4.25 stars

*spoiler-free*

It took time to formulate my review for this book, because I knew, going in, I would love it for the characters alone. I had no expectations for what the plot would look like, except that Great Expectations was the Dickens inspiration for this particular trilogy.

On the character front, I was not disappointed. I'd read some of the short stories featuring TLH characters - James, Cordelia, Lucie, Matthew, the rest of the Merry Thieves, Alastair - and loved them just as predicted. Matthew in particular stole my heart. I love James beyond words, but my heart aches something fierce when I think of Matthew Fairchild. This was my first time really meeting Cordelia and I LOVE her as our main heroine. She's brave in ways I hadn't expected, and relatable in her insecurities. Above all, she is loyal and unselfish, fierce and truthful. The Infernal Devices remains one of my favorite trilogies of all time, and I can't tell you the joy I felt reading about the next generation. There were no side characters I didn't find myself intrigued by - aside from a few terribly irksome Blackthorns. Two other characters that surprised me with how much I loved them were Jesse Blackthorn and Alastair Carstairs. Definitely can't wait to find out more about them in Chain of Iron!

As far as plot goes, the pacing was a bit...odd?...at times, but I didn't really mind because I loved all the people I was reading about. This series also falls prey to Cassie Clare's typical plotlines that drive you absolutely mad with frustration. You'll want to scream into your pillow at some of the characters' decisions and ignorance. Overall, though, my love for the characters trumps this irritation. (Well, mostly. >.)

Nothing will ever hold a candle to TID for me, but Chain of Gold was a massive win and will probably end up my second favorite series from her. Oof. Those Herondales, Carstairs, and Fairchilds. They have my heart.

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