It’s another Shadowhunter Saturday! Where Ellie (Read to Ramble) and I are discussing our journey through the world of the Shadowhunters! This month and from now of Erika (And on She Reads)! If you missed our announcement you can find all the details about this collaboration and the links to all my reviews so far Check out my Shadowhunters Saturday Page
The first section is my spoiler free mini review of what I thought of the book followed by my interview of Ellie and her Thoughts. If you would like to see my answers to the interview questions they will be on Erika’s blog, along with her mini review and you can find the answers for Erkia’s questions on Ellie’s Blog along with her mini review.
Title: Red Scrolls of Magic
Author: Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu
Series: The Eldest Curse #1
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.
This is definitely my favourite of the Shadowhunter books so far. We knew it was going to be as a I have always maintained that Magnus is my favourite character so a whole book based around him what was not to love. But this delivered more than I expected. Part of me is wondering if it is because Clare’s writing has improved or that the incorporation of Wesley Chu’s writing has changed the tone and pacing of the writing.
It was such a fun book. We got to explore Magnus and Alec’s relationship as they travelled (the blurb says around Europe but they only go to two countries out of the whole expanse of the continent) together. It was such a beautiful romance that had me rooting for them from the very start. It was also so funny. There were so many moments I found myself giggling. They mystery was fun, exciting and a little bit ridiculous. It just oozed Magnus.
I loved the development of Magnus’ character in this. We got to see a lot more of him behind the bravado, we got a bit more of his backstory and his feelings. The biggest hit for me is that Alec finally got a bit of personality and I ended up loving him as a character too. It will really change how I view him in the subsequent books as it really gave him depth that he previously lacked.
This was just a fun read through and through.
I ASKED ELLIE SOME QUESTIONS
What was your favourite moment?
Ellie: I think my favourite moment is less of one moment and more of multiple moments. I loved every single scene where Magnus and Alec showed how much they meant to one another. This book was amazing and I loved getting to know Magnus and Alec more. Just as Erika said, the night that Magnus and Alec slept under the stars was lovely.
Who was your favourite character?
Ellie: From the start of our Shadowhunter quest, I have known that Magnus was a character that I loved. He is charismatic, flipping hilarious, kind, and just a great character. In this book, he is STILL my favourite character of the whole Shadowhunter universe thus far, and I loved the character development we saw from him. It was so intriguing learning more about his past and I can’t wait for MORE Magnus!
Have your thoughts about the series changed?
Ellie: I’m going to count “series” as Shadowhunter world so far because I had been enjoying it all, but not to the point that people completely rave about it, but with this book, I am almost at that point. I really hope that in the second trilogy of The Mortal Instruments we’ll get more of Magnus and Alec – or Malec!! – because I loved them here and this is officially my favourite Shadowhunter series so far.
How do you think the characters developed with what happened in the book?
Ellie: I think this is the best development we have seen so far and I really appreciated backstory on Magnus because there was so much that we needed to know. I think that Cassie and Wesley work so well as a writing duo and they made Alec and Magnus, as well as other characters so alive. When I started this book I was like “Yes!!” because we got to see Magnus again, but by the end of it, the characters have gone through so much, we learn so many things about them, their past, their family and friends, and I was like “YESSS!!” because it was just so good. Kudos to the authors for making their characters come alive.
What do you think is going to happen next?
Ellie: We are going to be reading City of Fallen Angels next in the order suggested by Cassandra Clare herself. This one goes back to focus on Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, and all the other Shadowhunters we first met in the first part of The Mortal Instruments series. I know this will focus on all these characters and maybe the fallout from the end of book 3 (because so much happened). I think we’ll get to see Clary and Jace’s relationship grow and I am praying we see more Malec. But, focusing on this particular series – The Eldest Curses – I have NO idea what will happen in the next book because wow, that ending? I died.
What ELLIE Thought About the Plot
Alec and Magnus in Paris – dining on a flying hot air balloon!
Ellie: This was such a fabulous introduction to this series and I was so happy to finally see more of Magnus. I wasn’t 100% sure about Alec at the start, but as it went on I grew to love him. And, the first scene was so funny but also super sweet. Magnus really does love Alec and the fact that he floated a hot air balloon over the Paris skyline to have dinner with Alec was beyond romantic – and maybe a bit terrifying.
Tessa is back!
Ellie: Oh my goodness!! I did not see this coming but I also did and ARGH. We hardly see Tessa, but the little we did was amazing because at the end of The Infernal Devices series, I still wanted so much more from Tessa, and I feel that maybe we will see her again soon, at least I hope so.
Did Magnus really create the Crimson Hand?
Ellie: Ohh, this was a plot twist I did not see coming (because I didn’t read the blurb although it was mentioned aha). And as we got to learn about this period in Magnus’s life and the fact that he couldn’t remember 3 years worth of memories made me so nervous.
