“The Fiery Trial” by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson

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I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t review this the second I finished it. It’s not like I’m swamped with uni work, or regular work for that matter. I think I just let time get away from me.

The thing about Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy is that a lot of the time I feel like they are simply a prologue for Clare’s new series, The Dark Artifices, that comes out next year. Or it feels like Clare has some short stories about the Herondales that she never got to tell in The Infernal Devices and can’t figure out how to fit them in The Last Hours. Bottom line, this particular series of short stories is a little hit and miss.

I am still not sure how I felt about “The Fiery Trial”. Two of Simon’s classmates announce that they will become parabatai, he and Clary are asked to be witnesses to the parabatai ceremony of Emma and Julian (our protagonists for TDA) and then some magic ensues. With Magnus and Jem making gratuitous appearances. (Seriously, there was nearly no reason for either of them to be there except for fan service).

But it’s the magic that sells this story. What happens after Simon and Clary meet the other guys (Magnus, Jem, Catarina) in one of the Academy’s offices was amazing. It was beautifully constructed, with the writing perfectly matching the surreality of the situation. And the reveal at the end was amazing. I did not see it coming, though with all of the foreshadowing in this story I probably should have.

I love how well Clare knows her characters. It’s something that not all authors can claim. A sizeable portion of this story takes place in Simon’s subconscious and that is not something a lot of authors can pull off convincingly. But Clare managed it, just like she always does. And I think this is why I am so ambivalent about this story. Although it simply seems like a way of setting up some of the plots/subplots for TDA, we got a real sense of Simon’s character, in particular his feelings about his relationship with Clary. And, actually, his relationship with Jace. All of which sets up a bigger event that I am assuming will take place in Lady Midnight, the first book of TDA.

Short review today, guys. Partially because I’ve forgotten the finer details of this story and partially because I feel like you deserve a short review after my review/rant of The Shadow of the Wind.

★★★

 

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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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