Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, & Robin Wasserman

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels
2.) Clockwork Prince ★★★★
5.) City of Lost Souls ★★★★
3.) Clockwork Princess ★★★★★
6.) City of Heavenly Fire ★★★★★
*.) The Bane Chronicles ★★★

With the way that City of Heavenly Fire ended, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy! I thought this was going to be everything, but sadly I was a little let down. I mean, a few of the stories in here are the best I’ve read from this universe ( Bitter of Tongue & Born to Endless Night) but most just felt boring to me, if I’m being honest. I know that sounds horrible, but I just feel a little let down, I guess.

This anthology follows Simon during his time in the academy that spans two years and I’m assuming catches the reader up to date for Lady Midnight. But we also get to see so many other beloved characters, both from past and present. But most importantly, we get to see Simon be the person who he wants to be, after so much was taken from him in The Mortal Instruments.

Simon is my second favorite Shadowhunter character. He is Jewish, he is nerdy, he is funny, he is a good friend, he is selfless, and he is so very easy to love. And he really has been through so damn much in his life; none of it he asked for but was just thrust upon him. Him and Izzy are also my favorite ship, even though I think she was a little questionable during some of these stories, too. I feel like a lot of people couldn’t empathize with everything that Simon was struggling with, and it just made me sad every single time.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this, but again I did think that most of the stories were a little lackluster and left a lot to be desired. Yet, I still had a lot of fun while reading this! But I am going to break down each short story with my thoughts, opinions, and individual star rating!


Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy – ★★

“He waved good-bye to all these people he barely knew and somehow loved anyway, and he hoped they could not tell how relieved he was to be going.”

Yikes, we aren’t off to a good start. Okay, this anthology picks up right after the events of City of Heavenly Fire, but Simon still doesn’t remember everything that happened, but he is now enrolled at the New York Institute. We get to meet so many new students, since the Shadowhunter world is in desperate need to replenish their fighters! I already love George. I already hate Jon. I will say that at first, I was so happy with Izzy’s declaration of love for Simon, but the more and more I kept thinking about it, I kept realizing that I was showing double standards, because if a dude would have done that to a girl I would have really disliked it. I will say that I always appreciated that Simon is the *nerdy one* and Izzy is the *popular one* and how Cassie Clare really plays that opposite trope up to perfection, but Izzy’s speech was a little too much even for me. I want good angst, not forced angst.


The Lost Herondale – ★★★

“We all have our own story of the Dark War. All of us lost something. Some of us lost everything.”

We get to see Simon and twenty of his classmates try and kill their first law breaking Downworlder, but it happens to be a vampire that new Simon before his memories were lost. We get to learn a story about Tobias Herondale, the younger brother of Will, and it is heartbreaking. This story really shows how there are always two sides to a story, and in this case three. I love Catarina so very much, and I really enjoyed the message about how you have to be the person you want to be, and to always listen to your heart. Also, Jon is such a little shit. Also, also, I’m not here for the Izzy pity party, especially with everything Simon has had to go through since he got thrust into this world even though he never asked for any of it. Also, also, also there is an uncharted Herondale line? Lord, help us all.


The Whitechapel Fiend – ★★★★

“The trick to falling is not to fall…”

Oh, my word, there was a lot to like about this one! Not only do we get to see Jace training Shadowhunter kids to jump out of trees, we also get to see Tessa, Will, and Jem solving… get ready for it… the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888 London! Like, I was for sure not expecting to wake up and read that today! But what a gift!


Nothing but Shadows – ★★★★

“James Herondale was the son of angels and demons,” she said softly. “He was always fated to walk a difficult and painful path, to drink bitter water with sweet, to tread where there were thorns as well as flowers. Nobody could save him from that. People did try.”

My favorite thing about the Shadowhunter world? Seeing all these family trees! Like, it is a little hard to keep straight, especially with the Lightwoods, but it just gives me all the warm and fuzzies. Also, seeing James Herondale and Matthew Fairchild become friends gave me all the feels. Again, if you couldn’t tell by my review of The Bane Chronicles! I need The Last Hours immediately! But I also love the growing friendship between George and Simon, too! Also, that letter he wrote to Izzy? Ah, my heart!


The Evil We Love – ★★

“He just knew, on a level beneath reason and memory, that some part of him belonged with Isabelle.”

Easily one of my least favorite short stories set in the Shadowhunter world. Simon and still struggling with his memories, and Izzy is being unnecessarily cruel about it, in my opinion. Then her dad, Robert Lightwood (yuck), and her come to teach the new academy kids an important lesion, while Izzy just goes out of her way to try to lash out and hurt Simon constantly. And Robert gives the kids a flashback to 1984 when Valentine is starting to show his true intentions, but people choose to follow him anyway, for many different reasons. TW for murder, torture, and homophobia.


Pale Kings and Princes – ★★★★★

“This is how a faerie loves: with a gift.”

