Simon has been a human and a vampire, but after the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, he isn’t sure who he is anymore. When the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. Whomever this Simon might be..
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, while a series of short stories set in the time between City of Heavenly Fire and Lady Midnight, actually is a full story of Simon’s time at the Academy and the journey to his Ascension. While the other similar anthology in the Shadowhunter universe, The Bane Chronicles, is actually an anthology to fill in spaces between the stories, this book felt more like a complete novel with a cohesive storyline; even when going into the past, the stories reflected Simon’s present. I would advise, though, to have read The Mortal Instruments completely, especially City of Heavenly Fire, before this one, to get the entire context.
At the start of the book, Simon is unsure of his place in the Shadowhunter universe, confused by the fragments of memories he seems to gain everyday, and hoping to answer that question about who he was before he lost his memories. A mundane, albeit a popular one, in the Academy, he has a unique position of being in the Shadow world before, as a mundane and an Downworlder and now as a Nephilim-ascendant, so he sees everything in his own way. He is outraged by the Shadowhunter Laws and frequently calls out people when they are acting bigoted or relying on old prejudices. As the story goes on, you get appearances from various characters in the Shadowhunter series, across different eras and the theme of the story emerges – the person you are is determined by the choices you make. There are a lot a emotionally charged scenes, which is not a surprise since the authors manage to make us like even bratty Nephilim kids. This book is definitely a must-read if you are a Shadowhunter fan.