Title: The Red Scrolls of Magic
Series: The Eldest Curses #1
Author: Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: April 9th, 2019 (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Synopsis: 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.
“It’s a classic love story. I hit on him at a party, he asked me
out, then we fought an epic magical battle between good and
evil side by side, and now we need a vacation.”
Set during City of Fallen Angels, Magnus and Alec are off on a tour of Europe, just getting settled in their first destination, Paris, when Magnus is implicated in a demon-worshipping cult known as the Crimson Hand – a cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. With their vacation shelved, their romantic getaway turns into a race across Europe that takes them from Paris to Venice to Rome, as their work to uncover the secrets of this cult and stop them before they cause any more damage.
“Magnus had always had a wanderer’s heart.
Over the centuries, he had adventured in so many
different places, always looking for something that would
fulfill his restless hunger. He never realized how all the pieces
could fall together, how home could be somewhere and someone.
He belonged with Alec. His wandering heart could rest.”
I don’t know exactly what I was expecting from this book, but knowing it was about Magnus and Alec was enough to build up sky high expectations, considering that this is the pairing that kept me reading The Mortal Instruments. At this point, I will basically read anything Cassandra Clare writes, but even I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this story focusing on Magnus and Alec at the beginning of their relationship. The plot takes a backseat to the romance, but it is no less interesting for that, despite the somewhat slow start. The cult plot, though it seemed to be something of a joke initially, turned out to be really fascinating.
Magnus has always been one of my favourites, but Alec is a character that grew on me over the course of the series. We’re so used to Magnus’ sass, and it was wonderful to see another, more vulnerable side of him with Alec, a glimpse at the real Magnus beneath the witty facade as we get to know more about his past. It was equally great to see Alec gain some confidence in himself. There is so much going on in this book, but the pacing is just right and allows for some amazing character development on both their parts. It was also lovely to meet some old friends again such as Aline, Helen, Lily, Raphael and more. Despite being a much more lighthearted read than Cassandra Clare’s usual works, the undercurrent of adventure remains as it evolves into something of a murder mystery.
And that epilogue! I’m really excited to see where this plot with Ragnor Fell goes next! Overall, while I didn’t really enjoy all of the new characters introduced, this was certainly an entertaining read and I couldn’t be happier that there are two more books of Alec and Magnus’ adventures yet to come. While this is definitely a change of pace from the usual Shadowhunters novels, The Red Scrolls of Magic is a fun and completely adorable read that I would highly recommend.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: