Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader

Shadowhunters and Downworlders

“If you’ve been reading the Mortal Instruments for any length of time, you know that only two things are certain: Dead doesn’t necessarily mean dead, and you never know whose blood is going to wind up running through your veins.”

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.

Authors Who Contributed:
Holly Black / Kendare Blake / Gwenda Bond / Sarah Rees Brennan / Rachel Caine / Sarah Cross / Kami Garcia / Michelle Hodkin / Kelly Link / Kate Milford / Diana Peterfreund / Sara Ryan / Scott Tracey / Robin Wasserman

Personal Thoughts:

I’ve only read a few essays collections that discuss a book or fiction written by someone else. The last one is The Girl Who Was on Fire which discuss one of my favorite YA dystopian series, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I’m not sure if there are more anthology books out there with this kind of format, but if there is I won’t hesitate reading them since I find this kind of book insightful as a whole.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader is a collection of essay pieces by YA authors about Cassandra Clare’s fantasy series, The Mortal Instruments and its world.

The essays in this book discuss different topics from The Mortal Instruments world, characters, story themes, and more TMI related topics. Some of the essays are well thought and rigorous researched. They certainly give me more ideas and point of views about the fiction I already love & enjoy. It is like rediscovering the whole Mortal Instruments series once again.

There are essays too that are fun to read with all the witty opinions or thoughts of the contributing author(s) about Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrument series. Sometimes reading the contributor’s essay is like discussing The Mortal Instruments world with a friend – dissecting every angle, scenes, characters and ideas presented by Cassandra Clare from the first book, City of Bones up to the last book released so far, City of Lost Souls. There are some essays too that makes me appreciate more the last two books that is already out than I did when I read them for the first time. They makes me want to go back and reread the whole series once again with a better understanding and views of the characters and their world. It is like I am a mundane who finally see things around the Shadow world without its glamour.

Though not all of the essays in this material are good or really important. Some topics are just repetition of things that readers of the series like me already know. Not that I don’t want to be reminded of those things, I just wish that they dwelved unto them deeper, explaining more of the why and not how, giving more reasons and deeper explanations than telling how things are presented or happened. Because for someone who have read and reread The Mortal Instruments and even The Infernal Devices like me, I’m pretty familiar with the in and outs of the Shadowhunters & Downworlders world.

Here are the list of essays in this book with there corresponding author:

  • “Unhomely Places” by Kate Milford
  • “The Art of War” by Sarah Cross
  • “Sharper Than a Seraph Blade” by Diana Peterfreund
  • “When Laws Are Made to Be Broken” by Robin Wasserman
  • “Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero” by Michelle Hodkin
  • “Why the Best Friend Never Gets the Girl” by Kami Garcia
  • “Brotherly Love” by Kendare Blake
  • “Asking for a Friend” by Gwenda Bond
  • “(Not) For Illustration Purposes Only” by Rachel Caine
  • “The Importance of Being Malec” by Sarah Ryan“Villains, Valentine and Virtue” by Scott Tracey
  • “Immortality and Its Discontents” by Kelly Link and Holly Black
  • “What Does That Deviant Wench Think She’s Doing? Or, Shadowhunters Gone Wild” by Sarah Rees Brennan

If I have to choose one topic from the above list that I think really stand out, I’ll pick Michelle Hodkin’s essay about Simon Lewis. Michelle obviously do her research well, providing not only facts, but also deeper explanations and reasons about Simon, his role, religion and his character as a vampire.

This book is clearly for fans of The Mortal Instruments series but I think you don’t need to be a fan to enjoy this book. But a little warning, this book should be read only if you read at least one book of The Mortal Instruments world so you’ll get a better grasp of what every author is talking about. There are some spoilers too for The Mortal Instruments books, so be warned.

* This review is based on an electronic book I received courtesy of the publisher, Smart Pop Books / BenBella Books, Inc. via NetGalley.

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