“Welcome to the Shadowhunter Academy” by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

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Guys, guys, it has finally happened. More Simon Lewis! More Shadowhunters to help tie us over until Lady Midnight is released (in 2016? I thought it was this year! No!!!). And to help distract us from the horrifying news that both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices are getting make-unders! Have you even seen the new covers?

The artwork is lovely, but the text? It is far too gaudy!

I’m getting ahead of myself. Once I actually see these books in store, then I’ll go into full psychotic fangirl meltdown, but until then I’ll have to seethe quietly.

Moving onto Welcome to the Shadowhunter Academy now.

I’d forgotten (oh, the irony), how heartbreaking Simon’s story is. Doing all those incredible things and having to forget it all? That is absolutely terrible. Worse is having memories come in dribs and drabs with no certainty that you’ll regain everything that you’ve lost.

One of my favourite parts of this story was how well the characters were represented. Simon compared the angel gargoyles to the Weeping Angels in Doctor Who for goodness’ sake. Jace was taking advantage of Simon’s amnesia and Isabelle was fiery and passionate and pretending to be cool about Simon not being able to remember their relationship. Clary was understanding and Magnus was fabulous. I don’t know how Clare does it, but her characters just leap off the page. It wasn’t until I went back and screenshotted the cover that I realised Cassie hadn’t written this herself. Brennan was involved in this one too! And usually you can really tell when another author handles someone else’s characters, but I couldn’t this time.

The main reason for this, I think, was because our original characters – our heroes of the main Shadowhunter series – were missing from the majority of the story. Instead, we were introduced to a bunch of new characters. And it’s easy to make new characters feel vivid because you have nothing to compare them to.

That being said, I loved how Clare and Brennan managed to bring back Simon. Like, mundie Simon from the first and second books. I can’t imagine that was easy. Simon went through such a huge character arc that to revert back must have been difficult. What was great, though, was having Simon show everyday heroism. He was this massive hero in the Shadowhunter world, during the whole Valentine and Johnathan debacles, and yet can’t remember any of it. He’s trying to measure up to someone he was, who he can’t remember. And yet, when he sees the Shadowhunter offspring treating the mundane students of the Academy like secondary citizens, Simon does something about it. He never sits idly by and lets the bullying happen, he stands up and calls out the kids doing it. Clare and Brennan were showing us that there are all kinds of heroism, not just the kind that means physical prowess or magical angel blood.

One thing, though, is that I could really tell that this was a first “chapter”. It was too introductory in some places. I think it was mostly because of the theme of prejudice. The distinction between Shadowhunters and mundanes and Shadowhunters and Downworlders was so prominent that it was like the authors were trying to hint at a future battle. I mean, the battle in City of Glass did a lot to alleviate tensions in those old enough to fight, but what about those who grew up with the old prejudices? Well, we see a bit of that. Shadowhunters thinking that they’re better than everyone else. Downworlders hating on Shadowhunters and thinking they’re all the same arrogant, intolerant bastards without giving them a second chance. I feel like this is going to be a big deal. And even though the story was great and entertaining and I am thoroughly intrigued by George Lovelace, this story didn’t so much foreshadow the future so much as flash a huge neon sign about the future right in our faces.

I cannot wait for the next one! And it has nothing to do with the fact that it’s called The Lost Herondale

★★★★

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About Bec Graham

Bec Graham, 24, was born on the wrong continent. Everything from her burns-like-paper skin tone to her inability to cope with the slightest hint of a hot day suggests she should have been born under the gloomy skies and mild sun of the UK. She hopes writing will get her to her rightful home one day. Failing that, she scans the skies for a spinning blue police box, hoping to catch a lift back to the motherland.
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2 Responses to “Welcome to the Shadowhunter Academy” by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

  1. Oh gosh, here I was thinking more Shadowhunters? Simon is an interesting character that I liked though, so it would be interesting to hear his pov. Great review Bec!

    • Bec Graham says:

      I just found out that there’s going to be ANOTHER SERIES. Like, this is not including The Last Hours or The Dark Artifices. I love Cassie Clare, and I love Shadowhunters, but enough is enough!
      Of course, I’ll buy the series though. but still, that’s not the issue here!

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