Alec and Magnus in the Shadow Market
Ellie: This part was really cool. I love how protective Alec is of Magnus and how he stalks him throughout the Shadow Market and fights people who come too close to his boyfriend. I actually really enjoyed this description of the Shadow Market and I found it a lot less dark than I was expecting. It was so intriguing seeing a bigger slice of Downworlder life and I think this book shows that demons, warlocks, werewolves and all other Downworlders are not all necessarily bad or scary.
Travelling through Europe to defeat the Crimson Hand – Getting attacked on the Orient Express
Ellie: Again, another part I really enjoyed from this book and the actual trip kind of made me laugh because Alec and Magnus still got their Europe tour even though they weren’t on a romantic holiday. I really liked that the characters went to all different places in Europe trying to track down this elusive group. The attack scene on the Orient Express had me holding my breath. I had to keep reminding myself that everything would be okay since there was a second book, but Cassandra Clare has killed off beloved characters before, so I was not trusting her at all.
At the Masked Ball
Ellie: I loved this bit because Magnus went all out in his costume, and it felt like he was really in his element. I also really loved reading all different parts in this book that gave us subtle hints to who Magnus was and what he liked, this was one of them. Again, I held my breath during the fight scene and when Alec told people to get behind him for protection I was like “NO, SAVE YOURSELF” 🤣
Magnus opens up to Alec (at the campsite)
Ellie: This was a super sweet scene and one of my favourites from this book as we get to learn a lot about Magnus and Alec just listens. I think that Magnus has so much on his shoulders from his hundreds years of life and the fact that he has now found someone to share his burdens is just so sweet. I also am a bit annoyed that we didn’t get to see inside the tent Magnus made because I’m sure it would have been awesome!
Alec goes to find answers at the Rome Institute and Magnus swans off with Shinyun
Ellie: One thing I like in the Shadowhunter books is that each Institute is so different but they all have the same vibe. I love discovering the different Institutes that Cassandra Clare invents and this one sounded absolutely gorgeous, inside and out. The little part before Alec left for the Institute was so cute when Alec had to hold himself back from staying in the hotel aha!
Alec, Aline and Helen caught in the forest with fire demons
Ellie: Again, a moment when I was on the edge of my seat and I hadn’t seen it coming but as events moved forwards on Magnus’ and Alec’s side, I was thinking “oh my goodness, something bad is going to happen” and it did! I also liked this scene because I have found that as Cassandra Clare has written more books, her battle scenes have gotten better. I don’t think we have seen this particular demon before, but it was high-stakes!!
Shinyun is the leader of the Crimson Hand RUDE
Ellie: I did not see this coming at all but when we got the reveal I was so pissed at her. I had some kind of “not quite right” feeling about Shyniun, but I would never have guessed she was the leader of the Crimson Hand, what a b****.
Battle between cultists, demons and the Shadowhunters
Ellie: Battle scenes are not where Cassandra Clare writes the best in my opinion, but whether it’s from experience or having a co-writer, I actually liked this scene way more than I would have thought. I loved how Alec, Aline and Helen appeared like some kind of heroes cresting the hill and how they appeared so bad-ass as they were fighting everyone off.
Asmodeus pays a visit to Magnus
Ellie: Now this was a plot twist that took me by surprise. In this book, we find out more about Magnus’s childhood and his father – his real father. I had no idea what was going to happen when Magnus was in that kind of vortex with Shinyun but my heart sank when Asmodeus threatened Magnus and told him not to tell Alec about him or else!!
Alec picks the right Magnus
Ellie: YES! I was so proud of him at this point and I found this bit to be really well written. My little heart was so happy when Alec knew exactly which Magnus was the real one and that just proves how a) good Magnus is because he doesn’t fight back or hurt Shinyun intentionally and b) how much Alec loves and knows Magnus.
Alec lets Shinyun go
Ellie: Excuse me?? I do not know why Alec did this and this is going to bite him up the arse in the coming books. This was one of those moments where you see how good Alec is as a human being and how despite his “line of work” he wouldn’t hurt people intentionally, but I mean, come on!! Don’t let the bloody enemy go when you have her there and she’ll get punished properly, urgh.
Alec and Magnus head back to New York
Ellie: I thought that Magnus and Alec would continue on their holiday, and in a way they did, but those last chapters were just *chefs kiss*. It was so cute how they staged all their pictures and then, the part I think they had been waiting for the whole book happened. I also think that the way this last part was written was just really well done and not at all cringey, it was just really sweet.
RAGNOR FELL IS NOT DEAD!
Ellie: And this??? OMG!! What the hell was that ending? When I read the last page I had to do a double, or even triple take, reread it and I could not believe my eyes. Ragnor was one of Magnus’s closest friends and we learn that he gets killed by Valentine’s men in City of Glass, so for me he was gone, never to come back. Alas, here he is, and this just shows that all the books in this universe are linked and there are plot twists left and right and wow. I think that this was the best ending in the series so far and I have no idea what will happen next, but let me admit that I may have screamed reading that last line.
If you want to read my answers to the questions and read Erikas ‘s mini review you can find them all on Erika’s Blog And on she Reads, you can then find Erika’s answers and Ellie’s mini review on Ellie’s Blog Read To Ramble