Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader, edited by Cassandra Clare
I’m a longtime fan of what Smart Pop Books does with their series of accessible but smart essay collections on awesome pop culture franchises. (A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls? Highly recommended for the TVD watchers among you.) And this book does not disappoint.
The book begins with an introduction by Cassandra Clare, recounting the story of how she came to create the world of the Shadowhunters, which is a fascinating read. I’d heard bits and pieces of the story before, but to read it all in one place and in context is great. What follows is a series of essays by various talented writers on topics ranging from art as weapon, law in the Shadowhunter universe, New York as setting, Simon as Jewish vampire hero, Malec, tattoos, villainy, friendship, and — naturally — incest. While the essays are incredibly thought-provoking and smart, they are never academic or a drag. Entirely a pleasure to read (and especially fun to jump between authorial voices in each essay), Shadowhunters and Downworlders makes you think about The Mortal Instruments series in new and interesting ways — even if you don’t always agree with the argument being made. It’s like being in a room with a bunch of super informed, well spoken friends having great conversations about this beloved series.
The book achieves what Jen and I hope Navigating the Shadow World will for TMI & TID enthusiasts: it takes a beloved subject and casts new light on it, sparking consideration, debate, and probably a re-read or two. (Not that we need much encouragement to pick up the books again!)
Highly recommended! You can read excerpts from the book on Smart Pop Books’ great website.
And, after the jump, a selection of quotations that I found particularly evocative!