Today I am going to rank Cassandra Clare’s epic and ever-expanding, Shadowhunter universe. I have been a fan of her world since City of Bones was published in 2007. Who knew her debut YA fantasy novel would become so successful, get its own movie/television show and grow into a saga full of beloved characters? If you didn’t know, Shadowhunters are humans infused with angel blood, providing them with abilities to serve and protect their homes. If you decide to dive into this series, you will encounter villains, love triangles, vampires, werewolves, demons, mages, fae and so much more. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
1.) The Infernal Devices
In first place is The Infernal Devices trilogy. It takes place in 1878 London, England and follows Tessa Gray, an orphaned teenage girl, who discovers she has the power to shape-shift. She finds herself living at the London Institute, after being rescued by Shadowhunters from captivity. There, she meets the enigmatic Will Herondale and gentle Jem Carstairs, who are not only best friends and parabatai (warriors bound by an oath) but both madly in love with her. Tessa must decide who has her heart, all while battling the evil Magister; a man responsible for creating clockwork creatures and wanting all Nephilim destroyed. The Victorian setting and moody, horror elements had me from the beginning. Not to mention the insanely lovable cast of characters and intense, action-packed storyline. Furthermore, this series has the best love triangle in literary history. I’ve never seen such a respectful pair of boys, vying for the same girl. They love each other so much as friends, they are willing to give up Tessa as long as the other is happy. She dates both and honestly, they are equally well-suited to her. Find out who she ultimately ends up with! It does help to have read The Mortal Instruments first but you can enjoy TID on its own. Highly recommend!
Book 1 – Clockwork Angel
Book 2 – Clockwork Prince
Book 3 – Clockwork Princess
2.) The Dark Artifices
The Dark Artifices is the complete opposite of The Infernal Devices and yet, just as incredible. It is a sequel to The Mortal Instruments and set in modern-day Los Angeles, where Emma Carstairs (a descendant of Jem – see above) is eager to learn the truth about her parent’s deaths. Unfortunately, this isn’t her only problem. In the Shadowhunter world, it is completely forbidden to fall in love with your parabatai and Emma’s best friend Julian Blackthorn, is a little too cute to resist. Even worse, he feels the same way about her. They must resist each other at all costs, lest the wrath rain down upon them. This trilogy features one of my favourite characters set in this universe (Mark Blackthorn), navigates a polyamorous relationship, adds eerie horror elements and provides insatiable chemistry that will keep you wanting more but also fearful of the repercussions. You will laugh, cry and gasp at the reveals. It has it all!
Book 1 – Lady Midnight
Book 2 – Lord of Shadows
Book 3 – Queen of Air and Darkness
3.) The Mortal Instruments
In third place, we have The Mortal Instruments, where it all began. This series is set in modern-day New York City and follows Clary Fray, a girl that discovers she is a Shadowhunter, with a destiny for greatness. At a nightclub one evening, she meets a group of Nephilim on a mission and joins their institute, after her mother is attacked in their apartment and rendered unconscious. From there, Clary learns her memories of the past have been blocked and she needs help from the flamboyant and iconic mage, Magnus Bane (my favourite character in the franchise) to unlock them. However, what she has repressed is much better left hidden. I love this series but it is a bit up and down. I don’t agree with all of the choices the author made but I like how it ended. It is the centre-point for all the other spin-offs. It also has the most books. There are a few disturbing elements in TMI that may make you uncomfortable. Just be wary of that. Overall, it is full of action and excellent romantic pairings. I liked both the movie and television adaptation as well.
Book 1 – City of Bones
Book 2 – City of Ashes
Book 3 – City of Glass
Book 4 – City of Fallen Angels
Book 5 – City of Lost Souls
Book 6 – City of Heavenly Fire
4.) The Last Hours
In fourth place, we have The Last Hours, which is the latest spin-off from Cassandra Clare. The third and final book, Chain of Thorns, will be released later this year, hence why it’s lower on my list. This installment is a sequel to The Infernal Devices and follows the children of the characters in the aforementioned series. I love the Edwardian London setting and reprisal of my favourite characters from TID. The beautiful Cordelia Carstairs is determined to save her family’s reputation from ruin and the brooding James Herondale is looking for love in all the wrong places. Furthermore, Lucie Herondale has developed an infatuation with a ghost and Matthew Fairchild is hiding some very dark secrets. I’m obsessed with this period of Shadowhunter history and cannot wait to see how the author wraps everything up.
Book 1 – Chain of Gold
Book 2 – Chain of Iron
Book 3 – Chain of Thorns (To Be Released)
5.) The Bane Chronicles
No matter which era Cassandra Clare visits, there is always one constant: Magnus Bane. As I mentioned earlier, he is my favourite character in the entire franchise. Magnus is a centuries old, eclectic warlock with a sassy tongue and tons of confidence. In The Bane Chronicles, we get to read all about his adventures in a compilation of 11 short stories. They are really fun, cover different times in history and provide lots of insight into the bigger installments. You don’t have to read it to understand the rest but I recommend it anyway.
6.) The Eldest Curses
This trilogy is co-written by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu (who worked on some of the short story compilations). It follows our loved-up heroes, Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane, as they navigate their marriage, being parents and saving the universe all at the same time. The third and final novel: The Black Volume of the Dead, has not yet been released. Lots of familiar characters pop up as the pair travel the world to retrieve a magic book, battle a demon-worshipping cult and prevent ultimate evil from being unleashed. It’s a lot of fun and I can never get enough Magnus.
Book 1 – The Red Scrolls of Magic
Book 2 – The Lost Book of the White
Book 3 – The Black Volume of the Dead (To Be Released)
7.) Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
Similar to The Bane Chronicles, this installment is comprised of 10 short stories and is entirely focused on Simon Lewis (Clary’s best friend from TMI) and his time at Shadowhunter Academy. Follow his adventures at the illustrious demon-fighting institution and enjoy some special guest lecturers along the way. I enjoyed this addition to the franchise but it wasn’t anything groundbreaking.
8.) Ghosts of the Shadow Market
Ghosts of the Shadow Market is also comprised of 10 short stories and features tales from across time, set entirely within the Shadow Market. Jem Carstairs is in every story but each one focuses on a different character. This is my least favourite compilation from the franchise. It’s quite dark and depressing. I would recommend it – purely because it provides a lot of answers that aren’t covered in the bigger installments – but as always, you don’t have to read it. A huge trigger warning for Cast Long Shadows.
9.) The Wicked Powers
In last place we have The Wicked Powers. Do you want to know why it’s so low on my list? Because it hasn’t come out yet! I wanted to share it anyway, so it’s on your radar. According to Shadowhunter Wiki, it will take place three years after The Dark Artifices and centre around Ty Blackthorn, Dru Blackthorn and Kit Herondale. It is set to be the final series in the Shadowhunter universe and I cannot wait to read it!
I hope you enjoyed this post. How would you rank the Shadowhunter universe? Thanks for reading!
Peace & Love xoxo