Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I wasn’t originally going to read this short story collection, but right after I read the prologue of Lady Midnight, a detail was revealed that intrigued me. Then I looked up this book and discovered it was about Simon, who I love, training to be a Shadowhunter. I had already hoped I would get to learn about that aspect of his story in Lady Midnight, so I decided to read this collection of stories before continuing with that book.

My ratings for each individual story:
  1. “Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy”—3/5 stars. This is a good story to give some background on the Academy (not sure if it’s relevant in other Shadowhunter books, though) and to show how Simon is adapting to the “new” Shadowhunter world when he goes to the Academy to train. It also features how Simon is handling his relationship with Isabelle after not remembering their past together.
  2. “The Lost Herondale”—3/5 stars. Simon is at the Academy learning to fight. Catarina Loss tells Simon a story of Tobias Herondale, in which Simon learns there’s a possible Herondale generation out there that don’t know they’re Shadowhunters.
  3. “The Whitechapel Fiend”—3.5/5 stars. This story is about guest lecturer Tessa Grey teaching the students at the Academy about Jack the Ripper. Fans of the Infernal Devices (of which I am not one) will probably enjoy this story because it features Will and their young child James. I didn’t care for the characters, but this still is an interesting story. At the end we also see Simon writing a letter to Isabelle.
  4. “Nothing but Shadows”—3/5 stars. This story is about the shy James Herondale, Will and Tessa’s son, as he goes to school and learns to make friends. I found this story to be way too drawn out, plus I didn’t really know (or care) who many of the characters were. However, I did enjoy the ending, and I think fans of the Herondales will enjoy this story.
  5. “The Evil We Love”—4/5 stars. In this story, Robert Lightwood tells the Academy about his time in the Circle as well as sharing his own intimate history with the students. I enjoyed seeing the flashbacks to the 1980s and learning some more details to strengthen the original story in the Mortal Instruments. There’s also more drama going on with Simon and Isabelle’s relationship in between the lectures.
  6. “Pale Kings and Princes”3/5 stars. Helen Blackthorn comes to the Academy to tell a story to Simon and his classmates of her father, Andrew Blackthorn, and how he got involved with fairies. Also, Simon and Isabelle are trying to fix their relationship.
  7. “Bitter of Tongue”3.5/5 stars. Simon meets up with Mark Blackthorn and they have a chat. I think this story is relevant if you plan to read Lady Midnight because something important happens at the end with some of the characters present in that book. 
  8. “The Fiery Trial”4/5 stars. Part of this story is really weird, but the reason for that is eventually explained, and it made me appreciate what had happened. This story is ultimately about parabatai. Simon and Clary attend the parabatai ceremony for Julian and Emma all while considering the possibility of having parabatai for themselves. I would recommend reading this story before Lady Midnight.
  9. “Born to Endless Night”4/5 stars. Magnus comes to the Academy to teach, and then an abandoned warlock baby shows up on its doorstep. Magnus and Alec have a deep discussion, then Simon and Alec have a deep discussion, and then Simon and Magnus have a deep discussion. I enjoyed the honesty in this story, and I think it’s my favorite one in the collection. Some important decisions are made that impact the future of our favorite main characters, and my guess is that this story is pertinent if you plan on reading The Red Scrolls of Magic.
  10. “Angels Twice Descending”4/5 stars. Two years after entering the Academy, Simon drinks from the Mortal Cup and Ascends to Shadowhunter. This story wraps up the collection and ends on both a happy note and a sad note. [Spoiler: I am sad that George died because I could have seen him becoming part of the crew, but this side character’s fate felt inevitable, knowing how Clare writes her books. However, his death helped Simon choose a Shadowhunter name with meaning, so I appreciate that aspect of it. Still sad George died though.]

I liked that the stories were all connected in chronological order. I do not usually like or read short stories or novellas, but reading these all in order almost felt like reading an actual novel, except with really long chapters.

I was started listening to these as audiobooks, but halfway through, I checked out the book from the library to read along. I was pleasantly surprised to see that at the beginning of each story is a one-page comic-style illustration. I really enjoyed seeing these.

Overall, I enjoyed these stories, and I’m glad I read them before continuing on with Lady Midnight. I could tell a difference in Simon’s personality in this book compared to him in the Mortal Instruments, but that is to be expected since he lost all his memories, and also because this book was written by three other authors along with Cassandra Clare. He was more serious and less humorous, and his humor is one of the reasons I originally liked him, but by the end, I could see his old personality coming back.

For reference, you need to read all of the Mortal Instruments books before this one. I would also recommend reading the Infernal Devices prior to this book. I read only the first Infernal Devices book, and I wasn’t confused about any of these stories, so if you at least know the gist of that series then you will be fine. I would also recommend reading this book or at least looking at spoilers for all the stories before starting Lady Midnight.

Edit after reading Lady Midnight: All of the important details from Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy are explained in Lady Midnight, so that book will make complete sense even if you do not read this one first. It just depends if you merely want to hear the outcomes of these stories or if you want to experience the journey for yourself. I will say, though, that the one story I would recommend reading prior to Lady Midnight is “The Fiery Trial” because I think it is the most important story that pertains to the Dark Artifices trilogy, and also to the Mortal Instruments series. This is just my opinion though, and I know many other people prefer to read this whole story collection before continuing on with future books.

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