Cassandra Clare, New York Times bestselling author of the fantastical YA Mortal Instruments series, has partnered with John W. Campbell Best New Writer award winner Wesley Chu in penning a new series. The installments of The Eldest Curses focus on two beloved characters,  shadowhunter Alec Lightwood and warlock Magnus Bane, who play supporting roles in Clare’s first hit series. The first in this new series, The Red Scrolls of Magic (Margaret K. McElderry Books) explores the new relationship of this pair as they embark on a quest to exonerate Magnus from a crime he may or may not have committed.

One may guess this mystery stems from a case of unreliable narration, but unreliable memory is the true culprit. Or, more accurately, the mysterious foe that tampered with Magnus’ memory. Just as Alec and Magnus start their romantic vacation and get to know each other, both of them are plunged into dangerous insecurity when one of Magnus’ friends arrives with horrifying news.

A dangerous cult named the Crimson Hand is taking innocent lives and summoning demons, and Magnus is rumored to be their leader. Magnus may have written rules, the red scrolls, for the Crimson Hand cult as a joke back in the day with some friends, but he never thought the cult would truly form and become a force of terror.

Now the cult is sacrificing faeries and laying a path of destruction to their goal of summoning a Greater Demon. While Magnus would love to silence all of the rumors and deny any role he ever played in this scheme, his memories are too hazy to tell how far he assisted these fanatics.

Magnus has magically aged as a warlock and grown vastly since his childhood, but like many of his kind, he was treated as if he were cursed for his differences and cast out by society early in life. He can’t shake an alarming feeling of dread and responsibility for the followers who may have joined a cult he created. One previous member, Shinyun, joins their hunt for the Crimson Hand and answers to try and make penance for her own role in bloodshed.

While Magnus’ usual buoying confidence is checked by the circumstances in which he finds himself, Alec’s faith in Magnus’ innocence and determination to find the real cause is a comforting constant. The relationship between shadowhunters and downworlders like Magnus is usually tenuous, a productive partnership in the best more recent cases. Shadowhunters overall are viewed in a better light because they share blood with angels while downworlders like warlocks share blood with demons.

Alec being gay and deciding to date a warlock are both radical decisions to his family and community, the Clave, but his pure relationship with Magnus proves their ill-founded assumptions wrong. Traveling through Europe together and sharing secrets with one another in environments where loyalties are ever-shifting and demons are always on their trail brings them closer than ever. Plummeting hot air balloons, hijacked trains and more sinister interventions with their investigation only add more excitement to a fiery duo with intense chemistry.

Alec and Magnus’ relationship in their world is rare but proven all the stronger for every test they overcome. While this book is a colorful fantasy, Clare and Chu tackle bigotry and create a rainbow of representation in their characters. It is a fast-paced mystery, beautiful love story and entertaining tale highlighting something fans could never get enough of from other books, the charming and incomparable Magnus Bane. This tale ends on quite the cliffhanger, but that just means we are sure to see more from this smashing pair of writers.

The Red Scrolls of Magic is now available for purchase.


Cassandra Clare: Since her family moved around so much she found familiarity in books and went everywhere with a book under her arm. She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she used to write stories to amuse her classmates, including an epic novel called “The Beautiful Cassandra” based on a Jane Austen short story of the same name (and  which later inspired her current pen name). After college, Cassie lived in Los Angeles and New York where she worked at various entertainment magazines and even some rather suspect tabloids where she reported on Brad and Angelina’s world travels and Britney Spears’ wardrobe malfunctions. She started working on her YA novel, City of Bones, in 2004, inspired by the urban landscape of Manhattan, her favorite city. She turned to writing fantasy fiction full time in 2006 and hopes never to have to write about Paris Hilton again.

Cassie’s first professional writing sale was a short story called “The Girl’s Guide to Defeating the Dark Lord” in a Baen anthology of humor fantasy. Cassie hates working at home alone because she always gets distracted by reality TV shows and the antics of her two cats, so she usually sets out to write in local coffee shops and restaurants. She likes to work in the company of her friends, who see that she sticks to her deadlines.

City of Bones was her first novel.

Wesley Chu: In 2015, Wesley Chu won the John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award. Chu’s debut novel from Angry Robot Books, The Lives of Tao, earned him a Young Adult Library Services Association Alex Award and a Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Award Finalist slot.His latest series, The Rise of Io, published by Angry Robot Books, features a con-woman with an alien cohabitation problem. He is currently co-writing a Magnus Bane book titled The Red Scrolls of Magic with Cassandra Clare. Wesley lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Paula, his son, Hunter, and Eva the Airedale Terrier. Wesley’s work has been translated into German, Hebrew, Hungary, Russian, Chinese (Taiwan & China).

Want more BookTrib? Sign up NOW for news and giveaways!