Monday, January 16, 2017

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman

Summary from Goodreads:
Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.
Why did I wait so long to read this one? I really need to stop letting lengthy books become road blocks. This was a giant book of novellas. But, also, I guess Simon was just never really my favorite character. I liked him. I liked the geeky humor and best friend vibes he provided, but I never thought of him as a main character. (Like I would never think of Ron Weasley as a main character either.)
Good news: this book was only half about Simon. The other half was about shadowhunter history, about other loved characters from series past, and about the new characters in the upcoming series. And weirdly, I found myself liking the Simon parts the best. Sometimes I’d skim some of the other stuff to get back into Simon’s head.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved all the moments with Jace and Clary. I also love every second of Magnus and Alec. I liked seeing more of Tessa and Jem. And I definitely found the Herondale history super interesting. That being said, I loved Simon so much more. I cared for him in a way I hadn’t before. I really got to see what a brave, smart, good person he was here. I love the minor, yet major changes he inflicted on the Shadowhunter Academy. I love that even though he doesn’t remember a lot, he still knows what the right thing to do is.
I also super shipped him and Isabelle and I couldn’t wait to read any scene with the two of them in it. I also loved his new friends at the Academy, particularly his roommate. Cassandra Clare (and her closest writing buddies) all super excel at character development.
It also read more like a book than a series of novellas. They were in chronological order and my brain sort of interrupted them into one story. Not all the stories were amazing, but most of them were. It also (for the most part) felt like a fluffier addition to the more generally dark shadowhunter plots. It took place in a decaying school. There was no world to save, estranged fathers to face off, angels to confront, or hell dimensions to go to. It was all about learning to be a shadowhunter. It was nice having the simpler, fluffier story arc for a change.
All in all, I loved this. I read it super fast. I loved the characters, old and new. I even loved Simon. I’m happy to add it to my rather large and growing collection of Cassandra Clare books. I give it 9/10.

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