As I said in my prior written article in which I’ve written down 2 mini reviews on #1 and #2 in the series: I’m always a bit skittish about the novella’s in the shadowhunter chronicles to be honest. Since Clare co-writes them with several other authors it sometimes – especially in the beginning with the Bane Chronicle novella’s – was really palpable you know? that she was co-writing these stories instead of writing everything herself. I was ‘missing’ something more often than not when reading some of the early novella’s. And I mean, as I said already; Especially when reading the Magnus Bane chronicles this was really palpable to me. Some of those novella’s were a bit of a letdown, to be honest.
When reading the Tales from Shadowhunter Academy I have to say, I didn’t experience that as much anymore – those were written by less authors and the co-authors would’ve probably already be a bit more aquatinted with everything shadow hunter as well, at that time – though and those were really quite enjoyable and added a lot to the bigger picture in the end, I think.
A friend of mine, Isa from the Bookdutchesses, was reading the Ghosts from the Shadow Market novella’s and talked me into reading them as well because originally I was planning to read them when the entire printed book would be released in 2019. But she had me so excited that I decided to not wait any longer.
So when I started reading these novella’s, I was really enthusiastic because of Isa’s enthusiasm and of what she told me about the novella’s already. And of course because of the character that would be a huge part of the stories; Brother Zachariah. TID being my fave books of all shadowhunter books, meant that these novella’s were bound to become precious to me.
Continue reading with precaution!
These novella’s contain spoilers for when you haven’t read the prior written books yet and when talking about them I might spoil some things here or there if you aren’t familiar with what happend in the Infernal Devices and the Mortal Instrument books. I try to minimize the spoilers as much as possible though!
Also: In hindsight, looking back to my own experience, since I’ve read Lady Midnight & Lord of Shadows first, I definitely recommend reading these novella’s before reading Lord of Shadows at least, since there are some details from these novella’s that will resurface in the Dark Artifices books. When you’ve read the novella’s, there’s just a bit more background story to some things resurfacing in the TDA books, so it just provides you with an even more beautiful reading experience I think. It isn’t necessary persé but I’d definitely recommend to not skip these novella’s!
In this article, I’ll be posting my mini reviews on Every Exquisite Thing and Learn about Loss , #3 and #4 in the series. Because I have quite a huge intro and conclusion in these particular articles, I decided it would be best to split all my reviews since there are 8 mini reviews in total coming your way.
#3 Every Exquisite Thing
Anna Lightwood, eldest child of Gabriel and Cecily, is mad, bad and dangerously dapper. Every rake has an origin story, though: now under Brother Zachariah’s eye we see Anna’s doomed love story unfold
As in the prior written novella’s, we again get to read from dual pov’s. As always, the Brother Zachariah one – but his POV isn’t that much present in this one which was okay though – and then there’s always a different character from one of the already published series or the ones we’re still waiting for. In this story, we’re following Anna Lightwood, Cecily and Gabriel’s first born child, who’s very determined to fight for a future in which she doesn’t have to hide herself anymore.
“Even when laws are unjust, hearts can find a way to be together. If you love someone, I have no doubt you will find a way to spend your life with them, Anna.”
I can’t remember the last time when I was reading something that had me feeling one thing and then it all turned around the next. When starting this novella I was immediately intrigued to read about Anna Lightwood. I was excited to see how Clare would write about F/F romances in this particular setting since it’s not something that was talked about much in the open and women and men alike were mostly shunned back in the day when they loved people of the same gender. I am pleasantly surprised though to see how Clare decided to write Anna’s love life! Whereas at first I thought that the romance between Anna and Ariadne was way too fast and underdeveloped – it was really bothering me for a time though but that was before I could see the bigger picture haha – I soon came to understand that it wasn’t about their romance really. It was about Anna learning to find her own way and becoming the person she wants to be, through loss and love.
“I was a shadowhunter. I knew it then, when I was fifteen. I knew it was in my blood. Foolish people say so many things. But we know who we are, inside.”
She set the blue box on the table and pushed it toward Anna.
“If you will accept it,” her mother said.
Inside the box was a necklace with a glimmering red gem. Latin words were etched onto the back.
“For your protection,” she said. “You know what it does.”
“It sense demons,” Anna said, astonished.
Her mother wore it nearly every time she went out to fight, thought that was rarer now that Alexander had come along.
“It cannot protect your heart, but it can protect the rest of you,” Cecily said.
“It is an heirloom. It should be yours.”
And I couldn’t be happier really, about her journey in this novella and how she gets there in the end, with the love and support of her family. Because seriously; Gabriel and Cecily… I don’t have words for them as parents – they are Everything! Love seeing them as parents, even though we don’t see that much of them. The way they stand by Anna is just so frigging beautiful I think and I really hope to see more of Anna’s love life in the Last Hours!
She would never be torn like this again.
She was a shadow hunter.
She would take the blow.
She would Harden herself and laugh in the face of pain.
And the moments we did get to read from Brother Zachariah’s POV I was as enthralled as I was when reading Anna’s story. Zachariah is trying to find out who Tessa’s demonic father is, and the truths that are revealed in this one are so very interesting. But then Clare just has to ‘ruin’ my good mood and all, because every time there’s mentioning of Will by Brother Zachariah I just turn into a frigging mess and I’m beyond help, lol. Will and Jem own my soul and I just can’t even… *cries uncontrollably.
“Your Tessa… and she was yours, wasn’t she? I may not be able to see your eyes, but I can see it in your face.”
