Title: The Bane Chronicles
Author: Cassandra Clare
Date Started: November 24
Date Finished: December 2
Format: Hardcover from my shelf
If you’re a reader of The Infernal Devices Trilogy or The Mortal Instruments series than you know very well who Magnus Bane is. He’s a most intriguing warlock who wins over the heart of Alec Lightwood, but what else do we really know about him? That is the question that Cassandra Clare with the help of Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson hope to answer in The Bane Chronicles – 11 short stories following the character from all matter of things. These short stories have actually been released individually over the last year, but I wanted to wait until they came out in a complete book. Like with City of Heavenly Fire I’m going to split my review based on the short stories so bear with me here. And do I really need to say that there are spoilers ahead?
#1: What Really Happened in Peru
So at a point in The Mortal Instruments series – I think it was in City of Fallen Angels – Alec and the others are stunned to find out that Magnus is banned from the country of Peru. They ask questions, but he doesn’t answer any of them, as usual believing that the mystery of it all is more fun. In this tale, you get a hint of what happened through the years in Peru. There was an incident that involved a failed protection of a ship from pirates – thought that isn’t the reason. Then there was the night Magnus fell in love with a human and who didn’t feel the same, so he spent the night drunk and caused all kind of madness. Although that isn’t the reason either. And then very briefly, he fell in love with another human, this time a thief and they had a glorious summer together. But again, not the reason he was thrown out of Peru. In fact, after 40 pages, you’re only left with the stunning fact that he doesn’t know the reason he was banned from the country either. It’s the mystery to end all mysteries.
#2: The Runaway Queen
Magnus has lived a long life. This story takes place in France during the time of Marie Antoinette and the revolution. He is put to task in aiding the queen to escape by placing a glamour on her and the king. He agrees to the task – the man who was sent was a black-haired blue-eyed, his weakness – and does the spell. But the queen is entrapped by a clan of vampires, and though Magnus convinces them that she isn’t the queen merely an experiment, he still has to steal her away from the vamps. They aren’t too happy about this and kill his two servants and destroy his home. He leaves France and the man with a heavy heart.
#3: Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale
I’ll admit that so far out of these short stories, this one is my favorite. Magnus Bane is attending one of the Accord meetings, as the Downworlders and the Shadowhunters try to form an alliance, when he meets the most beautiful boy. At first I thought Edmund Herondale was one of Will and Tessa’s children, but then the young girl at the Institute is called Charlotte Fairchild, and Edmund falls in love with a woman who is willing to sacrifice being a Shadowhunter for and I realized my mistake. This story is really interesting, especially because Magnus wanted to help Edmund when he was getting his Marks removed and yet, he couldn’t. Maybe that was why he was happy to help Will many years later? Interesting thought.
#4: The Midnight Heir
I’m not really sure what the point of this story was. This one takes place a few decades after the events of the Infernal Devices trilogy, and this time Magnus does run into Will and Tessa’s son James. James is a lot like his father, reckless and drunk, but not for the same reasons. He believes himself to be damned – though it’s not revealed until much later why – and will not take help from his parents, Jem or Magnus himself. While on this trip, he also talks to Tatiana Lightwood who requests from him that he kill 5 Shadowhunters. He refuses too, and leaves not only the house but London as well. Again, I’m really curious as to what the point of this story was – maybe to introduce us to James Herondale? And Grace Lightwood?
#5: The Rise of the Hotel Dumort
A lot of us know that the Hotel Dumort was the nest of the vampires that Simon belonged to in The Mortal Instruments series. Well, how did it fall into such disarray? Apparently, Magnus knows because he was there. October 1929, the US economy has just gone into a free fall and some weird things seem to be happening at the Hotel Dumort. A fellow warlock named Nix warned Magnus about what was to happen to the mundane money a month ago, but he didn’t listen. He warned the Shadowhunters, but they didn’t listen until a weird light coming from the hotel lights up the night sky. Nix has created a portal to the Void, and it is a powerful spell woven into the very foundation of the hotel. He begins the spell and dies for his efforts, and Magnus breaks the spell, causing all the destruction. Interesting.
