Review: Shadowhunters and Downworlders edited by Cassandra Clare

February 21, 2013 Review 0


Cover by: Cliff Nielsen

Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader

Edited by Cassandra Clare

Genre: Critical Analysis
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Julia | Source: Publisher

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Smart Pop (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937856224
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937856229


Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.

Sexual Content

References to sex and incest.


Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of BonesCity of AshesCity of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.

Authors Who Contributed:
Holly Black / Kendare Blake / Gwenda Bond / Sarah Rees Brennan / Rachel Caine / Sarah Cross / Kami Garcia / Michelle Hodkin / Kelly Link / Kate Milford / Diana Peterfreund / Sara Ryan / Scott Tracey / Robin Wasserman


Flipping back and forth between the stories, switching focus from intense analysis of The Mortal Instruments elements to an entertaining look at lovelorn best friends in John Hughes movies, reading SHADOWHUNTERS AND DOWNWORLDERS felt like nothing so much as my RSS feed on a good day. Though I picked it up expecting short fiction, I found myself enjoying this collection of essays immensely.

As quickly as I realized there was no fiction to be had, I also learned that SHADOWHUNTERS AND DOWNWORLDERS worked best for me when I read in a non-linear fashion. The only issue knocking this book down from 4bats to 3 was how many of the stories I found myself skipping past entirely. Meaty and ultimately satisfying, readers will definitely want to read excerpts or peruse the author list to ensure there’s enough here to satisfy you. For a Mortal Instruments super fan, every one of these essays will be a hit, the kind of detailed, passionate conversations so many readers long for when finishing a beloved book. As a more casual visitor to Clary and Jace’s world, I gravitated to the essays by authors I recognized, or with titles that caught my eye. These essays are a diverse group, spanning everything from insights and personal little gems from authors I already know and adore, to detailed scholarly analyses from names I didn’t immediately recognize. For just that reason, I found myself flipping again, this time to the end of each essay where the author bio was given. For some reason I enjoyed each section better with a sense of the author in my head, a feel for their voice and past and style.

SHADOWHUNTERS AND DOWNWORLDERS was an opportunity to peak behind the curtain, to read how some of Urban Fantasy’s beloved authors were impacted by one of its own. It is by turns analytical and lighthearted, meandering and passionately detailed. It transported me back to the English Literature classroom, surrounded by the product of bring minds and engaged peers.



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