Reviews for Shadowhunters and Downworlders : A Mortal Instruments Reader

Booklist Reviews 2013 February #1
Edited by Mortal Instruments helmer Clare, these 13 nonfiction essays are a companion volume rather than fan-fic extension of her popular series. Chapters range from an exploration of GLBTQ themes to the power of drawing, from (possible) incest to tattoos, and are written by an impressive array of YA authors, including Holly Black, Sara Ryan, and Kami Garcia. The introduction was unavailable at the time of review, so it is hard to know why or how the essays were selected, but Clare does preface each entry with a few adulatory comments. This may not be the book fans are expecting when they pick it up: the essays are literary-criticism-lite treatments of themes and memes, and readers will require familiarity with the Mortal Instruments titles to make heads or tails. On the other hand, the Mortal Instruments series is hugely popular, lending this book interesting potential as a nonfiction text for meeting Common Core standards. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #2
A selection of essays about the Mortal Instruments series edited by the series' author offers a couple of gems and a lot that's not. Amid the mostly shallow veneration, a few entries stand out. Kate Milford's "Unhomely Places" is not so much about the Mortal Instruments series as it is a love song to New York as seen through the uncanny lens of the books. Michelle Hodkin, in "Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero," examines both the parallels and the contradictions of Judaism and vampirism, closely reading Simon to see the heroism in his complex combination of the two. Other essays miss the mark. Kami Garcia's "Why the Best Friend Never Gets the Girl," for example, uses John Hughes movies to explain why Simon would never date Clary; are there no recent appropriate cultural touchstones? Multiple entries heap praise upon the series for its incorporation of queer relationships and mixed-race characters, though none of those essays point out that these queer and mixed-race characters are never the protagonists. Most of the entries focus on the series' romantic aspects: incestuous tensions, one-sided crushes, brotherly love. Textual analysis sits side by side with "Malec" as a portmanteau describing the Magnus/Alec relationship, "OTP" to refer to the idea of a fan's one true pairing and Facebook relationship statuses to explain character interactions. Self-serving, but enjoyable for committed fans. (Nonfiction 15-18) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.