Book Review: Shadowhunters and Downworlders

There’s no such thing as too much of The Mortal Instruments!

The books following the misadventures of Clary Fray and her friends are addictive and heart-wrenching, so why not delve into them a little further?

Shadowhunters and Downworlders

Thankfully, Smart Pop Books has given us the means to do so with their new companion book Shadowhunters and Downworlders! Besides the really cool cover featuring the alliance rune, this book features tons of great analysis of The Mortal Instruments series. Many of the authors involved are personal friends of Cassandra Clare, some of whom were present as she wrote TMI and have unique insider perspectives.

Let’s start by saying that this is The Mortal Instruments ONLY. There are a couple fleeting mentions of characters from The Infernal Devices and no talk of the upcoming Dark Artifices. As much as we all love Will, Jem, and Tessa, you’ve got to be in the mindset to focus on Clary and her friends.

The book seems to be broken into two halves: The heavier, scholarly half and the lighter, more entertaining half.

Some of the scholarly essays do get dry, but others enlighten you. They make connections that readers couldn’t possibly fathom on their own (unless you have a reeeeeeally extensive knowledge base!) and makes TMI stand out in new ways. Our favorite of these were “When Laws Are Made to Be Broken” by Robin Wasserman and “Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero” by Michelle Hodkin.

For readers who are going into the book expecting something a little more akin to Cassandra Clare’s fantastical storytelling style, don’t give up if some of the essays in the beginning just aren’t cutting it for you. The book keeps getting better and better as it goes along. In the second half, we get gems like “Brotherly Love” by Kendare Blake about incest and “The Importance of Being Malec” by Sara Ryan about the portrayal of LGBT characters in young adult literature. There’s also “Immortality and Its Discontents” by Kelly Link and Holly Black, the most unique essay in the book– it’s basically a chat between Kelly, Holly, and Cassandra Clare about the struggles of immortal characters, but it’s terribly amusing.

The best essay, hands down, is the last: Sarah Rees Brennan’s “What Does That Deviant Wench Think She’s Doing? Or, Shadowhunters Gone Wild”. Brennan writes about the sexual undertones of the book with a zany, unapologetic clarity that takes the often debated topic, stares it down, and says “Everyone is hooking up with everyone else (or at least wants to!) SO WHAT?” We’ve always been on Sarah’s side of the argument, so it was refreshing to see it all defended in such a well-written essay.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders has something for everyone. There’s research and scholarship, there’s opinions and laughs, and there’s something about our favorite books, characters, and places on every. single. page. As an added bonus, Cassandra Clare introduces each essay with her own blurb on the topic, guaranteeing you that the woman behind the curtain is excited about its contents. If you’re a diehard fan of Cassandra Clare, this book is worth the read!


Vote for Clary in The Clash of the Epic Characters!

Hello! If you haven’t heard yet, The Clash of The Epic Characters (#COTEC) is on to Set 3 of Round 1! is pitting specific characters from 10 of our beloved YA novels/series’ in a battle for the most epic character of them all!

This time, Clary Fray is taking on Peter from Divergent!

We highly recommend that you put in your votes! You can vote multiple times and this set of battles ends at just before midnight 9/1/12. Then another set of battles will begin on 9/3/12.

We’ll keep you updated on who’s next for that as well.

Spread the word and vote!

Kevin Zegers tweets while filming City of Bones

Oh Kevin, we are all so glad you are having fun!  If you aren’t already, you should follow Kevin Zegers (@kevinzegers1984) on twitter.  His tweet from this morning brightened up my day (see below).   I love seeing a member of the cast tweet now that filming has begun, and hopefully soon we will see even more actors join the fun!  Now if only Robert Sheehan would start a twitter account too…

Photo from the set courtesy of

Cassandra Clare will kick off YALLFest 2012

On Saturday November 10, 2012, Cassandra Clare and Holly Black will be the Keynote speakers at YALLFest 2012.

The Charleston Young Adult Book Festival, or YALLFest, looks to be a wonderful day full of  presentations, signings and panels.  With the purchase of a Keynote ticket you guarantee your spot in Cassandra and Holly’s book signing line. The festival concludes with an event called the YA Smackdown, all 45 authors competing in story telling games.  The Keynote and the YA Smackdown are the only two ticketed events, all the other panels are free and open to the public.

See for more details.

Video: Q & A with Cassandra Clare!

Our very own administrator Nat caught up with Cassandra Clare at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego on Wednesday and while there, she got some amazing footage from the event!

