Review: Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare

Warning: Chain of Thorns spoilers!

Finally, after almost two years of waiting, Chain of Thorns released on January 31, 2023. The last book in The Last Hours trilogy was our most anticipated book of 2023 and it did not disappoint.

Picking up right after the events of Chain of Iron, Chain of Thorns takes readers to a different part of England and to Paris, France.

Cordelia Carstairs is devastated about how her marriage with James Herondale is going. Needing a friend, Cordelia seeks comfort from Matthew Fairchild, leading the two to go on an adventure in Paris. Matthew hasn’t lost hope that Cordelia could love him back and he hopes that this vacation will lead to romance.

At the same time, Lucie Herondale has done the seemingly impossible. Jesse Blackthorn is back and with the help of Warlock Malcolm Fade, the three left London for a secluded fishing village in order to keep Jesse hidden from the Enclave.

James wants to go after his wife and tell her the truth about his feelings and what happened with Grace Blackthorn, but when his dad and Magnus Banes say Lucie is in trouble, James drops everything to help his sister.

Sadly, the relationship conflicts and Lucie leaving London aren’t the only problems. Tatiana Blackthorn has escaped and with the help of Belial, James and Lucie’s grandfather, and has some dark plans for the Shadowhunters of London. If only the inhabitants of London knew what they were planning next. All they know is something bad is about to happen and it seems impossible for them to prepare.

In order to survive, the young Shadowhunters must come together and forget their differences in order to save everyone they love and the entire city of London. After all, Belial and Tatiana are relentless.

While we anticipated that Chain of Thorns would release a year ago, we’re excited to finally know how The Last Hours trilogy concludes. It’s been three years since we fell in love with this series when reading Chain of Gold. Now, we’re sad that the series is over and we’ll be waiting for news of the next Shadowhunter Chronicles series, The Wicked Powers.

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, we got ours at Barnes & Noble, where they sell this special edition, which is a collector’s first edition. We absolutely adore the cover, which features Grace Blackthorn. However, it’s also reversible with James Herondale on the other side.

Chain of Thorns is almost 800 pages long and for a good reason, it wraps up almost everything for these characters quite nicely. While we were disappointed by some things, we did love the book overall.

First of all, the romance was as we predicted for most of the characters. But since reading Chain of Iron, we’ve grown to really like Lucie and Jesse together. They had a lot of sweet moments and we’re happy that we got to see some character development, as individuals and as a couple.

As for the big love triangle, we figured Cordelia and James were endgame, even if we like Matthew more. While we were hoping Matthew and Cordelia would ride off into the sunset, we at least got some adorable moments in Paris.

Also, we liked James a lot more in this book, especially since he wasn’t under a spell anymore. He took responsibility for how he treated Cordelia in the past and really made up for his actions. We’re happy for James, even if Matthew is still our number one guy.

Speaking of Matthew, he grew so much as a person in this book. He dealt with the trauma of the past and spent time focusing on self-improvement, even if it wasn’t easy.

The other couples were cute as well, especially Thomas Lightwood and Alistair Carstairs. Alistair has matured a lot since the start of the series and Thomas has gained confidence. We enjoyed seeing their relationship become more serious.

Similarly, we liked learning more about Anna Lightwood and Ariadne Bridgestock. They didn’t play as big of a role in the first two books, but they finally had a better romantic storyline and played a huge part in the battle scenes.

As for the plot, we didn’t quite predict what Tatiana and Belial had planned. There were multiple levels of the plan, the took place throughout the second half of the book. It kept us excited and waiting to see how this generation of Shadowhunters would take on their enemies. However, we did figure out that Tatiana would show up at the worst possible moment.

Though, it did lead to some sad moments. Without spoiling the big reveal, let’s just say that some sad and dark things occur along the way. It hurt our hearts, but in true Clare fashion, we predicted she would do something like this.

But the good news was that we saw Cordelia embrace her fate and become a total badass Shadowhunter. She’s been our second favorite character this whole time, right after Matthew and she had some great scenes that showed her bravery and courage.

We have to say, even Grace had some great moments. While we’re still not huge Grace supporters, we’re happy that she made some much-needed lifestyle changes that helped The Merry Thieves.

Chain of Thorns ended on a good note for most of the characters, but we still found ourselves wanting more. Mainly, we want to read more about Matthew after these events. He deserves to be happy!!

Also, sadly, Clare introduced some surprises at the end…now we’re more confused about the family tree than ever. We just want answers, which may come from future series. We’re hoping we learn the lineage of everyone soon.

Overall, Chain of Thorns was a thrilling, epic and romantic conclusion to The Last Hours. We’re sad to say bye to these characters, at least for now, but we’re eagerly anticipating more of her books.

Are you planning on reading this book soon? Let us know in the comments!

If you want to learn all about Cassandra Clare’s other series, check out our post: The Complete Guide to the Shadowhunter Chronicles.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

22 thoughts on “Review: Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare”

  1. Great review! Thanks for keeping it spoiler free, I’m reading this book right now and still have around 200 pages to go but I’m loving it so far. I agree with you on the family tree, it makes less and less sense with each book in this series and I’m curious to see what the surprises at the end that complicate it even more are! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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