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The Bane Chronicles

Right after finishing Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices (TID) series, I went on to read an anthology that centers on the most awesome warlock of the whole Shadowhunter enterprise, Magnus Bane. It contains 10 short stories plus a bonus that tells events before TID, and during and before the last book of The Mortal Instruments (TMI).

So for each story I'll give a brief review and star rating. The comic strips are courtesy of Cassandra Jean, official Shadowhunter illustrator. I'm crazy in love with her work!!!

#1 WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN PERU
(4 Stars)
In the first book of TMI, Magnus Bane told Clary that he was banned in Peru and this story supposedly answers why. When I read reviews about this, readers were basically disappointed with the ending. It ended with Magnus Bane saying that he actually has no idea why he was banned in Peru since the council of warlocks there didn't mention anything. Frustrating right? Well, If I were to read in between the lines I'd say the question of "why" had already been answered. Everything he did in Peru was so ridiculous you need not wonder why he was banned. He was that crazy. I mostly enjoyed the parts with the cranky yet adorably funny Ragnor Fell.

#2 THE RUNAWAY QUEEN

(2 Stars)
I think this is my second least favorite out of all the stories, how Magnus Bane got tangled with Marie Antoinette and the French revolution. It also involved pissing off Marcel Saint Cloud and the entire vampire clan of Paris so I kinda expected something exciting and extraordinary that's on par with Magnus' all-round ridiculousness. Sadly it fell kinda short for me and the ending seemed anti-climactic. I did like the part where Magnus named his pet monkey after his grouch friend Ragnor (So adorable!), but other than that this seemed really bland compared to the first story.

#3 VAMPIRES, SCONES, AND EDMUND HERONDALE
(4 Stars)
This story focuses on 3 things: early Downworlder and Nephilim peace talks, Magnus' first meeting with Camille Belcourt, and Will Herondale's origins. I don't care much about the first two, but the third really caught my attention. It tells the story of how Will's mother and father met and how he gave up being a Shadowhunter just to be with her. It was quite the epic love story and a pretty good insight why Will fiercely loves Tessa. The apple didn't really fall that far from the tree. It also gives you perspective on how merciless the Nephilim can be when implementing their laws. Their punishment on Will's father (Edmund) was truly heartbreaking. The law is hard, but it is the law indeed.

#4 THE MIDNIGHT HEIR

(3.5 Stars)
I have a love-hate relationship with this story: I hate that it hints the continuation of the Herondale self-punishment streak, but love the thought of a new Cassandra Clare series. So basically, this is a teaser for another addition to the Shadowhunter Chronicles that will be released in 2018 called The Last Hours (TLH). It focuses on the next gen characters of TID and continues the story many years after Clockwork Princess, where Will, Tessa, and the other's children are already in their teens. Based on this story, it seems that the main antagonist will be Tatiana Blackthorn and her adopted daughter. In retrospect, I wouldn't wonder why Tatiana would turn into a crazy, revenge hungry villainess. What happened to her in TID could partly be her fault, but mostly it was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Poor thing. When the clouds poured down bad luck she had her umbrella upside down.

#5 THE RISE OF HOTEL DUMORT

(1.5 Stars)
Okay, now this is my least favorite of the stories. Set in the late 1920s, it tells about the end of the Jazz Age when hard liquor was banned, the Great Depression looming, and Magnus almost got sucked into the demon realm thanks to the former high warlock of Manhattan Aldous Nix. I didn't find anything significant with Magnus' encounter with Aldous, at least not anything related to the Shadowhunter chronicles. Just Magnus dealing with one old deranged warlock. If I were to put this in terms of the Anime universe, I'd say this was a filler episode. Doesn't really have anything to do with the actual arc, but it keeps the audience entertained enough to buy animators time to create the main episodes. Basically the story isn't bad, just really boring.

#6 SAVING RAPHAEL SANTIAGO

(4.5 Stars)
At the beginning of my TMI days, I used to dislike Raphael Santiago, the head vampire of the New York clan, for seeming like a jerk. But eventually I warmed up to him when he started helping Jace and Clary, and when I noticed he's got sass... Funny, funny sass. So when he got killed in City of heavenly Fire you could say that it drove a big splinter in my heart; a significant addition to the field of splinters created by the merciless Cassandra Clare. Hahaha! XD So this story is really a treat for me, revealing Raphael's past before and after he became a vampire. It made me appreciate his character more and at the same time made that splinter in my heart dig deeper. Ow. O_O

#7 THE FALL OF THE HOTEL DUMORT

(3 Stars)
I've never seen a vampire get high in movies before, probably overly enthusiastic about good o'l untainted blood like Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive, but high as in doped up "I see unicorns pooping rainbows" high? No, I don't think so. You can imagine my reaction when vampires of the New York clan lead by Camille got themselves freakin' high by sucking blood from drug addicts. The 70's everybody!!! The story was interesting enough, but not exactly my cup of tea. It almost feels like watching the Downworlder version of When a Man Loves a Woman. That ending though... Something unexpected from the already unpredictable warlock.


