Get ready for the most biased set of book reviews I will ever write, I decided to start re-reading the books by one of my favourite author’s, Cassandra Clare. Especially as her new book, Chain of Gold, came out in April.
I don’t know whether the order I will be re-reading them is correct but I decided to start with The Infernal Devices series, which makes numbers 8-10 in this year’s attempt at the 100 books in a year challenge.
The Shadow Hunter Universe is set in a world like ours but there is a secret warrior race of the people called Shadow Hunter’s, who are Nephilm (part Angel, part human), their mandate is to protect the human world from Demon’s. Is this world vampires, warlocks, fairies and werewolves also exist and the modern day shadow hunters protect them too, under an agreement called ‘the accords’. However, they didn’t used to because some of these supernatural demons are descended from or created by demons virus’s. They are an extremely traditional and strict warrior race, a fact which is often used very cleverly by Cassandra Clare to examine prejudices such as race (but within the context of the different supernatural races), homophobia and the treatment of people with learning difficulties or mental health issues. It’s part of the reason I enjoy her books more because they are books with a fantasy setting, with passionate love stories that set my little tween-Twilight-reading hearty aglow but also are incredibly inclusive and well rounded (although, I live for the day that I won’t notice a book is more inclusive, with better representation because it will just be the norm) . Her other books are complete with autistic characters, gay characters, poly amorous relationships, trans characters. Many of her characters are people of colour too but as they also generally belong to one of the supernatural races too, this isn’t a theme that comes up as often.
I am constantly torn about which series in the Shadow Hunter Universe I prefer but I really do love the characters Jem, Tessa and Will and luckily their story spans across all the other books too. The Infernal Devices and Mortmain’s plot to take down Shadowhunter’s is really secondary to their love story, which is my favourite out of all the love stories in these books (second only to Alec and Magnus!). Tessa’s love for both Jem and Will at the same time, who are partnered by their parabatia connection with one another (a rune that bonds two warriors together, an extremely deep friendship); neither resents the other for loving Tessa too because they love each other too much.
*warning this next paragraph contains spoilers!*
I love it and yet it does genuinely break my heart that Jem had to watch Tessa and Will’s life together, after he is turned into a Silent Brother. Will dies (at the end of the last book, after a long life with Tessa, who is immortal because she’s a warlock) before Jem is able to be turned back, so they never get to live their lives together again as parabatai. Then once he is burned by Jace’s holy fire in the The Mortal Instruments series, Tessa and Jem finally get to be together. A story which is then later explored in Ghost’s of the Shadow Market, which I have read before and you read the review here.
*spoilers end here*
In these books in particular, I think the mystery of what Tessa is and Mortmain’s plans for her is extremely well written. I do think Will’s story of why he believes he is cursed (which leads to Tessa getting engaged to Jem before he reveals his feelings) gets a little too teen angsty and dramatic but it does pave the way for the behaviour of all the Herondale’s after him; leading to the way both Jace and Kit act in later books. All the Herondale’s love and feel extremely fiercely about things.
I do think if you plan to get into the Shadow Hunter books, these three are the best to start with because they set up a lot of things that come later. I originally read the Mortal Instruments series first and I was very surprised when I read these the first time about much the two sets of stories are linked.
As promised this was a very biased and long winded review but if you love this kind of fiction, I cannot recommend them enough! Here is the link to the Goodreads page on this series.
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