Book Reviews

OoMCZ: Cassandra Clare Books Part 2

It’s time! This is Part 2 of my review of the entirety of the Shadowhunter Books! Part 1 can be found here.
Remember this review series may contain some spoilers, but I’m trying to avoid any major ones!

The Bane Chronicles

I’m not a huge fan of short stories, and I think the fact that this series had multiple authors made it a little harder for me to truly enjoy. This short story collection shows glimpses into the life of Magnus Bane. It was mostly fun, there were some difficult moments in the glimpses of Magnus’s childhood and his relationship with Raphael, but overall it was pretty lighthearted.

I didn’t love this story, but it was still a fun and quick read in the Shadowhunter Universe.

Tales from The ShadowHunter Academy

Even though this was one a short story collection, it was more of a linear storyline, just with jumping months at a time. I really liked this one because each story featured a different “guest star” and we got a lot of glimpses into the past. There were two separate stories that took place during the time of The Circle, and I enjoyed seeing more of how life really was back then and how some of the older characters behaved during that time. I also really enjoyed how Simon grew and changed as a person throughout the story while slowly gaining back some of his memories. At the beginning, Simon was almost a legendary hero; mundane boy, turned vampire, turned Shadowhunter trainee, the boy who helped bring down Sebastian, the boy who sacrificed his eternal life, his memories, his friendships, just so that he could save them. By the end though Simon is legendary in a different way. He is the boy who will fight for what he believes is right, he’s the boy who doesn’t see it as Downworlder vs Shadowhunter, and recognizes that everyone is a unique person, not good or bad based on what species they are. I love how much he stuck to his beliefs no matter what, even when it put him at odds with the majority. I fell so in love with Simon during these stories and with Isabelle too, who constantly fought for love even when she had everything to lose.

Also this story introduced Baby Max Lightwood-Bane and I am obsessed with this addition to the storyline.

The Elder Scrolls

This is the Magnus and Alec centered stories and although I liked them; they were definitely not a favorite. It’s similar to The Last Hours in the sense that it’s a very high stakes story, but I already know everything will work out okay because Magnus and Alec are fine and alive in the future. Red Scrolls of Magic was kind of a boring and predictable storyline overall, but the story did pick up a lot in The Lost Book of The White. I think part of the reason I preferred the second story was because it had a larger cast of characters, with Jace, Clary, Simon, and Isabelle accompanying Alec and Magnus on their journey. I liked the battles against greater demons, and these books are very action packed. I’m curious how the series will end, as it did end on a big cliffhanger, but it’s not one that I’m dying to read either.

The Dark Artifices

Okay so this was by far my FAVORITE of all of the books. There’s A LOT going on in this series, a lot of characters, a lot of madness, but since all the characters have already been established at this point it’s easy to just jump right into the madness. I absolutely adored Julian and Emma and their love story. There were a few twists and unexpected betrayals in this series as well and I was LIVING FOR IT. The number of times I audibly gasped out-loud….was a lot.
This story focus’s mainly around Julian and Emma, and the rest of Julian Blackthorn’s family. There is someone out there killing people, there’s trouble in fairy, there’s actually a surprising amount of villains in this one.
I also really liked the unexpected rep in this book. There is a beautiful polyamorous relationship and I loved the three of them and their love story so much.
This series had so much going on, had so many ups and downs, and was just a completely un-put-downable read. The shadowhunter world is completely turned upside down by the end of this series, some unexpected characters are dead, and it’s all just chaos. There’s fae drama! Unexpected children! OTHER WORLDS! Seriously though the whole other world storyline completely threw me and was not something I even began to imagine.
I also really loved seeing the original group of Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle, and Simon a little older and wiser than they were in TMI. These books are also the first time we get to experience Shadowhunter Simon, and how he is dealing with his friend dying, getting all his memories back, and learning to be a real shadowhunter. Simon has always been one of my favorite characters, and even though he was a minor character overall in this series, I loved seeing him in this one.

The series also ends with a cliffhanger and I cannot wait to read what happens next in The Wicked Powers.

The Last Hours

This series was a little odd to read because a) we’re going back in time again to the time of Will, Jem, and Tessa and b) IT IS UNFINISHED.

So I didn’t love this one as much as the others. I think overall the past stories were my least favorite, but I absolutely LOVED Cordelia. She is such a fierce but lovable girl, and my love for her made me also appreciate her descendant Emma more. (there were also some moments with the Carstairs weapon, Cortana, that made me very angry all over again about Zara stealing it in TDA)
This story mainly centers around James Herondale, his friends (the Merry Thieves) and Cordelia, as they deal with demons in the daylight, unexpected killings, and more in the formerly peaceful London.
I was initially surprised that this story was last on the reading list, but in Chain of Iron I found out why. There’s some character reveals that would have completely ruined some of the twists in The Dark Artifices, but I love how it all came together and how connected the two series ended up being, even though they take place decades apart and across the planet from each other.
I think part of the reason I struggled with this one overall was because it was less intense than TDA, and I’ve gotten so used to knowing all the characters, so coming into a new set of people and less high-stakes circumstances was a little boring to read. Plus, I know everything will work out in the end because we wouldn’t have Alec, Jace, Clary, Julian and the whole gang if they hadn’t. It makes some of the excitement levels go down when there’s not that “end of the world” fear.
However, this one did end very dramatically, and I am extremely excited to read Chain of Thorns next year!

Final Thoughts:

This is definitely a series that progressed as it went along. The writing style and skill level in TLH is much better than in TMI, and you can really see how CC writing and confidence improved as she dived more into this world.
Do I think these are the best books ever? No, I don’t think they’re AMAZING books, but they are enjoyable and really fun to read. Each series has a way of sucking you in completely and making you care about a new set of characters. I am really glad that I finally read these, and I do think they’re worth reading overall. I’m excited to read Chain of Thorns and The Wicked Powers series when it comes out, and I’m curious to see what Cassandra Clare does post-shadowhunters. I know she is a problematic author, but I do think she has talent in writing and her books are fun. I really liked how many subtle tie in’s there were throughout the series, and how some very minor moments later became a big deal. You can tell she really put a lot of thought and care into this world, and I love how much she loves it.
Overall, I do recommend these books. Starting from the beginning is a BIG investment, as its currently at NINTEEN books with another five on the way, but I really did enjoy the journey.

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