Monday, July 16, 2018

Omnibus Review: The Bane Chronicles (The Bane Chronicles #1-11)

Release Date: November 11, 2014
Authors: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, & Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Length: 507 pages
Source: Purchased Book/Library Audio Book

Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices can get to know warlock Magnus Bane like never before in this collection of New York Times bestselling tales, in print for the first time with an exclusive new story and illustrated material.

This collection of eleven short stories illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality, flamboyant style, and sharp wit populate the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.

Originally released one-by-one as e-only short stories by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan, this compilation presents all ten together in print for the first time and includes a never-before-seen eleventh tale, as well as new illustrated material.



What Really Happened In Peru

Fans of the Shdowhunter Chronicles may know that Magnus Bane is banned from Peru, but it's never been explained why. In this story, we see various times that Magnus Bane visits Peru, sometimes with friends like Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss, and sometimes he's there by himself. Regardless he always seems to get himself into trouble. Each adventure in Peru was so much fun. Even though the group, or Magnus, would always find trouble, their adventures were a delight to read as we see these characters come back to Peru at different times, sometimes they'd find love, sometimes they'd assist in tomb raiding, Since this is a novella made up of various short stories, it's harder to review, not only because it's hard to review multiple stories in one review, but also because due to their length it's hard to talk about them without spoiling anything. Regardless, I found this story to be the perfect start to this collection. We see more of Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss and I really love their friendship and kinship with Magnus.


I mean, there's nothing wrong with this story and only everything right with it. It's fun and exciting with just a touch of seriousness to really round it all out.

The Runaway Queen

In this tale Magnus finds himself helping a rather attractive count try to save the lives of the French royal family during the French Revolution. While this story is enjoyable as we watch Magnus in Paris during the Revolution and see his interactions both in the Mundane World as well as Downworld, there isn't really a lot to connect it with the main series. With the previous story, we got to see more of Catarina Loss and Ragnor Fell and see some of Magnus's misadventures in Peru, a country we know he's banned from in TMI. Here while I enjoyed the story, it didn't really feel necessary.


While the story is fun and entertaining, I do wish it felt a bit more grounded with the novels. Overall, I don't regret reading it, I might even read it again someday, but I'm not a huge history buff, and this story seems like it would be enjoyed more by someone who likes to see how history is slightly different in this world, as well as Magnus's role in historical events.

Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale

This story takes place during the negotiations of the Accords between Shadowhunters and Downworlders and not only shows the beginnings of the romance between Camille Belcourt and Magnus Bane, as well as the quick friendship between Edmund Herondale and the warlock. This was such a fascinating story to read, first I loved learning more about Will and Cecily's father Edmund, as well as seeing the beginnings of Edmund's romance with Linette. Edmund is very similar to his children, though has a fairly distinct personality which I greatly enjoyed. Magnus and Edmund's friendship, however brief, was a lot of fun as well. Camille is a character I don't normally like, remembering her more from her time in TMI, but there was a time when Magnus was in love with her and it's pretty easy to see why from this story. As for the negotiations when it came to the Accords, I honestly hated that part, more because of the bigoted Shadowhunters who put forth parts of the Accords that only benefit themselves and not the Downworlders who they're having peace talks with.


On the whole, this story is enjoyable, I love Magnus's relationships with important characters and I loved getting to know Edmund even if it was just for a short time. My only complaint is that I didn't care for the Accords stuff, I already know they're going into place and I'm already well aware of how bigoted some, in this case, most, Shadowhunters can be.

