My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Shadowhunter Codex is perfect for fans of the series who want to know more about the world and lives of the Nephilim than is explored in the novels. It covers information from demons and Downworlders to Idris and Alicante, to runes and more. The charm of the book is that there are comments written in the margins by Clary, Simon, and Jace that are witty and authentic. Clary even adds illustrations to various portions of the book.
It is introduced as a guidebook for mundanes, generally, who are going to drink from the Mortal Cup and become Shadowhunters. Since Shadowhunters are normally born into families that know about and participate in the Shadow World, they don’t need this information. They have grown up knowing this and it’s second nature to them.
While the runic section of the book does not include all of the runes purported to be in the Grey Book, it does have multiple pages illustrating a number of them. As a fan of the runes (and drawing them) it’s a great reference do make sure you’re creating your Marks accurately.
The other fun section of the book is where they talk about Shadowhunter last names. While many families have established and respected surnames, when Ascending you may choose your own. The names tend to be compound words like Fair-child, Heron-dale, Light-wood, etc. They recommend not picking ones that are quite obviously ludicrous names like Blood-dagger or Demon-spawn. No one will believe that it is your actual name. Quite possibly the most challenging decision as a future Shadowhunter (for me at least) is to select my surname. Would I like to join a respected family like the Herondales, or would I like to create my own name like Hawkwood. (Yeah, that’s not great. I’ll keep brainstorming.)
Although it is purposeful, some sections of the text are less interesting than others. Obviously, the Clave didn’t write the Codex for the express purpose of entertaining mundanes – so some can be dry. That is usually where some of the wittiest comments from our favourite characters are added, which certainly livens up the book. She even includes sections that detail Shadowhunter history, from the beginning with Raziel and Johnathan Shadowhunter to the more brutal time of the Hunt and the Schism.
Overall, it’s an enjoyable addition to the Shadowhunter world and recommended to any fans of the series that want to immerse themselves deeper in the lore and land.