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on January 16, 2013
Essays by Kate Milford, Sarah Cross, Diana Peterfreund, Robin Wasserman, Michelle Hodkin, Kami Garcia, Kendare Blake, Gwenda Bond, Rachel Caine, Sara Ryan, Scott Tracy, Kelly Link, Holly Black and Sarah Rees Brennan

Okay, I had a tough time with this. I would consider myself a fan of the series. I've read all of the books. But I am not enough of a fan to have been able to enjoy the most part of these essays. There were some interesting points. I will be somewhat more conscious of Simon's Jewishness from now on. Some points were just odd, from page 108: "The theory of genetic sexual attraction postulates that we are predisposed to find those individuals with similar genetic material attractive, if this predisposition has not been suppressed by the Westermarck effect." Huh. This is Kendare Blake trying to explain why incest isn't skeevy. (When I read the brother/sister part, I immediately thought, uh oh plot device, they really aren't related, not skeevy - anyone else with me on that?) If you are a rabid fan, you will probably enjoy this more than the average fan. The average fan will find very little that adds to the Mortal Instruments experience.
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on February 26, 2013
Originally posted here: [...]

I am a HUGE fan of The Mortal Instrument saga, created by that genius called Cassadra Clare, so I just couldn't resist this collection of essays written by different authors. I admit I was a little bit afraid; see, I'm not such an essay-lover and plus, I've heard people complaining about the fact that we are getting too much on TMI. I wasn't sure this book was for me. But I'm glad I read them: there is no such thing as too much TMI.

I always like being wrong about books. This collection is really good, with tons of insights about characters, setting and issues that are approached in the five books. Every author takes a unique approach towards an issue and analyzes it from different points of view and in the context of the novel.

I'd love to quote each and every essay but alas, I'll end up boring you to death, especially if you haven't read the series. I'll just try to give you a quick idea.

The first essay deals with New York and the hidden side of the city, a thing we clearly see in TMI. I loved how the central theme of the uncanny was explored. I found very interesting the essay on Clary, seen as a 'normal' heroine who loves art and uses it as a weapon and the one on Jace as a sarcastic hero. My favourite is without any doubt the one on Clary; it perfectly expresses how I feel about her: she's a girl like me, like every other girl, she's not a warrior or a trained fighter, but thanks to her art and her love she is as strong and as any other Shadowhunter, even if they don't recognize it. A great message.

The other essays deal with many issues that fans of TMI will immediately recognize: why the bestfriend never gets the girl of his dreams (sorry, Simon), a critical analysis of Simon's religion and even an essay on incest and taboo and on tattoos/runes. There are essays more readable than others, some are quite complex, but they all give us another way to look at our favorite characters. Also, I like many of the writers involved in this collection and their style clearly show in the essays, too.

Special mention to Sarah Rees Brennan's essay: sit down and get ready to laugh because it's HILARIOUS and freaking awesome.

I can honestly say that these essays were a great way to dig into this saga and have another point of view on many issues. I appreciate it even more the complexity and the different layers that the author has created. This is a book only for hardcore fans of the saga and for those who like to see what's hidden behind a story.

My favourite quote:

You are never alone. You are surrounded by disembodied voices and whispers, many of them speaking in languages you can't identify with certainty. Familiar, but unknown.

Not every girl can be Isabelle Lightwood or Katniss Everdeen. I think the true measure of a hero is what a person does with what they have, how hard they're willing to fight, and how far they are willing to go to set things right.

Clary is what I think a lot of us hope we could be, if we found ourselves in her situation: someone who becomes a hero out of necessity, who is not on an even playing field with the rest of the players - but who, out of sheer determination, finds a way to turn her natural talents into a tools of her survival.
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on February 19, 2013
*Thank you so much to SmartPop/BenBella Books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a honest review**

The Lineup:
Cassandra Clare , Holly Black , Kate Milford , Diana Peterfreund , Sara Ryan , Scott Tracey,Robin Wasserman , Kendare Blake ,Gwenda Bond, Sarah Rees Brennan,Rachel Caine, Sarah Cross, Kami Garcia, Michelle Hodkin, and Kelly Link.

