Ever since I first read The Mortal Instruments, the Magnus and Alec relationship has been my favourite. I enjoyed The Red Scrolls of Magic and seeing them grow together. Despite previous doubts with these books, I was looking forward to this one. Here’s my The Lost Book of White review!
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Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK | Date: 2020 | Buy it here*
Plot: Life is good for Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. They’re living together in a fabulous loft, their warlock son, Max, has started learning to walk, and the streets of New York are peaceful and quiet—as peaceful and quiet as they ever are, anyway.
Until the night that two old acquaintances break into Magnus’s apartment and steal the powerful Book of the White. Now Magnus and Alec will have to drop everything to get it back. They need to follow the thieves to Shanghai, they need to call some backup to accompany them, and they need a babysitter.
Also, someone has stabbed Magnus with a strange magical weapon and the wound is glowing, so they have that to worry about too.
Fortunately, their backup consists of Clary, Jace, Isabelle, and newly minted Shadowhunter Simon. In Shanghai, they learn that a much darker threat awaits them. Magnus’s magic is growing unstable, and if they can’t stop the demons flooding into the city, they might have to follow them all the way back to the source—to the very realm of the dead. Can they stop the threat to the world? Will they make it back home before their kid completely wears out Alec’s mom?
The Lost Book of the White Review
Despite being the second in the Eldest Curses series, the story doesn’t continue the first. We skip to after The Mortal Instruments, with the whole gang back together. I was glad the focus stayed on Magnus and Alec, though. An action-packed novel with a familiar feel of the Shadowhunter world.
Alec’s always been a favourite character. He’s no longer a shy, awkward young man. Instead, he now knows who he is, and it was satisfying seeing him take centre stage and be a true leader.
Magnus has always been enigmatic. We witness new vulnerabilities this time, giving his character room to grow and develop – still possible despite being centuries old!
One concern with everyone being back was other characters taking the limelight. Thankfully, that was not the case: all the narration is from Magnus and Alec’s point of view. The book knows who its protagonists are, and doesn’t blur that.
“So you’re going to take us to save Simon,” Alec said, making sure he fully understood, “so that Sammael stops being distracted and gets back to the business of destroying the world?”
It was fun getting out of either England or the US in this one.
Half the book is set in Shanghai. You don’t feel any of the culture of the setting, which is a shame. The characters travel quickly by taxi to one place. Then they spend some time in the Shadow Market, which comes with Downworlder culture rather than anything else.
The other half is set in a demon world. There’s more description, more of a feel to this dimension. There’s a familiarity to this world – more than Shanghai – that comes from having read a lot of Clare’s writing.
Having had doubts with the last few Cassandra Clare books I’ve read, I enjoyed this. I’ll admit focusing on my favourite characters helped!
We signed up for the demons and world-saving. But these characters have proven themselves, grown up and are now in established relationships. They’re given room to grow – all the teenage angst has been dealt with, which gave us something new to explore.
There weren’t so many squeals this time around, but it read as a solid adventure with a forward momentum. It engaged me, which is more than I can say for some of her other novels.
A thoroughly enjoyable read. It had direction, it had character growth and it had a strong, engaging plot. It lacked the repetition which is putting me off her other novels, and the story went in a relatively new direction than what we’ve seen before.
I’m looking forward to book three!
Are you a Cassandra Clare fan? Have you read any of The Eldest Curses?
Also in the series:
- Book One: The Red Scrolls of Magic