Title: The Lost Book of the White
Series: The Eldest Curses #2
Author: Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: September 1st, 2020 (Simon & Schuster)
Synopsis: 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?
Magnus and Alec are enjoying their life in New York, but their peaceful life with their son Max is interrupted when the warlock Shinyun Jung and Ragnor Fell appear out of nowhere and steal the Book of the White, and before making their escape, stab Magnus with a mysterious magical thorn. And the wound, instead of hurting or bleeding, is glowing, which can’t be anything good. With Clary, Jace, Isabelle and the newly Ascended Simon in tow, Magnus and Alec head to Shanghai in search of the book and a cure, but more deadly things are afoot in the shadow world – portals are malfunctioning and demons are flooding into the city. With Magnus’ magic growing more unstable by the day, time is running out fast and their hunt leads them into the long lost realm of the dead in search of answers.
This second book in The Eldest Curses series takes place between City of Heavenly Fire and Lady Midnight, and I love how so many missing pieces continue to be filled in! There is a significant time jump between this and the previous book, but things are cleared up very quickly and it jumps straight into another adventure. The brief glimpse of Malec enjoying the quiet life with Max was so heartwarming – Max is the cutest and I would love to read a novella about what mischief he got up to while Maryse was babysitting him because it sounded absolutely hilarious.
Where the Red Scrolls of Magic took us on an adventure through Europe, The Lost Book of the White takes us to Shanghai – and then straight into the alternate dimension of Diyu, the realm of the dead, which has been sealed away from the mortal world for hundreds of years.
“Why would Shinyun be after Tessa?” Magnus said.
Jem looked at him in surprise. “Well—because she’s an eldest curse, of course. Like you.”
Magnus blinked. “You mean, because she’s the daughter of a Prince of Hell? Like me?”
“No. It’s more than that. Tessa went to the Labyrinth not just to hide but to research. Eldest curses are not just children of Princes of Hell. They’re the oldest living children of those princes. There can only be nine of them alive at any one time, and I know of only two. And I’m talking to one of them and married to the other.”
What exactly an Eldest Curse means was finally explained, which I found really interesting as it brings up quite a few questions now. Who are the other ones and will they have a role to play in the next book? And did I mention we get to see Jem again, not to mention his mom’s side of the family too? It wasn’t really that important to the plot, but I’ve always wondered about Jem’s surviving family, Emma Carstairs aside.
It was kind of odd to read a book with characters such as Clary and Jace, who we know so well, but despite being so present in the story are effectively side characters. It was a great however, to find out a little about how things are going for them after the War, and the two of them especially, are markedly more mature in this book – Jace is Jace of course, but we see much more of his serious side, which was honestly surprising considering he is meant to be the reckless one. Simon was the interesting addition though. It was really nice that this book took some time to look into how he has been coping with the terrible events that occurred at his Ascension. The best part however, was that seeing these characters felt like seeing old friends again, and gave a very nostalgic feeling to the book.
“You’re my heart, Magnus Bane.
Stay unbroken, for me.”
Malec is a pairing that will always keep me reading because they are just so cute. It was amazing to see just how confident and comfortable Alec has grown since The Red Scrolls of Magic. I do have to say though, I didn’t see too much new from a character development aspect in this book as it was very much focused on plot advancement, introducing so many new concepts and world building.
I did feel that the arc of the book that takes place in Diyu was a little slow, but the familiar banter between the characters keeps the story together (I’m still laughing about the Hell of Being Pecked to Death by Ducks) until the action begins. It made me realize just how much I’ve missed seeing these characters in the same place on page. The one thing I found odd was that despite being the title, The Book of the White hardly gets any focus – all I gathered was that it was a powerful magic book of some sort, but I would have liked to know more about it.
I hardly think I need to say that I enjoyed this book – it’s practically a given at this point especially since I will never have the heart to find fault with anything to do with Malec. It’s beautiful how the pieces are coming together, and several things revealed in this book are no doubt going to be very important going into The Wicked Powers, seeing as The Black Volume of the Dead is probably set right before or during that final series. I’m really excited to see where the final book in this series is going to go, especially after that epilogue. This was such a thoroughly entertaining read and I would highly recommend it!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: