AHHHHHHHHHH THIS WAS SO GOOD!!!!!
I was very excited to read these novellas because I had heard nothing but good reviews and boy, it does live up to the hype (at least, it did for me). Cassandra Clare is a genius of detail and story writing and every time I read one of her books, I am still shocked that she can create a story so complicated and manage to make everything fit together in an impossibly perfect way. I sped through this book in a way that I did not know I was capable of (I’m sort of a slow reader), which may have been because reading on e-reader seems to make the pages go faster. Either way, I cannot emphasize enough how much I loved these books! The Tales from Shadowhunter Academy follows Simon Lewis through his journey to ascension as a Shadowhunter after his memories have been wiped, and also includes stories about the Shadow World past that you never knew you needed to read!
These novellas are currently available separately for purchase on Amazon and Audible. The print version will be released this November for purchase in stores! Here’s a link to amazon for the first novella “Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy”:
My rating: 5 stars
If you have not read these novellas yet (or probably any of Cassandra Clare’s other books because there will be spoilers), I urge you to do so and come back when you have!!
Alright. Simon is always awesome and funny and that definitely comes through in these stories as well. One of the best additions to Simon’s story is his Academy roommate George Lovelace. George is a handsome Scottish young man who was actually adopted by the Lovelace family because the Lovelaces are no longer practicing Shadowhunters, though he looks like he could be a Shadowhunter, and it is absolutely touching that he decided to reveal this fact to the Academy after Simon lowers himself to the dregs status so they can go through the process of learning and discovering the Shadow World together.
The Academy itself is laughable with its slime-filled basement dorms, creatures, cooked towers, and consistently questionable food. The program Simon attends has been restarted after years of the Academy being closed. He attends the Academy for two years until he can ascend and transform from Mundane to Shadowhunter. During this time, the aforementioned stories-you-never-knew-you-needed are illustrated through a series of guest lecturers such as Tessa Gray, Robert Lightwood, Helen Blackthorn and Magnus Bane.
Tessa brings a story from 1888 London in which the London institute investigated and hid the actual events caused by Jack the Ripper. This tale of demons and children is shocking and heartbreaking at some points. I panicked right along with Tessa as little James ran into the fire. Ghost Jessamine’s appearance is also heartwarming because she is always there for her family, even when she is dead (especially when she is dead!). The story introduces a few of the children who will star in Clare’s next series The Last Hours, which will be about the children of Will and Tessa *squeals in excitement*. I am seriously so excited to read more about James Herondale thought because I totally relate to the introverted, book nerd, outsider in your own world feeling that he gets at the academy. The twist with James having a warlock power which allows him to turn into a shadow is super cool too and I wonder where that takes him in the rest of his life. I’m sure we will see a lot more of his relationship with Charlotte’s son, Matthew, too because they end up going back to the Herondale household together to train as parabatai.
Another very interesting tale was that of Robert Lightwood’s past. His story about Michael Wayland, his parabatai, being gay in love with him gave a lot of insight into why Robert is so harsh towards Alec when he comes out. I can’t believe he basically disowned Michael, but I’m glad he is coming to terms a bit more with Alec in these stories. This story also gives tons of new insight on what exactly happened during the formation of the circle at the academy and shows a little bit of the evolution of Valentine’s extreme actions against downworlders and the Clave.
We catch a glimpse of Mark Blackthorn when Simon accidentally gets caught by faeires while on a mission, but Mark helps him out. The poor kid had to find out that the Clave doesn’t care about rescuing him because he’s half faerie which was sad, but I know we’ll see much more of him in the Dark Artifices (No Lady Midnight Spoilers! I haven’t had time to read it yet!!)
Helen Blackthorn provides a perfect example of how badly faeries are being treat since their involvement with Sebastian, and she’s only half faerie!! The fact that the Clave would treat one of their own so cruelly because of something she never had any control over goes to show how cruel they can be. Helen is forced to lecture the students at the Academy about her father’s story and how he became involved with the faeries. I am glad that Helen was able to marry Aline in a Shadowhunter wedding ceremony though. That was a nice thing, even though they have to go straight back to exile and it was only allowed ot be public because she agreed to give the lecture. But it was nice all the same.
The dynamic between Jon Cartwright and Marisol is adorable. She started off just bugging the crap out of him by explaining the mundane world to Jon, but I think there may be a budding romance between them! Maybe we will get some more time with them in the future too. My experience with Cassandra Clare books tells me that no character is placed without reason so I’m 99% sure they’ll be back.
Clary and Simon are called to witness Julian and Emma’s parabatai ceremony, but they also receive a test of their own. Reading the hallucination scene after Clary and Simon drink the water from Lake Lyn was like watching one of the Old Spice commercials with Isaiah Mustafa (haha coincidence– he’s the guy who plays Luke in the Shadowhunters TV show). It was super strange and trippy with like fountains coming to life and flying away, a love boat ride with Simon and Jace, and Maureen popping up and asking Simon to choose between saving her or Clary. Obviously Simon chose Clary and then after the two of them wake up, they learn that it was all just a test to see if they were a) ready to witness something as serious as the parabatai ceremony and b) if there was a chance they could actually be parabatai with each other. There’s a loophole where even though Simon is 19, he is technically still 18 because he spent a few months physically dead as a vampire. So both he and Clary are still 18 and young enough to become parabatai, which judging from the part of Lady Midnight that I have read (just the prologue), they do.
The last story is filled with Malec and a baby. A little navy blue warlock baby is left on the steps of the institute and Magnus takes it in because no student can take care of it. Alec becomes attached to the child immediately and so does everyone else. This is where Robert Lightwood reall shines because instead of being a disapproving grump, he’s actually very excited to be this child’s grandfather. Robert and Maryse all but rip the baby out of each other’s hands because they are so happy to be grandparents. I thought it was so lovely to just see how accepting the Lightwoods have become of both Alec’s sexuality and downworlders. Alec also becomes the first person to ever ask Magnus to marry him and they end on such a high note. It’s too sweet. All of it! TOO MUCH!
This is where it gets emotional for me…
Simon ascends. He watches while all his mundane friends ascend, and on his turn he gets to see all of his memories of the life he was forced to forget and he has them all back. As soon as everything started going right, I knew somethingwas about to go wrong. So when George started to die during his ascension, I can’t say I was surprised but I can say I was hurt. Oh, I cried. How does she do this? How can Cassie Clare make me so attached to a character in such a short time. UGH. Freaking had to be George. And when I realized Simon was going to take the Lovelace name as his Shadowhunter name I got choked up again. So sweet and so touch and I am glad it happened but I hate that George had to die for this.
So it’s been fun, I really enjoyed these novellas and I hope you did too! Share your thoughts in the comments if you’d like and I will be back soon enough with a new post! Thanks for stopping by