For those who entered the Shadow World and were instantly hooked, for those wanting to know more about the world of demon-hunters and vampires and warlocks, the Bane Chronicles are a must-read. A collection of short stories by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson, they focus on the effervescent, charming, and truly inexplicable warlock Magnus Bane.
This compilation of stories follows the warlock Magnus Bane in his exploits across the world and across New York City. As an immortal half-demon being, Magnus has a lot of time on his hands. As a man of passion, and one who enjoys a good time, he fills this time with lovers (man and woman alike), friends, and more than a few enemies. However, he is a warlock with extreme power and is called upon to save other Downworlders, like vampires and werewolves, and Shadowhunters, who are demon hunters, and summon the occasional demon from Hell. The Bane Chronicles are filled with Magnus’s adventures and passionate endeavors; illustrating Magnus’s quest for love, equality (between Shadowhunters and Downworlders and in gay rights), and adventure- although rarely does Magnus look for adventure, it always finds him.
First off, I would not recommend reading this book without first reading The Mortal Instrument series and The Infernal Devices series. Magnus Bane is a deeply complicated character, with complex history and emotions. Without certain background knowledge from TMI and TID, the tales of this mysterious warlock will be downright baffling. But speaking of the complexity of Magnus’s character, this book allows you a glimpse into his mind. Although you can tell right away that Magnus is charming and flirtatious, there are more mixed emotions and deeper wisdom under the surface of his charm. This book explains these emotions in the context of Magnus’s history, which most people know nothing about. The book also does a good job of explaining other characters; ones that are mentioned and woven into the storylines of TID and TMI, but whose backstories and histories are unclear, like Raphael Santiago and Ragnor Fell. “Saving Raphael Santiago” was one of my favorite stories in the collection because it helped me understand the dynamic between the two, and how Raphael’s actions in City of Heavenly Fire affected Magnus. The plot of the book as a whole is riveting and beautiful and truly sums up Magnus Bane.
Though I don’t know the exact details of the co-authoring process, I can definitely say that Cassandra Clare and the various authors that contributed do an excellent job in weaving their voices together. Their writing blends together eloquently and cohesively without sounding monotonous. The way the authors conveyed subtleties in the book isn’t always so eloquent. Sometimes these subtle feelings and premonitions are too apparent and over- emphasized, leaving no room for the reader’s interpretation. However, certain parts of the book do portray subtleties well; they are certainly not easy to catch, but when caught, they are filled with either deep emotion or humor. The book truly does a great job of expressing emotion and evoking that emotion in you. Magnus is charming and flirtatious; you are always attracted to him! Magnus is sad and heavy with the weight of centuries on his back; you too feel the weight in your heart. And oh, the humor! Magnus may be carrying in his heart the loss of lovers and friends, but his charming personality conveys the humor in the book; definitely enough to make you laugh out loud.
Overall, the Bane Chronicles are not to be missed, especially if you fell in love with the Shadow World like I did. The book is a collection of really well-written, captivating stories about most people’s favorite character: the fabulous Magnus Bane.