and love him for exactly who he is. Thomas, my whole heart, has a really interesting plotline that involves romantic relationships and I really loved it. I absolutely ship him and that character. Then there’s Cordelia and Lucie. Lucie, James’s sister, is going to be Cordelia’s parabatai. But Lucie has her own shit going on. I love that Lucie is a writer. It’s believed that Shadowhunters cannot create art, but I adored the bits and pieces of Lucie’s writing that we get to see. I think her plotline is going to take her on a very compelling path and I cannot wait to see where it goes. Cordelia has become such an integral part of this friend group and I loved it. I really liked how easily accepted she was into the Merry Thieves. I liked that it felt like she was friends with everyone too rather than them just humoring her because she’s getting married to James or because she’s Lucie’s friend.
Now, Alistair isn’t painted in a very nice light in this book or in the first book. But I still just really loved him. I think his growth has been nothing short of excellent. I really like how he knows that he’s done hurtful things, but he isn’t asking anyone to forget that. He’s working on his growth and only asking that others see that he’s growing and somehow work to maybe forgive him. His love for his sister, Cordelia, is one of my favorite parts of this story. I love a good sibling relationship and this book is full of that.
I still hate Grace. I think Clare was maybe trying to get readers to sympathize with her, but I just couldn’t.
There are so many other characters and relationships I could mention, but I feel like this review is already super long. So, really quick. I love Anna. I liked Ariadne and I think her part in the story will play out interestingly. I adore that we get to see Magnus and that Jem is such a big part of the story. I still hate Tatiana.
Overall, I have nothing but good things to say about this book. I love the setting, the clothing, the descriptions, but most of all I love these characters with my whole heart. I love how diverse the characters are. We get lots of sexual identity diversity and I love that. Some are gay, some are lesbians, some are bisexual. I appreciate all of it. I’ll have to reread The Dark Artifices, but The Last Hours might become my favorite of the Shadowhunter series.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.