May 4, 2021

Abbreviations #130: A Court of Silver Flames, Chain of Iron + Legendborn

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you’ll already know that I’m a Sarah J. Maas fan and will absolutely pick up and read absolutely anything she releases. A Court of Silver Flames is her latest novel, a spin-off continuation of her well-known A Court of Thorns and Roses series that centers around the fierce, proud Nesta Archeron. She’s struggling with the fallout of the traumatic events she’s gone through, her own emotional upheaval and her ties to the Inner Court and specifically to the battle-scarred elite Illyrian warrior Cassian. And, to top it all off, there appears to be a new alliance brewing that threatens the fragile peace constructed after the war. I’ll leave the summary at that, and we’ll also get the obvious out of the way: I loved A Court of Silver Flames and it’s my new favorite of the series! As usual, Sarah’s storytelling style caters perfectly to my personal preferences with her character development (both for familiar faces and new-to-me folks), world expansion (the additional lore in this book is *chef’s kiss*) and plot construction (there are familiar tropes sprinkled throughout but how it comes together is excellent). Her style is fluid, all the elements coming together beautifully to become the beautiful phenomenon that is one of her stories. Her writing also invites me as a reader to feel things, and I certainly ran the whole gamut of emotional responses while I inhaled this novel: screaming, cackling, gasping, laughing, swooning, crying and swearing. I loved just about every single thing about this novel, but nothing more than the fact that it is, at its heart, Nesta’s story. Nesta is put in a place where she was forced to reevaluate her feelings, her desires and her relationships. It was difficult witnessing her struggles, but it was satisfying to be along for the ride as she figured out who she was, who she wanted to be and how to get to there. A Court of Silver Flames is wonderful, and I’m eagerly anticipating what comes next for these characters and this series. (In the meantime, I’ll theorize with my friends and reread the books to tide me over!)

Pub Info: February 16, 2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing | Add it on Goodreads

I came into the Shadowhunters fandom late (as in I literally read all of the published books in the month before The Red Scrolls of Magic came out in 2019, but my love for all the parts of this universe (the world, the stories and especially the characters) has only deepened with every book that’s been released ever since then. Chain of Iron, the second novel in The Last Hours series, picks up right where its predecessor left off, continuing the story of Cordelia Carstairs, James Herondale and all their friends as they juggle a variety of secrets, work out their own feelings (about themselves and each other), and try to track down a serial murderer targeting the Shadowhunters of London. This sequel was brilliant! I have jokingly said on multiple platforms that Chain of Iron punched me in the feels and I thanked it for doing so. I can’t dive into too much specific detail in this review since I keep things spoiler-free here (though you can find out my spoilery thoughts on our FandomBuzzz: Bookish Breakdown episode for the novel), but I genuinely admire the continued ability Cassandra Clare displays when telling her stories in this world. Chain of Iron is primarily a slice of life story set in Edwardian London, leaning heavily on the characters and their variety of conflicts to draw the reader in and keeping the murder mystery mostly in the background. But I loved it because of that, and even more because Clare successfully integrates some of my favorite fan fiction tropes. Also, this is the first full ensemble Shadowhunter cast where I love every single one of them with a fierce intensity. And that meant my reading experience was an emotional roller coaster of swoons, laughs, tears, anger and pain – which is always something I welcome when I pick up a book I’m hoping to love. Objectively, I can see why other readers might not enjoy this installment as much as I did. But I personally loved it! Chain of Iron is an impressive addition to the Shadowhunter canon, and I’m eager to discover how it all comes to an end for these characters and their story in the series finale when it’s out next year.

Pub Info: March 2, 2021 by Margaret K. McElderry Books | Add it on Goodreads

I’ll admit that I was nervous about reading Legendborn, simply because it has been very hyped up in the book community ever since it was released late last year. It’s really fortunate that I ended up really enjoying this one (and yes, I’m totally going to throw my hat into the proverbial hype ring for it). Bree Matthews is looking forward to attending a residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill in order to escape the grief and memories that haunt her after her mother’s death in an accident. But on her very first night, she witnesses a magical attack that reveals a bigger truth: demons are real and a secret society of individuals known as the Legendborn exists in order to hunt them down and protect humanity. Bree finds herself drawn into this strange new world, especially upon realizing that her mother’s death might not have been so accidental after all. When she discovers that there’s more at stake than she could ever have dreamed, Bree has to decide what she’s really willing to fight for. Legendborn gave me the vibes of a CW show a la The Vampire Diaries with its combination of young adult leads, complicated relationships (familial, friendship and romantic), magical lore and action-packed twists and turns… and I adored the reading experience. I’ll admit that I was skeptical initially, because the set-up portion of the novel does move at a slower pace that had me never really feeling the need to pick up the novel again right away after I’d been forced by real life duties to take a break. But once things started to fall into place, both foundationally and in the present day action, it was quite a ride. Deonn expertly wove together Bree’s individual grief journey, her discovery of her own heritage and her experiences with the secret society. It’s a lot of detail, as you’ll discover upon picking this one up, but it came together seamlessly and impressively (especially when it comes to Deonn’s incorporation of Arthurian lore). I ended up really enjoying Legendborn (so much so that I was constantly giving Macky updates -- which rarely happens) and I’m eager to get my hands on the sequel later this year.

Pub Info: September 15, 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books | Add it on Goodreads


  1. I absolutely adored A Court of Silver Flames! I resonated a lot with Nesta's story and struggles.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed Chain of Iron and Legendborn, I read both this year too and absolutely loved them! You make an excellent comparison for Legendborn to the CW series, I totally see it the same way and should have thought of this myself! ACOSF is still on my TBR list, because I haven't managed to get my own copy of that, but I'm so excited for it!

    In case you're interested, here are my reviews for Chain of Iron and Legendborn on my blog.


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