The Midnight Heir

This is the story I was most excited to read. I'm obsessed with the Last Hours series and the first novel isn't even out yet. I'm a huge fan of the novel Great Expectations, or rather I'm a fan of the story as I've only seen adaptations, and I'm very intrigued by the characters in this series. In this story we see Magnus have a chance meeting with a rather drunk James Herondale, Tessa and Will's oldest, which was a rather fun part of the story, but also heartbreaking as James is hurting so much in this story that I want to wrap a blanket around him and give him some hot chocolate telling him everything is going to be alright. The second half of this book is dedicated to showing what Tatiana's been up to since the end of The Infernal Devices. I was never a fan of Tatiana, I felt sympathy that she watched her husband be ripped apart by the monster that used to be her father and that she was driven mad because of it, but her actions and words in Clockwork Princess, as well as this story, have proven to me that I should feel very little sympathy for her. This story seems to be a way to introduce the Last Hours to readers, so if you haven't gotten a taste of that series and love the Infernal Devices recommend giving this story a read. I just realized (this is after finishing the review, but before continuing on with the book) that I kind of forgot to talk about Magnus, and well, I love how he interacts with these characters, the patience he has for James, the observance he has for both Tatiana and Will's situations, and as always how, despite most Shadowhunters' thoughts to the contrary, that he has a moral code and won't become what others expect him to be, though that last one might be more indicative of the entire collection than just this story.


This story was everything I wanted it to be and more, though I do have to say that I'm even more obsessed with these characters and the long, long wait for the first Last Hours book, Chain of Gold, feels even farther away, even though we only have to wait like a year, give or take a few months.

The Rise of the Hotel Dumort

This story takes place in Prohibition-era New York as Magnus, who of course runs a speakeasy, is warned of calamity imminent, this not only being a hint at the Great Depression but also something supernatural. Much like with The Runaway Queen, this was an enjoyable story and while there is the Hotel Dumort to tie this is some small way with the main series, there wasn't much about this story that kept me hooked or blew me away in any way. I enjoyed reading about the period in which this story is set and as always I love Magnus and his role in this story, but while I wanted to care about the rest of it, I never fully felt like I could. There are aspects of the story that drew me in, I'm very curious about what that ending means, and when the final showdown went down I'm wondering if there was more meaning to that than there appeared to be, but the rest just felt slightly pointless.


As I said in the review, this reminded me a lot of The Runaway Queen, I always love reading about Magnus, but this story just fell short, if you're a history buff you may enjoy that aspect of the story and if for some reason you're really obsessed with the Hotel Dumort than I'm sure you'll like this story as well.

Saving Raphael Santiago

This story follows Magnus when a Mundane woman name Guatelupe Santiago comes to him, begging that he save her son who was abducted by a vampire along with some friends. As fans of the Shadowhunter Chronicles may know, Raphael is a vampire in TMI and this tale is his somber origin story. I really enjoyed learning more about Raphael and his first months as a vampire. His cynicism is oddly charming and I absolutely loved his interactions and his odd friendship with Magnus. This story definitely has a more somber tone to it, but nothing ever gets too sad, and that balance felt very key to this story. We also get to see another one of Magnus's loves, a Mundane who knows about Downworld, and I really love what that relationship, even if it isn't critical to the main plot, it adds a nice touch and detail to Magnus's story.


I was never a huge fan of Raphael in the Mortal Instruments, so I'm actually really happy that I got to see another side to him and get to know his character and where he comes from better. And of course, I loved the little details like Magnus's love at the time and well as his personal relationship with Raphael.

The Fall of the Hotel Dumort

Taking place in the 70s, Magnus comes home to New York after being away for a while and learns that something is wrong with the vampires. They're crazed and killing conspicuously and the rest of Downworld is getting restless because if the Shadowhunters find out what's happening, they may not discriminate between vampires and other Downworlders. Even though I wasn't a huge fan of The Rise of the Hotel Dumort, I found myself really hooked on this story. I don't know, there's something very energizing reading about the 70s and I really liked seeing how the Downworld handled cases where an entire subset goes rogue, it really instills the Us v. Them idea between Shadowhunters and Downworld. Then there's Camille and her role to play in this whole story. Magnus's complicated feelings for her really added a nice layer to this tale.


I'm surprised at how much I really loved this story. It's exciting and fascinating all at the same time. Seriously I'm a little blown away at how much I ended up liking this story, from Camille's arc to the vibrant, and sometimes desolate, setting.

