SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED AND/OR IN THE FUTURE INTEND ON READING ANY OF THE SHADOWHUNTERS NOVELS.
Welcome back my little readers. So this month I did The Thing. The Thing where you have somehow managed to avoid a huge worldwide best selling book series for years on end and finally decide to pick it up once most of the books are done and out in the world. Sometimes I purposely do this because I know when I get DEEP into a book series I cannot stand playing the waiting game until the next book is out. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare is a series that has been on my list for a long time and this month I finally decided to tackle it.
Guys, The Thing took over my life for the past few weeks.
Like TOOK. OVER. MY. LIFE. I managed to read not only the six books that make up The Mortal Instruments but also the three books that make up the prequel to TMI called The Infernal Devices AND ALSO Lady Midnight, the first book in the new trilogy spin off that Clare is writing called The Dark Artifices.
TEN BOOKS IN THIS FRANCHISE SO FAR AND I MANAGED TO READ THEM ALL IN TWENTY TWO DAYS.
I know my own personal reading capacity is fairly high. I also know that I’m usually able to blow through YA books very quickly as they are much lighter in syntax and plot, but this was a big feat even for me. I mean combined, I read a total of 5,468 pages. I also watched S1 of the Shadowhunters TV show on
ABC Family Freeform which is based off of the first book (City of Bones) and I would say I’m 64% invested in it (mostly because I am low key obsessed with the actress who plays Izzy YAS LATINAS RISE.) If you haven’t read or don’t intend on reading anything by Cassandra Clare then 1) this entire month of books is not going to be your jam and 2) click off now because you are about to read some spoilers as I go through this entire franchise. Come back next month where I’m sure it will be a random mix of books that I am using to cleanse my pallet of Shadowhunters and demons and teenage angst love triangles.
I’m going to try to summarize these as concisely as I possibly can because each book is (on average) over 500 pages. God speed to me. I chose to read the six books that make up TMI first, Lady Midnight second and TID trilogy third. Clare herself recommends reading in a different order because TMI and TID tie into each other slightly but I chose to read them in their own series order because this is my life and I do what I want. Now let’s have a small background on what you need to know before we start talking about the Shadowhunters universe.
- “All the stories are true” – this is what Clare includes as the prologue in each of the novels to set up the Shadowhunters universe. This five word phrase means that everything exists in these novels. We’re talking angels, demons, vampires, werewolves faeries, and warlocks. Open your imagination and get on board.
- The main players are all teens because this is a YA series and for the most part they like to brood (as many teens do).
- There is a SOMETHING that happens at the end of CoB in The Mortal Instruments. I won’t say here what the SOMETHING is but know it only lasts through Book 2 (CoA) and then is discarded. The SOMETHING is severely uncomfortable to the point that I had to go online and read spoilers to see how it is handled or I knew I wouldn’t be able to continue the series. Just know that it is fixed come Book 3. You will know what the SOMETHING is when you get to it, trust me.
IF YOU ALREADY DIDN’T HEED MY FIRST WARNING, STOP READING NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS.
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS
City of Bones – The one that started it all. CoB introduces us to the main players in TMI: Clary Fray/Fairchild, Jace Wayland/Lightwood/Herondale, Alec Lightwood, Isabelle Lightwood, Simon Lewis and Magnus Bane. Our story is set in modern day New York City where Clary finds out she is a Shadowhunter, a mix of angel and human blood that was created to fight demons on Earth and protect mundanes (aka regular humans). Jace is the adopted brother of Alec and Isabelle (all Shadowhunters), Simon is the best friend of Clary (he gets turned into a vampire) and Magnus is a super old (like centuries old) warlock. Clary’s mom Jocelyn is kidnapped (side bar: is it kidnapping if she is a grown woman?) and most of the plot is Clary coming to terms with her newfound life as a Shadowhunter while trying to wake her mom from a self induced slumber. CoB introduces us to the villain of TMI, Valentine (also known as Clary’s father GASP). We also get the very beginning of Clace (Clary and Jace) and Malec (Magnus and Alec). I WILL GO DOWN WITH THESE SHIPS, AND I WON’T HOLD MY HANDS UP AND SURRENDER. Okay we have to talk about the SOMETHING that is dropped like a bomb in this book. The bomb is that Clary and Jace think they are brother and sister. After they have already started falling in love with each other. After they make out. It’s all really horrible and I had to read internet spoilers to confirm that this is NOT A THING THAT PROGRESSES IN THE BOOKS and thankfully it is proven later on in Book 3 that they are not siblings. (4 out of 5 Raziel stars)
