The Red Scrolls of Magic by Wesley Chu, Cassandra Clare

The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1)

by Wesley Chu and Cassandra Clare

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.

Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Holly Black and Sara J. Maas.

Also by Cassandra Clare:

The Dark Artifices:
Lady Midnight
Lord of Shadows
Queen of Air and Darkness

The Eldest Curses:
The Lost Book of the White

Reviewed by ammaarah on

3.5 of 5 stars

3,5 stars
"In his four hundred years of wandering the world, he had learned that wherever you traveled, it was the company that mattered."

Like all things in the Shadowhunter world, Malec has its lows and highs. The events in The Red Scrolls of Magic occurs between City of Glass (a high point of Malec's relationship) and City of Fallen Angels (a low and messy point of Malec's relationship, that only recovers in City of Heavenly Fire).

The state of Alec and Magnus's relationship in The Red Scrolls of Magic feels more like their relationship in The Dark Artifices series than their relationship pre-City of Fallen Angels. It felt out of place in the Shadowhunter Chronicles timeline. Some of the discrepancies between the timelines are discussed in the following spoiler tag:
1) In City of Fallen Angels, Alec is insecure about his relationship, but in The Red Scrolls of Magic, he's so sure about it.
2)A huge issue for Alec in City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls is that Magnus had relationships with both men and women in the past, but in The Red Scrolls of Magic Alec acknowledges that Magnus has past relationships.
3)There was also an issue of Magnus's past being such a mystery to Alec, but in The Red Scrolls of Magic, Magnus tells Alec about his childhood.

Putting aside the timeline issues, The Red Scrolls of Magic is an enjoyable read. After reading ± 13 books that have Alec and Magnus in them, I have become attached to both of their characters. Alec and Magnus are in the beginning stage of their relationship in The Red Scrolls of Magic and their relationship is cute, awkward, hesitant and full of unconditional love.

Magnus is one of my favourite Cassandra Clare characters. He's fashionable, sassy and fabulous and still manages to be hopeful and humourous despite all the despair that he's witnessed in life. It's surprising to say that I learnt more about Magnus's in The Red Scrolls of Magic than in The Bane Chronicles.

Alec's arc in The Red Scrolls of Magic is about questioning what's right and wrong, realising that the world isn't entirely black-and-white and that something needs to change. He's become more confident and he cares about Magnus and loves him unconditionally. However, the Alec in The Red Scrolls of Magic reminded me more of Alec in City of Heavenly Fire and The Dark Artifices than in City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls. In The Red Scrolls of Magic I could see that Alec had Consul potential, but if you told me that Alec was going to be Consul pre-City of Heavenly Fire, I would have laughed in disbelief.

The Red Scrolls of Magic is set in Europe and there's lots of cool vacation stuff and not so cool demon stuff. There are cameos from characters in TMI, TID and TDA. Some cameo highlights are:
1) The first time Aline and Helen meet, but unfortunately, there's instalove and their relationship progression is rushed.
2)Raphael. His snark gives me life.

The idea that Magnus could have started a cult with no memory of it, is hilarious and suits his character. When things got real, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. However, the plot is predictable and mirrors Lady Midnight. Shinyun pretends to be Magnus ally, but she ends up being the leader of the Crimson Hand. This is similar to Malcolm Fade befriending and helping the Blackthorns so that he could resurrect Annabelle..

I'm a fan of Malec so it's no surprise that I enjoyed reading The Red Scrolls of Magic. I'm excited to see what happens next in The Eldest Curses series, especially after that epilogue.
"Perhaps all love sailed too close to madness. The deeper the love, the more dangerous."

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Reading updates

  • 21 April, 2019: Started reading
  • 8 May, 2019: Finished reading
  • 8 May, 2019: Reviewed