Easily one of my favorite short stories set in the Shadowhunter world. Summer is over, and Simon is back at the academy for his second year! But Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow mean more to me than 99% of the characters I’ve spent all of 2018 reading about nonstop. But, can we please kill off professor Mayhew already? Like, I’m begging. What an insufferable asshole. But the Institute brings Helen to force her to tell the story of her half fae parentage, while humiliating and belittling her constantly. But she does it so that she can marry the love of her life, who has stuck by her side even when she was exiled to a cold island just because of how she was born. But the reason I loved this story so much was because the true story that even Helen doesn’t know about her mother and Faerie. Like, it was perfect. Everything I’ve ever wanted. Oh, and Simon and Izzy finally make up, but it for sure didn’t mean as much to me, because the last story was so damn painful to read! Like, can Helen and Mark just have their own anthology? Please. I loved this.


Bitter of Tongue – ★★★★★

“I got distracted making out with a boy, and then locked up by a goblin”

Is anyone really surprised that I loved the story about a sapphic marriage between a fae girl and an Asian girl? I have loved these two since their introduction and… their ceremony was everything! Also, this was so amazing because we got to see more of the fae court! Seriously, all I want is more of Mark and Kieran and the Hunt! Please, Cassie Clare, I’m begging you! I honestly just think the Blackthorns are my favorite family. Plus, seeing Izzy and Mark both try to save Simon in very different ways was pretty perfect. This is also the first story that made me feel like Sizzy was back, and it warmed my heart and made me so excited for the final three stories!


The Fiery Trial – ★★★

“True parabatai are linked long before the ceremony takes place.”

This one I feel really on the fence about. Like, drugging people, even with good intentions, isn’t cool. Basically, this is the parabatai short story! We get to see Julie and Beatriz decide to become parabatai. We get to see Emma and Julian become parabatai. And then we get to see Simon and Clary discuss if they want to be parabatai. And… I thought I would like it more than I did. First off, Maureen is the character in this entire Shadowhunter universe that makes me the saddest. Then, add in the drugging situation. Lastly, the feeling weirdness because you know that Emma and Julian are obviously going to eventually have a forbidden romance (even though they are only fourteen in this… yikes!) I don’t know, I am excited to see Simon and Clary become parabatai, but this story wasn’t that great itself.


Born to Endless Night – ★★★★★

“Obviously you would call them Malec,” said Beatriz. “Are you stupid, Simon?”

Best Shadowhunter story ever! EVER! Seriously, this was probably my favorite thing in all of Shadowhunter history. Besides absolutely loving Magnus with everything that I am, seeing him be able to achieve things he never thought possible, even with his immortal life, is just so damn pure and wonderful. I also really appreciated Catarina and Lily in this story, too. Even though I really am dying to know everything about Tobias Herondale’s baby and the past. But yeah, this story was pure joy to read, and really just celebrate the love and honor for family; both blood and found.


Angels Twice Descending – ★★★

“That they would drink from the Mortal Cup. That they would, like the first of the warrior race, Jonathan Shadowhunter, sip the blood of an angel. That they would, if they were lucky, be transformed on the spot into real, full-blooded Shadowhunters.”

The character death in this was just so… pointless. It completely ruined the story for me and ruined all the previous happiness that happened on Magnus’ couch. This is the final story in the anthology, and it concludes Simon’s two-year journey of being in the academy. All the enjoyment that I had from the start of this one just really just fell flat by that ending. And I think it really left the entire collection off on a bad and sour note, if I’m being completely honest. I don’t even know how I feel about him honoring the last name. Yikes.


I gave Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy three stars overall, because out of a possible 50 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 10 stories) this collection accumulated 36 stars (72%)!

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Buddy read with Kaya at A Fictional Bookworm! ❤

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels
2.) Clockwork Prince ★★★★
5.) City of Lost Souls ★★★★
3.) Clockwork Princess ★★★★★

“You are the blade of Heaven. Make sure you are worthy.”

Friends, we did it, we read all of the The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments. I’d like to take a moment and thank each and every one of you who motivated me to read this backlist instead of just jumping into The Dark Artifices. Seriously, I am so grateful because even though the road started off rocky, I quickly became so attached and fell so in love with these characters and this world. (But we don’t talk about City of Fallen Angels, that book never existed!)

Basically, if you are on the fence about starting this series, and not sure what it is about, this is a story about a paranormal world that is hidden from the mundanes (non-magical humans). We see vampires, werewolves, fae *swoons forever still*, angels, demons, and everything else you think of when you think paranormal. And we also are introduced to the world of shadowhunters, the warriors who are sworn to defeat the demons.

But this is also a story that puts friendship at the forefront constantly. This is a tale about found families, choosing who you want to share your life with, and realizing that neither of those things require the same blood. This is a book about unconditional love, and selflessness, and doing anything you can to protect those you care about. And you follow so many different characters, friend groups, and families along the way.

“There will always be those who want to tell you who you are based on your name or the blood in your veins. Do not let other people decide who you are. Decide for yourself.”

And there is just something so beautiful about seeing all these stories, characters, and families intertwine. All these bloodlines mixing truly feels like something so special to read. I don’t compare things to Harry Potter too often, but I will say that the feeling I had while flipping these pages, never wanting to stop, excitedly purchasing the next book, it was all so reminiscent of my Harry Potter experience. And there is really no higher praise that I can give a book series than that.

