Reviewed by Emily McDonnell
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Paperback : 704 pages, ISBN-13 : 978-1481443265, Aug 2017
In this collection of novellas, we follow beloved character, Simon Lewis through his adventures and mishaps at Shadowhunter Academy. Throughout the Mortal Instruments series, we’ve seen Simon’s character develop over several books, with his narration and humour always being loved by fans of the Shadowhunter chronicles. These stories, focus on Simon although other characters from varying plots are also introduced, discussed and mentioned. We discover more about the Blackthorn children, James Herondale and his family, the secrets of faerie and the journey for Simon as he tries to find who he was, is as a newfound Shadowhunter in the realm of angels and demons.
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy takes places after the events of City of Heavenly fire, with the Cold Peace, the division of the Clave, the perils of the Blackthorn family and Simon’s memory loss being key features of focus in this book. As Simon tries to reconnect and remember his past and relationships with those closest to him, he can’t help feeling alone in the Academy with his fellow students seeming snobbish in stereotypical Shadowhunter fashion of Downworlders and mundanes. I loved reading from Simon’s perspective, as we see more of a ‘mundane’ point of view than in previous books. So, when these characters do ascend it adds a more unique story and deeper plot. Additionally, other characters from the mortal instruments series (Clary, Jace, Izzy, Alec and Magnus all make appearances) and I adored seeing more interactions between all our favourite characters, especially after the events of City of Heavenly Fire.
Themes are foreshadowed as to what’s to come in Lady Midnight (the first novel in the Dark Artifices series), namely we explore more of the blackthorn family and Emma and Julian’s roles, being children of war and the aftereffects which that poses for these characters. Faerie is also mentioned and the overall discrimination of Downworlders, which is often discussed at the academy. Cassandra Clare has a marvellous talent particularly when hinting at upcoming stories, plots and books. Again, I adored this aspect as well as experiencing Simon’s views and relationships with such matters.
The novel works as a perfect bridge between City of heavenly Fire and The Dark Artifices series, with several stories hinting at certain plots, events and characters. I always love this in these books with the author (or in this case authors) who consistently manage to plant careful Easter eggs between different time periods, books, characters, etc. It’s continuously been a key feature of Clare’s work and an incredible experience to read throughout.
About the reviewer: Emily McDonell was first prize winner in the Hunter Writers’ Centre/Compulsive Reader book review competition. She is a high school student, an avid reader and has a passion for books. It was clear from a very early age that books would play a large part in her life. Emily has participated in the Premier’s Reading Challenge since starting her schooling and her favourite subject is English. Emily has also been a Girl Guide for the past nine years and is currently working to complete her Queen’s Guide Award. Emily also loves animals especially her dog Jersey.