Review | The Red Scrolls of Magic
Author: Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu.
Length: 350 pages.
(First book in The Eldest Curses series)
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.
Even though I put off this book for a really long time, I was very excited to read it, considering that Magnus and Alec are two of my favorite characters from the Shadowhunter world. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would.
For starters, it takes place between books three and four of the Mortal Instruments, meaning that I immediately knew what would happen next and that nothing would surprise me. I’m very used to being amazed by Cassandra Clare’s ideas and how she manages to weave everything together so perfectly. But I don’t think that happened in this book. The main plot line was kind of strange and I couldn’t really get behind it, besides the fact that I guessed how everything would end by the time that I finished Part 1. I think everything seemed a little forced, as if she were trying to fit an epic adventure in what originally was a simple vacation (I know this was not the case, but it’s how I think it all felt).
Something I have always struggled with in Cassie’s books are the descriptions. I have never enjoyed reading long descriptions and this author definitely loves writing them. Nonetheless, I know that they are very important and I have learned to appreciate them. HOWEVER, I consider that this book was a very slow burn and the story took its sweet time to reveal itself. I think this story could’ve been much shorter and thus, more exciting. Do not get me wrong, as always the action scenes were incredibly exciting and well written (these probably were the most interesting part of the story).
What saved this book for me were the characters.
“It’s a bit smelly.”
“That’s the ambiance.”
Alec grinned. “Well, the ambiance is pretty strong.”
Watching Alec grow and become comfortable in his own skin was one of my favorite things in this book. We are all very used to seeing Alec kind of closed off and stoic. There are very few moments in which we have been allowed to see him truly vulnerable. This book is not the window of opportunity we were waiting, it’s a freaking archway welcoming us into his mind. I was so glad to see Alec so happy and in love. He is the type of person who’s affection can be difficult to earn, but once you do, it’s indomable.
“Telling the truth makes me happy,” Alec said. “Magnus makes me happy. I don’t care if it’s difficult.”
Magnus was also amazing. I loved being able to truly comprehend how difficult it was for him to open up again for Alec and how wholeheartedly he did so as well. Nonetheless, Magnus definitely harbors some struggles and secrets at the end of this book, most of which we saw resolution to in The Mortal Instruments. However, I’m almost certain that we will get to know more about what is really going on in the following books (considering that we still don’t know much about the eldest curses) and how it will affect Magnus and his relationship with Alec.
Sometimes, love worked, past any hope of change, when no other force in this world could. Without love, the miracle never came.
Finally, this book helped me remember why I love Raphael so darn much. I loooove his personality. He is so mean, but so considerate, he loves to pretend he doesn’t care, when in reality he worries so much about those he cares about and tries to help them any way that he can. These are all qualities that we already knew, but it was refreshing to see them again and I definitely miss him very much.
“I’m not gay,” said Raphael. “I’m not straight. I’m not interested.”
People keep asking me whether I have extra superpowers, and I tell them they are thinking of Simon, whom I dislike.
“About Bane. Don’t hurt him,” Raphael said abruptly.
“I just meant, don’t kill him.”
I think it is evident that The Red Scrolls of Magic is the introduction to a, hopefully, intricate storyline. Towards the end of the book we find out something very interesting regarding Asmodeus and Magnus which I think is what is setting up the plot for book two. I have always thought that the first book in each Shadowhunter series is the worst one, and this definitely was not the exception. Plot-wise, it could’ve been better but this is only the beginning, so I’m really optimistic for the next part!