I loved this final story. I believe with my whole heart and soul that Cassandra Clare just kept improving throughout all of these books. And I have only the highest of hopes for what she will do next. But the rest of my review is going to touch on a couple key things that happened in this book and things that have happened in previous books, so please use caution reading the rest of this review if you have not read this book and its predecessors! And as always, I’m going to do a little mini character breakdown on my thoughts and feelings on all the main characters in this book. Spoilers ahead!

“I think sometimes we are reckless with our hearts the way we are with our lives. When we give them away, we give every piece.”

(I could not find the artist’s name, but I found this amazing picture on Pinterest!)

Jace – I didn’t hate Jace in this book. Damn. There. I said it. Are you happy now? Again, I think Cassie Clare just gets better and better at writing as these books go on, and I was legit happy with Jace’s character, even his pervy dude scenes, because #relatable. But my beautiful friend, Lea, pointed out that Jace brought a condom to Hell and I honestly died of laughter for about five minutes. I aspire to the level of confident that Jace has to not only think he could put it in while in hell, but to also bring protection just in case. But like… I’m here forever and always for safe sex portrayal, especially for teens, even in Hell, my good dudes.

Clary – I feel like I’ve never fallen in love with Clary the way that I have with other characters from this world, but I’ve never disliked her. And I really like how Jace took a backseat and trusted her to finish her own story. Also, I love how she used her power at the end, because I always forget what a badass power it is.

Simon – My sweet, kind, geeky, selfless boy. Simon honestly might be my favorite of this entire world. And him constantly willing to sacrifice parts of himself for his friends, you all… I need all the tissues in the world. He is friendship goals, boyfriend goals, and just human goals. This boy deserves the world.

“I don’t want the world. I want you.”

(Beautiful fanart by taratjaht!)

Isabelle – And Izzy is truly my world. I think Cassie Clare did such a wonderful job crafting her character to break all those gross “mean girl” stereotypes. Izzy is hard and soft, confident and unsure, and beautiful inside and out. Her friendship with Clary in this one also made me really weak. But her realizing she actually loves this selfless vampire, this kind dork, and sweet boy… you all, it is still breaking me. Sizzy 4 lyfe!

Magnus – Okay, be honest, how messed up am I that I really enjoyed seeing Magnus’ dad? Like, damn. I’m impressed and want to know everything about Asmodeus. Magnus was amazing, like always, even though he lost his cat. Ahhh, my heart! But I can’t wait to see what happened in Peru, and some more of his adventures, in The Bane Chronicles!

Alec – I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jace or Alec until this book. Alec was a realistic eighteen-year-old that just had his heart broken, to me. And he was actually amazing throughout this entire story, while showing us all the things he is struggling with deep down. Also, his dad is a fucking asshole even after he was like “my best friend, who was a dude, loved me and I told him to fuck off!” Like, I’m sorry, was that supposed to make me like you and realize you are tolerant of your kid being gay? Miss me with that shit forever, please. But Alec was, and is, going through a lot, and he was still able to tell Magnus what he wanted and what his limits were at the end of this book. Like, I think I finally ship them together.

Emma – Okay, let’s be real, she is Jace junior, BUT 102 times better. But I instantly loved her and wanted her to be protected. I can’t even imagine the grief or trauma she went through and is still going through. And I can’t wait to learn more about her, while she hopefully learns more about her ancestry.

Julian – Legit, these kids are like thirteen-years-old and I’m like “don’t become parabatai, you’re soulmates!” like an insane person. I can already tell that Emma and Jules are going to give me all the feels when they are older. And their writing on each other? Cutest, most pure shit in the entire world. And Julian wanting to be there and raise his brother and sisters when he is just a kid himself? What a sweetheart, and I’m ready to protect him at all costs.

Brother Zachariah – Legit, this character made me cry more than any. From saying where his home was, to asking if someone might play the violin. My heart, I can’t. And I am most excited to see where his storyline goes. And to see him talk about his past with a few young shadowhunters.

“Ghosts are memories, and we carry them because those we love do not leave the world”

Luke – I’ve loved Luke from City of Bones and I loved him through the last page of this book. Legit the best dad, and he deserves the entire galaxy.

Jocelyn – I honestly just came to hate Clary’s mom more and more as this series progressed. Luke is too damn good for her. She not only was a shitty mom to Sebastian, but she was to Clary, too. And hearing her say all that horrible shit about how she wished she could kill him in the crib and stuff. Like, I get it, he’s evil, but can you like not say shit like that? Fuck. Maybe he didn’t get all his evil from Voldemort Valentine.

Mark – At the start of this book, learning that he was half fae, I instantly fell in love. Seriously, I need to know everything about this hunt, and I’m praying that it will be touched upon more!

Helen – At the start of this book, learning that she was half fae AND QUEER, I instantly fell in love. I felt so bad for her at the end of this book because of how she was treated for being half something else, but I can’t wait to learn any and everything about her.

Aline – In my review for City of Glass I wrote, “Um… is this new character Asian and queer? Because, I think she is, and I think I’m head over heels in love with her already.” AND MY SENSES JUST KNEW! JUST KNEW! I bet this character ends up being one of my favorites.

