The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare (with Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan)
This collection of eleven short stories illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality, flamboyant style, and sharp wit populate the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.
Originally released one-by-one as e-only short stories by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan, this compilation presents all ten together in print for the first time and includes a never-before-seen eleventh tale, as well as new illustrated material.
I know when I read City of Heavenly Fire in August, I said it was probably the last Cassandra Clare book I’ll read. I lied. But this is ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT the last Cassandra Clare book I’ll ever read. For realz, this time.
I like Magnus Bane – he’s always been my favourite character in CC’s multiple series (even after I stopped actually enjoying the books and only read them for the sake of knowing what happened next and apparently because I’m a glutton for punishment), so I was sort of excited to read this.
If you haven’t read it yet and you’re hoping to learn something new or interesting, don’t bother. Literally nothing happens.
The stories are “fun” anecdotes, but they barely tell you anything you don’t already know. To be fair, I’ve forgotten most of the minor characters from The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices, so sometimes it felt like I was being introduced to new characters. Maybe if you’ve read them recently/have a better memory than me, some of these stories will hold deeper meanings for you. But I’m not re-reading all nine of them anytime soon, so I guess I’ll never know (I’ll just Wikipedia them).
There were stories about the vampires and I was all “woo, ‘sup Camille”, who I vaguely remember as being pretty badass. And there was a weird one about Marie Antoinette that was trying to be funny but was just sort of “lol, what?” because I didn’t understand the point of it (also super annoyed that we never do find out why Magnus was banned from entering Peru).
And then there was the one story with Will and Tessa and Jem-as-a-Silent-Brother shows up and I was reminded of how much I hated the epilogue in The Clockwork Princess, which made me mad all over again (now that I think about it, it was sort of similar to the trainwreck that was the last two minutes of the How I Met Your Mother series finale). It was a story that was clearly just written for the sake of getting the three of them into a room together again. (P.S. Will’s son already sounds like a combination of his father and Jace, which is not at all surprising because CC really likes lead male characters who are tortured-yet-sensitive).
Basically, it felt like I was reading fanfiction. Mediocre fanfiction that you find on some sketchy site because you miss the characters so much that you’re willing to read anything, as long as they’re doing something again. The stories with Alec – while cute – reminded me of the Harry/Ginny fanfiction I used to read while waiting for Harry Potter to finish (once I read the last book, I stopped reading fanfiction because, as far as I was concerned, the series was done and I didn’t need anything else unless it was coming from JKR herself).
I get wanting to revisit characters, I do. You connect with a character and you feel sad when you no longer have new stories about them. I’m a writer, I understand wanting to write more about these people/creatures/things that have been living in your head. But I also feel like revisiting characters requires you to actually write a story where stuff happens otherwise, if there’s no plot, what’s the point?
I don’t think these stories were edited. Sure, they were originally put out as epubs (I think you had to pay for them, which is why I waited for the physical book?) so I don’t know if they had to go through the whole editorial process first (probably just copyediting). But if they did, then her editor was clearly all “quantity over quality i.e. do whatever the frick-frack you want, Cassie, you’ll make us money from now until the end of time”…and didn’t worry too much about content.
Because literally nothing happened.
This review has more plot than The Bane Chronicles, and I’m just repeating the same idea using slightly different words.
Not unlike the majority of The Bane Chronicles.
Yes, sometimes there were funny moments. Yes, sometimes there were sweet or cute moments. Yes, Magnus is still my favourite character (granted, I barely remember half the characters, and I hate the other half, so is that really a compliment?).
But mostly? NOTHING HAPPENED.