Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left 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.
Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 Stars
First Line: “The problem was that Simon did not know how to pack like a badass.”
Oh. My. Sweet. Goodness. I have been waiting so long to read this book and I finally got it for Christmas! It lived up to and surpassed all of my expectations and I am so happy with it (but also definitely in a book hangover. I don’t know how I’ll pick a book to read next)! My plan was to wait to post for the first time until the new year, but I finished this book in three days so here I am!
So first, I should probably point out that I am very biased when it comes to Cassandra Clare books. I read City of Bones when I was in middle school and only the first two books were out. I’ve been reading her books literally for years and they’ve helped me through a lot. I am very attached to these characters.
That said, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is different from most of Clare’s other books. Even though it does deal with serious topics and conflicts, there is no war going on, nor is there a specific, totally evil villain. This is high school for Shadowhunters–there’s bullies and ignorant people and friendships. In The Mortal Instruments series, Simon was the comic relief, always referencing pop culture and utilizing his unexpected wit. It was so fun to get in his head a little more through these short stories. He definitely grows a lot throughout the book but remains the sweet, funny guy that readers fell in love with in TMI. One of my favorite things about this book is that Simon starts out physically weaker than his peers and he really struggles through training. It takes two years of super-intensive Shadowhunter training for him to acknowledge physical changes in his body. Don’t be fooled by the guy on the cover–it takes until the end of the book for Simon to say he might have a two-pack! I don’t know about anyone else, but I love when authors acknowledge the time, effort, and commitment it takes for bodies to change. It’s realistic. My other favorite thing about Simon is that he fights for people’s rights and acknowledges the humanness (is that a word?) of every individual.
Due to the fact this book is told in short story segments, it is slightly more difficult to get invested in. It is not necessarily a continuous plot. There are only 10 chapters/short stories but they span a two year period of time. I found the book easy to read because I was so invested in the characters already. Simon, though, is easy to love and get attached to. He cares so much about other people and the causes he fights for are easily translated into today’s society.
This book could be read as a standalone. It definitely relates back to all of Cassandra Clare’s other Shadowhunter books, but I think it would make sense and still be interesting if you had not read them. Still, this book does spoil some parts of the previously written series (both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices) so if you want to read those books at some point, I would recommend waiting on this one unless you are prepared to be spoiled!
This book is full of humor, friendship, lessons, Shadowhunter history, inspiration, and heartbreak. Simon is the kind of character who stays in your mind for ages after you’ve finished his story. I highly recommend this book and all of Cassandra Clare’s other novels to anyone interested in fantasy and/or contemporary young adult books.