March 28, 2023
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Life & Culture

Review: ‘The Last Hours’ series finale disappoints

Chain of Thorns

Simon & Schuster

After a long two-year wait for the series finale and third book of Cassandra Clare’s series “The Last Hours,” readers finish the book feeling underwhelmed with how Clare finished the series.

“The Last Hours” is a spin-off of one of Clare’s earlier series, “The Infernal Devices,” and follows the story of the previous main character’s children. Set in Victorianera London, Clare introduces readers to a demon-ridden world, where it is her characters’ duty as shadow hunters to protect humanity. Centering on themes of duty, self-actualization and honor, the parts of this series that shine the most are Clare’s creation of extended and twisted conflict that never quite seems to go where one predicts they will.

Where the plot gets confusing, however, is when Clare attempts to follow the story of nine main characters. Not only is it difficult to follow nine different plot perspectives, but it’s hard to keep track of who is who and who is related to what previous characters. To Clare’s credit, she has an incredible talent for creating interesting, inviting and complex characters. Specifically, the diversity of relationships, character backgrounds and love in this novel is a work of art. 

The beginning of “Chain of Thorns” picks up right where the previous novel left off. Part of the reason there was so much anticipation for the release of this novel was because the last one was left on a huge cliffhanger. When the novel first starts, it is incredibly exciting. That is, for the first 50 pages of drama.

The dramatics in this book, although exciting and nail-biting at first, drag out far longer than they need to. By page 100, Clare is still focused on writing about a love triangle that makes no sense and none of her readers asked for. 

When Clare finally wraps up the drama that the last book left off on, the book picks up speed once again and is incredibly exciting. Matthew faces his drinking problem head-on, Thomas and Alastair’s love story picks up speed incredibly fast, and Cordelia finally finds out what Grace did to James, something readers have been waiting for since the first novel of the series. 

For a large portion, the book is incredibly engaging and satisfactorily concludes on character conflicts that have been active plot points in the two previous novels. Where this flow goes wrong, however, is when the first major battle of the book occurs.

Clare chooses to kill one of her main characters in a brutal way that makes no sense for the development of the plot or progression of character development. Killing off a character in itself wouldn’t be a problem, and in many of her previous novels, Clare is famous for masterfully killing characters in heartbreaking ways, something she usually gets praised for. But this death is so awkwardly placed within the novel, it completely takes away from everything else going on.

Not only was the way in which the character died abrupt, but it was as if the entire reason for the death was to push Cordelia off the edge and solidify her agreement with one of their enemies. There was almost no grieving for the character’s death, something that was also very uncharacteristic for the rest of the cast.

What this book needed the most was a serious editing job. It currently stands at nearly 800 pages, and although there is an incredibly written plot and character dialogue within those pages, most of it drags on for far too long to be interesting.

All together, Clare’s “Chain of Thorns” had a lot of potential to be a great book, but the truth is that it just does not live up to the rest of the finales Clare has written. The two-year wait for this finale was, unfortunately, disappointing.