(Gorgeous fanart by DREI SJ!)

Jordan – His death was actually my least favorite thing about this book. And don’t get it wrong; I hated him from the first time I realized who he was. But… the way Cassie made him and Maia so in love, to only realize that fans were probably like, “yo, this some abuse apologist bullshit” so she killed him off and…

Maia – …Maia realized she never could have been happy with him? Like, no. Sorry. That’s not how it was written. And it’s so messed up because I should be so happy that at least the abuse apologist storyline is over, but it just makes me angry how much it got swept under the rug. Especially because Maia is like one of four characters of color. I don’t know, friends. I just, I didn’t like it. Oh, and then she is obviously going to just jump into another relationship with the Bat dude? Like, why does Cassie Clare treat the character of Maia so poorly? It felt so forced and I felt so much cringe while reading it. But I do love how she is in charge of the pack now, so hopefully I enjoy her in other books.

Raphael – Oh and then one of the other three characters of colors dies? Feels bad, man. Especially because I was really starting to feel for Raphael. Poor guy just got dealt such a bad hand in life. But I can’t wait to see his past with Magnus in The Bane Chronicles.

Maureen – This death actually made me sad, too. Like, she didn’t even have a chance. They couldn’t have captured her and done something? Like, how heartbreaking. Seriously.

Seelie Queen – Okay, but where did this bitch go? I literally gasped when I found out who was warming her bed. I’m still not over it.

Kaelie Whitewillow – We are all rooting for you!

Sebastian – You all, I really came to like Sebastian’s character. Was he a little extreme? Yes. Does Cassie Clare love threatening incest? Yes. But even before the evil left him, I felt a lot of empathy for him. He really is the product of growing up with no love, and it really doesn’t have to do with his demon blood. Maybe it’s my age while I’m reading these for the first time or something, but I actually felt a great deal of sadness from Sebastian, and I think he was a really good villain in this book because of the emotions he was able to evoke from me.

So, to summarize, Jace and Clary did it in Hell (protected), Simon and Izzy are the OTP of my dreams, Magnus and Alec deserve all the happiness in the world, I better get more of this fae hunt society thing with Mark, Emma and Julian are already killing me, Sebastian was wild and evil but I still felt bad for him, Maia is a hot mess but it’s Cassie’s fault, Raphael deserved better, and all I want is Alline and Helen to rule the shadowhunter world. It has been a wild ride, friends.

Overall, I am so happy you all convinced me to read this series, instead of just jumping into Lady Midnight. This book in particular gives you so much new information and characters, I think you’d for sure be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t read at least this book. The road might have started out a little rocky for this series, but I really did come to love it with my whole heart. Simon and Izzy are in my top five OTPs of all-time, Magnus is one of my favorite characters in all of literature, and I already need to know more about everything fae! I can’t wait to continue on with The Bane Chronicles!

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Content and trigger warnings for attempted rape, assault, captivity, attempted/desired incest, self-harm, violence, blood depiction, death, murder, loss of a loved one, abandonment, drugging, and war themes.

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★
4.) City of Fallen Angels
2.) Clockwork Prince ★★★★

“But Heaven will not help you; you know that as well as I. That is why men summon demons and not angels, is it not?”

Yeah, this is easily my favorite book in The Mortal Instruments, so far. I think one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed City of Lost Souls so much was because it is told through so many of the side character’s point of view, some of which we have never seen before. Also, a vast majority is told through Simon’s perspective which is all I truly want anyways.

I also actually thought this book had good twists and turns, too. I was impressed so many times while reading, and I truly never wanted to put this 500+ page book down, which says something all on its own. Like, I see some reviews saying that this book was slow, but I didn’t feel like that at all. And like… did these people read the mess that is City of Fallen Angels? Lord, help me.

Okay, my review is going to touch on a couple key things that happened in this book and things that have happened in previous books, so please use caution reading the rest of this review if you have not read this book and its predecessors! And as always, I’m going to do a little mini character breakdown on my thoughts and feelings on all the main characters in this book.

Jace – I still very much dislike Jace, but he was a bit more bearable in this book. Probably because he was barely in it, and when he was he was being halfway possessed or whatever.

Clary – Clary was actually the one to annoy me in this book. Especially after reading about Tessa; Clary is just not that great of a character. And so many of the choices she made in this book were beyond questionable. I get that she loves Jace, but the world is a lot bigger than Jace Herondale, Lightwood, Morgenstern, Voldemort, what the fuck ever he wants to be called.

Simon – Simon is my second favorite character in all things Shadowhunters, I think. I know he messed up big in City of Fallen Angels, and I will call him out for it all day long, but he really had a pure and sweet redemption arc in this, that I think was handled very healthily and very realistically. And my otp are living their best lives. Bless.

“Okay. I’ve got a good one.” Simon stroked Isabelle’s hair, feeling her lashes flutter against his neck as she closed her eyes. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”

Isabelle – Here is the real tea: I think Izzy is my favorite character in this entire universe. Like, every book I fall more and more in love with her. And in City of Lost Souls, seeing her learn what it means to be vulnerable and that it is okay… friends, I have a lot of feelings. And seeing her finally take down her walls and give her heart away to someone who she deems as worthy? More beautiful than words.

