Review Blog

May 26 2017

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and others

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Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy bks.1-10. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406373585
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Fans of Cassandra Clare's series will be delighted with this compilation of ten illustrated stories previously published individually as e-books. The stories by Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman follow the adventures of Simon Lewis, star of The Mortal Instruments, as he trains at the Shadowhunter Academy. Simon doesn't know who he is anymore as he has lost most of his memories so he decides to train really hard to become a Shadowhunter, hoping that he will regain his identity as he goes.
This compilation is very clever and engrossing. People who have read all the books will gain insights into the backgrounds and what has happened to different characters as Simon progresses through his training. I was particularly interested to read about Tessa Gray and what happens to her as an adult, revealed in one of the stories when she is a guest lecturer at the academy. Other characters appear, like Jace Herondale and Magnus Blane, but each story grows on the back of the previous one, and the reader gets to know and sympathise with Simon as he struggles with his memories of Isabelle, his feelings of worth and his friendships at the Academy. It makes for a complete view of the Academy and what is involved in training to become a Shadowhunter.
Some big themes are touched on - class and privilege, stereotypes and duty of care, all done in an engrossing way, with Simon having to make some difficult decisions about who he is and where he belongs. Each story is illustrated at the beginning, with graphic novel type of illustrations, which are interesting to peruse.
For readers who are not familiar with the Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, and Dark Artifices series, there is enough in the stories to ensure that they will pick up the series, just to find out what has happened in the past and readers familiar with the books will be eagerly awaiting the upcoming Last Hours series. Readers may also want to go on and read other books by Brennan, Johns and Wasserman.
Pat Pledger

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