I have recently, to my shock and horror, gotten back into the world of Shadowhunters. I read Lady Midnight and felt as though I had somehow missed out on certain bits of information between City of Heavenly Fire and this new series. The internet told me that information was provided in Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy, a short story collection chronicling Simon’s time at the Academy. I decided to read this, and give a short review of each of the stories below. To be completely honest, the characters from TMI have always been my least favorite (to the point of actually low key hating certain people), so I wasn’t terribly excited about spending more time with them. However, I told myself it was worth it to get more backstories on the Herondales and Blackthorns and others. I was…well, I was wrong.
“Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. The events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. Whomever this new Simon might be.
But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. At least Simon’s trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.
Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. Written by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman, these moving and hilarious short stories are perfect for the fan who just can’t get enough of the Shadowhunters.”
Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (Clare & Brennan): Simon’s arrival at Shadowhunter Academy is less than impressive, both for Simon and myself. The point of this is world building and creating a foundation for this whole overall story, and it was a rather unexciting way to kick off the collection. While I quickly fell in love with George Lovelace, the rest of this was just fine. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.
The Lost Herondale (Clare & Wasserman): This story really represented how messed up The Clave is, and how ridiculous Shadowhunter law can be. Sed lex, dura lex indeed. Like pretty much everyone else, I have a soft spot for the Herondales, and this story broke my heart a bit. I loved Catarina’s part in this most of all. ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars.
The Whitechapel Fiend (Clare & Johnson): WILL AND TESSA AT IT AGAIN Y’ALL. I’ll probably never get over the fact that Will uses any excuse possible to get Brother Zachariah/Uncle Jem to the London Institute. But in all seriousness, I really enjoyed this story about Tessa, Will, and co. as adults doing their Shadowhunter thing to defeat “Jack the Ripper.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.
Nothing But Shadows (Clare & Brennan): Easily my favorite story in this collection, in which we follow James Herondale during his time at the Academy. I honestly had no interest in the upcoming The Last Hours trilogy, which chronicles Tessa and Will’s kids’ adventures. This story, however, changed that completely. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars.
The Evil We Love (Clare & Wasserman): I was so intrigued by this one, because it’s about Robert Lightwood being in The Circle with Valentine, Jocelyn, and the others. However, it was by far my least favorite story in this collection. The combination of Izzy/Simon angst and Robert being a total asshole both as a person and to his parabatai completely put me off this story. I swear to god, these Lightwoods y’all. ⭐️⭐️ stars.
Pale Kings and Princes (Clare & Wasserman): This should have been an amazing story about the injustice done to Helen Blackthorn, and her father’s time in Faerie. Instead, this was nearly ruined by the unending Izzy/Simon angst. Look, I have never really shipped these two because their relationship dynamic has always driven me up a freaking wall. This story, and the previous one, reminded my why I literally do not give a shit about them. I know this collection is about Simon, but AT WHAT COST. My sanity, clearly. ⭐️⭐️.5 stars.
Bitter of Tongue (Clare & Brennan): Ok, this one was about Mark Blackthorn and how the Clave abandoned him, and I loved that aspect. Hearing Mark talk about his experiences with the Wild Hunt and his family was heartbreaking. The Academy portion of this story was, as expected, underwhelming and thus dragged down the overall reading experience. ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 stars.
The Fiery Trial (Clare & Johnson): I did not understand this story. I understood the point, but not why the authors chose to go about it this way. I’m always up for more Blackthorns, but wasn’t into the Lake Lyn-induced “are we drift compatible?” acid trip that Simon and Clary went on (against their will, I have to point out). This was just kind of dumb and underwhelming. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.
Born to Endless Night (Clare & Brennan): Look, was this abandoned warlock baby story completely out of nowhere and absurd and out of place within the overall collection? Yep. Did I love it anyway because of Malec being happy? YES. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.
Angels Twice Descending (Clare & Wasserman): The final story in this collection was predictable and underwhelming. I wasn’t surprised by what happened, because the entire collection had pretty blatantly been leading up to this. It was still heartbreaking, but didn’t really resonate. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.
Overall, I have to rate Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy between 3 and 3.5 stars (I guess 3.25, but quarter stars are just silly). This entire collection was a bit underwhelming, even though it provided some great backstories and information that will surely be important in future novels. I don’t think you have to read this before Lady Midnight, but it certainly provides context for the characters and conflicts in The Dark Artifices trilogy.
Have you read Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy? Let me know your thoughts!