Okay so for my full review of the Shadowhunter world, I’m breaking it down into two parts. This first part covers the six books of The Mortal Instruments and the trilogy The Infernal Devices.
These reviews DO contain spoilers, especially since as I go along it will be harder and harder to not spoil previous series, they all go together so well that things that happen in one definitely matter to the plot of another. So be warned!
When I first set out to read these books and figure out the proper reading order, I was really confused as to why it recommended reading TID right smack in the middle of TMI, especially since TID is a prequel series.
The Mortal Instruments: (1-3)
Okay so right from the start I was really about these books. You could tell that this was CC’s first book; there was a lot of scenes that over explained what was happening, did a lot of telling instead of showing, and were just awkwardly written. The plot was intriguing enough though to keep me interested and ignore the low quality writing.
I LOVED the villains of this story and the way that it was set up as multiple/ongoing villains. The Circle are the counterpart to The Clave in every way and I love how it is a rivalry that could easily extend past the TMI books.
Therefore you can never lose hope, because if you keep hope alive, it will keep you alive.
Now comes my first major spoiler:
The possible incest storyline went on too long – I knew they weren’t going to be siblings in the end because this story is way too loved for that many people to be okay with incest like that. But you could tell CC really really wanted to milk the sibling thing as long as she could. It was really disturbing to read them fight against their feelings for each other while thinking they were siblings. I truly truly wish this was not ever in the book because I felt so disgusted after rooting for Jace and Clary in the beginning.
Overall, I really liked this story though. It was enthralling and a very interesting world. These first three books wrapped up very nicely too, and it has me wondering if it was meant to be just a trilogy or if CC was planning on extending the universe. Either way, other than the incest storyline, this was a really exciting first venture into the world of Shadowhunters. Plus, I’m always a big fan of the accidental hero, like Clary, who gets shoved into a world they know nothing about and have to help save the day. I did think the defeat of Valentine was a little too easy, but they also were able to bring in the villain Sebastian around the same time, which left a nice opening and a darker evil to be the new big bad.
The Infernal Devices:
I was beyond excited to read this series because so many people say its their favorite. I really truly wanted to love it, but I just couldn’t. I struggle with female protagonists in the 1800’s a lot, and I know it’s a sign that they’re realistic and well written, but goodness the JUDGMENT. Tessa was so unbelievably unlikable, simply because she was a stereotypical Victorian era woman. I did like her more and more as the series progressed and she got less set in her ways, but I really struggled to get into this one. Will was also quite unlikable. He spent a decent part of the series purposely being an asshole, and it made it really hard for me to like him as a person, even if all of his actions did have more noble reasons.
We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.
In a weird way, this series does spoil parts of The Mortal Instruments, which I wasn’t really expecting. I did really like the villains in this one too though and the mystery of what exactly Tessa was. However, the mystery and secrets in this book were extremely bothersome. There were a lot of half told secrets, plots, and ideas that were revealed later on and it DROVE ME CRAZY. Just tell me what’s happening please and thank you.
This book did however, introduce the character of Jem who is my precious baby who needs protecting at all costs. I absolutely adore him and was so excited to see how his character stays in the series.
It was also a lot of fun to see some of the things that connect the series, like Magnus and Henry creating the first portal, the cat Church, and just some more history about the shadow hunters. (Also how the Herondale’s got their “angel mark” WHICH IS HILARIOUS)
In the end I didn’t love this series as much as I wanted too, but it wasn’t terrible. I do think if I read this one first though I wouldn’t have continued on with the books…
Side note: A LOT of people let out breaths that they didn’t know they were holding in this one. Like A LOT.
The Mortal Instruments (4-6)
When I first set out to read these books and figure out the proper reading order, I was really confused as to why it recommended reading TID right smack in the middle of TMI, especially since TID is a prequel series. But the second arc of TMI really ties into The Infernal Devices and I love how well its done. There’s references to Will, appearances by Brother Zachariah and Tessa, and just general references to that time period. One of the best things about Magnus, besides his love for Alec, is that his character interacts with EVERYBODY, so he’s always a nice tether to connect the series.
This one did start off a little slow, since it was a new story arc it started off almost like a brand new series instead of a continuation of the first three books. You can really tell that CC’s writing has improved and that she has really worked hard to expand this universe.
Although, this arc did feel like three completely separate books. The first one was about Jocelyn and Luke’s wedding planning and setting up the villain. The second was about trying to defeat the villain, to save Jace, and coming together as a team, etc. This is where most of the excitement of the book happened. The third, wrapped up the series, introduced a bunch of new characters, and finally defeating the bad guy.
