Review:The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson

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4.5 out of 5 Collected Stars

This is a bindup of all the Magnus novellas. I wasn’t going to review this because reviewing novellas in a series can be really hard. The stories are usually fulfillment of a contract – a way for the author and publisher to keep a series name in the hype machine, and they are rarely any reflection of the series, or in any way necessary. However. I read this 500 page book in one day (except the last story, I read it this morning, after getting up thinking “I GOT ONE MORE STORY TO READ!”)

First things first – the loss of the half star on the rating is what almost stalled the book for me. The first story is…. crap. I hated it. I groaned aloud. I have owned this book for so long and wanted to read it but I was holding out on it for a rainy day. And then this formless, rambling thing is the first story. I was unimpressed and quite sad. 50 pages of frustration. And then I read the rest of it in almost one night and loved every other story.

Second things second: I love how we got to see so much more of Alec. The jerk we meet in the first Mortal Instrument books, the one that is always protecting everyone else and who the story briefly infers might be doing this because he’s not strong enough to be out in front is shown as brave and heroic and protective. He’s an awesome warrior who is sweet and thoughtful. I mean he really screwed up their relationship at one point, in a way that might have been unforgivable. This was worth reading simply to get to see more of Alec. So much of what I wanted in the Mortal Instruments is here: we get to see their first date and we get some Malec lovin’.

He’s not the only character from the Mortal Instruments to show up. We see how Magnus met the vampire Camille Belcourt. It was at the first meetings for the Accords (the laws and rules about Shadowhunter and Downworlder relations) and how fucked up those were. The Shadowhunters are a bunch of racist, xenophobic shits. Also homophobic. Holy crap. What a bunch of assholes. You can’t make excuses for those people. Then we see much later in their relationship. It’s very bittersweet, and touches on another difficult topic. This one had a very simple and fast resolution…. but it’s the only one I felt was solved pretty easily.

And Magnus. What is there not to love about Magnus? It was wonderful getting all these from his point of view. He needs his own series. He is thoughtful, funny, arrogant and sweet. From the other stories, you’d never know Magnus has moments of insecurity and doubt, about who he is, about himself as a partner (not that he doubts his beauty or that his amorous skills are lacking in any way) but he lives up to what I hoped he would be.

After that first story, I was not disappointed. I will admit the last one felt like fan service, just a silly sort of epistolary thing but I’m not complaining – I laughed and hooted through the whole thing… but as your reviewer, I feel it requires I point out any weak points. Other than that, I just loved this. I’m glad I waited to read it – after having read both series back to back (The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices) and on the cusp of reading Lady Midnight. If you love Magnus, you gotta read it.

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