“From the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, the city was spread at Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood’s feet like a gift.”First line in The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu
Author: Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu
Genre: YA urban fantasy
My rating: 3/5 stars
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 (Goodreads).
Does the world have enough books about beautiful Shadowhunters and sassy warlocks? Apparently not because The Red Scrolls of Magic is the first book in a trilogy centered around everyone’s favorite spellcaster, Magnus Bane. The trilogy essentially functions as a companion series to The Mortal Instruments, and it is therefore not necessary to read to understand other books in the Shadowhunter universe. However, it is necessary to have read The Mortal Instruments up till City of Glass.
I will say that I was very skeptical going into this after I found out it took place during City of Fallen Angels. As someone who has read every single Shadowhunter book that exist, I knew there would be no major consequences of whatever happened in this book. No deaths, no serious injuries, no major character developments. That just makes me wonder: is this trilogy necessary? Let’s get back to that later.
The thing I enjoyed most about the book was the characters. My favorite character has always been Alec Lightwood so having chapters from his point of view was such a delight. The way he is written is very believable and relatable. I’m guessing that many readers can see themselves in him and I want to applaud Cassandra Clare for creating such a well-rounded character.
Then of course we have Magnus, who throws out the most hilarious one-liners that keeps the tone of the book light and happy. We still get to see some of his deeper character traits which is also the point of this book. He’s more than just witty remarks.
Moving on to the plot, I found it somewhat underwhelming. The bad guys weren’t really that bad, so I never actually feared for our characters. It meant that I was slightly bored throughout the book but that might just be me. I felt that it was unnecessarily slow but that is often the case with Cassandra Clare’s books because 75% of them is relationship drama. I did really appreciate the sweet moments between Magnus and Alec, but I felt the dialogue was going in circles sometimes. Is it because this book isn’t allowed to do character development? I don’t know but that’s what it felt like.
Another small thing that annoyed me was the way the authors would create suspense throughout the book. As I mentioned, the plot doesn’t have much going for it, so the authors needed to hold my attention some other way. That they would do by pretending something exciting was going to happen. They would create tension and shift the mood to make you think that the character was going to be in danger. But no. It could turn out to be a friend or maybe Magnus would just snap his fingers and it would go away. Nothing actually exciting. It’s a small thing but it happened too often, and it left me frustrated. It just seems like lazy writing to me.
So, my original question was: is this trilogy necessary? The answer: No, but it’s still very sweet and heartwarming. If you’re a fan of either Magnus or Alec, I think this is necessary to read. If you’re not, this isn’t really worth your time in my opinion. It’s not groundbreaking and it doesn’t reveal any life-altering information about the Shadowhunter universe. This is the book for you if you are already familiar with the universe and just want a fun, casual read.