Congratulations. You have opened this book, and you are ready to embark upon the righteous and rewarding life of a Shadowhunter. We have been chosen by the Angel to keep our world safe from the evil creatures we call “demons.” And now you are one of us, and with this book, you will learn our lore and our ways.
Angels, demons, faeries, vampires, werewolves, warlocks: they all exist, and they all must be managed and kept at peace. The Shadowhunter’s Codex will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to join our noble work.
Now in its twenty-seventh edition, the Codex covers it all: the history and laws of our world; how to identify, interact with, and, if necessary, kill that world’s many colorful denizens; which end of the stele is the end you write with. Geography, history, magic, and zoology textbooks all rolled into one, the Codex is here to help new Shadowhunters navigate the beautiful, often brutal world that we inhabit.
Finally available in a smart, modern edition using all of today’s most exciting printing techniques, and suitable for carrying unglamoured through the mundane world, the Codex has been the young Shadowhunter’s best friend since the thirteenth century. Welcome to our ranks, and study hard. This book could be the difference between life and death.
I’m a big fan of Cassandra Clare’s books and the Shadow world, so I thought I would pick up The Shadowhunter’s Codex to learn more about the world. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy the reading experience that much.
But let’s discuss the positives about this book first. This book would look great on your shelf, along with your other Shadowhunter books. It has beautiful illustrations (and beautiful endpapers) throughout the book. There is also ‘handwritten’ commentary from Clary, Simon and Jace throughout the book too that I really enjoyed reading. I loved being able to read Clary and Jace’s interactions through their notes and commentary, and it was really nice to be able to see more of their personalities.
However, there are spoilers for The Mortal Instruments in their notes (at least up to City of Fallen Angels), so I wouldn’t recommend reading this as a guide prior to starting the series. Which is unfortunate, because I kind of see this as a guide book that you should read along with the series, to supplement your knowledge about the world. But if you do that, you’ll either be spoiled or you won’t really understand some of the references.
There were some really interesting facts that were presented in the Codex, but at other times it felt like information overload. There were bits that were kind of boring and dry. I think that the parts that interested me the most were things that I had already encountered in The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices books. Plus, the majority of the facts that were presented in the Codex, you can get just by reading the series. The additional facts that you get in the Codex aren’t important to the story in TMI or TID at all. Having said that, it was nice to be able to read more about the kinds of demons that appear in the book, to see what the runes look like, and to learn about the different types of Fey that exist in the world (there are illustrations too!).
The best thing about this book is that you can definitely read it out of order, because it’s kind of like an encyclopedia of the Shadowhunter world. I read it in order from start to finish so that I wouldn’t miss any of the information but I found some parts to be very boring, especially the history lessons. The sarcastic commentary from Clary made it more bearable but it still wasn’t the most enjoyable reading experience.
This book is definitely not a must-have. I think it would be nice to have it in your collection if you’re a hardcore fan of the series. There are some great Clary, Jace and Simon interactions in the margins that fans would really enjoy. It would also be helpful to have this on hand to supplement your knowledge as you read the series, but only after you’ve gotten past City of Glass because you do not want to be spoiled.