#8 WHAT TO BUY THE SHADOWHUNTER WHO HAS EVERYTHING (AND WHO YOU'RE NOT OFFICIALLY DATING ANYWAY)
(4.5 Stars)
For me, this is the funniest story in the whole anthology. For someone who lived hundreds of years, it's ridiculous how helplessly clueless Magnus got over something simple as giving a birthday present to his boyfriend. I guess it goes to show how much he really liked the dude, otherwise a normal (no holes) sweater would've been a winner choice. The part where Magnus called Ragnor and Catarina for suggestions cracked me up real bad and the demon he summoned was as ludicrous as he was slime ugly. The gift he ended up  giving Alec wasn't exactly as FABULOUS!!! as I had expected, considering how Magnus liked everything loud and exaggerated, but still it was a thoughtful gift and I appreciated the sentiment behind it. Aaw!

#9 THE LAST STAND OF THE NEW YORK INSTITUTE

(4 Stars)
Now this story is interesting... It tells the start of Valentine Morgenstern and Luke Garroway's fallingout as Parabatai, the imminent end of the Circle, and the wipe out of the Whitelaw clan. After reading, my initial reaction was "What a mess!" Seriously! I can't even begin to describe how one night could end up so badly. And I thought the Dark War was terrible; Nephilim facing off fellow Nephilim corrupted with demon blood. But apparently, the theme in this story is much, much worse; Nephilim defending innocent Downworlders against Valentine's crazy. Although it was nice to see Luke, amidst being fiercely loyal to Valentine, choose reason over insanity and protected a werewolf child, it was pretty horrible that all the Whitelaws ended up being killed by their own kind. I could understand Valentine hacking a fellow Shadowhunter to pieces (the violent snowflake), but the Lightwoods? Stephen Herondale? A Herondale??? I mean, not even one of them stopped to say "Dude! I just stabbed a Nephilim. I think we should stop." Like I said, messed up. Magnus magically slamming Valentine across the room was very satisfying though.          


#10 THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE (AND FIRST DATES)
(4.5 Stars)
If I understood the flow right, I'd say this is the prequel to story #8 and likely happened between City of Bones and City of Ashes. Disaster first dates? Been there done that, right? First dates involving a pasta revolution and werewolf control? Yah, you gotta admit that's an original. I think this is a cute story of Magnus and Alec having their first date and testing the waters of a potential relationship. My favorites parts are Alec wearing Magnus' honest attempt of  a not-too-flashy shirt, Alec wiping his face with bread after Erik the obnoxious werewolf waiter initiated an anti-Nephilim movement with his Arrabiata, Alec pulling ninja moves on a pick pocket that took Magnus' feral wallet, Alec admitting he forced himself not to laught at the "Butt" song, and Alec showing unShadowhunter-like compassion to a Downworlder. Sigh! Alec is the total package. Magnus you lucky warlock you!!! Story #8 might be funnier, but I like this better for just being cute and sweet. -^.^-       


#11 [Bonus Story] THE VOICEMAIL OF MAGNUS BANE
(3.5 Stars)
And just when I finished talking about how Magnus and Alec make a cute couple. Sigh! If you've read City of Lost Souls then you'll know that Magnus broke up with Alec after he found out that Alec considered Camille's offer to un-immortalize (Wait, is that a word?) him. This is the sequel to what happened after that breakup, not told in storytelling fashion but a compilation of voicemails. So this is basically the fruit of Alec's innocent and benevolent request to his sister and friends to put in a good word for Magnus so they could get back together. Unfortunately it backfired, but fortunately it was hilarious as hell. Isabelle gave the craziest voicemails. I have no idea where she came up with all that stuff, but it was so ingenious I wonder why she wasn't given an award. Jace and Simon's attempts were adorable and Clary made a good pat-in-the-back effort. But out of all the voice mails, Raphael's was my favorite. Not because his message to help Alec's case was heart-felt, if anything it was judgmental and sneering, but because he gave the most awesome introduction in the history of voicemail-kind.
         
“Greetings, Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn, from Raphael Santiago of the New York vampire clan, loyal servant of our glorious Queen Maureen, forever may she reign in dark glory, and the future Prince Consort Simon, babelicious rock god."

Babelicious rock god; three words I never imagined in my lifetime would escape Raphael's lips. Epicness level: 9,000.

OVERALL STAR RATING: 

4 Stars
Some of the stories were a miss, but the rest were pretty good. All in all it was a decent read and a perfect educational reference to get to know Magnus better; his effervescence, his spontaneity, his over-the-top fashion sense, his inclination to get deadbeat drunk, his refusal to give up on love, and his hopeless compassion for Shadowhunters amidst their overwhelming ego and (at times) crooked sense of righteousness.
    


Disclaimer: Some of the images are not mine and can be searched online

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