Saturday, December 7, 2019

Review: The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

Book: The Red Scrolls of Magic
Authors: Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu
Series: The Eldest Curses #1
Publication: April 9, 2019

From #1 New York Times bestseller Cassandra Clare and award-winner Wesley Chu comes the first book in a new series that follows High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood as they tour the world after the Mortal War. The Red Scrolls of Magic is a Shadowhunters novel.

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.

When I first head about this series, my first thought was "Malec???" And then I heard it was going to be an adult fantasy series, and my thoughts became "MALEC!!!" I'm horrible, I know. But cute romance, hot air balloon disasters, memory problems, Helen Blackthorne meeting Aline Penhallow for the first time, shocking betrayals? This literally has Magnus Bane written all over it (okay, maybe not the last two).

This book (series) actually takes place in-between two pre-existing series. It was a bit of a shock to me, actually, to have to jump back to a time before Alec and Magnus were married and were raising two kids. But, if you ever wondered exactly what Alec and Magnus had been up to when they sent all those postcards back to New York to Clary and friends, this is it!

As is true to Magnus's personality, there was a lot of flamboyant scenes and actions. And, as was true to Alec's personality and essence as a Shadowhunter, there was a lot of action. I found that it actually provided a solid balance of the book; Magnus brought the fun and over-the-top bizarreness to the book, and Alec's seriousness kept the scenes, and overall plot, grounded to the problem.

What I was not expecting was for familiar faces to reappear! The one that I was most intrigued by was the meeting between Aline and Helen. Again, it took me a moment to wrap my head around the fact that they weren't together yet, since I definitely have always associated them as a couple.

There were a few twists that I didn't see coming, which I won't go into, which made it pleasantly enjoyable. However, the book itself kind of lacked the same high stakes that I normally expect from Cassandra Clare books. Then again, this kind of happens in-between all the pre-established the-world-is-ending dates, so there's not really that huge sense of urgency or anything. It feels a bit late to be developing Magnus' character in a prequel-but-also-sequel series, given that I've already read about Magnus in the books set chronologically after this series occurs, and I didn't notice much of a change. Regardless, it was still a fun book to read!

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