What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You're Not Technically Dating Anyway)

In this story, Magnus and Alec have just started dating, in secret as Alec isn't out yet. It's Alec's birthday and as he goes about his normal day, taking clients and talking to old friends, he wonders if he should get anything for Alec. In a lot of ways, it feels like many of the past stories were always leading up to this, to the start of Alec and Magnus's romance, and we still have a few stories left. This installment feels the most connected with the main series as it's actually taking place during a series that I've actually read, though I would have read the Last Hours if it was out already XD, and so all of the little flashbacks and reminiscing that Magnus does are made all the more significant as it's seeing another aspect of a familiar story. Then, of course, there is how Magnus sees the main group from TMI, a lot of it's comical but there's also a good chunk where Magnus goes a bit more philosophical and I just ate it all up.


This rating didn't surprise me as I do love Magnus and Alec and seeing the beginnings of their romance through Magnus's eyes is incredible, all the little insecurities he has, how he annoys his friends, and put all that in a "typical day" format and I'm sold.

The Last Stand of the New York Institute

So... this story really threw me off kilter. It just seems out of place, as it takes place during the time of the Circle whereas the previous story takes place much later during the time of TMI. It was just trippy to all of a sudden jump back in time, especially since it would have felt better before the previous story, but maybe they just wanted to give readers a palette cleanser between Malec stories. Regardless, in this story, Magnus comes into contact with the Circle during a time when they were slaughtering Downworlders and calling it justice. This story also covers Magnus's thought, though no actual involvement, in the fate of Lucian Greymark and the Uprising, and a little bit after that. It was really interesting reading about the time of the Circle, as it's always talked about in TMI, but I never felt like I fully understood what those times were like, and I really appreciated getting to see how it was, even if it was a bit emotionally draining. There are also a few surprises in here that add a lot of context to the overall story.


I know it feels cheap taking off half a star for placement, but it really did interrupt the flow of reading a bit when a story takes place so completely before the previous one. In the end, I still did really enjoy this story and love how it feels like the world is getting filled in so much.

The Course of True Love (and First Dates)

Sooooooo... it turns out that it wasn't The Last Stand of the New Yor Institute that was out of place by the story before that, as this tale takes us on Magnus and Alec's first date. The story starts out with Magnus stressing over said date, even calling his friend Catarina Loss for a back out plan, before showing off the near trainwreck of a date. This is another one of those stories that really bring to light the tense relationship between Shadowhunters and Downworlders during TMI, though it's Magnus and Alec's first date that takes center stage. I really enjoyed how their first date wasn't perfect, that this story showed off a lot of the roadblocks in their relationship, and yet they're both fighters. My only problem with this story is that because it's out of order, it doesn't feel wholly necessary, we already know that their relationship continues, and while it was fun seeing their first date, I feel that the past three stories would have had more impact if they were read in order.


Again, I did really enjoy this story, but with me reading it out of order, even though I've already read TMI and I'm aware they didn't stop at one date already, it just threw off the flow of these stories. Still a fun and exciting read for fans of Malec

The Voicemail of Magnus Bane

There isn't a whole lot to say about this one. This bonus "story" takes place after a certain event between Magnus and Alec transpires in City of Lost Souls and is a series of voicemails on Magnus's phone, most of which have to do with that topic. This "story" is hilarious, I mean, it's pretty much all fluff, no actual substance, and doesn't really have an actual storyline, and yet I love it so much, so much so that I may even reread it after, or during I'm not sure yet, my reread of City of Lost Souls. Overall, I had a freaking blast reading these voicemails and Simon's is my favorite.


Even though there wasn't much substance to this "story" and the fact that I have to use quotations marks everytime I refer to this as a "story" it's merely a bonus for buying the omnibus and it's hysterical.

Overall Rating:

While I greatly enjoyed this bundle of stories, many of which were impeccable, some of them just didn't resonate with me personally and I really wish they would have been assembled in chronological order, if not for individual release than at least for this omnibus bind up release. Still, this was such a joy to read and more Magnus in the world can only be a good thing. Oh, I also wanted to say though it doesn't affect my rating, I really wish we would have learned more about Magnus's past that was hinted in this collection, like his past with the Silent Brothers and more about his formative years.


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