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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shadowhunters & Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader by Cassandra Clare

256 pages, YA Paranormal
Mortal Instruments series
My rating: 4 stars


Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of BonesCity of AshesCity of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.

Authors Who Contributed:
Holly Black / Kendare Blake / Gwenda Bond / Sarah Rees Brennan / Rachel Caine / Sarah Cross / Kami Garcia / Michelle Hodkin / Kelly Link / Kate Milford / Diana Peterfreund / Sara Ryan / Scott Tracey / Robin Wasserman

My 2 cents

Overall, this was an interesting read!  I just love the Mortal Instruments series, and this was a nice filler until the next couple of books come out!  Most of the essays in this book were freaking hilarious!  First of all, let me share my love for the series, and then I'll talk more about each essay individually.

The Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices are 2 of the best YA paranormal series that have been written.  The world building and concept is unique, the characters are so real and so developed, and the story is just epic.  Its a hero's journey kind of a series, not just for Clary, but for many other main characters as well.  I love that!  I love each and every single main character--Clary, Jace, Alec, Isabelle, Simon, Maia, Magnus,  and Kyle--they are all so different, with complex relationships and loads of good moments and bad.  I love the complexity between the relationships, and how each one seems to grow with each book.  If you haven't read these books, I don't know what you are waiting for!  I really can't wait for the finale!

This book is a collection of essays by other YA authors, all of them friendly with Clare it seems.  Cassandra does a little intro to each essay, which I loved. And she even is in one of them!

The first essay is called Unhomely Places by Kate Milford.  It is mostly about falling in love with a city, and finding a home there, in connections with the world building that Cassandra builds in the books.  Obviously, its mostly about New York.  I have never been there personally, although I've always wanted to, so I'll have to take Milford's word for her descriptions!

The Art of War was written by Sarah Cross, and talks about how much of a fighter Clary is, and what she ends up meaning to the Shadowhunters.   Sharper Than a Seraph Blade by Diana Peterfreund is even more interesting, as it mostly talks about Jace's wit.  This essay had me laughing at loud, recounting Jace's humor.  I swear, this author knows Jace better than he knows himself!

When Laws Are Made to Be Broken is by Robin Wasserman, and talks about the society of the Shadowhunters, and why the law has so much control.  I'd never really thought on it that hard, but it does make the series feel a little more dystopian when looking at it from that angle!  Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero by Michelle Hodkin was one of my favorite essays in the book.  I would read a whole book on Simon!  I think he is the purest character in the series!

Why the Best Friend Never Gets the Girl by Kami Garcia was really fun, mainly because it compares the books to a whole host of 80s movies that I love!   Brother Love by Kendare Blake was probably the most interesting essay to read.  It delves in deep about incest, and the science behind it.  Normally I'd be like, EWWW on anything like this, but Clare has managed to write this subject matter without turning off all her fans.  Quite an accomplishment! 

Asking For a Friend by Gwenda Bond talks about the friendships involved in the series.  This is totally my element, I love all the connections between characters in the series!  (Not) for Illustration Purposes Only by Rachel Caine talks about the history of tattoos  and the runes the Clare uses in the books.  The Importance of Being Malec by Sara Ryan will be a fan favorite, I'm sure!  The Magnus-Alec relationship is huge deal for fans, myself included!  She also talks about how important it is to have a popular book feature a gay couple.  

Villains, Valentine, and Virtue by Scott Tracey talks about the evil that is Valentine, and also the relationships with him and his children.  This essay was interesting, to look at him more objectively, and compare him to villains we encounter daily!   Immorality and Its Discontents by Kelly Link and Holly Black is really a conversation between the 2 authors and Cassandra Clare on what it really means to be immortal.

Finally, What Does That Deviant Wench Think She's Doing? Or, Shadowhunters Gone Wild by Sarah Rees Brennan will have you rolling in the aisles with laughter.  She talks about the crazy relationships and crazy moments in the series, but she does it by putting her own words in the character's mouths!  For example, here's an exchange Sarah writes between Isabelle and Simon (in place of the actual words they said) when they are making out:

ISABELLE:  You should bite me.
SIMON:  Well, I never.
ISABELLE: It's cool, bro, I'm consenting, and consent is sexy!
SIMON:  But surely I should not treat my lady friend as a handy snack!  You are not string cheese!  You are not a fruit cup!  You are not a macrobiotic yogurt drink!..Sorry, I miss human food sometimes.
ISABELLE: No, you should totally bite me.  The conflation between the vampire bite and sex is totally a literary archetype.
SIMON: But I never fanged a girl before.  I mean, I fanged Jace that one time, but I was all dizzy and we were on a boat--you know how wild those cruises can get--and it meant nothing and he was honestly more into it than I was.
ISABELLE:  I believe it.  Noted pervert, our Jace. Now fang my brains out.

LOL!!!!  I just love her humor!  This was easily my favorite essay!  I would definitely read this one first!  Silly publishers, for putting it in the back!

This was great fix until us fans get our hands on the next 2 Cassandra Clare books--The Clockwork Princess and City of Heavenly Fire!  I hope you get a chance to read it! 4 stars!



  1. This seems interesting. I'll have to look it up.

    Thanks for the review. :)


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