I know, I know. Cassandra Clare has a bad rap. She’s gotten called out because a fanfiction she wrote, a fanfiction which eventually became The Mortal Instruments series, contained some pretty blatant plagiarism which is, of course, unacceptable. People also complain because they think all of her series are too much like her other series and that she’s going overboard, milking the Shadowhunter plot for all it’s worth. But for all the issues I still can’t help but read pretty much everything she’s written about the Shadowhunter world. It’s my guilty pleasure.
Which leads us to one of the more recent installments. Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy which is a collection of short stories all about our favorite human turned vampire turned human, Simon Lewis. And, the last time we’d actually seen Simon for more than a page long mention he’d just recently been reminded of the Shadowhunter world after having forgotten it all. So of course he wasn’t the Simon we all knew and loved. This book explores what’s happened since.
This was a hefty book containing ten different tales as Simon goes through his training and slowly starts getting to know everyone he’s forgotten. And of course that makes for some awkward reading when the reader, if you’ve read all of The Mortal Instruments at least, know so many things the narrator doesn’t. Of course, he’s upset about not knowing things and he’s not sure which “him” is the real one. That makes sense. But it can also get tedious to read.
Some of the stories were better than others and most had flashbacks, filling in history that had been hinted at but not explained further which was nice. And it was good to know Simon’s journey, especially if the original New York gang end up popping up in future installments which I’m sure they will. So I kind of liked it but…
The thing about Clare’s short stories is that she doesn’t work alone. Each story was written with the help of other YA authors. I understand that, I do. But it seemed as though there was a disconnect between how each author wanted to write the characters which was jarring when reading each story one right after another. There should have been more cohesion there. That is my main complaint.
So, for a collection of stories this was not the best I’ve ever read. Some passages were definitely fan service and fanfictiony. But as a guilty pleasure read? It worked.