Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pub Date: November 15, 2016
Format: Kobo eBook
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?
“Kill me, little sister. Kill me and you kill Jace, too.”
Damn. Let’s all give a round of applause to Sebastian (that evil bastard) for making the plot of this series interesting again. I know that some of us think the story should have ended with City of Glass, but I think we can all agree that he is the sole force behind the extended plotline. There would be no conflict without him. Thank you, you crazy demon-child.
In regard to the plot, the synopsis says it all. Once again, Jace and Clary want to be together but they can’t. I mean, technically they are together, but it’s not the real thing. This would have annoyed me if not for the fact that Sebastian is hands down the most messed up character of the series, and his presence in their (Jace and Clary’s) relationship makes it all worth reading. That being said, he is a little too involved. No spoilers. But ew. There were some super cringey moments but I suppose it added to all the drama. Talk about teenage hormones. It’s like all of a sudden the series jumped from Young Adult to New Adult. I sometimes forget how young the characters are! But I’m not complaining. It definitely made the story more interesting.
On a similar note, there was this incident near the end (or perhaps several incidents… but this main one was downright awful) that I feel was not addressed properly. I hope it is talked about in the final book. Sexual assault should not be brushed over. I hope this wasn’t just used as some cheap plot device.
Anyways, without giving too much away, Sebastian is the story. And in the background noise we hear some tension between Magnus and Alec, some canoodling between Simon and Isabel, and some major canoodling between Maia and Jordan. I apologize for my use of the word canoodling… but it had to be done.
★★★★ (4.5 stars) because this book actually made me excited about the series again! It wasn’t perfect but it was 10x better than City of Fallen Angels. I’m looking forward to the final instalment.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
But nothing comes without a price.
Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.
“Or maybe it’s just that beautiful things are so easily broken by the world.”
I’m not sure why I am so disappointed with this book. The fact that there was anything written after City of Glass alone was enough to indicate that this would not please me. And I was right, but that does little to comfort me. I had to read this book in so many different sittings. I almost gave up. The only thing that kept me hanging on was the little bit of light I saw at the end of the tunnel. That light is City of Heavenly Fire, which I’ve been told is just as good as, but probably not better than, City of Glass.
The closure and contentment I felt after reading City of Glass was destroyed little by little with each page of this novel. Heaven knows what would compel someone to write this book. Everything was just so unnecessary. Imagine reading a filler-chapter that was 500 pages long. That was this book.
In any case, I will tell you what City of Fallen Angels does have to offer.
We get a lot of Simon in this book. In theory, it’s always nice to read more about Simon. The unfortunate reality is that we are given this extra dose of Simon in the most cliché way possible. I don’t want to spoil anything, but seriously, never has a love triangle been so annoying. No one was even really hurt by it. This was a good example of a terribly-executed plot device. Cringe.
Then we get some cute bickering between Alec and Magnus. I love the two together, but their issues only took up a couple of sentences. Again, this came across as a lame attempt at adding a few extra pages to the book. More than anything it seemed like Clare was trying to remind readers that, “Hey! Alec and Magnus are still a thing but we’re not going to talk about it”. It was unrealistic and underdeveloped, to say the least. Double cringe.
And then we circle back to Jace and Clary. Clary and Jace. Someone please tell me how many ways you can say “I want you but I can’t have you”, because this entire series is basically that. It was okay during the first three books, but now it’s just an overused plot device. How many books can you write about two people who are meant to be together, but keep finding reasons to stay apart from each other? Stop it. Jace, we can only take so much of your self-deprecating behaviour. Clary, get a grip. All the cringes in the world.
The only redeeming aspect of this book was the ending, which was a decent cliffhanger but made me mad more than anything else. If anyone was to return, I didn’t expect for it to be him. I will leave it at that.
Like I said earlier, I’m hanging on by a thread, but that thread is wearing thin.
★★★ (3 stars) because the angels and demons and romance are there, but everything else annoyed me.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?
“Not everything is about you,” Clary said furiously.
“Possibly,” Jace said, “but you do have to admit that the majority of things are.”
I have to admit, everything really is about Jace. This book, this series, would really be nothing without him. All throughout the book, I was buried in possibilities, trying to figure out Jace’s “deal”. I won’t say anything else about that though. Most of you have already read these books, so there’s nothing I could add here that you wouldn’t already know. And for those of you who haven’t read these books yet, I would suggest reading The Infernal Devices first. I am also pleasantly surprised at the improvement (of characters, plot, conflict, etc.) in this book compared to the one prior. If this series were to have remained a trilogy, this would have been a great ending.
★★★★ (4 stars) for reminding me why I didn’t stop reading after the first book.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
“Growing up happens when you start having things you look back on and wish you could change.”
In retrospect, I am now extremely grateful that I started out with The Infernal Devices. I believe TID set the mood for me to really appreciate, or at least try to appreciate, The Mortal Instruments series. This second book was a huge improvement from City of Bones, and I’m happy that a certain someone‘s true lineage is slowly coming to light. I knew there was something I liked about him.
★★★ (3.5 stars) for keeping my dreams filled with a substantial amount of angels to counterbalance the numerous demons.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know.
“Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side.”
So, I have a love/hate feeling about this book. Someone recommended that I read The Infernal Devices before The Mortal Instruments series (which I did), but now I wish I read TMI first. Or I don’t. I don’t know. My point is: The Infernal Devices was good. I really enjoyed it. And then I read City of Bones and was very disappointed. The Shadow World is essentially the same but I suppose I had higher expectations going into it. I will also say that right after I finished reading this book, I looked at the reviews and had absolutely no idea about that whole plagiarism business with Cassandra Clare. Needless to say, I’m shocked. Grossed out, really. I tried not to let this affect my review but I didn’t like the book so much to begin with, so I hardly think it matters.
If I focus only on City of Bones as a singular thing to assess, I would say that it has the elements of novels I like: an interesting premise (demons and hunters and angels, etc.) and a somewhat interesting mix of characters. I say “somewhat” because each character is kind of predictable in their own way. If I’m being completely honest, I only wanted to finish this book in order to see where Jace and Clary’s romance went (if it went anywhere). Let’s just say it was cringe-worthy. Which is quite funny because I’ve seen the movie and I already knew what was coming and it still made me cringe. I physically and emotionally cringed when that information was revealed. Even the word cringe is making me cringe now. I’ll stop.
If I hadn’t read The Infernal Devices already, I wouldn’t be giving this book 3 stars right now. However, I will give it ★★★ (3 stars) because my enjoyment of the prequel series suggests that there is potential for the next book in TMI to please me. I don’t know anything about what happens after the first instalment, and I am genuinely curious to see how the individual stories of each character unfold. And I am a little obsessed with the Shadow World, so I can’t not finish this series.
P.S. Let’s face it. If I read this book years ago (when it was at its peak), I would have absolutely loved it.