By Chloe Sladden Turner
One of the chapters begins with the quote: “There was a time not long ago when Simon Lewis had been convinced all gym teachers were actually demons escaped from some hell dimension, nourishing themselves on the agonies of uncoordinated youth”.
The instant I saw this, I knew this would become a favourite a book. I’ve never found something so hilariously true and relatable in a book before, and the chapter that follows will leave you crying with laughter.
This book acts as a concluding companion book to The Mortal Instruments, shadow hunter series, with prequel like flashbacks in some chapters with hints of what was to come in Clares next Shadowhunters series, The Dark Artifices.
It begins with the loveable, heroic but geeky Simon Lewis, who after losing his memories to save his friends, wants them back. The solution offered to him was to go to the Shadowhunters Academy in the Shadowhunter home country, Idris and become a Shadowhunter (half angel half mundane warriors) with the ceremony incoming drinking from the Mortal Cup. This will make him a shadow hunter and give him back his memories, and perhaps a shot at being the hero, everyone tells him he was.
One of the real reasons, Simon is there is to get away from the people he knows but can’t remember; like his best friend Clary or girlfriend Isabelle. Simons fame from he chose to lose his memories to save his friends from a demon in hell, he is put into the academy’s elite stream. Simon eventually finds his feet after demanding he go to the basic class, and learn properly despite his status.
Simon along with his roommate and new friend, George Lovelace he trains to be a Shadowhunter, in the hope of getting back a life he thought was gone for good and to see if he has what it takes to fight good over evil, despite not being born into it. Only the words of his teacher, Warlock Catrina can provide him with some sanity in this place,
“Never let other people choose who you’re going to be” as Simon has to follow his own path now, starting from a mundane to a vampire and now a shadowhunter in training.
Aside from Simons journey, we see what happens to other characters. This includes the favourite couples Alec and Magnus and their family and Clary and Jace. Also, there is history given from the prequel series (The Clockwork Devices) to the Mortal Instruments regarding Warlock Tessa Gray, and another generation of Fairchilds, Herondales, Lightwoods and Carstairs. Not to mention, the brother-sister duo, Alec and Isabelle’s dad Robert with Clary’s mum Jocelyn and stepdads history with shadowhunter gone rogue, Valentine former circle. There’s also hints into parabati (magical bond for friends who are forever linked) Emma and Julian and their family as their story begins.
The unique perspective of this book through Simon, allows for a hilarious take on life in the Shadowhunter world, with both thrilling and heart-warming moments as he tries to regain his old life while embracing his new one, piece by piece. It’s a true statement on how far Simon is willing to go to go to become somebody new while trying to remember who he used to be.
However, be careful if you read this book, once you delve into the Shadowhunter world, there’s no going back! You will be apart of the fandom now, enjoy!