Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy: Ranking My Favorite Books

It’s no secret that I love Cassie Clare’s shadowhunter books.
It’s also clear that I love Simon Lewis.

So, it’s kind of obvious that I got so excited when Cassie announced Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, a series of short stories released each month as ebook (ala The Bane Chronicles). They will sell it as a hardcopy bundle when the whole series have been published, and I’m definitely getting that too (more Simon! more Izzy!).

However, I cannot wait that long and my sister and I have been purchasing each book as it comes out (like literally on the same day when it comes out).

I’ve read the latest one, the sixth book in the series, Pale Kings and Princes. There are still four books to go, but I figure I would give an overview of the first six books and my rating (and totally biased opinion). I try not to judge each book by the amount of Izzy Sizzy moments in it, but I might have failed.

ALSO, SPOILER WARNING! Not that spoilery, I will not spill major plot twist, but I will mention which characters are in the book. Also, there will be spoilers for TMI and TID


Without further ado, here are my ranking for Book #1 – #6 in TFTSA.

  1. The Evil We Love (Book #5) 4 out of 5 stars
    There must be something wrong with me to put this most heartbreaking book at the top of my list. I used to like Robert Lightwood, then despised him, and now after reading this book, I have conflicted feelings about him. I disagree of things he has done in the past, but I couldn’t help but hope that he could cross that bridge to Izzy and Alec. It’s also very interesting to get a view of Valentine’s circle from Robert’s eyes, since we only get to see it from Clary’s POV in TMI. Oh, and anytime Izzy made an appearance, the book gets 50 times better.
  2. Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (Book #1) 4 out of 5 stars
    As the first book in the series, it has the difficult job because it has to convince you to read the rest of the books in the series. Fortunately, Cassie, with the help of my-hero Sarah Rees Brennan, managed to deliver with the combination of humor, characters, and interesting premise. We get to meet the new kids, the ever-so-likeable George Lovelace, and the rest of them, Julie, Jon, Marisol, and Beatriz. I have to say, aside from George, I don’t really connect with the rest of the students. Perhaps, it’s just me being too accustomed with Clary and Jace and Alec and Izzy. Having said that, I absolutely adore Catarina Loss. Magnus is still my favorite warlock, but Catarina is catching up, she’s now a very close second. (I also like Ragnor. Apparently I have crushes on warlock. Apparently).
  3. The Lost Herondale (Book #2) 4 out of 5 stars
    I fell in love with Catarina Loss in this book. I adore her in the first book, but this book cemented my love for her. There is something special with her, not only magical but also one of the most earnest character in the Cassie’s shadowhunter stories. She’s willing to tolerate shadowhunters (many of whom look down at downworlders) for the greater good. In The Lost Herondale, she told Simon a secret about a long-lost shadowhunter, Tobias Herondale. I couldn’t tell you what’s the secret without spoiling the story, but it’s definitely heartbreaking. Oh and Clary came for a visit :).
  4. Pale Kings and Princes (Book #6) 4 out of 5 stars
    This one basically tells a story about racism, how shadowhunters look down on any fae descendants. **SPOILER WARNING FOR CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE** After what happened in City of Heavenly Fire, the shadowhunters grew to dislike (and distrust) the fae even more than before. They punished Helen Blackthorn, a shadowhunter of fairy descendant, by sending her to an isolated place. She was accompanied by her girlfriend, Aline. In this book, Helen was called to the Shadowhunter Academy to tell a story of her parents and to teach the students to never trust fae. Simon felt that action was low and of course, being Simon, he expressed his opinion loudly to some shadowhunters dismay.
    I gave it 4 stars because this just hit home for me, and I think many people will be able to relate to the story.
  5. Nothing but Shadows (Book #4) 3 out of 5 stars
    If you miss the Herondales (Will family, that is), you will love this book. This ebook is the story of James Herondale’s days in the academy. We met James briefly in the Bane Chronicles, but this TFTSA story-I think-preceded the Bane Chronicles’ one. James Herondale felt he didn’t belong because of many things, but one important thing is because he is half-warlock. In this book, due to an incident that happened when he was in the academy, James found himself even more strangely separated from other shadowhunters, but on the bright side, he met his future parabatai.
    The James story was actually pretty good, the one thing I don’t like in this book is weirdly the dregs vs the elites stuff that happened. The whole thing was strangely felt out of place for me.
  6. The Whitechapel Fiend (Book #3) 3 out of 5 stars
    It’s not a bad book, it’s just that I have trouble connecting with this one. I love the characters (it was another Will-Tessa book) and I enjoy reading Maureen Johnson’s series about Jack The Ripper. However, combined together, the formula didn’t quite work out. The sequence of events are sometimes felt forced and rushed. Too many things happened. Ultimately, I think that this book tried too hard to put too many things into a short story. The concept is nice and might have worked in longer novel, but it doesn’t quite work here.

