Book Review: The Shadowhunter’s Codex – Cassandra Clare

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i tYPe thIS aS i ConTInuE tO prOCraSTiNaTE ReaDiNG QuEEn oF AiR aND DaRKneSs

Name: The Shadowhunter’s Codex
Author: Cassandra Clare & Joshua Lewis
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: October 29, 2013


Delve into the details of all things Shadowhunter with this illustrated guide to the knowledge and lore of the Shadowhunter world.

Since the thirteenth century, the Shadowhunter’s Codex has been the one and only manual for Shadowhunters looking to brush up on their demon languages, learn proper stele use, and discover just what exactly a Pyxis is. Featured in both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, this guide is a necessity for any young Nephilim on their journey to becoming a Shadowhunter. Beautifully illustrated, the Codex contains images of the famous Shadowhunter homeland of Idris, as well as depictions of demons and other Downworlders.

But this isn’t just any copy of The Shadowhunter’s Codex. It’s Clary’s copy, and as an artist herself, she’s sketched pictures of her friends and family in the book, and scrawled helpful advice in the margins. Of course, she couldn’t exactly stop Jace or Simon from adding their thoughts either. Part encyclopedia, part history, part training manual—complete with commentary from Shadowhunters who have seen it all—this beautiful guide is a perfect supplement to the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Book Cover Comments

I love that classy brassy look that makes the Codex look ancient and, well, classy. Featuring the ethereal Raziel and the Mortal Instruments he brought to the Shadowhunters. But honestly I wanna say that the inside of the hardcover sleeve is way better than the cover, for it is a beautiful blue and black marble with a golden mortal cup on the cover.

The Actual Review

Other than City of Bones, this is the only other Clare book I give 4-stars on Goodreads. It’s not that I don’t like it, I loved the Codex; It was full of information and full of fun, expanding or recapping my knowledge of things I’ve learnt about the Shadowhunters’ world from the books I’ve read. However, it is that full of information aspect that gets me bored: sometimes too much facts simply equals “TMI” (pun intended) for me to attempt to process.

And yet it is within that irony that makes this Shadowhunters encyclopedia a charm; the Codex’s language is very full of itself, repetitive, redundant, everything a sharp-nosed Shadowhunter would have written. Its language and tone—for instance, its tone when addressing topics of the Downworlders—clearly expresses what type of person wrote the book, fulfilling the point of the Codex itself. It is filled with humor: a mocking humor that makes the sensible person reading it laugh at the Codex’s far-fetched values and words, making you crunch your eyebrows and frown in distaste, confusion and perhaps, cough out a laugh.

The Codex is filled with beautiful illustrations by Cassandra Jean as our beloved Clary, adding touches to make the Codex feel even more “handmade” than ever. Along with the extra sheets of notes by Clary and Magnus, this kickass-duo will make you feel both bittersweet and absolutely stupid at the same time. Yes.

Not to mention all the notes scribbled over the Codex by Clary, Jace and Simon, making the Codex even harder to read than it already has: the need to read the handwritings. Yes. I find it hard when having to devour so much information on top of information. But the interesting conversations and the notes between these three characters, from someone constantly writing “get a room” to another attempting to answer the stupid prompt questions after the end of each chapter, to the evaluation of Shadowhunter abilities, in which in all the fields, Jace was basically “expert” and Clary was basically “beginners”.

As much as the fact that I’ve always wanted pages on the runes and we do get it, I’ve completely given up on the idea that I’ll be able to learn how to draw even five runes. Being Chinese does not help at all. Perhaps if you know Hebrew or Sanskrit, you’ll be aceing rune drawing in absolutely no time. As for me, I continue to fixate on the concept of line thickness and how you are supposed to replicate that when drawing a rune in panicking situations.

Filled with sickly irony and humor, the Shadowhunter’s Codex is any Clare fan’s best companion to the world of the Shadowhunters as the reader explores the stupidity in the language of the Codex and its ancientness, all the while reading the mocking and hillarious inner thoughts of Clary, Jace and Simon as they scribble all over the Codex.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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