“Sincerity and gravity, in Magnus's opinion, were highly overrated, as was being forced to relive unpleasant memories. He would much rather be amused and amusing.”
-Cassandra Clare, The Bane Chronicles
Let's be clear about something before I start this review: I have read the entire Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices trilogy. I did enjoy the Infernal Devices much more than the Mortal Instruments, but, that is a story for another time. The reason I am making this clear is because The Bane Chronicles is a book that takes one of the most popular supporting characters from both series, Magnus Bane, and allows the reader to delve into his past. Many of the characters from both series make an appearance in The Bane Chronicles and unless you have read the other series, you won't get quite the same reaction I did when reading this book.
The Bane Chronicles follows the the adventures of warlock Magnus Bane, who, by the time The Mortal Instruments series was released (whose events take place in 2008 New York), has become the High Warlock of Brooklyn. He is extremely powerful and of course, immortal. This is the reason why he is present in the Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices (which takes place in 1800's London). Throughout both book series, he consistently refers to incidents that occurred to him in the past, but he never really bothers to elaborate on them. This book seeks to provide the reader with some of Bane's more illustrious adventures and also to help strengthen the link that Bane has with many of the ancestors of the characters in the Mortal Instruments series.
First of all, let me say that this book was by and large hilarious. Every short story that is written here is not only funny, but has a flair for the dramatic, which is just like Bane. However, I will admit that I did not like the first story. It did not appeal much to me but I trudged on, hoping that the next short story would be better. It definitely was. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Magnus was present when Edmund Herondale met his future wife. This couple would go on to give birth to Will Herondale, one of the three main characters in The Infernal Devices. In addition, I was delighted to learn more about Will and Tessa's children (both main characters in TID) since the trilogy did not mention them too much. As someone who loves a well constructed world, I would love to learn more about the Herondale line and how their bloodlines intertwined with those of the Blackthorns and the Lightwoods (since reading the book, I have searched through the internet and found a lovely family tree. Yay!)
Of course, another really nice aspect of these short stories (particularly the last three) is that readers are able to learn more about how Alec Lightwood and Magnus's relationship developed. Alec was a supporting character in the Mortal Instruments series and while some attention is attributed to him, it's largely lost in the shadows of the blazing glory that is the main character Jace Herondale (that was sarcasm there. I don't know why but Jace irked me in the series, possibly because I thought it was drawn out and I liked his ancestor Will, much much better. I suppose it doesn't help that the heroine, Clary, who is Jace's girlfriend also irked me, but well, yeah...). So, for readers that were intrigued by the Lightwood siblings, as I was, it's nice to see more of Alec and understand how his feelings developed better. Also, we get a cameo by his kickass younger sister Isabelle.
There are many little details that I liked in this book and I think it's the main reason why I enjoyed it so much. Picking up on references and once again reading about other characters such as Raphael the vampire and Ragnor Fell the warlock, was definitely a treat. Magnus's wit and sarcasm also make the stories extremely enjoyable and I flew through the book. I find that the Shadowhunter World can be a hit or miss for me, but this was definitely a hit.
Rating: ★★★★ (lost a star due to that first story. It is the first story, it should be amazing to really suck the reader in! This book would be perfect if we started from the second story forward. Also, Clare's writing style still bothers me a bit, but it did not really interfere with my enjoyment of the book :) )