Audiobook Review: ‘Nothing but Shadows’ by Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan


Nothing but Shadows | Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy | Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan | Nico Mirallegro | Simon & Schuster

To start off, I haven’t been following Cassandra Clare’s new series of short stories called Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy as I did with her previous short story collection, The Bane Chronicles. Nothing But Shadows is the first one I’ve read, and the reason I felt so compelled to check it out was because Nico Mirallegro, star of My Mad Fat Diary, is narrating the audiobook.

Similar to how The Bane Chronicles is structured, Clare teams up with author Sarah Rees Brennan to tell us a new tale from Shadowhunter history. In this installment, Simon is merely a vessel for which we learn some new riveting facts about the Herondale family, particularly James Herondale and his short time at the Shadowhunter Academy.

Okay…who exactly is James Herondale again? I was wondering that myself at first, with all of the Herondales that Clare has chronicled throughout the extensive timeline of her books. If you’ve read The Infernal Devices (if you haven’t, you are seriously missing out on Clare’s best series), you’re familiar with Will Herondale and Tessa Gray. James is their one and only son. Jace Wayland, from The Mortal Instruments, is a descendant of his.

It was nice to somewhat revisit the Herondale family and see how things were like for them after Will and Tessa were married. We briefly see an older, confident, and even more charming Will as he takes his son, who he clearly loves, to the Shadowhunter Academy. He is such a stark contrast to James, who is self-conscious and shy. He feels awkward and has a hard time connecting to others. It doesn’t help that James is half-warlock, and the Shadowhunter community is not known for its inclusivity.

One little issue I had with James’ story is how it gave off some big Harry Potter vibes. James feels very similar to the Severus Snape character in Harry Potter. While they aren’t exactly alike, the similarities took me out of the story for a few moments.

Without spoiling too much, Nothing but Shadows seems like a teaser for The Last Hours, a new series that will continue the story right after The Infernal Devices. We’ll learn more about Will and Tessa’s family and friends, and I’m curious to see the kind of drama Claire will conjure for them this time.

Rating: 7.5/10

Nothing but Shadows by Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan is now available wherever Digital Audio is sold.

Gabrielle is 27 years old and lives in Chicago. She enjoys writing about film, TV, and books, but occasionally writes about music as well. In addition to writing for, she also the editor-in-chief and a co-founder. In her spare time, she’s either watching more movies and shows or reading more books, while continuously checking Twitter, which she may or may not be addicted to… Feel free to email her your thoughts, ideas and questions.