City of Ashes – The SOMETHING takes up the majority of the relationship tension in CoA and it is so hard to stomach. In place of Clace, Simon starts to date Clary instead but this as we all know is not going to work. Besides the SOMETHING we also get the first glimpse of Clary’s extra special Shadowhunter power (the power to create runes), the first real glimpse of the Faerie court and more werewolf drama. The center plot of this book revolves around trying to get the Mortal Sword out of Valentine’s hands. Jace continues to brood, Simon continues to pine for Clary and Isabelle continues to be a bad ass. There is a big fight scene at the end of this book that I loved the visuals for so that was definitely the highlight for me. (4 out of 5 Raziel stars)
City of Glass – We finally get our first look of Idris (the hidden Shadowhunter country in Europe) in CoG and I have to say, there is nothing I love more than rich descriptions of cities and Clare GIVES IT TO ME. Alicante (the capital) comes alive through the pages and I could not get enough of it. CoG introduces us to Sebastian who SPOILER ALERT ends up being Clary’s long lost brother who everyone thought was dead. Seeing that Clary is extra Shadowhunter special with her rune power, that means Sebastian is too. But with Clary being “light,” Sebastian is “dark.” Translation – Clary was given angel blood and Sebastian was given demon blood in an attempt by their psychotic father Valentine to create a super race of Shadowhunters. ALL OF THIS MEANS THAT CLACE ARE NOT BROTHER AND SISTER THANK GOD. A lot of other things happen in the back half of the book but at the end of the day Valentine dies, Sebastian dies, and Jace is saved by the tag team of Raziel (founder angel of the Shadowhunters) and Clary. Clace lives and my heart feels free to ship them again. I would have been fine if the series ended here but Clare decided to stretch this out to three more books and I have no idea why. (5 out of 5 Raziel stars)
City of Fallen Angels – I really don’t understand why CoFA was made. To me, it’s the weakest book in the series by far and I didn’t get much out of it. I wish I could stop reading books when I start to lose interest but I told myself that I had already committed to 1500+ pages so WHY STOP NOW RIGHT? Quick updates on the gang: Clary + Co. are back in NY, Clace is back together and thriving, Malec is together, Luke and Jocelyn are engaged and Isabelle is still my fave. Simon’s mom finds out he is a vamp and disowns him so he moves in with a guy named Jordan who turns out to be a werewolf assigned to protect Simon. Jace is having bad dreams about killing Clary which turns out to be the demon Lilith infiltrating his mind and trying to possess him in order to bring Sebastian back from the dead. Are you lost yet? I read the entire book word for word and was a little lost to be honest. In the end, Sebastian manages to take over Jace’s mind and bring himself back to life by tethering himself to Jace in a weird brother bond thing. Meh. (3 out of 5 Raziel stars)
City of Lost Souls – I wish I could have skipped this book. It is 535 pages of bro time between Sebastian and possessed Jace which is weird and not believable. Skip to the main plot: Sebastian is trying to make more dark Shadowhunters like himself (with demon blood). To combat this, vampire Simon manages to summon angel Raziel and trade his protected Mark of Cain for a sword that will be able to 1) kill Sebastian, 2) not hurt Jace and 3) sever the possessed tie that connects the bros. In the final fight scene Clary is not able to stab Sebastian with the angel sword so instead she stabs Jace. He survives (because he is more good than evil and the sword works like that?) and now the heavenly fire is in his veins which means that whenever he gets an adrenaline rush he literally sets fire to things. Goodbye and good riddance to Book 5 CoLS. Double meh. (2.5 out of 5 Raziel stars)
City of Heavenly Fire – FINALLY A CONCLUSION TO THIS SERIES. I have to say that I think 725 pages is a little excessive (I mean this series is good but it’s no Harry Potter you feel?). I can’t even begin to recap the battle that spans this entire book because it is LONG but I will give you the closure you want with the final survivors and deaths. Deaths: Sebastian (who turns back into Jonathan, brother of Clary minus the demon blood in his final moments of life) and Jordan (I was actually really sad over Jordan dying because his character was genuinely good and I was dying to know more about his secret werewolf association). Survivors: everyone else along with your favorite ships Clace, Malec and Sizzy (Simon and Isabelle/Izzy). The book ends with the wedding of Jocelyn and Luke YAY LOTS OF CLOSURE. CoHF also introduces us Tessa Gray and Jem Carstairs (two of the mains in The Infernal Devices) and Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn (two of the mains in The Dark Artifices). (4 out of 5 Raziel stars)
THE INFERNAL DEVICES
Clockwork Angel – The Infernal Devices take place in late 1800s London so you know I am HERE FOR THIS HISTORICAL FICTION FANTASY NOVEL. I loved loved LOVED TID series not only for the time period/setting but because the three main characters (Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs and Tessa Gray) are a thrill to read. Quick background: Will and Jem are both Shadowhunters (and parabatai which is basically like blood brothers on steroids) and Tessa (as of the first book) is TBD but everyone thinks she is leaning toward warlock because she can shape shift aka legit turn into another person as long as she has a physical item that belongs to them. This first book mostly sets the stage for the main plot of the following two. In CA we meet the villain (Mortmain) and his evil army (clockwork robot automatons). As far as romance, we have two ships – Wessa (Will and Tessa) and Jessa (Jem and Tessa). I cannot even explain to you how hard I internally struggled to choose between them. It hurts my heart even now. PS Magnus is also in this series because like I said in TMI, he is a SUPER old warlock. (4 out of 5 Raziel stars)