Turn your volume up because Cassie was NOT mic’d for the event!

On the characters, getting ideas, the DS scenes, etc:

On teams, research, getting writing done, inspiration, etc:

Exclusive Interview with Cassandra Clare!

To say we’re massive fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices would be an understatement, so we are completely thrilled to share‘s exclusive interview with the creator herself, Cassandra Clare!

Cassandra was lovely enough to answer a few questions for us despite her extremely busy schedule and we cannot possibly thank her enough! Enjoy!

Cassandra Clare Exclusive Interview The Mortal Instruments The Infernal Devices

Cassandra Clare

1. You’re a very prolific writer and yet you still manage to communicate with fans often and have a social life outside your work, which we love! What’s your secret to staying sane?

When you’re your own boss, you have to set your own hours. I set very specific hours in which I do work. If I get work done early, I can do some interacting with fans online, or see my friends. If I don’t get that work done, you may not see much of me!

2. What draws you supernatural elements in your writing? Could you ever see yourself writing about normal people with no supernatural powers?

I am drawn to writing books about magic and the supernatural because those are the types of books I like to read. I’ve written many short stories with realistic settings, and I certainly wouldn’t rule out realistic novels in the future!

3. Are any of the characters in The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices based off yourself or someone you know?

Sometimes minor characters are based on people I know — Simon’s friends Eric, Kirk and Matt are all friends of mine. But I’m not writing a thinly veiled version of my own life. These characters are created to fit the needs of the story and to be very much themselves. Sometimes they incorporate aspects of people I know, or have met, like Simon’s sense of humor or Clary’s artistry. Jace, alas, is definitely not based on anyone real.

4. Was there ever a character you planned to kill in a previous book, but couldn’t being yourself to do it?

I intended to kill Max in City of Ashes but wound up putting off his death until City of Glass.

5. Sebastian/Jonathan is a really twisted character, so how do you feel about the fans who find him irresistibly sexy?

There is nothing unusual about it. There have always been readers throughout history who have been drawn to villains. I do not believe that even the readers who find Jonathan/Sebastian sexy are unaware that he is twisted and sick, because I trust my readers to tell the difference between reality and fiction. In fiction, the actions of a villain, even when unspeakable, can be cathartic to read about. They let us experience darkness, but add a safe remove.

Cassandra Clare Exclusive Interview The Mortal Instruments The Infernal Devices

With ‘City of Bones’

6. Did you do more or less “fan therapy” for City of Lost Souls than you did after the release of Clockwork Prince?

I find myself doing a little less, because too much of the therapy would be based on spoilers I can’t give out!

7. Do you have any characters that you feel are often misunderstood by readers? How so?

Clary gets a lot of stick for being headstrong and making rash decisions. I gave her a lot of the characteristics and actions that would normally be given to a boy in this kind of book, and I think it can be a little disconcerting.

8. Did you ever suspect that small conversations in the books like Will’s loathing for ducks in Clockwork Angel would ever spark massive interest among fans?

No, I was completely surprised. You never know what will spark people’s interest!

9. When the City of Bones movie is all said and done, how do you think you’ll react to seeing it for the first time?

Well, they haven’t started filming yet, so I spend all of my mental energy hoping the project moves forward and doesn’t get cancelled. I haven’t even begun to think about what it would be like to see the finished product!

10. Lastly, would you mind telling us a bit about your future projects, The Dark Artifices and The Iron Trial?

The Dark Artifices is a companion series to TMI, I don’t want to call it a sequel because it features different characters. It focuses on the adventures of the Blackthorn family, which runs the Los Angeles Institute, and Emma Carstairs, whose name may be familiar to those who’ve read the Infernal Devices. The Iron Trial is a middle grade series of 5 books that I’m co-writing with Holly Black. The details are super secret right now but I’m really excited about it!

TODAY ONLY: Get the City of Bones E-Book for 99 Cents!

City of Bones Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments

Book Cover

Did you read City of Bones in book form, but still want to add it to your digital collection? Or are you trying to introduce the series to a friend who thinks the ebooks are too expensive? Today is your lucky day!

For the rest of the day, the Kindle edition of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, the first book in The Mortal Instruments series, is up for grabs for only 99 cents!

Pick the Kindle or Nook format and get reading!

CITY OF BONES – Amazon Kindle format
CITY OF BONES – B&N Nook Format

Don’t have an e-reader? Amazon has also reduced the price of the physical book to $8.09 for the day, so your friends can still buy it at a discount!