With the most recent release in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters Chronicles (The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices and now The Dark Artifices) I thought it would be the perfect time to do this post!
I know people often wonder if they can read any of Cassandra Clare’s series without having read everything else that’s been released and while you can definitely read The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices without having read the other you most definitely can’t read The Dark Artifices as a standalone series.
I know you’re probably wondering ‘Why?’, well, let me tell you!
The Dark Artifices follows characters who have grown up as Shadowhunters. Lady Midnight was the first time we were following characters who have been Shadowhunters their entire lives and have grown up learning everything there is to know and so we, as readers, don’t get told things about the world. We’re expected to know them the same way the characters already do. Which, if you’re new to this world is really difficult, I think. In City Of Bones and Clockwork Angel we follow two characters who are thrown into this world that is entirely new to them and as they learn more about it, so do we.
There is so much history that is referenced in The Dark Artifices. Cassandra Clare’s newest installment in her Shadowhunters Chronicles is set five years after the events of City Of Heavenly Fire and our main characters know all about those events and reference them quite often. If you haven’t read TMI you are a) going to get spoiled for the events of COHF and b) you are missing the emotional impact the events had on our characters! But you’re not only missing out on the events of TMI but also TID as we visit London in the second installment and there is all of that backstory to the London Institute and the previous owners.
There are so many previous characters mentioned and reappearing in The Dark Artifices. I feel like with Lady Midnight you would’ve been okay if you hadn’t read Cassie’s previous books as we don’t see too many of our previous characters in that one or not to the same extent as we do in Lord Of Shadows. At the point I’m currently at in Lord Of Shadows a majority of TMI‘s major characters have shown up at least once and we’ve talked about characters from TID a couple of times too. And you just don’t have the same emotional commitment to all of those characters if you haven’t been with them for everything they have gone through.
You don’t get to experience the author’s growth if you start with The Dark Artifices. Lady Midnight is Cassandra Clare’s 12th book in her Shadowhunters Chronicles and she was very obviously grown as an author from when she wrote City Of Bones – it’s very evident! And I think if you start with an author’s most recent work you just don’t get to see that growth and it might actually make you like their previous books a lot less because of it. I’ve read all of Cassie’s previous books (minus the novella bind-ups) and the more I read the more in love with her writing I fell. To this day, The Infernal Devices is my favorite series of Cassie’s. I loved everything about it and I cry every time I finish the trilogy which is a great sign for me!
If you guys have been reading our blog for a while and followed my Down The TBR Hole posts, you might have seen that I decided to keep Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase series on there as it was about Norse mythology and I got really excited about it.
But since I started reading Lord Of Shadows I’ve decided that if I’m ever going to get to Rick Riordan’s books, I’ll have to start from the very beginning and read my way through all of his works for the very reasons that I just mentioned. I feel like I might miss out on characters and the emotional connection to them if I just start with a random series from Riordan.
Have you guys read any of Cassie’s or Rick’s series in their entirety and can share your experience with reading them? Did you come across some of the same observations I did and talked about? Let’s discuss in the comments below!