The third book was just….a mess. It introduced a bunch of characters that are the center point of The Dark Artifices. The exciting action packed scenes of what Clary and the gang were doing were consistently interrupted with what the Blackthorn/Carstairs children were doing, and I just didn’t care. I didn’t know enough of these children to mourn for their families, or hope they get out safely. I just wanted to get back to the characters that I already knew and loved. I did however, really like Sebastian as the villain. He is so insanely messed up in the head and there were times where I actually felt bad for the guy, and was rooting for him to change, but then he would do something so horrible and vile that I couldn’t believe I ever thought he wasn’t the devil himself.
“Every time I think I’m missing a piece of me, you give it back.”
With the introduction of new characters though, there was also the reintroduction of old characters. Tessa and Brother Zachariah both had roles in this series, and I loved seeing Brother Zachariah interacting with the young Shadowhunters. We also got to see how he changed from Brother Zachariah back into Jem, and I was beyond excited and I loved how this scene played out. This is also part of the reason why reading TID in between the two arcs works so well. It was so much more impactful seeing Jem and Tessa in this capacity after just reading their stories so recently, and it ties in with the epilogue of TID so well.
I also liked Tessa A LOT more in this one, and I’m excited to see more of her in the future. She shed most of that horrid uptight Victorian woman personality, and I like how she’s the only character that truly has one foot in both the Downworlder and Shadowhunter world.
On the note of characters and growing, Magnus and Alec and their relationship drama is SO WELL DONE. Alec messes up BIG TIME and gets rightfully dumped. I loved seeing how both of them deal with heartbreak and how even though Magnus just dumped him, Alec will do absolutely anything to save him. Their story is so adorable. I know that they can’t actually be together forever, and part of this story was exploring that idea, but man it really bums me out that someday, Alec won’t be there with Magnus anymore. It breaks my heart and in my head Alec and Magnus will be together for eternity. End of story.
Are the Shadowhunter books my all time favorites now? No. Am I glad that I’m finally reading this series? Yes! The writing and plot line started out somewhat predictable, but you can tell how CC’s writing grows as she continues with the story. I love how all the series are connected, but you could probably read them individually if you really wanted too. (but why would you want too?!)
I’m a little hesitant about my second half of reading. The second set includes three short story collections, which I tend to struggle with, as well as The Red Scrolls of Magic books, which I’ve heard less than stellar things about. But I’m ready to dive in and see how it goes!
What do you think of the Shadowhunters books? Have you read all of them?
7 thoughts on “OoMCZ: Cassandra Clare Books Part 1”
Great post! I feel really similarly about all of these books, though I seem to have forgotten a lot about the plot of the second trilogy of TMI. For some reason those three books were just not as impactful for me as the others even though I enjoyed reading them. But I fully agree about TID- I also disliked that set somewhat, or at least didn’t understand the massive hype it receives; I too found several of the main characters hard to love and the whole dreary-gray-and-persecuted vibe of the first book just felt really unpleasant to me, though there are definitely some highlights later in that trilogy worth sticking it out for, I think.
I’ll be curious to see your next set of reviews- I haven’t read all of the books you’ll be reading for part two, but perhaps you can convince me to pick up something I haven’t gotten around to yet! Or reassure me that I’m not missing out, lol. I did read two of the short story collections, and while they weren’t quite as engaging for me as the novels they are very readable; I suspect once you get into them you won’t find them as much of a struggle as you expect. In any case, good luck with the rest of your Shadowhunter reads!
Thank you! I’m so glad to hear someone else didn’t love TID. I’m not sure if it was just the jarring change from modern times to a Victorian setting, or the unlikeable-ness of some of the characters, but something about it just wasn’t my favorite. Which ones of the short stories collections did you read? I did just finish “Tales from The Shadow Hunter Academy” today and loved it, but it seemed more of a time-jumping novel instead of short stories. I’ve heard mixed things about some of the rest of the books, so I’m both excited and nervous to read them. We’ll see how it goes!
LikeLiked by 2 people
I’m glad you had such a good time with Tales from the Shadow Hunter Academy! That’s one that I’ve read, and I also liked how linked the stories felt. (I’m very much a novel person.) The other collection I read was The Bane Chronicles, which I liked a little less as far as the individual stories, but it helped that I loved the characters (especially Magnus, of course) which made it another easy read regardless.
I’m more of a novel person too. I liked the Bane Chronicles, but they were a little bit of a mess. The storytelling wasn’t consistent and they jumped all over the place. I think it was a good collection in terms of getting insight into Magnus, but definitely my least favorite read of the series so far!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ah, I’m glad you liked Magnus at least, even if you were not as happy with the collection as a whole! It’s been a few years now since I read the book so I don’t remember a lot of specifics, but reading your reaction now it does sound very familiar to how I felt about the collection as well. Our thoughts on all of CC’s books seem so similar- I’ll be very curious to see what you think of the few I haven’t read yet! Red Scrolls, especially. I hope you’ll enjoy the rest of the books!
LikeLiked by 1 person