The Red Scrolls of Magic
by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Summary from GoodReads:
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.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but sadly I did not love it. There was just something missing from it, but I can’t quite put my finger on what that was. If you love Magnus and Alec from the other books, you will definitely like this story, but just be prepared to maybe not love it.
The story is told by both Magnus and Alec, although Magnus tells most of it. It was so fun to see how they both felt about each other. Because it is still early in their relationship, there are still some awkward moments between them, but they manage to work them out.
This story sort of shows the development of Alec’s feelings about Downworlders and how they deserve more from Shadowhunters. Some of the Downworlders they meet, immediately distrust Alec, but when he ends up having to protect them, they start to see that maybe he is different.
Magnus is wonderful in this story. We do learn a bit more about his origins and what his childhood was like, which is something that I have always wanted to know. But he faces danger as calmly as ever, on the outside, and even has some clever remarks to make. He just so wants to have a vacation though, and everything that could happen to prevent that does.
Many characters from all of the books show up in this one. We get to see Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow’s first meeting, which was fun and adorable. Raphael also makes an appearance as does Malcolm Fade and Johnny Rook. Remember this story takes place during the Mortal Instruments series, so even though many of the characters are now dead in the timeline, it works to have them in this book.
The newest character we meet was the most interesting. Shinyun Jung, a warlock from Korea. She helps them defeat some demons on the Orient Express, but she isn’t what she appears to be. Her warlock tell is that her face is expressionless which makes her very hard to read emotionally for both Alec and Magnus. She, like all warlocks, had a tough childhood, but she is a survivor. It will be interesting to see how her character develops over the course of the series.
The plot was pretty fast paced and very interesting. It isn’t as complex and convoluted as some of the other Shadowhunter books, but it will still keep you turning those pages. If you like learning about the different types of demons, then there some new ones here. Magnus and Alec get attacked, a lot, by them. They both get into some pretty tight spots and find themselves constantly having to save each other. The romance between them is nicely done. They are constantly being interrupted in their more intimate moments, by something or someone trying to kill them. My favorite though is the shower scene on the Orient Express when they look up and see a demon staring at them. It was priceless.
Overall I really did enjoy this book, I just really wanted to love it. I also find it curious that the cover art is so different from the other books. I really like this cover, but it’s just so different. Anyways, great start to the series and I am really looking forward to the next ones.