Magnus – I love this character so much. Him realizing his worth and value at the end of this book? It meant everything to me. I feel like Alec has constantly been treating him like shit, honestly. But he went way too far in this one, and I’m so happy that Magnus realized he didn’t deserve that kind of abuse. Even though I know they are totally going to get back together, let’s be real. But this time it will be on more equal ground. Oh, and I want to know everything about his father immediately!

Alec – This is actually the first book that I didn’t hate or borderline hate Alec, which is funny because he almost did a hella bad thing in this book. But I think it’s because Cassie opened up the storylines and allowed us to see behind the eyes of some of the side characters in this book. And I think that very much benefitted Alec.

Luke – I always and forever will love Luke and his unconditional love towards so many characters in this world. But…

Jocelyn – Jocelyn was highkey annoying as hell in this book. Like, I get she’s upset that she birthed a demon or whatever, but hearing her talk about wishing to kill her baby in the crib and stuff really wasn’t enjoyable to read. And like, she always tries to be so strict, after just being so lenient. I don’t know, I just really didn’t like her in this book.

Aline – I said in my review for City of Glass, “Is this a new queer and Asian character” because your girl was hyped. And then she comes into this book in a f/f relationship? The blessing. Wow. How perfect.

Maia & Jordan – I will talk more about them below, but they were one of the things I disliked most about this book. Miss me with abuse apologist storylines forever, please.

“Of course, not thinking about the ex-boyfriend who had broken your heart and turned you into a werewolf was a lot easier when he wasn’t standing right in front of you, wearing a green shirt that hugged his leanly muscled body in all the right places and brought out the hazel color of his eyes.”

Seelie Queen – Still one of my favorites, but Clary still playing with fire. I need so much more from her and her court.

“The Fair Folk are an old people; we do not make hasty decisions but first wait to see in what direction the wind blows.”

Camille – I don’t believe it for a second.

Maureen – But if true; damn, girl!

Sebastian – Like, I honestly did like him as a character until he got all unnecessarily incestuous! But I love his motive, I love him coming back from the dead, and I loved this magical, moving apartment. Again, I think he’s a really strong villain who made me really think about his motives, until the end when shit just got gross.

“You know he doesn’t remember any of it, right? Did he show you a good time, at least? Because I would have.” She tasted bile in her throat. “You’re my brother.” “Those words don’t mean anything where we’re concerned. We aren’t human.”

Okay, I really didn’t want to write this paragraph, but I feel like I have to. The one thing that really bothered me about this book is Cassie Clare’s constant use of incest as a threat and/or just as a storyline. I thought finally, after City of Glass, we were past this, but now with Sebastian coming back, she just doubled-down on the incest. Even in Clockwork Prince I felt like the Tessa going undercover to trick Nate and pretend to be his lover and was gross and unnecessary. But City of Lost Souls is the worst use of incest “angst” yet. And I still feel really gross about the things that Clary did with Jace while Sebastian was in control or whatever. I mean, on top of the fact that he actually attempts to rape her, too. Friends, it’s a hot mess. A really gross, skeezy, uncomfortable hot mess.

“There are worse things than dying,” he said. “And I will do them all to you, little sister, once you’ve drunk from the Cup. And you will like it.”

The only other thing that really bothered me was actually the main reason I one starred City of Fallen Angels; Maia and Jordan are a romance I will never get behind. And in City of Lost Souls their relationship is really magnified. Abuse apologists’ storylines need to be canceled, and they are never okay; not in 2018 and not back in 2010. I’m not here for a Jordan redemption arc and I never will be. And this book really put the band-aid on everything Maia was forced to go through, but Jordan is “so hot” and looks “so good in tight shirts” how could she resist all that good sex from the hands of her abuser? And I felt like he even forced her into a relationship, since he refused to be her friend ONLY something more. Brb, throwing up forever.

“You won’t be my friend.” “I won’t be just your friend. I love you, Maia. I’m in love with you. I always have been. I always will be. Just being your friend would kill me.”

Overall (and besides those two things), I really enjoyed this book and I found it actually difficult to put down. I also believe that this is Cassandra Clare’s best written work yet. The style just felt so much more cohesive and the story felt so much more compelling. This was also the first book that felt like it had a lot of plot and intricate things happening constantly. And there were so many small nods at Clockwork Prince that warmed my heart so very much. Friends, this was really fun book to read, but I can’t wait to (probably, based on all your reactions) get my heart shattered with Clockwork Princess


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Content and trigger warnings for sexual content, incestuous storylines, assault, attempted rape, abandonment, abuse, parental abuse, murder, death, violence, gore, blood depiction, self-harm, and war themes.

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★
3.) City of Glass ★★★
1.) Clockwork Angel ★★★

“Why is it, little Shadowhunter, that your angels are so cold and without mercy? Why do they break that which will not obey them?”

