Ahh, the second Simon Lewis story. First off I’ve gotta say that I wish Amazon would get their shit together. For both of the Shadowhunter Academy stories released so far, I’ve received an email from Amazon saying that the release date of my short story has been pushed back, only to have the story arrive on its original date. What’s going on, Amazon? Just saying.
As for the story itself, I’ve noticed a running theme with the Shadowhunter Chronicles of late. There are always two stories: what Shadowhunters are told and what actually happened. I think this is going to be a huge deal in the later stories of this particular collection because we are getting the dual nature of Shadowhunter lore shoved in our faces. Do I like this? I don’t know. Do I hate it? I still don’t know. I think it’s more the fact that I like the idea of the theme, but I don’t like its execution. I like my themes subtle.
That being said, I do enjoy the fact that Simon is getting both sides of Tobias Herondale’s story. The “official” story from his horribly prejudiced instructor, and the real story from Catarina Loss, who actually lived through the events.
But I really wish that this had been done in a more subtle way. We already know that the Council treat Downworlders, and their own, harshly. And that they lie to achieve their ends. So why not give us a nuanced version of this fact? The blatant nature of this theme is the main reason why I think Clare has an agenda.
Clary makes an appearance in this story! As much as I am glad that the two childhood friends were reunited for a while, I really wish our Shadowhunter heroes would leave Simon alone. Simon’s memory loss is such a sore point for him that to have all of the characters from The Mortal Instruments, particularly Clary and Isabelle who should know better, constantly asking Simon to be careful of how he acts or expecting him to remember things really annoys me. His memories will come back when they are good and ready, so these people need to leave Simon alone! At least Simon has George Lovelace. But I wish his other friends would extend Simon the same courtesy that Lovelace does.
I understand that this isn’t an overly critical point, but I feel that the fact that I am arguing about the story proves a very important point. Clare’s characters always feel so real that we get defensive and protective of them like these characters are our friends. Or at least I do. Clare is the master of characterisation and this shines through in our ability to argue about characters’ treatment of other characters.
This is a short review, I know, but there’s not much for me to say without giving away a lot of the story. I will say this, though: a few of our Nephilim-in-training are sent to deal with a rogue vampire. Ethical debates ensue. So this story is more about how our characters react to facts and law and such rather than the plot itself. But the plot is still engaging. And, of course, we get Simon’s sarcastic humour. Which is always fun.