Updated: Dec 11, 2021
What do you do when you’re just trying
to enjoy a well-deserved vacation with your new boyfriend, show him a bit of your world, when past mistakes come to bit you in the ass?
And it might do more than just ruin your vacation and new relationship. It might just cost you your life.
The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare is a sweet romantic mystery about Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood’s interrupted vacation through Italy.
Magnus is tasked with tracking down and putting an end to an out-of-control cult, called the Red Hand, by the Spinal Labyrinth.
It becomes clear early on that Magnus may or may not have created this cult himself. He just can’t remember. But, his good friend Catarina swears he and their other friend Ragnar came up with it as a joke a long time ago.
The book is full of worldbuilding, mystery, and twists and turns. All with the backdrop of Magnus and Alec’s newly established relationship. As well as the development of key missteps within their relationship, explored in The Mortal Insurance Series.
I honestly think this is Cassandra Clare’s best writing, at least out of everything I’ve read so far. Though, that list is not very big in comparison to her entire portfolio so I may be wrong.
This book has a big twist at the end that I felt was very well foreshadowed. But, not in a way that made it too obvious.
I absolutely adored Magnus’s ridiculousness in his endeavors to impress Alec.
I actually really liked the portrayal of Alain Penhollow. Which surprised me considering I disliked her character in the series.
And I both loved and hated the confidence and fighting ability Alec displayed in the story.
I loved it because, for one, it’s awesome, but, it also seemed fitting to the back story of the character. I hated it because it didn’t seem to match the Alec of book 1 of The Mortal Instruments series who struggle to fight a demon and nearly died.
Yes, you could argue that the book is technically between books 3 and 4 in the series and he’s just more grown up in this one. But, I still felt like it was not enough time for such a change to occur. As well as the fact I believe he should have already possessed the abilities, or at least abilities of a similar caliber, in the first book.
Beyond that, my only other real complaint is that it does have a bit of White Savior Syndrome.
Especially in the scene where Magnus is attacked on the train.
I felt it was a bit ridiculous that one of the supposedly most powerful Warlocks in the world couldn’t have saved himself from that situation.
But all in all the book is very well written and I greatly enjoyed both the development of the characters as well as the worldbuilding.