Okay, I’m going to start this review off by saying that I am reading this for the first time in 2018. I know this is almost a decade old. And I know so many of my friends hold this series close to their hearts and have a lot of nostalgia for it. But friends, this was a damn mess. Easily the worst book I’ve read from Cassandra Clare, and the themes were hella harmful and disgusting to read.

So, I’m not going to say any major spoilers, but this review is going to talk about my thoughts and feelings, which will talk about some things that have already happened in the story, and themes that have happened in this book. So, please use caution while reading this review if you are not up to date with this series.

Okay, I don’t really know how to do this review. And I’ll be honest, I’m a little scared because I know how beloved this series is. But these are the five things really made me dislike this book:

ONE: What have I complained about in every TMI book so far? Jace. I mean, I guess this book made the most sense on why he was acting the way he was, so I’ll cut him a little slack. But the dude wants to be Clary’s brother so bad, and just wants to live in pain so desperately, that it makes for a really unenjoyable reading experience.

TWO: Alec’s behavior in this book killed me. I know most of my friends love this character, but I honestly have disliked him from the start. Not only was he shitty to Clary about something she couldn’t control, but now he’s going to be shitty about Magnus and his past? I mean, he’s like 800 years old, you expect him to be a virgin? I don’t understand. And if you all want to be like, “Well Alec is still young!” Then maybe he shouldn’t be dating someone that’s so much older and more experienced than him. I mean, he obviously can’t handle it. And I also feel like there were some “stereotypical gay dude” things in this, that made my skin crawl, honestly. And how he treated an abused person at the end of this book because he’s a petty little fuck? *throws up forever*

THREE: Cheating is not okay, even if you’re young, grieving, and learning what you want from a relationship. Simon is one of my favorite characters. If I was Clary, I would have easily wanted to be with him over Jace. But I’ll never be here to make excuses for people’s shitty actions. And Simon acted really shitty in this book. And not to be too much here, but who the fuck would cheat on Isabelle Lightwood anyway? Like, what a dumbass.

FOUR: Abuse apologists’ storylines need to be canceled, and they are never okay; not in 2018 and not back in 2010. And the fact that I’ve never even seen this mentioned makes me honestly sick to my stomach. Comparing Simon’s need to eat from blood will NEVER be the same as a freshly turned werewolf physically assaulting and turning someone they “care” about into a werewolf against their wishes. There should be no redemption arc here, ever. It’s disgusting and was honestly the biggest contributing factor as to why I hated this book.

FIVE: Like, nothing happened in this book until the last four chapters. And then the “twists” felt so over the top that I couldn’t even stop the side eye if I tried. Especially the closing like of this book. Lord, help me.

And, like with all my reviews of this series, I’m going to break down my thoughts briefly on each of the main characters:

Jace – Wants to live his life in pain and annoy me forever.

Clary – Such a bland character. Like, she is supposed to be the star, true? But she’s so forgettable.

Simon – My dude fucked up.

Isabelle – My queen. Deserves the entire universe and all the stars within it. Way too fucking good for Simon at this point.

Magnus – My king. Deserves the entire universe and all the stars within it. Way too fucking good for Alec at this point.

Alec – I honestly feel like I just disliked him more and more each book. When am I finally going to see this character that you all love so much?

Luke – Planning a wedding, therefore, not in this book as much. But I still love him.

Jocelyn – Planning a wedding, therefore, not in this book as much. She’s alright.

Maia – I wish, more than anything else in this series, that she would see her worth and realize that it’s okay to be alone and it’s okay to not accept an apology from your abuser.

Jordan – The scum of this book. I have so much hatred in my heart for him. I’m going to buy Maia a “dump him” shirt. Boy, bye.

Seelie Queen – Still one of my favorites, but Clary still playing with fire. I’m hyped.

Camille – I liked her in TID and I liked her in this one. Give me all the morally grey characters, please. Especially one that gets under Alec’s skin so much.

Lilith – Like, this book was dark as fuck. All the stuff with the babies? I was honestly feeling disturbed. But she was a pretty good villain, if I’m being honest. Just a little too over the top.

Overall, I hope this is the only book I’ll give one star to in the Shadowhunter world. And I’ll be really honest, I am really starting to regret that I didn’t just start my Cassie Clare experience with Lady Midnight, because I’m truly thinking that these books don’t hold up well while I read them as an adult in 2018. I feel like this fanbase is really fueled by nostalgia and not actual substance, because this book was honestly awful. But I’m so ready to dip back into TID with Clockwork Prince! Wish me luck.

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Content and trigger warnings for medical experimentation, a lot of talk of children’s deaths, a lot of blood depiction, misogynistic comments, death, murder, cheating, abandonment, self-harm, talk of suicide, and war themes.

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★

“You are an arrow shot directly into the heart of the Clave, Jace. You are Valentine’s arrow. Whether you know it or not.”

I recently did a poll on Twitter, asking people if I should continue on with this series, or just throw in the towel and read Lady Midnight. I will say that the majority vote was for me to just skip it all, but so many of my best friends wrote to me and pleaded with me not to. So, here I am, continuing on.

