Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader Paperback – Jan 29 2013
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Okay, I had a tough time with this. I would consider myself a fan of the series. I've read all of the books. But I am not enough of a fan to have been able to enjoy the most part of these essays. There were some interesting points. I will be somewhat more conscious of Simon's Jewishness from now on. Some points were just odd, from page 108: "The theory of genetic sexual attraction postulates that we are predisposed to find those individuals with similar genetic material attractive, if this predisposition has not been suppressed by the Westermarck effect." Huh. This is Kendare Blake trying to explain why incest isn't skeevy. (When I read the brother/sister part, I immediately thought, uh oh plot device, they really aren't related, not skeevy - anyone else with me on that?) If you are a rabid fan, you will probably enjoy this more than the average fan. The average fan will find very little that adds to the Mortal Instruments experience.
I am a HUGE fan of The Mortal Instrument saga, created by that genius called Cassadra Clare, so I just couldn't resist this collection of essays written by different authors. I admit I was a little bit afraid; see, I'm not such an essay-lover and plus, I've heard people complaining about the fact that we are getting too much on TMI. I wasn't sure this book was for me. But I'm glad I read them: there is no such thing as too much TMI.
I always like being wrong about books. This collection is really good, with tons of insights about characters, setting and issues that are approached in the five books. Every author takes a unique approach towards an issue and analyzes it from different points of view and in the context of the novel.
I'd love to quote each and every essay but alas, I'll end up boring you to death, especially if you haven't read the series. I'll just try to give you a quick idea.
The first essay deals with New York and the hidden side of the city, a thing we clearly see in TMI. I loved how the central theme of the uncanny was explored. I found very interesting the essay on Clary, seen as a 'normal' heroine who loves art and uses it as a weapon and the one on Jace as a sarcastic hero. My favourite is without any doubt the one on Clary; it perfectly expresses how I feel about her: she's a girl like me, like every other girl, she's not a warrior or a trained fighter, but thanks to her art and her love she is as strong and as any other Shadowhunter, even if they don't recognize it. A great message.
The other essays deal with many issues that fans of TMI will immediately recognize: why the bestfriend never gets the girl of his dreams (sorry, Simon), a critical analysis of Simon's religion and even an essay on incest and taboo and on tattoos/runes. There are essays more readable than others, some are quite complex, but they all give us another way to look at our favorite characters. Also, I like many of the writers involved in this collection and their style clearly show in the essays, too.
Special mention to Sarah Rees Brennan's essay: sit down and get ready to laugh because it's HILARIOUS and freaking awesome.
I can honestly say that these essays were a great way to dig into this saga and have another point of view on many issues. I appreciate it even more the complexity and the different layers that the author has created. This is a book only for hardcore fans of the saga and for those who like to see what's hidden behind a story.
My favourite quote:
You are never alone. You are surrounded by disembodied voices and whispers, many of them speaking in languages you can't identify with certainty. Familiar, but unknown.
Not every girl can be Isabelle Lightwood or Katniss Everdeen. I think the true measure of a hero is what a person does with what they have, how hard they're willing to fight, and how far they are willing to go to set things right.
Clary is what I think a lot of us hope we could be, if we found ourselves in her situation: someone who becomes a hero out of necessity, who is not on an even playing field with the rest of the players - but who, out of sheer determination, finds a way to turn her natural talents into a tools of her survival.
Cassandra Clare , Holly Black , Kate Milford , Diana Peterfreund , Sara Ryan , Scott Tracey,Robin Wasserman , Kendare Blake ,Gwenda Bond, Sarah Rees Brennan,Rachel Caine, Sarah Cross, Kami Garcia, Michelle Hodkin, and Kelly Link.
It took a lot of talented and amazing people to make Shadowhunters and Downworlders great. I'm really impressed how great this book was and that's all because of the awesome lineup. Shadowhunters and Downworlders is definitely the best anthology ever, no questions asked.
I didn't expect to like Shadowhunters and Downworlders at all because I expected boring and voluminous essays. I am happy to say that I was definitely pleasantly surprised. Shadowhunters and Downworlders is nothing short of spectacular. You get a great analytical look at the Mortal Instruments series which really helps you understand Clare's series in a new way. I saw a completely different view of the series that was groundbreaking.
All of the essays in this Mortal Instruments Reader are very easy to read but very informative. Particularly my favorite essay was by far: "Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero. My favorite character from MI was definitely Simon and Michelle Hodkin's input on Simon was very interesting. This essay has so much to learn from it such as about Judaism, the history of Vampires, and what it means to be a hero.
Shadowhunters and Downworlders is an essential for all fans of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments. This anthology really proves again and again why MI is a phenomenal series. Shadowhunters and Downworlders is a spectacular insight into the universe we all love. If you're a fan of Cassandra Clare you must have Shadowhunters and Downworlders on your bookshelf. Read Shadowhunters and Downworlders you definitely won't regret it. This book really made me even more excited (and I didn't think it was possible) for the City of Bones movie, and the release of Clockwork Princess.
Fangirl moment: This cover is amazing, the essays are amazing, the authors are amazing. Okay, I think I'm good now. I've completed my proverbial happy dance and can now continue on with an actual review.
I think a major part of reviewing this book is looking at how I personally responded to the series as I continue to read each book. The honest truth is that I had been randomly walking down an aisle in the bookstore and came across the first two books (yes, I was in the dark for THAT LONG). I don't think I even waited to get home before I started reading the first chapter of the first book, City of Bones. The story itself is so enchanting, enthralling, and well developed that you can't really put them down once you've picked them up. At least, I didn't put it down. Do you want to know the benefit of waiting until a couple of books are published? You don't have to wait those dreaded periods of time between books. Currently, I am going through a Cassandra Clare novel withdrawal. Those of you who haven't experienced it yet, just you wait.
The best part of this whole thing? Getting to read other people's opinions, peeves, likes, hates, and ideas about the series I've come to love. And from authors I adore just as much as the books. A just one lovely ball of wonderfulness.
I definitely can mark a lot of these essays, especially the one by Michelle Hodkin, as eye opening and awe-inspiring. These authors have put a great deal of effort in considering, developing, and writing these beautiful pieces of insight to the Mortal Instruments series. I had a lot of the "I thought that too!" sort of moments when it came to observations of characters. The writing was both formal and informal, each containing a sense of either humor or reverence. I found a lot of great one liners about the characters and some of the best ones were about Jace.
There is no doubt, at least in my mind, that this is a worthwhile read especially for those of us who are attached (to say the least) to the Mortal Instruments and all of the characters in it. If you loved the Mortal Instruments, you will love this book too.
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