The Review:

It took a lot of talented and amazing people to make Shadowhunters and Downworlders great. I'm really impressed how great this book was and that's all because of the awesome lineup. Shadowhunters and Downworlders is definitely the best anthology ever, no questions asked.

I didn't expect to like Shadowhunters and Downworlders at all because I expected boring and voluminous essays. I am happy to say that I was definitely pleasantly surprised. Shadowhunters and Downworlders is nothing short of spectacular. You get a great analytical look at the Mortal Instruments series which really helps you understand Clare's series in a new way. I saw a completely different view of the series that was groundbreaking.

All of the essays in this Mortal Instruments Reader are very easy to read but very informative. Particularly my favorite essay was by far: "Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero. My favorite character from MI was definitely Simon and Michelle Hodkin's input on Simon was very interesting. This essay has so much to learn from it such as about Judaism, the history of Vampires, and what it means to be a hero.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders is an essential for all fans of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments. This anthology really proves again and again why MI is a phenomenal series. Shadowhunters and Downworlders is a spectacular insight into the universe we all love. If you're a fan of Cassandra Clare you must have Shadowhunters and Downworlders on your bookshelf. Read Shadowhunters and Downworlders you definitely won't regret it. This book really made me even more excited (and I didn't think it was possible) for the City of Bones movie, and the release of Clockwork Princess.
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on January 25, 2013
Okay, let's get this one thing out there. I love Cassandra Clare's books and not just because I can. That was what really drew me towards this book because let's be honest here, anything with Cassandra Clare or the Mortal Instruments attached to it is bound to draw a lot of attention. So, getting to read these essays from popular authors about a series I adore was kind of the greatest thing ever.

Fangirl moment: This cover is amazing, the essays are amazing, the authors are amazing. Okay, I think I'm good now. I've completed my proverbial happy dance and can now continue on with an actual review.

I think a major part of reviewing this book is looking at how I personally responded to the series as I continue to read each book. The honest truth is that I had been randomly walking down an aisle in the bookstore and came across the first two books (yes, I was in the dark for THAT LONG). I don't think I even waited to get home before I started reading the first chapter of the first book, City of Bones. The story itself is so enchanting, enthralling, and well developed that you can't really put them down once you've picked them up. At least, I didn't put it down. Do you want to know the benefit of waiting until a couple of books are published? You don't have to wait those dreaded periods of time between books. Currently, I am going through a Cassandra Clare novel withdrawal. Those of you who haven't experienced it yet, just you wait.

The best part of this whole thing? Getting to read other people's opinions, peeves, likes, hates, and ideas about the series I've come to love. And from authors I adore just as much as the books. A just one lovely ball of wonderfulness.

I definitely can mark a lot of these essays, especially the one by Michelle Hodkin, as eye opening and awe-inspiring. These authors have put a great deal of effort in considering, developing, and writing these beautiful pieces of insight to the Mortal Instruments series. I had a lot of the "I thought that too!" sort of moments when it came to observations of characters. The writing was both formal and informal, each containing a sense of either humor or reverence. I found a lot of great one liners about the characters and some of the best ones were about Jace.

There is no doubt, at least in my mind, that this is a worthwhile read especially for those of us who are attached (to say the least) to the Mortal Instruments and all of the characters in it. If you loved the Mortal Instruments, you will love this book too.
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on February 5, 2013
~Reviewed by ANN & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog

I would recommend this reader to fans who want to see The Mortal Instruments in a different light. There are quite a few in-depth explorations that are interesting and make for a nice read. ~ Under the Covers

I would consider myself a pretty big Mortal Instruments fan. I used to read a lot of YA before submerging myself into the Romance genre, but TMI still remains as one of my favorite YA series. It's very well-written, very well-executed and has very lovable characters. Naturally, when I saw this reader, I wanted a little bit more of this awesome world. But it actually turned out to be much different than I initially anticipated.