Clockwork Prince – So much happens in this second book. SO. MUCH. To keep the main plot short and sweet, Tessa, Jem and Will continue to search for a way to defeat Mortmain + robot army. This takes them all over London and to the English countryside which is where we learn a tad bit more about Will’s family. Yet another battle is the ending of this book where our Shadowhunters win (for now) and Tessa manages to stay alive. My dear Tessa is still torn between her love of Will and Jem but ends up accepting a marriage proposal from Jem because Will is broody like his future great great great great grandson Jace and cannot get his shit together. We also have some minor subplots going on with the Lightwood brothers (early ancestors of Alec and Isabelle), Charlotte Branwell (aka Fairchild aka early ancestor of Clary), Jem’s life dependent addiction to yin fen and the end of the final chapter has Cecily Herondale (Will’s younger sister) showing up at the door of the London Institute claiming her birthright and demanding to be trained as a Shadowhunter. DUN DUN DUN. (4 out of 5 Raziel stars)
Clockwork Princess – THE GRAND FINALE. God I loved this book. Everything about it. The “everybody wins” ending, the bond between Will and Jem and ESPECIALLY Tessa literally proclaiming that she would save herself. LADIES DOIN FOR THEMSELVES AMIRIGHT. Long story short, Tessa is kidnapped by Mortmain in a small battle that leaves Jem extremely wounded. This injury plus the lack of yin fen drug to keep him alive results in Jem sending Will after Tessa in his absence. Jem finally learns that Will, like himself, loves Tessa and would do anything for her even if that means putting aside his own feelings to allow his parabatai to marry her. Will ends up getting to Tessa but trapping himself in the prison Mortmain has put her in. On the way, Will’s parabatai rune begins to burn and snap which means that JEM HAS DIED. I DEFINITELY CRIED OVER THIS AND I HAVE NO SHAME AT ALL. The rest of the crew eventually gets into Mortmain’s hideout to help out Wessa and the battle ends with Tessa shape shifting into an angel and blowing the roof off the place and killing all the bad guys. She literally saved herself and my girl power heart SOARED. Also in the battle we find out that Jem hasn’t actually died, he has instead become a Silent Brother (kind of like the pastors of the Shadowhunter world who go live alone and in actual silence and become immortal). I am so emo over Jem you don’t even know. Will and Tessa end up getting married with Jem’s blessing and it is lovely. The epilogue is INTENSE CLOSURE which I adored and lets us know that Wessa stayed married until Will’s death (Tessa is immortal because she ended up being half demon half Shadowhunter so there’s that). Tessa and Jem meet once a year in secret (because Silent Brothers are supposed to be silent) to catch up and finally 130 years later (finally caught up to the same time period that The Mortal Instruments is taking place in) Jem turns back into a regular Shadowhunter when the heavenly fire that consumed Jace in CoHF breaks his Silent Brother bonds and kills the rest of the yin fen drug in his system. Jessa finally has their time to shine and be in love so ALL OF THE SHIPS WIN AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS HAPPY WITH A FINAL BOOK SO YAY. (5 out of 5 Raziel stars)
THE DARK ARTIFICES
Lady Midnight – Okay out of all the Cassandra Clare books I’ve managed to burn through in the past three weeks, Lady Midnight was without a doubt my favorite. LM is the continuation of the Emma/Julian storyline that was introduced in CoHF but with a change of location and five years later. Don’t get me wrong, I do very much enjoy Clary as a character, but Emma is MY GIRL. Strong, brave and fiercely fights for what she wants. And as much as I love Jace (aka number one brooding beautiful boy) I also prefer Julian as a male lead. Julian lives and breathes for one thing – Emma. Only problem is she is his parabatai. LM deals with this relationship and it’s problems while also giving us a more in depth look into the Shadow world with new characters in the Los Angeles institute. Not going to lie, I am also partial to LM because it does take place in my beloved Los Angeles and references quite a few restaurants and landmarks. (I definitely looked up apartment prices in Pacific Palisades after reading this book because I love PP and the descriptions in LM made me want to move. Someone want to float me a cool 50k to get a new place?) Clare also indulges readers by bringing Clace, Malec and Sizzy into TDA a few times so we can see how they are all faring five years post CoHF. I cannot WAIT for the next few books in TDA. GIMMIE GIMMIE GIMMIE. (PS can we also talk about how this is maybe the most beautiful book cover I have ever seen????)
If you read all of this please call me so I can send you a gift because it was SO LONG and I cannot believe you stuck with me. If you have read all of the Shadowhunters novels I hope my reviews were somewhat entertaining and if you want to chat more please let me know because I’ve only had myself to discuss them with for the past twenty two days and I’m going a little nuts. I also want to move to Alicante but that’s another story.
See you back here next month when I promise there won’t be any more talk about angels, demons or broody teenagers.