While this review is spoiler free, the summary of the book contains spoilers for The Infernal Devices.
Summary from Goodreads:
The Shadow Market is a meeting point for faeries, werewolves, warlocks and vampires. There the Downworlders buy and sell magical objects, make dark bargains, and whisper secrets they do not want the Nephilim to know. Through two centuries, however, there has been a frequent visitor to the Shadow Market from the City of Bones, the very heart of the Shadowhunters. As a Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah is sworn keeper of the laws and lore of the Nephilim. But once he was a Shadowhunter called Jem Carstairs, and his love, then and always, is the warlock Tessa Gray.
Follow Brother Zachariah and see, against the backdrop of the Shadow Market’s dark dealings and festive celebrations, Anna Lightwood’s first romance, Matthew Fairchild’s great sin and Tessa Gray plunged into a world war. Valentine Morgenstern buys a soul at the Market and a young Jace Wayland’s soul finds safe harbor. In the Market is hidden a lost heir and a beloved ghost, and no one can save you once you have traded away your heart. Not even Brother Zachariah…
“Every world contains other worlds within it. People wander through all the worlds they can find, searching for their homes.”
Okay! So, I was doing so well at keeping a consistent review style and now we’re just really messing that up. Since this is a short story collection, I will be rating and mini-reviewing each individual short story.
#1: Cast Long Shadows
“None knew better than Jem that someone could be not fully known yet entirely loved. Forgiven all sins, and dearest in darkness.”
Okay, this short story hurts me, as many of these due. Other than the fact that it hurts me every time, it is very good. We get to meet the characters of The Lost Hours again and start to learn more about their backstories and usual hangouts, which is fun. My one grievance with this story (aside from the pain it brings me) is that the pacing is kind of off, the first half seems to drag on with filler and then everything rushes together at the end.
#2: Every Exquisite Thing
“Women should value other women, even in society often did not.”
My goodreads review from the first time I read this story is just “I loved this so much, my heart is full and happy! Also, shout out to Gabriel and Cecily Lightwood for being the best parents.” and honestly that is basically all of my feelings about this story. This is one of my favorites from this collection, I love love love getting to know more about Anna, I get the feeling she will be one of my favorite characters in The Last Hours.
#3: Learn About Loss
“The night was very beautiful and warm, and they were both young.”
I don’t have much to say about this one, other than it was kind of very much a filler. Like, I obviously loved the last scene a lot and definitely appreciate it, but the rest of the story? Unless it somehow comes up or ties into something later, I am confused as to the point. The pacing was also really slow, I am just not the biggest fan of this one.
#4: A Deeper Love
“So many problems are caused by unnecessary secrets.”
This short story is a lot for me, even though I know that nothing can happen to these characters because of timeline things, it still scares me every time they are in danger. Regardless, this is one of the best short stories of the collection. With a backdrop of the London blitz and the content of so many hidden secrets and mysteries, it would be very hard for it not to be. The pacing is great, there are some deep emotional scenes, some revelations, it has an A+ in my book.
#5: The Wicked Ones
“Feeling is what makes us human. Even the most difficult feelings. Perhaps especially those. Love, loss, longing-this is what it means to be truly alive.”
This short story is another one where the beginning is slow and the ending is super rushed, but I feel like I didn’t notice it so much because I was too busy stressing and being concerned over Celine. One of my favorite parts about these short stories is getting to learn more about little scene characters, and this short story really did that well. I do wish that it was a bit more balanced, but I still like it nonetheless.
#6: Son of the Dawn
“There are more kinds of love than stars. If you do not feel one, there are many others.”
This is my second favorite story of the collection. It has basically everything I could have asked for, Lily and Raphael, tiny Jace and Lightwood siblings, mentions of Will. The pacing of this short story is also very good, it doesn’t seem to drag at any points. I don’t have much else to say that isn’t spoiler related, but I have lots of Feelings about this and tiny Jace in general.
#7: The Land I Lost
“Alec understood being young and scared, but there came a time where you had to choose to be brave.”
This is my favorite story of the entire collection, potentially of all of the collections. I cannot make myself be truly objective about it because I have such a deep love and attachment to all of the main characters (if anyone tries to hurt Max Lightwood-Bane, like ever, I will f i g h t), but I like to think from an objective stand point it is one of the bests. The pacing is pretty solid with only a few slow scenes throughout, and the plot line is actually relevant to the main books.
#8: Through Blood, Through Fire
“But we bear so much that seems unthinkable. The only truly unbearable burden is living without love.”
This short story is really good, but also, it has some of the same issues as a lot of the other short stories where the pacing is kind of off. I gave it a five star star rating because it always makes me feel things and be super emotional, but I understand why some do not like it. There isn’t much actual plot or content that is not found in other short stories on the main books in the series and there is only one real action scene, but I love it regardless. Jem and Tessa deserve the world.
#9: The Lost World
“I would tell them this. That the future isn’t fixed. If we see a path in front of us that we would not choose, then we can choose another path. Another future.”
This short story was not one of my favorites, it wasn’t bad, but I feel like it had no clear plot line or direction? Like, there was obviously a semblance of a plot line but it seemed to more so be “let’s follow these characters around for a day” which was not what I was expecting for one of the final short stories. It still was enjoyable though, and I do appreciate how some of the questions I was left with at the end of Queen of Air and Darkness were answered, though I do now have a couple more. I guess that is life.
#10: Forever Fallen
“Memories were like love: wound and cure, both at once.”
Before I started reading this story, Brianna told me, “Cassie wrote it specifically to stress you out” and oh boy, I think she was right. This short story was so much, I think I will be processing it for the next five years. It probably was more so on the five star side, but I am keeping it at four because it stressed me out so much. It was way better than the one before it, but also it hurt me so that was rude. There was just way too much to unpack in this one, we met a new character in this one and got to know two characters who had been briefly mentioned before and all of that was a lot for me.
Basically, I cannot review this one because I have too many emotions. Maybe I’ll try again later, but also, I will probably never be able to without just screaming about my feelings.
This is my favorite shadowhunter short story collection so far! If you are someone who typically ignores the short story collections, I would highly recommend picking this one up. Do it for baby Carstairs, tiny Jace, and Max.