“Born to Endless Night” by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

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“Born to Endless Night” was more like a chapter from The Mortal Instruments than it was an instalment of Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. It bounced between perspectives, just like the main series does. We got a little Simon and a little Magnus. Can I just say how wonderful it was to be back inside Magnus’ head? Magnus is one of those characters to which you can find yourself heavily addicted. He’s the perfect balance of light and dark that only comes around once every few years. Plus we got a little insight into why Magnus chose his warlock name. It’s such a beautiful reason:

“Magnus Bane felt right for a lot of reasons … Here’s one … There’s a scientific phenomenon to describe something that happens when an object is in motion. You think you know exactly what path it will take and where it will end up. Then suddenly, for no reason you can see … the arc changes. It goes somewhere you never would have expected … It’s called the Magnus effect.”

But the changing perspectives wasn’t the only reason I felt like I was reading TMI again. The characters felt like themselves. Maybe it was because the whole gang was back together again and so the characters got to play off each others’ energy. Or maybe it was because I actually laughed aloud a few times, something that usually only happens in the main books. Either way, the characters felt familiar, rather than feeling slightly twisted, as they sometimes can in these short stories.

Speaking of characters, I really need to go back and re-read The Mortal Instruments. Quite desperately. Because I must be missing something in Alec Lightwood’s characterisation. There must be all of these hints about Alec that I just missed. Because the Alec portrayed in this story is not the Alec I remember from the main canon. I’ve ranted about this before. Alec is one of my very least favourite Shadowhunters. But in a few of the stories from The Bane Chronicles and again in this story, a completely different Alec is presented to the one I know and detest. I have to be missing something.
That being said, my main issue with Alec is how he reacted when Clary casually mentioned his sexuality in City of Bones. But, in this story, he admits to it. And to Simon, Clary’s best friend. That was a very brave thing for Alec to do, however I feel about his character personally:

“It’s no excuse. But I was afraid. She knew about me being gay, and she told me that she knew. She wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know, but I was scared of her because I didn’t know her. She wasn’t my friend then. She was just some mundane invading m family, and I knew Shadowhunters, I was friends with Shadowhunters, who if they’d ever guessed – they would have gone running to tell my parents, so my parents could talk sense into me. They would have told everybody. They would have thought they were doing the right thing.”

“Born to Endless Night” feels like a world on the precipice of positive change. In the Academy you have the “dregs” and the “elite” students mixing together, even being friends with each other and developing crushes on one another. This was an environment that was incredibly classist as recently as at the beginning of Simon’s school year.
Then you have Magnus and Alec [KIND OF SPOILER] adopting an abandoned warlock baby and having the previously prejudiced Lightwood parents fighting for the right to be close to this baby Downworlder. When, only months before, they were pretending that Magnus-and-Alec weren’t Magnus-and-Alec.
And then there’s the fact that the head of the New York werewolf pack, Maia, and the head of the New York vampire clan, Lily, meet with Magnus and Alec on a regular basis to discuss Downworlder problems. This is groundbreaking, considering the distrust on all sides. All of these tiny, monumental changes amount to a world that will, hopefully, be very different by the time we get to Lady Midnight. Well, one can only hope.

If Clare has been aiming to preface her new series, this story could have done it all by itself. It’s foreshadowing without overshadowing the story at hand, while also exploring the delicate societal changes at play in the Shadowhunter Universe. I loved this story. I actually can’t think of a single thing that I can pick apart.

★★★★★

The cast of The Mortal Instruments, as depicted by the immensely talented Cassandra Jean

The cast of The Mortal Instruments, as depicted by the immensely talented Cassandra Jean

 

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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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