Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Rees Brennon and Robin Wasserman | Rating: ★★★★★
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
There's no shortage of companion novels these days amongst the young adult book series which dominate the scene. In the case of Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, it had a lot to live up to--even in a side by side comparison with its previous companion novel, The Bane Chronicles. Nearly a decade has passed since Cassandra Clare's publication of the first of six novels in The Mortal Instruments series and with that milestone, the world has expanded to multiple series, two companion novels of short stories, one film and one television adaptation. And there's more to come in the future.
With no signs of stopping, Cassandra Clare enlisted some help once more to expand her Shadow world and reintroduces us to our favourite characters from all of her series. Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy primarily focuses on the events of fan-favourite, Simon Lewis, as he grapples with his newfound life as a Shadowhunter-to-be and struggles to regain his memories. Seeing Simon grow in his own short stories is a lot different from the growth--and loss--we saw in the original series run; it's bittersweet and promising, it's a new light on self discovery and armed with heartfelt prose and with humour.
Back are characters like Clary, Isabelle, Jace, Magnus and Alec. We also see Tessa and Jem, as well as various flashbacks from other's point of view. One of the most satisfying things about Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is that it reads like the fantasy we know and love from Shadowhunters and gives us the opportunity to flesh out more characters as well as meet some new ones. There's no shortage of heartbreak and joy in these short stories and it will be a deeply satisfying read to everyone who wonders what happened after the war in City of Heavenly Fire.
I loved the new characters and the way the past and the present wove in each story. It was done so gracefully and it was both romantic, action packed and a dramatic twist. I think the idea behind the story was excellent and it was just a refreshing way to expand the world and get to see Simon as someone who knows but doesn't know who he is.
I will say that I also really enjoyed George Lovelace and his and Simon's bond. It was sweet and unique to the bonds we've seen with Simon and Clary. I also loved seeing his friendships grow with characters we already knew--warlocks and Shadowhunters. I was proud to see him stand up to what's flawed in the world he's only just been exposed to. It was a striking standout and seeing him clash, and bond, with other students was pretty great.
Another plus: Simon and Alec scenes. Simon and Clary scenes. Simon and Jace scenes and most importantly: Simon and Isabelle scenes. There's so much to see and rediscover (or discover) in each and everyone of the stories and I have to admit, it's one of my favourite releases from Clare in quite a few years.
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is a must-read for all Shadowhunter fans and has a little something for everyone. It'll make you laugh, swoon and cry all at once.