I truly enjoyed City of Bones more than City of Ashes, which, I’m not going to lie, scares me for City of Glass, but I’m going to read it anyway. I just felt like this book has too many Harry Potter parallels. From the use of Fenrir Greyback to help Valentine justify being a bigot, to Valentine’s just general quest to collect horcrux-like items. Even the scene with him and Jace where Jace is screaming “I’m nothing like you!” I just felt like I could really see the Harry Potter fanfic shining through, honestly. And it made for a lot less enjoyable reading experience.

“A pair of werewolves occupied another booth. They were eating raw shanks of lamb and arguing about who would win in a fight: Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books or Magnus Bane.”

But you know what I did like? The Queen of Faerie and her entire underworld quote. You all, I was living for that entire chapter, and twisted as the end became. I was on the edge of my chair reading. Completely falling in love with the imagery. From the morbid dancing, to the fae feast, to the inability to lie yet to twists words like no one else. I was living for it. And I personally love Seelie and Unseelie fae courts, and it was just everything I wanted. If the entire book was set there I would have given it an easy five stars.

So, in my review for City of Bones, I did this little breakdown for each character, and I really enjoyed it! I think I’m going to try to continue on for all of Cassie’s books!

Clary – I still don’t think I dislike her as much as many, but she’s just mediocre if I’m being honest. Not a very interesting main character. And *unpopular opinion* she does Simon dirty.

Jace – Meanwhile, Jace just wants to do Clary, dirtily. Like, I am really trusting you all that what is going on isn’t real, but I can’t believe I didn’t get an answer in book two. I’m still side-eyeing all of you. But especially Jace, because that boy does not care. All the Joe Dirt vibes. Also, just in general, Jace does a lot of shitty things in this book (more on that later).

Simon – I felt like I was on a roller-coaster ride this book with Simon. But, I honestly like him. I am not here for any part of this weird triangle, but Simon is the best point, in my opinion. Also, he got a whole hell of a lot more interesting in this book. And I actually really like the Jewish rep in this book, all because of Simon.

Isabelle – Has a sidepiece fae guard boyfriend and talk about goals. I love her. Easily my favorite character with…

Magnus – My bisexual, Asian love! The star of this series, I swear to God. I legit was tearing up at the end when he used his powers to… take a swim. Lord, help me. What a confirmed angel. I will say though, when they said he was over one-hundred-years-old in this book, I kind of took a step back and paused, since he is starting a relationship with someone who isn’t even eighteen yet. Like, I don’t want to get shit for this, but, like, that feels bad and honestly skeevy. And he might have the body of a younger person, but him and Alec’s mindsets are lightyears apart. And even though I love Magnus on his own, I truly don’t love his relationship with Alec. At least not right now in the story. Which I know is a very unpopular opinion. Please, don’t hate me.

Alec – Annoying green-eyed monster. I’m sorry, friends! I know how much you all love him, but, like, no. I guess he was a bit better in this book, but I just really don’t seem to like him like everyone else.

Max – Izzy and Alec’s little brother, and a totally sweetie. He was mentioned in City of Bones, but I feel like this was the book that I actually got to see his character.

Luke – You all, I love Luke. And the end of this book? When he has accepted his life as it is, just to have Clary’s mom in it. Too pure. Luke is probably my fourth favorite character and is a shining light after seeing all these teenagers doing dumb things constantly.

Maia – I actually really liked the introduction of this new werewolf girl, even though my heart was breaking constantly for her. I don’t know how I feel about Simon’s instant feelings, but I like Maia a lot and can’t wait to read more about her!

Imogen – This character just pissed me off mostly, but I feel like I should mention her mostly because of the last name “Herondale” and how I know you all go buck-wild over a person named Will Herondale that I haven’t met yet! But, it was probably pointless of me to bring this character up.

Valentine – The Voldemort vibes were abundant in this one. But he also felt like a mustache twirling and finger tapping villain, too. And he’s obviously playing all these kids.

Okay, everything else in my review is going to be kind of spoilery. Nothing major, and no huge plot points or anything, but just things that really bothered me and I kind of want to talk about. And, they are all about Jace.

First off, Jace outs Alec and it was so gross and made me so uncomfortable. In front of Clary and Simon, while Luke and Maia are also in the house. And the whole scene is painted like Jace is doing “good” by “not caring” and “wanting Alec to be honest with him” when Alec is obviously unhappy and very uncomfortable. And then after, he expected Magnus to “step up” and confirm that he was seeing Alec. Like, all of Chapter Twelve was disgusting, and it was all because of Jace.

Trigger and content warnings for abuse, bullying, murder, death, abduction, captivity, outing someone, and incestuous things (that is probably going to end up not being incest, but it still told in a way where it looks like incest).

“The greatest fear in Jonathan’s life is the love he feels for his sister.”

Okay, I’m just going to say it. Jace is totally, 100%, without question, okay with fucking Clary while he thinks she is his sister. Now, I’m hoping, and praying, and really thinking that this fandom, and all my friends, wouldn’t want me to read this series if they knew incest was truly in it. But, this book had me shook. Jace legitimately does not care. He even says at one point that no one has to know and that they can just keep it a secret. Like, Lord, clean my eyes, please. I can only imagine what all you where thinking, reading this for the first time, being little kids.