#6: Saving Raphael Santiago
So this story left me…feeling confused I guess would be the right words for it. Raphael Santiago is the vampire we all hated from TMI, until book 6. We liked that he saved Simon, but hated how he treated his progeny. He gave Simon so much crap about going back to his family that I was a little surprised by this story. This is the story about how Raphael turned into a vampire and conditioned himself to not attack humans, hold/wear a cross, and say the word God without spitting up a mouthful of blood. The reason he did all these things? So he could see his mother and his brothers again. WHAT?! You know for a guy who gave Simon so much crap for wanting to be around his parents and sisters, that was kind of unexpected. But I really liked seeing that side of him, in fact it makes what he did in book 6 a little bit more believable.
#7: The Fall of the Hotel Dumort
Did you know vampires could get addicted to drugs? No? I didn’t either. But then again I’m not sure why I thought that, considering if it’s in the human blood and a vampire drinks that human… Anyway. In 1977, Magnus has returned to New York from a two-year vacation only to find the fractured city he left completely broken. There is a murderer on the loose. The city is bankrupt. And the vampires look sick. As it turns out they aren’t. They are addicted to cocaine. And Camille is one of them. After a terrible night where there is mass bloodshed, she convinces the vampire of NY to come together in the Hotel Dumort and go through a very lengthy and painful detox. Magnus isn’t used to seeing this side of Camille and he doesn’t care too much for what he sees. Hence why he gets his memory wiped of the incident. This story was another weird one. You got to see some of Camille’s weaknesses and you also got to see that Magnus isn’t immune to it all like we’re led to believe most of the time.
#8: What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You’re Not Officially Dating Anyway)
As a Malec – Magnus and Alec for those of you not in the know – shipper this story was insanely cute. It’s Alec’s birthday and Magnus doesn’t know what to get the Shadowhunter – who isn’t his boyfriend…he doesn’t think – for the occasion. He spends the day summoning a demon for a mundane company, and I have to admit that the demon he summons is quite entertaining. If all demons had a sense of humor like this one, I don’t think the mundane world would have a problem with them. There is also the nice bonding moment between Isabelle and Magnus that I thought was very sweet.
#9: The Last Stand of the New York Institute
Valentine’s Circle started out small, creating fear among the Downworlders. In New York City, in the 1980s, Magnus is preparing himself for war against the Circle. But it comes in a form he doesn’t expect. A young boy is pacing in front of his apartment one night and when he calls down to him, he tells him that his family of wolves have sent him because they are being attacked by the Circle. Magnus goes to their aid and runs into Valentine face-to-face. A battle is had, wolves die, the Whitelaws are all killed, and Magnus decides that Valentine is a pretentious asshole. But he is defeated many years later at the Uprising, and things get weird again when a woman with a baby shows up at his door. This story was really interesting, an intriguing look into Bane’s life during the time of the Circle and I loved his fight with them too! Especially this bit of dialogue:
“I am fighting for a better wold for myself and my son,” said the woman called Maryse.
“I have no interest in the world you want,” Magnus told her. “Or in your doubtless repellent brat, might I add.”
He just insulted his future boyfriend and he doesn’t even know it. Ha.
#10: The Course of True Love (And First Dates)
I always wondered how Alec and Magnus’s first date went and in this story I get my answer. It’s just as awkward as I expected it to be. An interesting subway ride made downright hilarious by an impromptu rap performance. An awkward dinner with a werewolf waiter who hates Shadowhunters. And a miraculous call to save the date from utter disaster that leads them out of the restaurant and into a rogue first time werewolf round-up. It was cute and awkward, and AHHH. My feels!
#11: The Voicemail of Magnus Bane
To me this one wasn’t a story and more of a compilation of all the voicemails that Magnus gets after the horrible thing that happened on page 510 of City of Lost Souls. Although a horrible event, the voicemails that Alec, his sister, Clary, and Simon leave are downright hilarious. And not to mention what happens to his phone afterwards. Burned and mangled beyond repair. Well, he had to stop those phone calls somehow.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. There were some stories I could have done without, but the rest of them were incredible. Magnus Bane is the coolest warlock, ever.
Bookshelf worthy? Yes, yes, yes.