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I Belong

Early Review: Shadowhunters and Downworlders by Cassandra Clare

Title: Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader

Author: Cassandra Clare

GenreYA Paranormal/YA Essays

SeriesThe Mortal Instruments

Publication Date: January 29, 2013

Format: Paperback, 256 Pages

ISBN-10: 1937856224 (Smartpop)

ISBN-13: 978-1937856229 (Smartpop)

Reviewed by: Bridget


Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of BonesCity of AshesCity of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.

Authors Who Contributed:
Holly Black / Kendare Blake / Gwenda Bond / Sarah Rees Brennan / Rachel Caine / Sarah Cross / Kami Garcia / Michelle Hodkin / Kelly Link / Kate Milford / Diana Peterfreund / Sara Ryan / Scott Tracey / Robin Wasserman

Quick & Dirty: This was an interesting read, some essays were funny, some were very educational, and some were a little confusing.

Opening Sentence: There’s a question that every writer both is intimately familiar with and dreads having to answer.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review

First, I want to start off by saying that I am a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments written by Cassandra Clare.  The books have amazing characters, a beautiful world, and very enticing story line, so if you haven’t read any of her books yet you really should.  This book is filled with essays written by authors that are also fans of The Mortal Instruments, and they wrote essays talking about their favorite parts of the series.

We start with an introduction by Cassandra Clare where she talks about where she first came up with the idea of the mortal Instruments and how she developed all the characters.  Then the next essay is written by Kate Milford and she discusses the world within a world that Clare created.  She is a New Yorker and she talks about all the amazing things you can miss if you aren’t looking for them, just like Clary did in the book.  This essay was interesting but she did get very philosophical and at times I got a little lost.

Next we have an essay by Sarah Cross.  She wrote about the wonderful heroine Clary Fray.  She talks about how Clary is really just an ordinary girl and that is why she is so easy to relate to.  But to add to that she really does become a hero in the series by using talents that she has always had like art.  I really liked this essay, it showed how we can be heroes in our own lives by using what we have been given.

Diana Peterfreund wrote about the witty Jace Wayland and what makes him such a fun character.  She discusses how Jace uses humor to hide from his fears and to hide who he really is from everyone else.  This was a fun little essay about becoming a true hero and finding yourself through the journey.

Robin Wasserman writes about the Clave and how laws are meant to be broken.  All the young shadowhunters in Clare’s book bend the rules but usually they stay within the law.  Wasserman talks about how people use the law as an excuse to not have to make their own choices, but in the end everyone has a choice.  It just depends on if you have the courage to follow your heart and defy the law if that’s what is right.  This was a good informative essay.

Michelle Hodkins writes an essay about Simon and his life as a Jew and a Vampire.  She goes into a little bit of history about Jews and how the idea of vampires came from people being afraid of Jews.  She also talks about how Simon stays true to who he really is even though it makes his life as a vampire more difficult to manage.  This essay had a great message about staying true to who you are no matter what your circumstances are.

Kami Garcia writes about the myth that the best friend never gets the girl.  She compares a bunch of films and books that have been made where they have a boy who has been pinning after his best friend for years.  But the poor best friend always seems to be passed over for a different boy.  This was my favorite essay because it was funny, charming and honestly so true.

Kendra Blake writes about Jace and Clary’s relationship and the taboo that goes along with it.  She discusses how the idea of incest between the two adds drama and suspense to the story line, because a regular couple is boring to read about.  This essay had good humor and some interesting facts.

Gwenda Bond talks about the importance of friendship in books and in our lives.  She shows how Clare developed the friendships both new and old and how they played a vital part in the story.  This was a great essay about friendship and how everyone needs it.

Rachel Caine goes into depth about tattoos.  She describes what tattoos have meant throughout history and how Clare tied this into her books.  She talks about all the different cultures, and meaning of tattoos.  This essay had a lot of information in it and it was interesting.

Sara Ryan discusses the relationship between Alec and Magnus.  She also talks about how reading books that have very different characters from yourself is very beneficial.  This was an interesting take on sexuality and how different people look at it.

Scott Tracey talks about the importance of a good villain, and how vital they are to a good story.  He tells us what makes Valentine such a great villain.  I liked this essay mostly because I also enjoy a good villain.

Kelly Link and Holly Black talk about the idea of immortality and how it affects different characters, in all different books.  They have an interesting discussion with a little input from Clare herself.

Last, we have Sarah Rees Brennan and she talks about all the different romantic relationships, friendships, and family issues that goes on in the book.  Whoever you are, whatever you are its okay to be yourself.  This was a funny, interesting take on the book.

This was an interesting read for me and I really liked some of the essays, and some were just ok.  I would not recommend reading this book unless you have read all the Mortal Instrument books because there are many major spoilers throughout the essays.  If you are a fan of The Mortal Instruments and you like discussion, I think that you would enjoy this.

Notable Scene

Clary, though…Clary is like you, or me, or that kid in class who’s always drawing instead of taking notes.  We know this girl.  And that’s part of what makes Clary such as amazing heroine.  Because she manages to do extraordinary things using talents she honed during a mostly ordinary life.

Clary is what I think a lot of us hope we could be, if we found ourselves in her situation: someone who becomes a hero out of necessity, who is not on an even playing field with the rest of the players-but who, out of sheer determination, finds a way to turn her natural talents into the tools of her survival.

The Mortal Instrument Series:

1. City of Bones

2. City of Ashes

3. City of Glass

4. City of Fallen Angels

5. City of Lost Souls

6. City of Heavenly Fire (March 19, 2014)

Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader

FTC Advisory: Smartpoop provided me with a copy of Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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