Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on April 9, 2019
Genres: Diversity, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
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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. It doesn’t seem like too much for the centuries-old High Warlock to ask for. But no sooner have they settled in Paris than 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 have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.
The first book in the Eldest Curses series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Cassandra Clare and award-winning science fiction author Wesley Chu, The Red Scrolls of Magic is a fast-paced adventure bursting with magic, humor, and (if demons stop getting in the way) romance that offers a fresh look at the world of the Shadowhunters.
The Red Scrolls of Magic is the first book in a Shadowhunters spin-off trilogy featuring Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. It takes place after the first three books of The Mortal Instruments and before City of Fallen Angels. However, I think the book can definitely be read without having read TMI or any of the other Shadowhunter books – though you will obviously get more out of it if you’ve read some of the other trilogies too.
The Red Scrolls of Magic begins with Magnus taking Alec on an expensive vacation around Europe. However, the relaxing vacation is quickly sidetracked when Magnus is needed to track down and put an end to a cult called the Crimson Hand. A cult that Magnus started himself centuries ago… as a joke, and then forgot about. Literally forgot about (he has no memories of that period of his life). Along the way to breaking up the cult, Magnus and Alec make friends and enemies, but it’s almost always a hilariously good time when Magnus is involved.
I enjoyed the novel quite a bit but didn’t feel like I was as engaged with it as the other Shadowhunter books I’ve read. As much as I love Malec, I missed reading about other characters so I felt a bit bored during the first half of the novel, which only featured Magnus and Alec. It wasn’t until the second half that I really got into the story and that was in part due to the presence of more characters like Aline Penhallow and Helen Blackthorn, as well as a quickening in the pace of the plot. I loved that we got to see more of Aline and Helen, especially seeing how they met and I thought they really contributed to the book. I just kind of wish more had happened early on in the book because it felt really slow and threatened to put me to sleep.
I obviously loved reading more about Magnus and Alec in this book, especially since the book is set in the early stages of their relationship. But knowing what happens later in TMI kind of threw me off a little bit while I was reading this one. Nevertheless, I would never turn down a good romance, especially Malec so it was an enjoyable reading experience regardless.
As much as I liked reading The Red Scrolls of Magic, I’m not quite sure what to make of this The Eldest Curses trilogy. It’s not really clear to me when the next book will be set or exactly what it’s going to explore. I think The Red Scrolls of Magic could have easily just been a standalone novella but I also appreciate that this can be a trilogy where readers might be able to pick and choose which book in TEC they want to pick up depending on which of the ‘main’ Shadowhunter books they’ve read. I also love that this trilogy explores in-depth aspects of the other books that were kind of glossed over (such as Aline and Helen’s relationship).
I really liked The Red Scrolls of Magic but I do think that it’s really only for people who either love Malec or are fans of the Shadowhunters books. It could be a nice introduction to the Shadowhunter Chronicles for those who haven’t read any of the books, but I would always recommend The Infernal Devices as a starting point over anything else.
Rating: 4 out of 5