Jem stiffened. He was no longer that boy, the young man who planned a wedding to Tessa, who had loved her as much as his heart could bear. He loved her still, but he survived it by having put that young man away, by putting away his human loves as he had put away the violin.
Instruments for another time, another life.
Still, there was no joy in being so cruelly reminded.
I also loved coming to the revelation that seeing how important Zachariah really became to the entire shadow hunter chronicles is so beautiful and impactful. Sure, he isn’t present a lot in the focused story-lines in TMI and TDA. But reading these novella’s, set in different times, shows us how much of our beloved characters and their children he has stood by and watched over really, over the years. It warms my heart and it tears it apart at the same time, seeing him ‘on the sidelines’ of it all, fighting for them all in the background and my heart breaks for him. He’s still so perfectly ‘Jem’ even though he’s a Silent Brother now and everything that was so beautiful and good about him, is still so much on the surface here and I can’t get enough of reading about him. I love it so so much that he is, in some way, connected to all of the characters that we got to meet in all of the books so far. It’s just magnificent!
“It took him several minutes to realize that the young man was not a young man at all. It was Anna Lightwood, Will’s niece. She had inherited the dark hair and the profile from the Herondale side of the family, and clearly, she had inherited her uncle’s swagger. For a moment, Jem felt a pang in his heart. It was like seeing his friend as a young man again, as the two of them had been when they lived at the Institute together and fought side by side, as they had been when Tessa Grey first arrived at their door. Was it really so long ago?”
#4 Learn About Loss
In a small town lost to despair, a dark carnival of a market appears. In the fourth in the USA Today bestselling Ghosts of the Shadow Market, faeries and warlocks we know converge, and the fate that will one day produce Kit Herondale is sealed.
O, this was such a fun and interesting one to read I think! Brother Zachariah goes alongside Sister Emilia, an Iron Sister but a fairly new one, to America to find out what’s going on with this ‘dark carnival’, which turns out to be a shadow market in disguise but one that allows humans to freely enter – which is obviously not done. Mundanes aren’t suppose to roam free in places like this. There’s chaos everywhere because of this. But more than that, Zachariah comes across an old acquaintance; a greater Demon called Belial. So yeah; exciting things are about to happen guys!!
“The Carstairs owe a life debt to the Herondales. That is my choice.”
Belial said, “Then here is what I will tell you about these lost Herondales. There is power in their blood, and there is great danger too. They are in hiding from an enemy who is neither mortal nor demon. These pursuers are resourceful, and close on their heels, and they will kill them when they find them.”
The interaction between Zachariah and Emilia was so much fun to read! Even though Silent Brothers and Iron Sisters aren’t supposed to appear so human anymore, these two characters still have their humanity left and I love it. Emilia was such a vibrant and precious character and a great addition to this short story I think.
Sister Emilia craned her neck to see where Jem was looking and said “Another faerie! It’s nice to be out in the world again. I’ll have such a lot to write about in my diary when I’m back at the Iron Citadel.”
“Do Iron Sisters keep diaries?” Jem asked politely.
“That was a joke,” Sister Emilia said. She actually looked disappointed in him. “Do Silent Brothers have any kind of a sense of humor, or do they stitch that up too?”
“We collect knock-knock jokes,” Jem said.
She perked up. “Really? Do you have any favorites?”
“No,” Jem said. “That was a joke.” And if he could have, he would have smiled.
Sister Emilia was so very human that he found it was waking up some of the humanity he’d put aside so long ago.
I can’t help but feel, that whenever there are these side characters that get to have ‘their’ moment in a short Story, like Emilia in this one and Catarina in the next one, I feel like I need So much More of them. Emilia has become so interesting and lovable in such a small amount of pages and I’m already missing reading about her. I am so happy with how she turned out to be in this short story, seeing some of her in her younger days when she was still finding her way becoming an Iron Sister.
“Then if you were cured,” Sister Emilia said, “you would choose not to be what you are?”
Brother Zachariah said, “Without hesitation. Though not without gratitude for what my Brothers in the Silent City have done for me. And you? Will you regret choosing a life in the Iron Citadel?”
Sister Emilia said, “How can I know that? But no. I am being given an opportunity to become what I have always known I was meant to be.”
And what Emilia ends up doing for Zachariah… The way this short story ends; I don’t have any words for it. Perfection. I cried my eyeballs out. This was such a beautiful homage to one of the best Parabatai couples we’ve come across; Jem and Will and the tears that were streaming down my face reading that last part… They were sad, but really happy tears. I’m tearing up again, thinking about it. It was beautiful, so so beautiful.
These short stories are going to be the death of me with all the TID things being thrown my way, seriously. But I would’ve never wanted to have skipped these novella’s you know? Knowing what I’ve read so far, the additions to some of the story-lines and character developments, especially the small extra’s given to us revolving Tessa/Will/Jem, are so precious and just Everything.
Reading these novella’s makes me sad, they make my heart ache but they make me so happy. I can’t believe Clare is still giving us such precious and beautiful moments so many years after she finished writing Clockwork Princess. She keeps on hitting me like a freight train with all the feels.
And the additions of all the other side characters are so beautiful. Reading about Anna Lightwood was such a joy and I cannot wait to read more about her in the upcoming Last Hours books. She deserves the world. And reading about characters like Emilia, who are small side characters in this world but who still come to mean a lot to me, is just the cherry on top of the cake.
So, on to the next two novella’s then, right? See you soon! Thanks for reading, lovelies.