Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare: A Bitter Disappointment
What: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan & Maureen Johnson & Robin Wasserman
Who: Margaret K. McElderry Books
When: November 15th 2016
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster for review via Edelweiss.
Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. The events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. Whomever this new Simon might be.
But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. At least Simon’s trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.
Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. Written by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman, these moving and hilarious short stories are perfect for the fan who just can’t get enough of the Shadowhunters.
This book was a hot mess. It was almost 700 pages of pain and suffering and me wanting to put it down. Why didn’t I put it down, you might ask. Well, because Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy consists of ten novella-length stories about Simon Lewis. I thought, perhaps, there might be one (or, hopefully, more than one) novella that I actually didn’t want to burn my eyes out whilst reading.
And I was right. About two of them. One was about James Herondale, who was adorable and bookish and awkward, and who I shipped wholeheartedly with his nemesis, Matthew Fairchild. If these two aren’t in an adorable, gay AF relationship in the forthcoming prequel series I will be devastated. Because they had an adorable hate-to-love relationship, and that is one of my fave tropes.
The second was about our beautiful bi High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane. Magnus and Alec being domestic gives me life. And they were so incredibly domestic in this novella because WARLOCK BABY. Also, Magnus’s sexuality was not erased, which I was 100% thankful for. This novella, filled with adorableness, and Magnus, and Magnus and Alec being cute together is the only reason why this burning piece of crap was rated two stars and not one.
Because, aside from that those two novellas, I detested almost every single other one (although I somewhat liked the one about Tessa and Jack the Ripper, but even that was quite boring for the most part). They were incredibly monotonous, painful to get through, and dull. I was actually excited for this book when I found out it was being released, because at the end of City of Heavenly Fire, Simon’s future is kind of up in the air. I thought that reading about him becoming a Shadowhunter would be awesome.
It was not awesome. It was nearly 700 pages of no plot, whining over Isabelle and not remembering his past, no character growth, and flashbacks of characters who I really don’t give a shit about. I don’t think I have been so bored and mentally unengaged when reading a book … ever. I was literally falling asleep during every single novella (except the two I mentioned at the beginning of this review).
In all honesty, I could not recommend this book to anyone. Perhaps the most diehard Cassie Clare fan could stomach the mess that this book was, but I find it hard to see a casual fan (such as myself) truly enjoy everything in these pages. Because Magnus’s novella was the only really saving grace in this bitter disappointment of a book.
© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
trigger warning: murders (graphic), torture (graphic), bullying, use of ableist language, deaths (siblings, parents, friends), discrimination, amnesia, and homophobia in this novel
I’m sorry this one didn’t work out for you, Chiara! To tell you the truth, I’ve long given up on CC’s novels, because I’ve been getting one disappointment after the other ever since I finished the third book of TMI. I can totally relate, though, because I felt this way about Manus’s novellas. I was SO EXCITED, bc he’s one of my most favorite characters ever, but I guess all those expectations totally ruined the stories for me. With the exception of like, 3 I wasn’t impressed by any of them. :(
Great review & hope the next CC book – or any book, really – you read will be better. :)
Veronika @ The Regal Critiques
I feel like her books are always hit or miss with me! Like, I love some and then others I just have no patience for. I am so scared of the Magnus novellas now :( Which makes me sad because he’s so fabulous!
Thanks, lovely :)
Honestly I thought so too! JAMES HERONDALE IS MY ADORABLE BOOKISH BABY AND YES MATTHEW FAIRCHILD OMG! Also I love Magnus and his bisexuality PLUS super cute Malec moments! <3
I NEED JAMES AND MATTHEW TO BE REAL OMG. I loved Magnus’s rep in his novella, and Malec is a fave ship <3
I tried to read The Bane Chronicles once they were put into an entire book and I just couldn’t do it! Which I found hard to believe because Magnus is my favourite character in the entire series and I adore him to pieces. But I just couldn’t do it.
So I totally get where you are coming from with this! And good for you for toughing it out!
Oh no. Now I am scared about The Bane Chronicles! I bought it before I read this one because MAGNUS. But now I know what this was like I am not as excited D:
Thank you, haha!
Oh no, I’m sorry this was so awful for you – thought it’s nice that you at least enjoyed TWO of the stories. I guess it makes it worthwhile, since you didn’t DNF. I don’t think I could have gotten through 700 pages of something I was just hating most of the time.
I really liked the two stories I ended up liking so I guess it was kind of worth it, haha. I am honestly surprised I got through it! I probably wouldn’t now – I am much more prone to the DNF.
Oh my gosh, what a freaking long book! I really liked Simon when I read about him, and it’s pretty cool that there’s a story about the secondary characters. I haven’t read past the first 2 books though so i’m not sure if I’ll be picking it up. He sounds annoying with the whining lol. Lovely review!
It was SO long it was a little bit painful, haha. I have a kind of love/hate relationship with Simon, but after the ending of the last Mortal Instruments book I thought I would love this. Too bad I was wrong :(
Oh noooooooooooo. This sounds like it was quite a long and awful experience, and I’m so sory! *gasps!* (The exclamation point is completely necessary, obvs, to convey my exclamation. And my pointiness.)
I do struggle, on almost all occasions, with novellas/story collections, and tend to be wary unless I am absolutely keen, because with such a range of authors telling all their stories in, compared to a novel, a relatively short space, I’m just never able to get really invested, or the story finishes just when I’m getting to that invested stage, which is no fun at all. So it has tended towards being very much a trial and more error than enjoyment thing, in my experience, but I’ve got to say that I tend to enjoy more than ~two~ stories and it’s so sad that you only got that much out of this (although they both sound rather sweet, it must be said) and the rest was just disappointing, especially since it’s such a big comittment to make, being a pretty hefty book.
Who were the authors of the stories you liked? I’m quite the fan of Sarah Rees Brennan and enjoy Maureen Johnson’s work, but it’s so hard when you’re reading short stories to get a sense of an author and their style, ect. Like, I’ve probably read short stories that haven’t been my favourite thing ever, but I love the author – so they’re not always the best way to get a taste of how someone writes, I think.
I hope your next book is much more enjoyable, and that your next short story/novella collection (anthology?) is full of stories you adore. xx