the red scrolls of magic – cassandra clare & wesley chu | review + discussion

The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu

Series: The Eldest Curses #1
Published April 9th 2019 by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Age Range: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBT, Romance


Rating: 4 out of 5.


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 review contains spoiler about events that happened in previous books. do read all of the books in the shadowhunter chronicles including the ghost of shadow market.

i love how hard magnus is trying to make this trip romantic and perfect for alec but alec doesn’t care about how extravagant or how beautiful the places are, he just wants to be with magnus. to magnus, this relationship holds extra weight for him because he’s dating a shadowhunter for the first time, and it’s one of the relationships that he really want to work. it’s endearing to see him try so hard. it’s heartwarming to see the both of them being so in love with each other. alec being a young adult is still insecure about himself. he doesn’t know how this relationship would work out but he’s determined to make things work.

because of how dense and rich the entire shadowhunter chronicles is, it’s difficult to focus on the relationships of side characters such as isabelle and simon’s or magnus and alec’s in the mortal instruments series. having this series that focuses mainly on magnus and alec would allow long time readers to invest in the couple’s relationship and journey.

since the red scrolls of magic was published only before chain of gold which is the latest book in the shadowhunter chronicles, i didn’t know when this book was set. i assumed it was after the dark artifices series or after the mortal instruments war. but it seems like it’s set right after the battle at idris with sebastian which was between city of glass and city of fallen angels when they went on a vacation but had to be back at the institute because camille requested to only speak to magnus. there’s a throwback moment to a novella in the ghosts of shadow market. cassandra clare’s such a fantastic writer, i love it every single time she brings the story back around and link all the different events together even though they were in different books.


It had reminded Magnus of time long ago, the memory of Nephilim he had cared for once, and how very much they had cared for each other. Knowing the way Will and Jem loved each other had changed his feelings for Nephilim, and seeing Jace–calm, superior Jace–in pieces over Alec had made him like the boy much more.

alec and magnus met malcolm fade at a party. AND MAGNUS TALKED ABOUT MALCOLM FADE’S LOST LOVE WHO IS ANNABELLE BLACKTHORN. WHHHHHHHAT. cassandra clare giving me all the feels as she links series to series using moments and details like this.

magnus to catarina: “why didn’t you stop me? you usually stop me!”
catarina: “i had to take an orphan child across an ocean to save his life.”
^IS THIS CHILD JACE HERONDALE? another throwback to the ghost of shadow market!!

we are meeting HELEN BLACKTHORN!!!!!

after alec saved catarina from being crushed by rubble from a collapsing floor, she told magnus “finally, a keeper”, i’m justttttt gone. i know magnus probably doesn’t need this confirmation but it’s nice to know that one of his lifelong friends approves of his choice of boyfriend especially since he had so many doubts floating about in his mind these days.

oh my god, the person raphael had been texting the whole time without any response from the person was ragner fell. honestly, i think he’s alive, i don’t know why. MAYBE BECAUSE THERE’S A GREEN-SKINNED WARLOCK AT THE SHADOW MARKET WHO TALKED TO EMMA IN THE DARK ARTIFICES WHICH IS FAR INTO THE FUTURE.

edit: HE IS ALIVE.

“This is historic occasion,” Lily said. “The first time in fifty years Raphael has given someone his phone number at a party.”

i’ve always liked raphael despite his cold demeanour. he has a softer version of himself hidden beneath this exterior. he clearly wanted to help magnus find out more about the crimson hand after knowing that magnus is in trouble. also he’s fiercely protective of the people he cares about but tries not to show it.

magnus: alec should move in with me. no no, maybe after we’ve been together for a year. it might be too early to ask.
alec a few pages later: maybe i should move in with magnus after we return to NY.


raphael: hang on a minute.
*loooooooooong pause*
alec: raphael? some of us are not immortal. so we can’t stay not he phone forever.
*raphael growled in frustration*

i guess the only good warlocks out there are magnus and catarina. malcolm fade turn out to be evil in the dark artifices while shinyun’s true colours is revealed here.

the whole time i was reading red scrolls of magic, i was wondering if shinyun knew that magnus is asmodeus’ real son. lol, turns out she didn’t fucking know. do your research girl.

through magnus’ story, i think we could really see how vulnerable and insecure in this relationship. he harbours lots of self-doubts and involuntary ideas that led to him feeling as if alec wouldn’t love them because of his family background. despite living for centuries and roaming around the world and experiencing all the worldly things, magnus still have his moments of vulnerability which shows how much he cherishes this romance and connection with alec.

Magnus said reluctantly, “But we do lose love, in the end. We both know that.”
“No,” said Tessa. “Love changes you. Love changes the world. You cannot lose that love, no matter how long you live, I think. Trust love. Trust him.”

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