Last Updated 6 months ago.There was a movie, then a Shadowhunter TV show. But it all began as a book series.
What are The Shadowhunter Chronicles about?
It’s big. Yes, big. Possibly, when you were looking somewhere else, Cassandra Clare built a media franchise. There’s more than books (like the TV Show) but we’re going to stick with those.
The Shadowhunter Chronicles encompasses three novel series, two short-story collections and four graphic novels. Those stories are set in a universe where fairy tales and mythologies are true. Living alongside the mundane (or normal humans), a race of humans who possess angel blood, the Nephilim or Shadowhunters, is organized to patrol the Shadow World and prevent demons as well as Downworlders, including warlocks, faeries, werewolves, and vampires from attacking the mundanes.
The Shadowhunter Chronicles Books in Order:
There are multiple ways to read The Shadowhunter Chronicles, like The Series order. It’s also the easiest way for me to introduce all those novels series and books. So we begin with this one.
I. The Mortal Instruments
The most famous series of The Shadowhunter Chronicles is also the first one published. The series is mainly set in the year 2007 and revolves around the Shadowhunter Clary Fray. She and her friends are confronted with two wars: the first against Valentine Morgenstern, and the second against his son Jonathan Morgenstern. It contains:
- City of Bones – When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
- City of Ashes – Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go.
- City of Glass – To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
- City of Fallen Angels – The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
- City of Lost Souls – What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other.
- City of Heavenly Fire – Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter.
II. The Infernal Devices
The second set of books published is also a prequel. Set in 1878 in Victorian era London, it centers on Tessa Gray, a teenager who comes to London following her brother’s invitation but ends up thrust into the shadow world upon learning she is not a mundane but a warlock. It contains:
- Clockwork Angel – The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans.
- Clockwork Prince – With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors.
- Clockwork Princess – Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close. If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it? The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.
III.The Shadowhunters Novellas
- The Bane Chronicles – An anthology consisting of eleven novellas revolving around Magnus Bane. It is a companion book, as it is not an essential read. It also is not advised to read it without background in either series.
- Tales from the Shadowhunters Academy – An anthology of ten novellas revolving around Simon Lewis. Like The Bane Chronicles, that collection gives you some insight or background stories to other characters in the series. It is also complementary, but not essential.
- Ghosts of the Shadow Market – A short story collection that follows Jem Carstairs as he travels through the many Shadow Markets around the world.
This three books are now collected in only one book called the Shadowhunters Short Story Paperback Collection.
V. The Dark Artifices
After going back in time, Cassandra Clare opted for a sequel to The Mortal Instruments series. It’s 2012, five years after the events of that series’ final book. It revolves around the Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs, first introduced in City of Heavenly Fire, as she seeks the answer to her parents’ mysterious deaths. It brings in many of the previously introduced characters such as Magnus Bane, James Carstairs, and Tessa Gray. Not yet finish, it contains:
- Lady Midnight – It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
- Lord of Shadows – Emma Carstairs has just learned that the love she shares with her warrior partner and parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorn family is threatened by enemies on all sides?
- The Queen of Air and Darkness – Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. Their society now teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead.
VI. The Eldest Curses (co-written with Wesley Chu)
No doubt, Magnus Bane is a popular character and The Eldest Curses is a trilogy exploring his story and secrets. The trilogy is considered a companion to the main series, like The Bane Chronicles.
- The Red Scrolls of Magic – All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.
- The Lost Book of the White – Life is good for Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. The New York are peaceful and quiet—as peaceful and quiet as they ever are, anyway. Until the night that two old acquaintances break into Magnus’s apartment and steal the powerful Book of the White. Now Magnus and Alec will have to drop everything to get it back. They need to follow the thieves to Shanghai, they need to call some backup to accompany them, and they need a babysitter.
- The Black Volume of the Dead (TBA)
V. The Last Hours
The Last Hours is the fourth set of books and the sequel to The Infernal Devices series. It takes place in 1903 London and Paris and revolves around the children of the previous series’s main characters, including those of Tessa Gray.
- Chain of Gold – Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride.
- Chain of Iron – Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.
- Chain of Thorns (TBA)
Everything will be coming to an end with The Wicked Powers, the fifth set of books destined to wraps up The Shadowhunter Chronicles.
If you want to explore more the Shadowhunter chronicles universe, you can go beyond the book series with those companion books – obviously not necessary at all for the good comprehension of the story.
- Shadowhunters and Downworlders – a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.
- The Shadowhunter’s Codex – Delve into the details of all things Shadowhunter with this illustrated guide to the knowledge and lore of the Shadowhunter world.
- A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld: Told in the Language of Flowers – A special collection of artwork and never-before-known details of all your favorite characters from the Shadowhunters’world.
Where to Start Reading The Shadowhunter Chronicles ?
The Publication order
Most often than not, the best way to discover a universe is still with the publication order. So here it is :
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass
- The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels
- The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Prince
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Lost Souls
- The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Princess
- The Bane Chronicles
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire
- Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
- Lady Midnight
- Lord of Shadows
- The Queen of Air and Darkness
- The Red Scrolls of Magic
- Ghosts of the Shadow Market
- Chain of Gold
- The Lost Book of the White
- hain of Iron
The Chronological order or exploring the universe by periods
You guess it, you can choose to read following the timeline.
III. The Last Hours
IV. The Mortal Instruments
- City of Bones
- City of Ashes
- City of Glass
- City of Fallen Angels
- City of Lost Souls
- City of Heavenly Fire
VII. The Eldest Curses
VIII. The Dark Artifices
The Triad order or the one by Cassandra Clare
If you asked yourself: which order prefer Cassandra Clare? Don’t worry, the author gives her own personal reading order on her website. She suggests that you read them in a “slightly strange order” (her words, not mine).
I made a mistake? I forgot something? Please, leave a comment to help me perfect this Shadowhunter Chronicles reading order.