So, there you have it, my reviews for the first 6 short stories in Tales from The Shadowhunter Academy. I might edit this list in the future as I read the 7th – 10th book.
Do you agree or disagree with my opinion? Which one is your favorite? Let’s discuss.

Gillian Flynn books

Since Gone Girl became a hit, Gillian Flynn’s books have been reprinted throughout the world. Many people read her two earlier books, Dark Places (the movie adaptation of which is out later this year) and Sharp Objects because of this, me included. I bought the ebook bundle consisting of Gone Girl, Dark Places, and Sharp Objects, in that order.

Gone Girl was my first Flynn’s book. I haven’t seen the movie, I didn’t read any spoiler, just the synopsis and some reviews, and then I dived in. My first Gillian Flynn experience is good enough to merit reading the second and third book. Gone Girl was not without its flaws, but making a reader compulsively reading a book-with not one but two unlikeable main characters-is not an easy task. Flynn somehow manage to do that. Gone Girl is not a whodunit book. I am not sure it is a mystery either. As a matter of fact, throughout the second half of the book, you pretty much know everything that’s going on, yet it doesn’t make the book any less captivating. It tells a story, two sides of the same story, and although it’s not a horror book by any means, it has some of its chilling moments. In case you’re wondering whether the book worth the hype surrounding it, yes it does.

Dark Places, soon to be a motion picture starring Charlize Theron, is a story of a survivor of family massacre. Libby Day survived the massacre of her family while her brother, Ben, was convicted of the murders. He was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail. Fast forward 25 years later, Libby encountered a situation that forced her to consider Ben’s innocence. This book switched back and forth between the current timeline, and the day of the murders. It also switched POVs between Libby, her mom Patty, and Ben. There are some books that managed to confuse readers by all these switching, but Dark Places is not one of them. The switch between POVS is clear and I didn’t find it awkward at all. Having said that, the story felt dragging at times, while the final conclusion felt a bit rush and not too satisfying. But then, so is life.

Sharp Objects was Gillian’s first published novel, and it is still her finest work to date. The book was written from the POV of Camille Preaker, a small-town girl turns big-city reporter. She was given a task by her editor that forced her to go back to her hometown and faced her troubled past. The premise is about murders, strangulation of two little girls in Camille’s little town, and she went there to report about this serial killing while juggling work, her momma Adora, and her half-sister, Amma. The characterization is very good. Every character is flawed, although it may be hard to believe in real life that every one is that dark. It seems that every other person in the small town has a mean streak, a violence-not just a temper-but a real need to inflict pain. I found out who the murderer was quite early in the book, but it doesn’t mean the plot is bad. There is a big twist in the book that made you go “holy s*** i knew it. I knew it was *****”. The conclusion of this book also felt a little rush, but the strong storytelling and characters made the book worth it. If you wonder whether this book will also make it to the big screen, the current answer is no, it will instead go to the small screen. Now, I know big screen adaptation seems like the ultimate deal, but I am totally on board on TV adaptation. With so many interesting characters, TV adaptation may do this book more justice than movie one.