Clare, C., Brennan, S., & Johnson, M. (2014). The Bane chronicles. New York, NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Plot Summary: This is a collection of short stories that revolve around the life of Magnus Bane. The stories fill in details from the other Shadowhunter books Clare has written. Magnus Bane has appeared in both of her Shadowhunter series as have some of the other immortal characters that appear in these stories.
Critical Evaluation: The Bane Chronicles take place over a period of two hundred years. Most of the stories are funny and focus on Magnus’s decadent lifestyle while some are more serious offering insight into his personal relationships and the politics between Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Historically Shadowhunters have looked down on Downworlders with many believing they should be completely eradicated for the good of mankind. Eventually accords are made that protect Downworlders and relations between the two groups are greatly improved. While most Shadowhuners still do not socialize with Downworlders absolute hatred of them becomes a marker of evil or extreme Shadowhunters while the main characters and “good” Shadowhunters befriend Magnus and are more accepting of Downworlders. In these short stories this history is explained in a lot more detail and readers come to understand how hard it was to create the accords and why there is so much distrust of Shadowhunters among the Downworlders. Overall these stories have a tone of being more humorous but they create a more vivid picture of the history of this world.
Reader’s Annotation: Magnus Bane has seen a lot during is long lifetime and now readers can learn about some of his funniest stories and most dangerous adventures in this collection of short stories.
Author Information: Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Tehran and spent much of her youth traveling around the globe. City of Bones was her first novel and is the first book in the Shadowhunter world. This world includes the Mortal Instruments Series, The Infernal Devices Series, The Bane Chronicles, The Shadowhunter’s Codex, and the upcoming Shadowhunter Academy and Dark Artifices books. She has since written multiple series set in the world of the Shadowhunters. She co-wrote these stories with Sarah Rees Brennan the YA author of the Daemon’s Lexicon series and the Lynburn Legacy series as well as co-author of the novel Team Human; and Maureen Johnson the author of several YA series including The Shades of London series and the Blue Envelope series.
Booktalk Ideas: 1) Which was your favorite short story in the book?
2) What is revealed in these stories that is not shown in the other books?
Reading Level & Interest Level: The reading level for this book is listed as 14-17 like the other Shadowhunter books. This book is unlikely to hold as much interst for readers who have not read Clare’s other books but it could be an interesting way to introduce readers to the Shadowhunter books.
Challenge Issues: The book includes depictions of daemon summoning though Magnus Bane is not a violent or evil character some may object to this for religious reasons. Magnus Bane is also a bisexual character and is depicted in relationships with both men and women in the book. There are no sex scenes in the book though some people object to any depiction of romance between partners of the same sex. However I think this is an important book for diversity as there are not as many LGBTQ books available about bisexual characters so it is important to include characters bisexual teens can relate to even if they are magical beings. This book is also one of the finalists for the ALA teen top ten for 2015.
Why is it included?: I wanted to include one of Clare’s books because she is very popular with teens. I specifically chose this book because it is currently in the running for the ALA teen top ten. I also like that she collaborated with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson two other popular teen authors.