This book is a compilation of various essays by some amazing authors such as Holly Black, Sarah Rees Breenan, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia and more. I've also read and loved these authors too so I figured this would be right up my alley.

The major thing here is just my expectations going into this book and what how it differed from what this book really is. As I said earlier, it's a bunch of essays that various authors have written about Clare's world. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this. It was enjoyable, but unless you're a major fan who would like to see the world in a different light, through the lens of other authors and what the series means to them, then this might interest you. However, if you are expecting an insider's guide so to speak, than this isn't exactly it.

That being said, after my initial confusion, I found myself liking a lot of the essays. There's also a nice introduction by Cassandra Clare herself as she talks about the genesis of the series.

I would recommend this reader to fans who want to see The Mortal Instruments in a different light. There are quite a few in-depth explorations that are interesting and make for a nice read. But do keep in mind that this isn't like reading other authors writing blog posts on another author's work. These are critical essays, not merely casual observations and raving about how awesome the series/author is.

*ARC provided by Netgalley
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on January 29, 2013
Shadowhunters and Downworlders is a deeply insightful collection of essays by various authors reviewing the Immortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. Cassandra Clare edited this collection as well as does the introduction. Each author takes a character or aspect of the book(s) and breaks it down to it core essence then rebuilds it to become part of the whole. I believe this book would best be described as a companion to the Immortal Instruments Series. Although you could read this separately, I would not recommend it. It contains many quotes and series information that would spoil revelations discovered through out the series.

I am a huge fan of the Immortal Instrument Series and found the insights enlightening and very enjoyable. Comparing my comprehension, of a series that I've read repeatedly, to other opinions was extremely fun and exciting. When I re-read a series it is always exciting to discover something new I missed. with Shadowhunters and Downworlders, you are given a fresh view point that may or may not agree with what you've discovered...but wonderful to visualize in your imagination just the same.

This ARC copy of Shadowhunters and Downworlders was given to me by Netgalley and BenBella Books, Inc. - Smart Pop in exchange for an honest review. Publish Date January 29, 2013.
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on January 22, 2013
I am pretty biased in this review because I am a huge fan of the series BUT still I really enjoyed this book and anyone who is addicted to and loves this series needs to get it!
I've been with this series since city of bones, show up at the doors of Barnes and Noble bright and early on the release day of every new book, and I'm pretty much counting down the days until the movie comes out. This book is like the english class version for this series that I've always wanted. A lot of authors analyze different themes and ideas in the books and how it relates back to the characters and then back to you as a reader. Its really interesting and I pretty much read it in one sitting but it was really insightful and had some facts and research in it on certain topics that were condensed into easy to read essays from so many different perspectives.
If you love this series you should definitely read this!
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on March 5, 2013
Although all the essays were extraordinary, there were two essays that stood out for me. Here is some more of my opinion of them...

The first essay by Kate Milford, Unhomely Places, truly captured my attention. She spoke of the "uncanny" which is usually associated with the occult. She used Freud's work as an explanation almost as to how Clary must adjust from being "mundane" to realizing she can see the world in a whole new way. I also loved Milford's view of New York City and how she intertwined the work of Freud into her own to get her point across. Sometimes things are scary and what you think you know is not true. The beauty is in accepting the "uncanny" that Milford speaks of so much. Her own story of adaptation from Maryland to New York is fantastic as well.

Second, Kami Garcia's article comparing Simon to the "Duckie effect" was absolutely hilarious! By far my favorite chapter, Garcia uses several 80s movies to showcase how the best friend guy always gets the shaft for the bad guy that the girl falls in love with. One of these movies is Pretty In Pink, where Duckie is so in love with Andie and she never loves him back. As Garcia puts it, "Until then, like crop circles, UFO's, the Bermuda Triangle, and ESP, the Duckie effect is an unexplained phenomenon. Only one thing is certain: Even if he's an adorable Jewish vampire, the best friend never gets the girl."

