The Bane Chronicles
I always enjoy The Bane Chronicles much more than I think I will- I managed to finish this in one day. I really enjoy Magnus, Ragnor, and Catarina as characters, and I love their dynamic as friends.
My favorite stories are “The Course of True Love (And First Dates)”, “What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything”, “The Last Stand of the New York Institute”, and “Saving Raphael Santiago.” I love the stories with Alec. I can’t wait to finally read The Red Scrolls of Magic so I can see more of their relationship. Raphael’s sacrifice in City of Heavenly Fire is so much more meaningful after reading about the beginning of his and Magnus’ relationship. “The Last Stand of the New York Institute” is so good because I hate it so much, if that makes sense. It’s truly revolting the things that the Circle did, and I can’t believe that Luke, Jocelyn, Robert, and Maryse were all a part of it. It really clouds my liking of their characters. In The Mortal Instruments, it’s never explicitly described what the Circle did. I wish it had been described, because I think it would have made Valentine a much scarier villain.
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
I blew through TBC in one day, and my reading experience couldn’t be any different for TFTSA. I have struggled to get into this- I wish every story was a little shorter. Part of the reason I think I’m having such a hard time engaging in these stories is that Simon’s character seems pretty different from The Mortal Instruments. I don’t know if this is because half his memories are gone, or if it’s because Clare is writing with three other co-authors, or if they’re purposefully trying to make him much funnier. He just doesn’t seem as charming or naturally funny, but that could be because so much of his humor in TMI involved bouncing off and interacting with the other characters. The whole “shadowhunters-vs-dregs” plot is so frustrating, but that’s shadowhunters for you.
Ok, so almost three months later I finally finished this book. It was a STRUGGLE. First, what I decidedly don’t like. The characters just seem so off to me. Simon’s humor is so forced, and for me, his appeal came from his easy and witty humor. The writers just took it so far into the next level that he did not seem funny to me. Also Isabelle just drives me insane in this book. I love her character in every other book she’s in, but this one almost completely destroys her for me. Isabelle even says at one point that Simon has completely changed her and turned her into a sappy, lovestruck girl, and I just don’t think anyone could do that to Isabelle. Her arc in this book seems so forced and very off-line from her arcs in the rest of the books.
The plots are also a weak point for me. When Simon and Clary are drugged my Magnus to make them figure out they need to be parabatai- it just lost me. There was an explanation for why it needed to happen, but it seemed like a poor explanation and did not line up with the characters past actions and motivations.
Finally, what bothered me the most is the fact that (almost) EVERY character is described as having brown skin. Jace, who is just a tan white dude, whose skin is usually described as “golden,” because of course it is- is described as having “brown” skin. Jem, who is half Chinese, is also described as having “brown” skin. There’s a lot of dialogue out there about how writers won’t describe Black characters as having Black skin- they will use weird descriptions like “chocolate colored skin that’s glowy,” or something like that. But then white and Asian characters are described as having brown skin? Definitely don’t understand, and also I think it’s lazy writing.
Perhaps the only saving grace of this book is Malec- and I don’t even know if his story can raise the rating for me. Magnus’ and Alec’s story “Born to Endless Night” is by far my favorite. I also enjoyed “Pale Kings and Princes.” None of the other stories really stood out to me.