The Best Shadowhunter Anthology Yet | Review: Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Kelly Link, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman and Sarah Rees Brennan

11:44 PM

I haven't shouted about The Shadowhunter Chronicles in a good five minutes so how about we review Ghosts of the Shadow Market? (And, yes, I'm playing catch-up on my reviews. Because I am ALWAYS behind.)

About 

The Shadow Market is a meeting point for faeries, werewolves, warlocks and vampires. There the Downworlders buy and sell magical objects, make dark bargains, and whisper secrets they do not want the Nephilim to know. Through two centuries, however, there has been a frequent visitor to the Shadow Market from the City of Bones, the very heart of the Shadowhunters. As a Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah is sworn keeper of the laws and lore of the Nephilim. But once he was a Shadowhunter called Jem Carstairs, and his love, then and always, is the warlock Tessa Gray.

Follow Brother Zachariah and see, against the backdrop of the Shadow Market’s dark dealings and festive celebrations, Anna Lightwood’s first romance, Matthew Fairchild’s great sin and Tessa Gray plunged into a world war. Valentine Morgenstern buys a soul at the Market and a young Jace Wayland’s soul finds safe harbor. In the Market is hidden a lost heir and a beloved ghost, and no one can save you once you have traded away your heart. Not even Brother Zachariah...



Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Kelly Link, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman and Sarah Rees Brennan 
Rating: ★★★★★

  “A secret too long kept can kill a soul by inches. I watched a secret almost destroy a man once, the finest man ever made. Such a secret is like keeping treasure in a tomb. Little by little, poison eats away at the gold. By the time the door is opened, there may be nothing left but dust.”

Oh, yes! Give me ALL the Brother Snackariah.

Ah, the year of Cassandra Clare is complete. For now. Until next year's release of Chain of Gold , we'll always have Ghost of the Shadow Market. And honestly? It is one of the best anthologies set within the Shadowhunter Chronicle realm. (I'm not just saying that because they primarily center around Jem Carstairs. I mean, okay, fine, maybe that's a solid draw to it but it's not the ONLY reason. I promise.)

While the previous collections featured an incredible palate of stories, there were some that I don't necessarily find myself reaching for to reread. Ghosts of the Shadow Market is different in that regard. There isn't a single weak point in terms of quality and world-building, and I positively adored that it went from generation to generation. Seeing all my favourite old characters--and a few that we've yet to become fully acquainted with--was not unlike cozying up with an old friend.

Scattered through a lifetime as Brother Zachariah and back again to Jem Carstairs, Ghosts of the Shadow Market follows an expansive timeline and connects series to series beautifully. While the prior releases set within this world are incredible--here's to looking at you, kids: The Bane Chronicles and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy--and dynamic, this is the big standout of the lot. It is, as well, proof of what I've been saying for years: Cassandra Clare keeps getting better with time. (I said what I said. I know there are a lot of issues out there about her as a person, but her work is a definite part of who I am both as a reader and as a person.)

This particular set of stories is a collaboration with the most excellent partners in crime: Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link, Sarah Rees Brennan and Robin Wasserman. It never fails to disappoint me when any of these authors write in general, but there's some kind of magic at work when it comes to the many team-ups in Ghosts of the Shadow Market. So, before you ask, yes, the writing is fantastic.

I just... love these characters so much more than I could ever imagine? All those years ago, picking up City of Bones I never expected it to be a home to me. Yet, here we are. The world is ever expanding, changing, growing, crumbling. But it's what makes readers attached to it.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market adds a little more context to the stories we already know. We see the Shadow Markets of the world and come to learn a lot.

Including tales of lost Herondales. Including a lot of wonderful, domestic Malec cuteness and how they came to adopt Rafael. Including Jem and Tessa and the family they were able to, at last, build. Including the story of how Jace's biological parents came to be whatever it is they were. Including the day that Jace came to find a home in the Lightwood family. Including Ty and Livvy's strange new sibling ties. Including more on Kit's family. Including some seriously creepy and atmospheric moments with Ash and Thule!Jace.

(Thule!Jace, of course, has decided to be called Janus. And just kind of... creeps.)

So in truth, it adds more than context to the story: it builds on the heart and soul of all the central characters in a way that is beautiful and emotional.

My favourite stories were: Every Exquisite Thing, which follows Anna Lightwood who I now stan and would probably die for, The Land I Lost which features some Malec excellence (!), little baby Rafael and a lot of Lily Chen/her backstory (and the friendship she and Alec have) and lastly: Forever Fallen which showcases the gentleness that is Jem Carstairs as well as the horrifying possibilities that come with Thule!Jace, er, existing in our world. (I especially liked the contrast of light vs. dark during Forever Fallen--it was so compelling.)

Overall, the stories of Ghosts of the Shadow Market are strong, essential and full of all the energy one might expect from The Shadowhunter Chronicles. Inclusive, impressive and full of action and adventures, this was a FANTASTIC read.

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