There are several references to the fact that Simon is a Jewish vampire throughout many of the essays. I thought it was interesting how the only symbols that would harm him were Jewish symbols. Also, I wondered why such a fascination with Jewish vampires.

Overall, this is an excellent Reader companion to The Mortal Instruments series. After reading it, I want to go back and re-read The Mortal Instruments series and look at it in a whole new way. Knowing more about the characters and the setting and the emotions that drives the action is going to make going back into this series amazing.

Excellent companion to the Mortal Instruments series.

5 stars.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 30, 2013
I went into this book not sure what to expect. In my mind I thought it might be like fan-fiction which I hate. But I like many of the authors who contributed and thought "It can't be that bad". And I was right!!

First it is not fan-fiction It is a series of essays written by different popular YA authors about elements of the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices. It is rather like having a discussion with my teens who read the series. Well, better because these authors bring up interesting and valid points my teens never thought of!

I love talking books and this is very much like a great conversation with somebody who really knows the material. I was very impressed with all the essays! And I found a few new authors to check out!

I will admit to only skimming two essays because they had some info about books I am waiting to read. I did not wish for spoilers so moved on to the next essay. That being said what I read was interesting and insightful!

Two of my favorites were Why the Best Friend Never Gets the Girl by Kami Garcia and What Does That Deviant Wench Think She's Doing? Or, Shadowhunters Gone Wild by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Kami Garcia brilliantly outlines why Simon never had a chance using John Hughes films from the 80's as research case studies! It was very entertaining and dead on in the Duckie effect!

Sarah Rees Brennan had me LMAO at her thoughts on the Clary/Jace brother sister debacle. my favorite bit "Their Facebook relationship statuses say IT'S COMPLICATED!!!!!!" I have not read Sarah' books but I am going to look into them because I really enjoyed her writing style here.

In addition I really enjoyed Sarah Cross and her essay The art of War. I never though of Clarey using art as a weapon but yeah that makes sense. It is how she fights and it is her true strength!

Kudos on this great book. I will now be more open minded and try other books like it. I think it gives great insight to a series I really enjoy. It is also great to hear other points of view and points you may have missed just enjoying the reading!

Cover Art - Beautiful! I would definitely pick this up to see what it was about!

*ARC courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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on January 28, 2013
Rating: 4

This is the definitive guide to the ins and outs of the Shadowhunter world told through individual essays written by a variety of Young Adult authors. Here's a list of the topic and their creators:
Introduction by Cassandra Clare
Unhomely Places by Kate Milford
The Art of War by Sarah Cross
Sharper Than a Seraph Blade by Diana Peterfreund
When Laws Are Made to Be Broken by Robin Wasserman
Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero by Michelle Hodkin
Why the Best Friend Never Gets the Girl by Kami Garcia
Brotherly Love by Kendare Blake
Asking for a Friend by Gwenda Bond
(Not) for Illustration Purposes Only by Rachel Caine
The Importance of Being Malec by Sara Ryan
Villains, Valentine, and Virtue by Scott Tracey
Immortality and Its Discontents by Kelly Link and Holly Black
What Does That Deviant Wench Think She's Doing? Or, Shadowhunters Gone Wild by Sarah Rees Brennan
Remember in school where you read some kind of educational tome about something you really were interested in? How it not only interested you but it gave a legitimacy to your (possible) obsession? This is that book if you love Ms. Clare's The Mortal Instruments series. It is so engrossing and erudite. It's like a masters thesis on all things Shadowhunter.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders edited by Cassandra Clare was published today by Smart Pop Books. A free copy of this book was graciously given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review.
Genre: Young Adult Non-Fiction Reference
Ages: 12 and up
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