Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

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Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fireleft him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it. So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. 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. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

This was one of those books I didn’t know I needed. I loved it, and I can’t imagine the Shadowhunter world without it now. First of all, I love that this was based on Simon, but included a wide arc of characters. I actually liked Simon throughout The Mortal Instruments, but actually being with him through a book really helped me relate to him.

The set of the Shadowhunter Academy was awesome to! It gave a link to each of these stories, and offered up something new to the Shadowhunter world.

“I think sometimes it’s too hard to believe in yourself. You just do the things you’re not sure you can do.”

I also have to tell you guys that it only took me like four days to read this 650 page book?! I think this is due to the clever layout of the book, being cut into short stories of 50-100 pages each. Every day I would aim to read at least 2 stories, and it just flew by. Honestly, the short story concept was so well done in every way. Interlinking the characters by having them come into the Academy was such a clever way to read about side characters, and not stray too far from Simon’s story!

“You just act, in spite of not being certain. I don’t believe I can change the world–it sounds stupid to even talk about it–but I’m going to try.”

Overall, this book is a must for Shadowhunter fans! It’s such a great bridge between The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices, and I feel ready to continue with the next daunting series!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽


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Review: City of Heavenly Fire (#6) by Cassandra Clare

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Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…

What an ending to such a beautiful, absorbing series. I’m so sad to leave Clary and her story behind, but so satisfied to look back on all that has happened in this 6 book journey!

Firstly, I can’t believe I really didn’t feel the size of this book at all. At 650 pages, it’s quite a big one, but the pages flew by and I barely noticed it. The part that took me longest to read was actually the prologue, as we were suddenly introduced to new characters, Emma Carstairs and her story. However, I pushed on through and found I loved having Emma mentioned throughout the book. Due to her presence, I feel ready to go and read her story in The Dark Artifices. 

“We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us.”

Due to the changing scenery, the pacing was excellent. The books contained so much emotion between different scenes and different characters, and over and over again I was faced with a sense of loss. I adore how Clare works with so many characters and I honestly believe it’s one of her greatest gifts. However, her writing greatly improves throughout The Mortal Instruments and I felt the difference here compared to City of Bones.

I did find the plot a little predictable, as most of the books in this series follow a similar plot, but it was filled with enough small twists and surprises to keep me on my toes.

“As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.”

I have to also praise Clare for the incredible extended magical world she created. I don’t feel like she’s writing too many books set in this universe, which considering how much she is writing, is crazy. Most worlds have their limits, but this one does really feel limitless. I’m so excited to continue with her books, including The Dark Artifices, The Bane Chronicles, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy and many more as they are released! I cannot get enough of this world, and I adore how the characters are interlinked between the series in some small way, leaving me emotional reading mentions of characters from other series.

Overall, what an incredible end to The Mortal Instruments, leaving me feel satisfied but also wanting more from this world.

★★★★★ 
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Lost Souls (#5) by Cassandra Clare

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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?

I can’t believe I’m about to start the last book of The Mortal Instruments, as it’s now gotten to the point that I cannot imagine leaving Clary, Jace and their friends and families behind.

It took me only four days to read this wonder, as the pages just flew by. Once I’d gotten into this story, there was no way to get me back out again. I’ve loved all of the books so far, but again, this one stood out for me. Like City of Glass (which still stands as my favourite so far), City of Lost Souls is set in places other than New York. And it fits the story so well to travel, to see these people in beautiful places all over the world.

““I never cared,” he said.”

Again, the characters did not let me down. I’m going to guess that I’m not spoiling things for anyone if I say I ship Magnus and Alec. Honestly, those two have become one of my favourite couples of all time, and I loved their scenes in this book.

I adored how deeply the plot was interwoven with the characters and their relationships. I think that’s the reason why I flipped through this one so quickly, because I couldn’t help but need to know what was going to happen to the characters. Clary, once again, grows and matures in this book and I found she came across as such a strong young woman. I loved the emotional scenes between numerous characters, especially a specific scene between Clary and ‘real’ Jace which brought tears to my eyes.

““I wanted you anyway. I always wanted you.””

Overall, this book had so much substance and complexity that made it so compulsive! I’m definitely hyped to start City of Heavenly Fire despite it’s size and the smaller size of the text in my copy!

★★★★★ 
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Fallen Angels (#4) by Cassandra Clare

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To love is to destroy… 
The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and – most importantly of all – she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But her happiness has come at a price…

I found this book so different and refreshing! It really surprised me that these get shorter in length before getting longer again, but it’s actually just what I needed. Being able to speed through this one has given the series a new lease of life for me, and it’s introduced a new plot so well.

Given the size of the book, the pacing is also really good. It was such a page-turner for me and I couldn’t stop reading. The ending was so tense and enjoyable! Each little twist and turn had me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen.

“”Hearts are breakable,” Isabelle said.”

I don’t want to include spoilers, so I’ll just say we meet a few new characters in this book that really elevated the story for me. I had so much fun finding out more about Simon, and he made a great focus for the book. However, I think without the introduction of these new characters, it could have fallen a little flat for me. Instead, I found it really interesting.

I also have to mention that I’m really glad I read The Infernal Devices before these! I did regret it a little at the start of The Mortal Instruments because of the drop in writing standard, but now it’s made me so much closer to some of the minor characters, and I get so emotional whenever they’re mentioned!

“”And I think even when you heal, you’re never what you were before.””

