Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Book Review: Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader Edited by Cassandra Clare
By: various authors
Edited By: Cassandra Clare
Published by: Smart Pop Books
Released on: January 29th, 2013 TODAY
Source: arc from publisher to review
4 Stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013.
Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world. -quoted from Goodreads
Shadowhunter/Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader is Shadowhunting 101 at it's finest. If you were to take a course on Shadowhunting and Downworlders, I would venture to guess this book is what the class would be made up off. Shadowhunters and Downworlds: A Mortal Instruments Reader is an interesting anthology that brings together authors who not only talk about various subjects and topics that are found within Cassie's books, they support what they're saying with quotes and references found through the The Mortal Instruments series, as well as actual fact, like with Michelle Hodkin's easy. I can honestly say I enjoyed reading this book more than I thought I would. I felt like I was having an in-depth discussion/lecture with other fans who really got and understood what Cassie's worlds, her characters and her books are comprised of.
Smart Pop Books's newest release is edited by Cassie herself. I LOVE that Cassie not only had a hand in the book, but prior to each new chapter she includes her thoughts on each author's essay about The Mortal Instrument world. Speaking of those essays, I loved the in-depth insight each author gave to their topic. For example I loved what Sarah Cross concludes in her essay The Art of War, about Clary when she says:
"Clary is what I think a lot of us hope we could be, if we found ourselves in her situation: someone who becomes a hero out of necessity, who is not on an even playing field with the rest of the players-but who, out of sheer determination, finds a way to turn her natural talents into the tours of her survival.
Clary saves lives- her own, and those of her friends. She draws a better world into existence, and she never lets the word impossible stop her.
In Clary's hands, the stele is truly mightier than the sword." - page 33
I'm not one who normally writes in my books, but I totally highlighted some of my favorite passages from this book. How could I not? There are so many insightful quotes to highlight. I loved it. I enjoyed the in-depth topics of discussion that are made through the book. Robin Wasserman made an excellent point in her essay When Laws Are Made To Be Broken, when she says,
"There's a choice after all. There's always a choice. There is the lesson our heroes need to embrace before they can grow up.... and before they can triumph. To win they need to do more than just question the rules. They need to change them." - page 64
One of the essays I was most fascinated with is Michelle Hodkin's, Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero. In this chapter Michelle does an incredible job at digging into the rich Jewish religion, as well as vampirism. I know that nothing Cassie does or writes about in her series is for lack of filling space. What Cassie includes in her series always has a purpose, no matter how big or little the moment or the passage is. In this chapter I felt that Michelle really clued me in and educated me more on the complex world and turn of events Cassie truly created with Simon, and him becoming a vampire. Not only that, but some of the comments Clary makes to him have far more greater significance than I picked up on.
Michelle describes Simon perfectly here when she says, "Simon Lewis isn't perfect. He sins. He "misses". He is tempted in City of Fallen Angels, and even though he isn't a literal angel, he certainly does fall. But in City of Lost Souls, despite his mother's rejection and his wandering and his loneliness, despite flirting with the idea of giving up and giving in, Simon returns to himself. He never let go of the things that make him Simon: his Jewish identity, his beliefs. He sinned-he missed the Mark-but he returns. And in returning, he shines." - page 86
I really enjoyed this anthology. Normally I'm not a fan of them. I've not been impressed with ones I've previously read in other big fandoms. In fact I swear I'd never read another, and then this lovely book arrived, and I went back on my word and read it. I'm glad I did. Honestly, when I first sat down to read it I wasn't excepting to enjoy it as much as I did. Luckily this anthology is one that lives up to it's hype. You'll find essays from authors: Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, Kami Garcia, Robin Wasserman, Michelle Hodkin, Sarah Cross, Diana Peterfeund, Kendare Black, Gwenda Bond, Kate Milford, Rachel Caine, Sara Ryan, Scott Tracey, and Kelly Link. If you're a fan of Cassie's work I'd highly recommend picking up!
Catch a behind the scenes with Smart Pop Books here. Don't miss the two week essay campaign being posted on Smart Pop Books's Tumblr here.