The last thing I guess doesn’t really have much to do with Jace, but actually Valentine. Why did he have to specifically choose the blood sacrifice victims that he did? I mean, the spell legit only called for the blood of children of the four houses (warlock, werewolf, vampire, and fae), why did he have to keep going after two of the most important and watched over ones? He could have legit got any random one off the streets and been a thousand times more successful.

Overall, I didn’t love this one, and I know I sound kind of negative in the paragraphs above, but I did have fun while reading this. I mostly liked every scene without Jace being problematic, and I read it in under twenty-four hours! Yet, I do like this world! And I think that the whole topic of “downworlders” and how people can believe that others have “not as pure blood” is something that I think is still damn important to be talking about in 2018. I will for sure continue on with City of Glass, and hopefully I will enjoy it more!

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City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

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“Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side.”

Hi, my name is Melanie, and I’m the last person on this planet to read anything by Cassie Clare! But I had too many best friends who promised me that reading this series would be worth it for me to finally get to Lady Midnight! Well, the other night I did an Instagram poll, because I wanted something fae and I was just going to pick up Lady Midnight, without reading any of Cassie’s other work, and some of my friends lost their shit, to put it lightly. And this is the story of how I got roped into finally reading City of Bones in 2018.

Again, I’m the last person to read this, but City of Bones starts off with a young girl named Clary, and her and her friend, Simon, are in line for a teen club. Yeah, the two-thousand vibes were real. Once inside the club, a couple individuals catch her eye and she can’t resist following them out of the club, to only realize that she isn’t supposed to be able to see them in the first place.

We are then thrown into the paranormal world that is hidden from the mundanes (non-magical humans). We see vampires, werewolves, fae *swoons forever*, angels, demons, and everything else you think of when you think paranormal. And we also are introduced to the world of shadowhunters, the warriors who are sworn to defeat the demons.

And Clarey’s world gets turned upside down when she realizes that her mother has been doing everything in her power to keep her hidden from this paranormal world. And Clary can’t even ask her for the truth, because her mother has gone missing. And the only people who can help her are the shadowhunters. *dun dun dun*

“Keep in mind that when your mother fled from the Shadow World, it wasn’t the monsters she was hiding from. Not the warlocks, the wolf-men, the Fair Folk, not even the demons themselves. It was them. It was the Shadowhunters.”

Back when this series came out, everyone was saying it was “Harry Potter fanfic” and my pretentious, Harry Potter obsessed self wasn’t going to read anything that was a rip off of my fandom. And were a few of the similarities there? Yeah, I mean, this is a story that centers around three brothers with three magical items that a certain villain wants, who has been presumed dead for a while now. The parallels (and names, I guess) between Valentine and Voldemort are very apparent, especially their desire for wanting magic blood to be pure. But besides this big aspect, I really couldn’t easily see any other Harry Potter elements.

But you know what else? City of Bones holds up decently well in 2018. I was a little thrown off that it is told in third person, but I actually think it has aged pretty well. I am always so desperately scared to go back and read my high school favorites, because I doubt they will hold up and have the same magic they did back in the mid two-thousands. This this was a good read, and it was funny, and touched on a lot of things that are super relevant and “cool” today.

And I was honestly impressed that Cassandra Clare wasn’t scared to write in LGBTQIAP+ characters in 2007. I was surprised that we got confirmation for two characters, without it ever feeling manipulative or even drawn out. And she even touches on homophobia and how differently a character would be treated if their colleagues knew he was gay. I mean, this is pretty impressive for 2007, and it wasn’t lost on me. I will say the end there was a villain that maybe did the things he did because of his love for another man that I wish wasn’t in the book, but it didn’t erase the good Cassie did with the other two characters.

“The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me.”

This book also surprisingly made me laugh. Jace is like the most sarcastic character ever, and he actually had me laughing in so many scenes. And I loved seeing the mystery unfold right alongside Clary. Magnus was everything, I wanted so much more of him instantly. But I ended up thinking that Luke and his backstory stole the spotlight. I wasn’t prepared for those feelings. And this book had a huge cast of characters, so I’m very curious about how I’ll feel about all of them as the series progresses.

Quick sentence about how the characters made me feel:
Clary – super likeable.
Jace – half love and half hate (and still side eyeing you all, maybe).
Simon – so annoying, please, no one give this boy a certain cup.
Isabelle – marry me this instant.
Alec – I feel neutral but hope to end up liking more.
Magnus – going to be the best character in literature.
Luke – the star of this book for me.
Hodge – super good surprise.
Valentine – needs to get bent.

“You want to know what it’s like when your parents are good churchgoing folk and you happen to be born with the devil’s mark?”

Overall, I went into this with the lowest of expectations. Like, picture the lowest expectations that a human can have. Okay, now, mine were lower than even that. So maybe that’s why I got so much enjoyment out of this story. But I honestly did have a lot of fun with this, and it made me very curious to pick up the next book (hopefully soon)! Also, I have been very blessed to not be spoiled for anything in this series, the only thing I always hear was, “CLARY AND JACE!” Which is why I’m side-eyeing each one of you if the ending of this book is true. Like, you all nasty.


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