Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Summary: 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.
I never thought I’d read another Shadowhunters novel, but after reading the excerpt on NetGalley, I just knew I had to read the full thing. Magnus Bane was easily my favorite character of the original trilogy and that position has only been solidified after reading this book. The Red Scrolls of Magic is a solid romp starring a fantastic couple.
What really makes this book are the characters. Namely the main couple, Magnus and Alec. I’m not going to hide that I picked this book up for them, and they truly did not disappoint. I love that even despite Magnus’ centuries of experience and partners, he’s never met someone quite like Alec and he’s still nervous about it. I love that despite how new Alec is to all of this, he throws himself into this so willingly. Their relationship is still so new, yet they trust each other so much and it’s so satisfying to read. What makes this book stand out from what I remember from the original Shadowhunters series is that they’re together from the very beginning and no matter what happens, what revelations occur, there’s a trust that never falters.
The other part of this book that I really enjoyed was being able to see the Shadowhunters world from a Downworlder’s perspective. From my vague memories of the original trilogy, the Downworlders were largely looked down upon and not a lot of positive exploration went towards them. With Magnus being such a large figure toward the Downworlders, I enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes of how warlocks, vampires, fae, etc behave when the Shadowhunters are (mostly) not around.
This isn’t truly a criticism, but because so much of the focus is centered around Magnus and Alec, the side characters, even Shinyun to some degree, didn’t feel as developed as they could have been. I understand the reasoning for the Shadowhunters that show up late in the book, but Shinyun, a warlock Magnus and Alec meet early on, I wish could have gotten more development. She felt like an almost character, but I do wish they could have spent just a little more time on her backstory.
Finally, as I was reflecting back on this book, I realized it’s actually not a terrible place to be introduced to the Shadowhunters universe. I admit I’ve read the original trilogy, 2/3s of the infernal devices, and a little bit of the Bane Chronicles, but I actually think that this is a pretty decent place to start. This book takes place directly after the original trilogy so there are certain characters and events that get mentioned that a reader might not know, but those are brief and can be pretty quickly pieced together. The book does a pretty good job of explaining Shadowhunters-specific terms to the reader. Most importantly, the two narrators, Magnus and Alec, are significantly more mature than I remember the other books being, and while this book is about their (not-so) romantic vacation, the focus on romance isn’t as strong as the original trilogy.
Overall, I rate this book a 4/5. I enjoyed re-visiting the Shadowhunters universe 5-6 years later since my original reading. The plot was an overall fun romp, but what really makes this book are the two leads, Magnus and Alec.
/r/Fantasy 2019-2020 Bingo Squares
- Novel Featuring Vampires
- SFF Published in 2019
- Title with 4+ Words
- #OwnVoices (kinda)