By Author / Illustrator
Clare Cassandra, Brennan Sarah Rees, Johnson Maureen
Walker Books Ltd
Paperback / softback
Ever wanted to know why Magnus Bane is banned from Peru? Or what he got up to during the French Revolution? Or what he bought Shadowhunter Alec Lightwood as a birthday present? Read this book and find out! Originally released as individual e-only short stories by bestselling YA authors Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan, this book brings all ten together in print for the first time and includes a never-before-seen eleventh tale, as well as new illustrated material.
This set of short stories is based around the life of Magnus Bane, a Warlock from The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series. It gives the reader a much closer insight into the life of a Downworlder, which includes the races of Werewolf, Warlocks, Fairies and Vampires. They are portrayed as second class citizens in a World where humans are referred to as 'Mundanes' and the ruling classes are Shadowhunters.
Fans of the Cassandra Clare series will enjoy the extra tales, especially as there are 10 short stories and an exclusive additional story told only in answer machine messages. All of the stories have a dark humour, yet are underpinned by more serious issues, such as: homosexuality, grief, ethnic origins, love and feeling accepted by others. There is also an interesting exploration of historical periods and the description of certain time periods draws the reader straight into the past, for example to the time of Prohibition.
Each story is introduced by an illustrated quote from that tale, and these are the ideal 'tasters' to draw in the reader before each story. Even the titles of the stories are intriguing and often point to the dark humour of the story to come, i.e.: 'What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything'.
This would be a good introduction for the fast paced short story and its structure, as well as the detail it would need to contain to entice the reader. The unusual illustrated beginning is also a good technique to explore. This is for the more confident reader and would appeal to those who have read The Mortal Instruments series. Due to the short story format of the book, it would also be useful as a class read for older students to explore themes that they can relate to, i.e. heartbreak.
Other series that fans of Cassandra Clare will enjoy are: Throne of Glass by Sarah J.Maas, Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater, Curse Workers by Holly Black and The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.
528 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Sophie Castle, librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+