Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
By Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Robin Wasserman
WARNING: Spoilers for City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
Author: Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Robin Wasserman
Page Count: 672
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderly Books
After being stripped of his memories in City of Heavenly Fire, Simon Lewis goes back to being a normal mundane who knows nothing about the hidden world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders he was once a part of. He remembers he was once friends with Clary, and somehow dated Isabelle Lightwood, but has no idea what happened between them all. Every time he faces his old friends, Simon feels as if he’s letting everyone down by not being the man they knew and loved.
With the re-opening of the Shadowhunter Academy, Simon decides throws himself back into the world of demons and monsters by training to become a Shadowhunter in hope of finding himself again. The Academy is basically a functioning ruin with many, many problems as all the new students are bound to discover, but for Simon it is his chance to bring back who he once was. With a mixture of old favorites as well as several new characters, exciting adventures are bound to occur in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.
I was somewhat cautious going into Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy because Cassandra Clare was not the only author, but I must say I was relieved to find that almost every story had a similar voice to Clare’s past works. There were ten stories in total, and I’d be lying if I said I loved them all equally–some were better than others. Each story followed Simon throughout his time at the Academy and built up to the final story with their own separate arcs. I particularly loved how a majority of the stories offered flashbacks to characters that readers previously met in The Infernal Devices. I felt like the anthology really connected and added something to the Shadowhunter world as a whole rather than being a separate, stand alone collection. My personal favorite from the collection is the final story, “Angels Twice Descending”, because I loved how it combined aspects of all of the stories as well as the twist at the end in which Simon must face a tragedy which follows Clare’s trend of ripping out and stomping on the hearts of all of her readers. I also have to give an honorary mention to “The Whitechapel Field” because it was about Jack the Ripper, a Shadowhunter world version of Jack the Ripper! My least favorite was probably “The Lost Herondale” because I kind of spoiled myself by reading Lady Midnight before Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, which revealed who the lost Herondale is, and it is not as interesting to me as the other stories, but I like how Catarina was more prominent in it than she is in the other stories. I believe all the stories flowed well together, and it really makes me want to read the other Shadowhunter anthology, The Bane Chronicles.
One particular thing I believe the authors of Tales from the Shadowhunter academy did well is blend the old characters with fresh new faces. Sure, I loved how my old favorites like Magnus, Alec, Jace, Izzy, Clary, and etc. showed back up, but I really loved a majority of the new characters introduced to us at the academy. There’s two main groups at the academy: those with shadowhunter blood, and mundanes who are training to be worthy of becoming shadowhunters by drinking from the Mortal Cup. My personal favorites from the mundane group are George Lovelace and Marisol Garza. I loved George from the very first story when he and Simon are freaking out over a rat in their room, and I came to love Marisol throughout the story because I found she had some of the best character development. My favorite from the Shadowhunter group has to be Beatriz Mendoza because, unlike the rest of her group, she does not look down upon downworlders or the mundanes who are at the academy. Instead, she stands behind them and defends them. My least favorite of the new characters has to be Jon Cartwright–not because his character is terribly written–but because he’s pretty much a terrible person until the last two stories. I’m really glad that Clare chose to continue Simon’s story in this anthology because he really got the short end of the stick in City of Heavenly Fire. We get to see the ‘new’ Simon develop throughout the story and go from being confused about his place in the world, to forging his own path without his past holding him back. All in all I was pleased with the characters, both old and new, throughout the novellas, and I can’t wait to see more of them in future novels.
In conclusion, I give Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy four out of five stars for being a delightful addition to The Shadowhunter Chronicles as well as introducing several new characters I have grown to love. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Cassandra Clare’s work, as long as they have read the entirety of The Mortal Instruments series as well as The Infernal Devices trilogy.
If you would like to purchase Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy