ARC provided by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.
Ghost of the Shadow Market is truly my favorite anthology set in the Shadowhunter universe, so far. Each story is so different, so unique, and really transcends all time periods, all generations, and all of my expectations. I loved this, friends.
And this bind-up is all about Brother Zachariah, former Silent brother, and all the different shadow markets through the ages and through our world. And, again, you get to see glimpses of all the different generations of Shadowhunters in all of the different time periods. I read the first eight stories in 2018, but I just finished off the last two since the collection is now out in the world! And I truly recommend this anthology to any and every Shadowhunter fan.
I am going to break down each short story with my thoughts, opinions, and individual star rating! I would highly recommend that you are caught up with Queen of Air and Darkness and everything previously published, before reading this anthology and before reading this review! Spoilers ahead! Please use caution!
➽ Son of the Dawn – ★★★★
“Every world contains other worlds within it.”
It is official, The New York City Shadow Market is the coolest one we’ve seen so far? Abandoned theater? Ahhh, the aesthetics. But this story takes place in 2000, and I will be honest with you all, I sure in the hell wasn’t expecting a story about how Jace came to join the Lightwood family. Damn, my emotions are all over the place, because seeing Raphael alone makes me weep. Also, I think it was really smart for Cassie Clare to show us a “good” side of Robert Lightwood, especially after finishing Lord of Shadows. Also, all that talk of parabatai bonds? Lord, help us all. But I think my sappy self cried hardest over two initials. Okay, I know this brief review is all over the place, but this was such an unexpected treat and I was smiling while reading this entire story. From Izzy watching Alec discover who he is, to me crying even more over Max, to Jace being Jace even at a young age, to Lily Chen actually making me laugh out loud, to me screaming at seeing Raphael confirming that he is ace, I love all of this. And even just seeing Raphael come to Brother Zachariah for help and to go on what ends up being such a meaningful adventure, that really impacts all their lives eventually, it was just amazing. I really loved this short story and I think it was such an amazing glimpse at the past, that really makes you appreciate the future so much more.
➽ Cast Long Shadows – ★★
“Old sins cast long shadows.”
Okay, I’m still hyped for The Last Hours though, but I think it is mostly for James Herondale, even though Matthew Fairchild is such a little sweetheart. I loved seeing him interact with Brother Zachariah, and loving him just because so many of his loved ones love him. I love that feeling, and I think that’s something in life that I experience a lot that books rarely depict. But in this short story takes place in London 1901, and we get to see Matthew dealing with something that’s really bothering him, while willing to do anything to find out the truth. Oh, and Alastair Carstairs is such a little jerk, but I know Cassie is going to give him a homelife (and a father, I think) that is going to make us feel a lot of empathy toward him. But why the hell is Sophie (my queen, still) and Gideon’s kid friends with him? Yet, I love seeing Henry’s disability rep, I love seeing Charlotte say fuck your misogyny to the Clave, and I just love seeing all these glimpses at old friendships that we already love, but also all the new glimpses at what is to come. And seeing Jem, Will, and Tessa living their lives after Clockwork Princess will never not equal parts break my heart and heal my soul. And yeah, I’m still crying over that staff. Lord, help me.
➽ Every Exquisite Thing – ★★★★
“Foolish people say so many things. But we know who we are…”
Anna Lightwood deserves the entire galaxy and all the stars within it, please spread the word. Like, the child of Cecily and Gabriel is a true blessing to the Shadowhunter universe. And the end of this made me happier than any other Shadowhunter short story I’ve ever read. In short, this story is love letter to nonbinary people, and we get to follow Anna embracing being a genderfluid lesbian. Even though everyone knows that queer people existed all throughout history, this story highlights how it was harder to come out back in the 1900s. But seeing Anna live their best life was everything and it warmed my heart so very much. And, again, Cassie Clare is just being more and more inclusive and she impresses me so very much. And there is f/gq romance in this story, too! But the heart of this story is identity and being the person you are on the inside on the outside, too. Okay, I’m done gushing; this story we also get to see Anna and Matthew explore the London nightlife and meet a woman named Leopolda in a club and bring to ask a few questions. And soon, them and Brother Zachariah are trying to figure out what she’s up to. And I think that we are soon going to get a lot more background story on Tessa, and I cannot wait for The Last Hours, friends. It is going to be so amazing, and now Anna is going to make me even more excited!
➽ Learn about Loss – ★★★★
“I want you to give them both a span of time. Both of them in a time and place where they can be young and happy and together.”
Current mood: Forever weeping over the masterpiece that is the end of this short story. You all, Will and Jem will always be best friend goals, and honestly are the definition of platonic unconditional pure love. (I mean, I won’t go into my polyamorous wants because Cassie Clare didn’t bless us!) But friends, this story just has a lot in it that I really appreciated. And I loved this dark carnival Shadow Market. This story is set in 1936 Tennessee, during the end of the Great Depression, and not only do we follow Brother Zachariah, but also the soon-to-be Iron Sister, Emilia, who easily stole my heart. And Sister Emilia’s promise? Goosebumps. Perfection. Also, I think these stories are really going to make an impact for QoAaD.
➽ A Deeper Love – ★★★
“…those two twin souls, the only souls she had ever loved.”
Friends, I was not expecting a WWII story set in London that starred Tessa Gray and Catarina Loss working as nurses. But oh my gosh, it was so beautifully and hauntingly unexpected. And there is still a Shadow Market that they bargain at, but even the paranormal war is impacted (both positively and negatively) by war. And Brother Zachariah just happens to be at the Shadow Market, where bombs are dropping from the sky, while he gets into his own altercation with a fae who thinks he is meddling in affairs that do not involve him. And I believe the point of this story was that we get to see that weapon poison that Julian and Emma deal with in Lady Midnight. I also cried for probably a third of this just because Brother Zachariah and Tessa both dealing with loss, while healing and living with love, just guts me every time. It’s so pure, and so hopefully, and just gives me all the feelings under the sun. The power of love is something so strong, and this story just left me in awe, honestly.
➽ The Wicked Ones – ★★★
“They’d both given a piece of their hearts to a Herondale. And they both loved someone they could not have.”
Oh, boy. So, this story is set in 1989 Paris, where we meet a young girl named Céline and get to see the uprising of Valentine. Céline has constantly run away from her abusive home, and the parents that torture her and call it love. And when she was eight years old, she ran away and felt safe and at home for the very first time – at the Paris Shadow Market. But in this story we see her almost ten years later, and she is desperately trying to feel welcome with Valentine and his elite crew. And she is also realizing she is completely and utterly in love with Stephen Herondale. But while this is going on, Brother Zachariah is in search of a lost necklace and a lost child. This story really dives deep into how manipulative people can gaslight to get what they want, and will always try to isolate people and convince them that what they are doing is in their best interest. It is always really interesting to see the rise and fall of Valentine Morgenstern, but this story just made me feel really sad for Amatis and for another child who has yet to be born.
➽ The Land I Lost – ★★★★★
“Your voice is the music I love best in all the world.”
First and foremost, it is very obvious that Lily Chen is not straight, but Cassie Clare confirmed on Tumblr that she is pan! The blessings. The actual blessings. Also, hello, my new favorite character. Lily is half Japanese and half Chinese, and was made a vampire under the saddest of circumstances. And her love for Raphael Santiago warms my black heart like nothing else in the entire Shadowhunter world. And even though I could go on forever about my love for her, this story is more about her and Alec going to the Buenos Aires Institute together because Jem and Tessa are in need of help, and someone requested Alec personally. This story is actually pretty dark, so content and trigger warnings for abandonment, captivity, sex trafficking, sex slavery, and war themes. Nothing is graphic, but it is very much talked about, so please use caution. But Alec soon finds out that the Buenos Aires Institute is being heavily influenced by Horace Dearborn, and they are allowing children whose parents were killed in the Dark War to be orphans living on the street, just because they are Downworlders. Alec then comes across a Shadowhunter child who they are also unwilling to help, and the other Downworlders are too scared to bring in, therefore he must take action. You all, this novella was heartbreaking and heartwarming. Seeing Magnus and Alec be such good fathers to Max, and then adopting their second child, Rafe, it is something I don’t even have words for. And they are allowing their children to be whatever they want to be, Warlock or Shadowhunter, and will never stop giving them unconditional love. Even just seeing glimpses of Jace and Izzy being an uncle and an aunt had me smiling so big! It is a joy to read, pure joy. But we learn so much during this longer addition to the anthology, too. All the information we got of/from Mother Hawthorn? Damn.
➽ Through Blood, Through Fire – ★★★★
“But we bear so much that seems unthinkable. The only truly unbearable burden is living without love.”
Okay, I won’t lie, even though I have loved watching Brother Zachariah go on this quest of finding the lost Herondale, I feel like it is my least favorite aspect of this anthology. And even though this short story gave us major insight on Rosemary and Jack, it wasn’t a big surprise after reading The Wicked Ones. But then, once the story catches up to the events at the end of Lady Midnight, and Tessa drops the REAL information of this story. You all, my jaw dropped. And my eyes? The tears won’t stop coming after that last paragraph. Wow, the blessings. The happiness. The everything. Queen of Air and Darkness can’t come soon enough.
➽ Ghosts of Old Loves – ★★★★
“A boy, a Carpathian lynx, and a ghost.”
This story starts out with Ty in Scholomance, but we get to see it through the eyes of Livvy. Yeah, my heart is officially breaking, too. We also get to meet Irene, a new animal companion that I already love. And we get to see a little glimpse into Idris and how Zara and Manuel are holding down their bigoted fort. Livvy is learning to do so much with her ghost form, and I know she is only just beginning to discover her powers, while also being bound to Ty. I am also incredibly excited for Ty to write some letters.
➽ Forever Fallen – ★★★★★
“Memories were like love: wound and cure, both at once.”
Daddy Jem is best Jem. Oh my word, I am not even exaggerating when I say that I cried through this entire short story. Perfection, pure perfection, to the very powerful last line. This story is set in 2013, and we get to see two very different families in juxtaposition with one another. One being Jem, Tessa, Kit, and baby Mina! The other being Ash, Thule Jace (AKA: Janus), and wishfully hoping that Clary will soon join them. The story switches points of view, back and forth, but both storylines are completely captivating and immersive. We see Kit realize that Jem and Tessa love him more than anything, while finally feeling found and safe. We see Janus is willing to do anything to have Clary’s love, and he will probably wreak havoc in the three years leading up to The Wicked Powers to attempt to claim it. Also seeing Lily react to Thule Raphael’s actions, and seeing Thule Raphael’s reaction to what happened to Thule Lily, it just broke me in the best way possible. This story was the perfect concluding story for this anthology, and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to wait for what is to come next.
I gave Ghosts of the Shadow Market 4 stars overall, because out of a possible 50 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 10 stories) this collection accumulated 38 stars (76%)!