Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Netgalley Review: Shadowhunters and Downworlders

In case it isn't obvious, I appreciate commentaries on popular fiction. So when I saw Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader available on Netgalley, I snatched it up. Regardless of any controversy surrounding her, I've been a fan of Cassandra Clare since her epic Harry Potter fanfiction in the early 2000s. You can see seeds of the Draco Trilogy in her ever-expanding original work, set in the world of the Shadowhunters – supernatural warriors who are half human, half angel. I've mentioned before that I prefer the more genteel Infernal Devices trilogy, which is set in Victorian England, but these essays focus on the modern-day Mortal Instruments books. Popular YA authors, including Diana Peterfreund (one of my favorite authors, period) and longtime Clare pals Sarah Rees Brennan and Holly Black, weigh in on various aspects of the Shadowhunter universe. My favorite essays were Peterfreund's expounding on the power of Jace's wit as a weapon; Kami Garcia's about why the best friend never gets the girl; and Michelle Hodkin's analysis of Simon, the Jewish vampire, who is much beloved. Clare herself edited this collection, which I thought was cool, since she shared some of her own related thoughts at the beginning of each chapter.

Obviously, this book probably won't be worth much to you if you haven't read or didn't like the novels. It isn't as academic as the Hunger Games commentary I reviewed recently, but it's still a quick and interesting read. Since the essays are short, you can pick it up and put it down easily. I enjoyed it, and probably would have liked it even better if I hadn't had a fever at the time!

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