Navigating the Shadow World: The Unofficial Guide to Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments by Liv Spencer

Synopsis: An exploration as well as a literary celebration of the fascinating young adult fantasy series, this companion guide takes readers deep into the rich universe of Cassandra Clare’s New York Times–bestselling Shadowhunter Chronicles franchise. With intelligent yet accessible dissections of each volume of both the Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices series, Liv Spencer delivers the next best thing to a Shadowhunter’s codex with commentary on the books as well as their references to folklore, legends, and literature. The guide also recounts Cassandra Clare’s publishing story, from journalist and fan fiction writer to bestselling author; explores the cast and crew who brought the first book to life in the film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, premiering in August 2013; and delves into the franchise’s fans, a passionate community that is anything but mundane. From the Clave to Chairman Meow and demon pox to dastardly ducks, Navigating the Shadow World is both an insightful introduction to the world of Cassandra Clare and a satisfying companion book for fans.

Review: I read the first three books of The Mortal Instruments series a long time ago and I really loved them. As I plan to read the sequel soon, this guide was a good opportunity for me to dive into Cassandra Clare’s world again. This book helped me to recall some details I had forgotten and discover others that I did not know at all, including details concerning the prequel The Infernal Devices.

The book is divided into six parts. In the first part we find Cassandra Clare’s story, the journalist who became the New York Times bestselling author we all know today. The second part focuses on The Mortal Instruments series. The third and the fourth part deal with the movie The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. The fifth part is about The Infernal Devices series and finally, a sixth part rather short is dedicated to the TMI fandom.

It was interesting to discover all kinds of things about the author and her world. I must confess that I do not know much about Cassandra Clare’s life and find out all these details about her and her writer’s journey was something quite pleasant. The guide also focuses on all the research that Cassandra Clare had done about angels, demons, faes, myths, legends, runes in order to give birth to The Mortal Instruments. For The Infernal Devices, it was necessary to do some research on Victorian London era as well as everything related to steampunk. We also discover the different places the characters visited in the novels, not only those in present-day New York but also in London which inspired the author for her Victorian-era series The Infernal Devices. All of this is accompanied by some black and white photos and some pictures. We also discover that the author was inspired by texts such as Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost or The Divine Comedy by Dante to create the Shadow world.

Through this book we find out what the author wanted to express in some scenes. There are a lot of things that I did not necessarily even guessed by reading the novels and Liv Spencer’s analysis about this is very interesting. This book is rich in details and anecdotes and I admit that it gave me the desire to reread the saga from the beginning. And that’s not all! In this guide, we also get some news about Cassandra Clare’s new series, The Dark Artifices whose first book Lady Midnight is expected for 2015. This new series is a continuation of the Shadow world. Then Liv Spencer also mentions The Bane Chronicles (Magnus Bane story) which is composed of several ebooks written by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson.

Concerning the movie “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”, we can find anecdotes, behind the scenes, etc. We also discover the degree of involvement of the author on this project. But the most important thing here is the presentation of the cast. We can find for each actor/actress a short biography with a small black and white photo. As I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Rys Meyer I can tell you that I was glad to find him here! 😀

So to conclude I would say Navigating the Shadow World is an indispensable book for all the TMI fans and it’s an excellent companion guide.

3mon pseudo

10 thoughts on “Navigating the Shadow World: The Unofficial Guide to Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments by Liv Spencer

  1. So is there a sort of small summary for each book? Like what happened so far, type of thing? Because that would be definitely helpful considering City of Heavenly Fire is taking longer than usual.

    Thanks for the tip, Inessa. 🙂

    • Hi! 😀

      Yes there are summaries but also an analysis for each book from Volume 1 to Volume 5. And it’s the same thing for The Infernal Devices. I think that this book is useful cause there are a lot of details about the Shadow World. I had forgotten a lot of things so it helped me to recall me most of them. 😀

  2. I am more of an IF girl than MI. Curious that they released this biography of sorts about her. I’m not sure if there’s any truth to this but did it mention anything about her writing about HP fan fiction? I’ve read before that some peeps are associating her with some salacious allegations about plagiarism.

    • Hi! Yes, the author mentions it at the beginning of the book. It’s pretty short but indeed, Cassandra Clare suffered accusations of plagiarism when she wrote her HP fan fiction: « The Draco Trilogy ». 😉

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