The Lost Book of the White Review

The Lost Book of the White Review | Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu

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

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

Grab your own copy!

Are you a Cassandra Clare fan? Have you read any of The Eldest Curses?

Also in the series:

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40 thoughts on “The Lost Book of the White Review | Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu

  1. How have I not heard about this book before? It’s sounds exactly like something I would enjoy! I like that you can read it without the first one though (although I’m going to buy both now hehe) – thanks for the review 😀


    • There’s definitely more depth reading them both but the plot takes place quite a while later and only hints towards the first so you could get away with it. I hope you enjoy it.


  2. Pleased you found your pull in this book and enjoyed it.

    It sounds like the none development of the Shanghai setting may have been a shortcoming.


  3. It’s been ages since I read any Cassandra Clare – this review is making me realise that I need to get back into her again, although I think I’d probably read The Red Scrolls of Magic first. Like you, Magnus is one of my faves too 🙂


  4. I feel so terribly torn when it comes to her books. I read the first of the TMI series when I was in high school and it freaked me out (so did the show and the movie), so I didn’t touch it again for years. Then last summer, I read all of TID and LOVED them. So at the beginning of this month, I picked up City of Bones again and… I really disliked it? Not because it spooked me (which it didn’t *at all* this time around) but for a lot of other reasons. So, it could be because of how dated it is? Maybe I should keep reading to see how it progresses? Like, this whole world seems to be huge and popular and I’d love to get into it, but that book totally put me off haha! Now I want to keep reading just to get to this book because it sounds great – and I like Magnus a lot.


    • Oh my gosh I’m the same! I’m meh about TMI, loved TID, absolutely HATED the Dark Artifices but then enjoyed these ones, as much because I’m such a Magnus/Alec fan. I’m reading her new one but keeping my expectations low. So I feel you exactly about being really hit and miss. People rave about them all but I go to each one with trepidation, aha.


  5. I had this on my TBR for ages and completely forgot about it! I really love Magnus and Alec’s story so I was really thrilled when Cassandra Clare started a series just about them! After this review I really need to pick this up asap! I wasn’t much sure about the first book, but the characters made it better. Thank you for sharing x


  6. It’s a shame that the culture of Shanghai isn’t really a big part of the book, as settings really help me feel part of the characters’ thoughts and feelings. However, this is a fantastic review and I love hearing more about current young adult reads. Thank you x


  7. Such a great review! I have to be honest and say that this genre isn’t really for me, but you can tell the passion you have for this genre through your writing!xx


  8. I haven’t read anything from this author – can you believe it? But this sounds great. Although it’s a shame there wasn’t much setting building in Shanghai because that could have been an amazing element to the book x


    • I do feel like there is a bit too much hype around her now – a lot of her books have disappointed me recently but I keep going for the gems like this one! It was really good fun but yeah, I wish there was more of a cultural element to it as well.


  9. Setting is such an important part of a book and it’s a shame that the storyline didn’t reflect this. I’m glad you enjoyed it though! Thanks for sharing.


  10. The point about repetition is actually what’s making me not want to pick up this or Chain of Iron yet… but I’m glad to know this one doesn’t suffer from that issue. Your wonderful review has definitely convinced me to pick this up sooner than I expected to 😊😊


    • I’m about to start Chain of Iron and part of me is like do I want to do this? I’m not mega excited for it for sure but I’ve reached a point where I feel like I should read it? Which isn’t the best reason, I know…


      • Ohh I know… I have very similar feelings. Thankfully I have a long waitlist for Chain of Iron at the library, so I can wait a while. But I will look forward to your thoughts 😊😊


  11. This isn’t a book I would particularly reach for but it does sound really good actually. I love how it is set in Shanghai, it really makes a difference when the book is set somewhere other than the UK or America x


  12. oooo I don’t remember much from the original series other than enjoying it… and then rapidly not… but I DO remember really loving the alec and magnus relationship! I might have to pick this series up. Great review! xx


    • I went through something really similar that I’ve been totally up and down with her books and still apprehensive about some, but this one is definitely worth it!


  13. It’s a shame there wasn’t much development of it being set in Shanghai, I think getting used to the characters in their setting is a big thing for me being dedicated to their story usually But I’m glad there was some character development here! I’m glad you enjoyed this one (and that there was a heavy focus on your favourites).


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