A few people have mentioned that this book is an ‘in-between’ story, and I do understand what they mean. It just focuses more on the characters themselves than the plot, but still with a good amount of action and plot twists for me. I actually really liked this and felt like it was needed, as I’ll go into the next 2 books feeling even closer to these beautiful characters.

Overall, definitely loved this book! It’s probably my second favourite so far, because City of Glass is hard to beat.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: City of Ashes (#2) by Cassandra Clare

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Love and power are the deadliest temptations. Haunted by her past, Clary is dragged deeper into New York City’s terrifying underworld of demons and Shadowhunters – but can she control her feelings for a boy who can never be hers?

This book actually pleasantly surprised me! I liked it just a touch more than City of Bones and it felt like a perfect sequel to explore the Shadowhunting world further.

I just really feel like this book had everything, and it’s even more diverse than the first book. Firstly, we have this great mix of characters. Complicated families, complicated romance, complicated friendships. They’re all so real and relatable and I love that. Only certain authors can create such a big and diverse cast of characters and still have each and every one mean something in the story.

” “I’ve been thinking about you, too.”
“I really was sick. I swear. I almost died back there on the ship, you know.””

The thing I really felt was missing in City of Bones was here in City of Ashes. BIG action scenes with tons of Shadowhunters working together and blowing things up. These end up being some of my most memorable scenes and I just love them. The pages fly by!

Something else Clare is amazing at: making me not feel weird about the relationship two of these characters have. (I’m not going to say who because of spoilers for City of Bones, but think of the Lannisters and you’ll know who I mean). But honestly, hats off to her. I didn’t think anyone could make me read these private thoughts and not be sick all over the pages.

“”I know. Everytime you almost die, I almost die myself.””

I have one, tiny problem with this book though, that stopped it reaching 5 stars for me. I want to know more about the characters inner-workings. I feel like Clare is focusing so much on the bigger picture, that she’s missing so many gems that I think came with time and experience for her (as I didn’t feel like it was missing in The Infernal Devices). I wanted to see more of the thoughts/characteristics of side characters like Alec, that would just make me sympathise with everyone a little more!

Talking of Clare’s writing, it has definitely improved in this book! I have to say, this was also a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t expecting it to improve so rapidly, and it’s made me even more excited to see what’s to come in City of Glass.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Clockwork Princess (#3) by Cassandra Clare

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If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?
The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.
Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

I am so overwhelmed right now, I don’t even know where to begin. I adored Clockwork Angel, and I loved Clockwork Prince, but this book has everything. It is a combination of everything I loved about both, and I’m just sitting here hoping I can put that amount of love into words.

The action is definitely back in this one, and once it picks up the pace it doesn’t disappoint. I felt like there just wasn’t enough in the second book, but Clockwork Princess definitely makes up for it. Again, the world building and exploration is just incredible. Living in England definitely makes it even more special as I really connected to where Clare was talking about, but the most impressive thing is how she captured the feeling of British countryside without having living here herself.

“Sometimes one must choose whether to be kind or honorable,” he said.”

Again, the characters are just so well written, and I found it even more so as the series continued. Clare has an incredible talent to make the reader sympathetic to even the most unlikely people, and I admire her for that so much. The way Clockwork Princess is constructed was also genius, and I loved how it flicked between scenes of different characters, keeping the tension and fast pace up.

I cannot write this review without mentioning the epilogue. My lovely friend and buddy-reader Chloe told me to be careful reading this late at night, and what did I do? Finish it at 1am. Of course this meant I was lying in bed, tears streaming down my face onto the pillow. And that is why I had to mention the epilogue – because it made me cry so much! Often, books will bring tears to my eyes, and I’ll feel emotional. But it’s rare that a book makes me sob. And oh, how Clockwork Princess made me sob.

“Sometimes one cannot be both.”

Emotionally, this book had it all. It made me laugh, cry, smile. It filled my heart with joy, only to break it into a thousand pieces. This book is a complete gem, a diamond, a shooting star. It is beauty, poetry, wonder. It might even be my favourite book of the year.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Clockwork Prince (#2) by Cassandra Clare

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In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will – the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do? As their dangerous search for the for the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa’s heart is increasingly torn, especially when one of their own betrays them…

It’s time to talk about book 2, and I am still very much in love with this beautiful series. I feel like this one was very much about the characters and I adored that about it. Finding out more about Jem and Will meant so much and gave me such a big connection to the wold and these characters.

In turn, I feel like I’ve got to know Tessa in a different way and even though I had a few problems with her, I love her character so much as a female protagonist. The only small niggles I had is (without giving spoilers), her inability to make decisions about people. But I accepted her age and her weaknesses, and honestly it also makes her a more genuine and flawed character in the end.

“It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone.”

Even though the majority of the book of course follows Tessa, the few scenes we had of other characters really touched my heart. For example seeing Sophie and Charlotte/Henry’s scenes were very heartwarming and made the book really well-rounded.

Of course there were some brilliant action scenes (and one particular one that brought tears to my eyes), but unfortunately I did feel like this one was just a little slow compared to the fast pace of the first novel.

“They could be honest with me, and I with them.”

The last comment I have is that I love the travelling in Clockwork Prince! It’s great to see Steampunk Victorian London, but to see more of England too is just brilliant. I’m already 100 pages into Clockwork Princess and I’m just loving this world and this series.

★★★★★
4.5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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