Even though I think Cassandra Clare is milking this Shadowhunter universe for all she can (maybe more than she should?), I’m still a sucker for these stories (and I low-key hate that I still love this universe so much).
Now that all 10 of the short stories that make up Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy have been released, I’m posting short reviews for each of them. I wrote these reviews after I read each story, and before I read the next one (generally).
I’ll try to keep spoilers for both TMI, TID and this series to a minimum.
#1 – Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy
After living as a Mundane and a Vampire, Simon never thought he would become a Shadowhunter, but today he begins his training at Shadowhunter Academy.
I like that we get to see things from Simon’s POV, especially after what happened to him at the end of City of Heavenly Fire. I thought there were a few things that showed a bit of lazy writing (why was George so afraid of the possum at the start to the point where he said that Simon was their only hope?), but I can mostly forgive this due to the short-story format. There was some nice character development from not only Simon, but a couple of the new characters as well. Overall, this sets up the series of novellas really well.
#2 – The Lost Herondale
Simon learns the worst crime a Shadowhunter can commit: desertion of their comrades. In the early nineteenth century, Tobias Herondale abandoned his fellow Shadowhunters in the heat of battle and left them to die. His life was forfeit, but Tobias never returned, and the Clave claimed his wife’s life in exchange for Tobias’s. Simon and his fellow students are shocked to learn of this brutality, especially when it is revealed the woman was pregnant. But what if the child survived… could there be a lost Herondale line out in the world today?
I loved the story about Tobias Herondale, and the idea that there may be another line of Herondales out there. It was also really nice to see some interaction between Simon and Catarina.
I found the scene with Simon and the vampire girl to be quite forced and awkward. The same goes for Isabelle’s cameo, too.
I’m getting kind of sick of Simon’s constant self-pity and him always saying he’s not the same Simon that everyone knew. Like, yes, we get it. You don’t remember all that stuff. Doesn’t mean you have to be a dick to all the people who know you.
#3 – The Whitechapel Fiend
Simon learns the truth behind the Jack the Ripper murders—“Jack” was stopped by Will Herondale, his former parabatai, and his institute of Victorian Shadowhunters.
I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as the previous two. I liked that we got to see what Tessa and Will and gang were up to, but I though the whole “Jack the Ripper was actually a demon” thing was a little strange. Most of what I enjoyed about this story was the stuff that was happening at the Academy. I really loved it when Jace showed up, and seeing his and Simon’s relationship develop was cool. I thought ending where Simon wrote the letter to Isabelle was also really sweet.
#4 – Nothing But Shadows
Simon challenges the setup of the Shadowhunter Academy and in doing so learns the story of James Herondale and Matthew Fairchild and the unusual way that they became friends and parabatai.
I loved this one! It followed James Herondale (Will and Tessa’s son), through his first year at the Shadowhunter Academy. I thought James was a really great character, and I loved seeing how he dealt with his father’s popularity. I also really enjoyed reading about a lot of the other students that were there. Most of all, I loved seeing how James met his parabatai, and how their relationship grew. This one is definitely my favourite so far.
#5 – The Evil We Love
All evil starts somewhere, and Simon Lewis learns how The Circle—led by Valentine Morgenstern—began.
The Shadowhunter Academy has only just reopened following the disastrous rise of the Circle. Now the faculty can finally admit to what happened when Valentine was a student.
This was my least favourite so far. It was set at the end of Simon’s first year at the Academy, after all normal classes had finished. Enter Stephen Lightwood as a guest lecturer, with his trusty sidekick, Isabelle. Stephen told the students his story of the early times of the Circle. To be honest, it didn’t really excite me. Stephen was a rather annoying character, and I just didn’t really enjoy those parts of the story. I did like the parts that followed Simon, as he tried to deal with his idiot classmates. I also loved the small progress that was made between him and Isabelle.
#6 – Pale Kings and Princes
Simon has an encounter with Downworlders and is reprimanded for not following the rules for Academy students interacting with Downworlders. A story within a story: Andrew Blackthorn, while a student at the Academy, becomes enthralled by a faerie and has two children with her: Mark and Helen.
I loved this one! It’s the shortest of the stories so far, but I really enjoyed it. I really like Helen as a character, so it was great to see her pop up. Also, there was a breakthrough with Simon and Isabelle’s relationship, so that was also really great. I loved reading about the Blackthorn brothers, and about Mark and Helen’s mother, and how all that came about.
#7 – Bitter of Tongue
After Simon is kidnapped by faeries (why is he always kidnapped?), he uncovers rumors of a secret weapon Sebastian left behind for the faerie queen. He must escape the Fey, relying on his only ally, former Shadowhunter and Dark Artifices character Mark Blackthorn.
It was really nice seeing what happened to Mark after the last story featured Helen. I’m not a big fan of the faeries, so I didn’t enjoy this one as much as some of the other stories. I like that we’re seeing how Simon is growing as a warrior, considering he’s been at the Academy for over a year at this point. I really liked the ending of this one – it was very sweet.
#8 – The Fiery Trial
Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn become parabatai. Simon and Clary both act as their witnesses, so they can see what a parabatai bond forming looks like as they want to become parabatai as soon as Simon graduates.
This one was great! It was so nice seeing Simon and Clary together -I love seeing how their relationship has become strong again. I really liked that we saw Catarina with Magnus and Jem. Also, the mention of Will was absolutely adorable. I loved seeing Julian and Emma become parabatai. I’m actually looking forward to reading more about them in The Dark Artifices.
#9 – Born to Endless Night
Simon, like the rest of the Academy, is stunned when a navy-skinned warlock baby is found on the Academy steps. They hand the child over to guest lecturer Magnus Bane, who has to bring a child home… temporarily, of course… to his man!
AHHHH! This one was so adorable – definitely one of my favourites! There was so much beautiful fluff, and everything was perfect. I was really glad that Alec and Simon talked to each other about what happened before Simon lost his memories. Most of all, though, I loved Magnus and Alec and how they make such a perfect family. Oh, also, I loved that Robert and Maryse stopped being so uptight, and were actually being nice people.
#10 – Angels Twice Descending
Simon’s journey to become a Shadowhunter nears its end as his Ascension ceremony draws closer.
OH GOD. WHY YOU GOTTA BE LIKE THAT?
UGGHHH that was such a beautiful ending! Though brief, I absolutely adored this final story. While there was something that happened that I really wish didn’t, I had kind of expected it (though I’d hoped I was wrong). It is painfully typical of Cassie Clare to have something turn horrible when it could have been so perfect!
I loved seeing the depths of the friendships that Simon had formed while at the Academy – I do hope some of these characters (Marisol and Jon!) make a cameo in some of the future novels.
So there ya have it, that’s what I thought of each story that makes up the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy series. Overall, I really enjoyed this series. If you’ve read The Mortal Instruments, I would definitely recommend you check out this series. I imagine that, like The Bane Chronicles, these stories will be published as a single book shortly.
I’ll finish this post with what a think is a nice quote from the final story:
“The point wasn’t that you tried to live forever; the point was that you lived, and did everything you could to live well. The point was the choices you made and the people you loved.”