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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Mentions of landmarks around the real world in Paris, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Buenos Aires, and Tennessee. Plus, some historical events discussed, especially the Blitz in London during World War II and the Great Depression in the United States. Oscar Wilde gets a shout-out in "Every Exquisite Thing," especially "The Ballad of Reading Gaol."
Loving fully -- our romantic partners, our families, our closest friends -- and pushing through the terrible loss once our loved ones die. Also, the joy and fulfillment that comes with being true to oneself -- especially relating to LGBTQ characters.
Positive Role Models
Stories follow Jem Carstairs for more than 100 years as he casts off his immortality for love and family. He's barely human as a Silent Brother and becomes fully human again and able to love and support others. Families of all kinds featured: LGBTQ parents, adoptive parents, families with LGBTQ kids. One character, Ty, is on the autism spectrum.
Violence & Scariness
Some gore described. Demons, werewolves, rogue Shadowhunters, and vampires attack: throats ripped out, a woman torn apart, a stabbing with a poison knife that almost kills, a few stabbings that do kill, some torture. Innocents chained in a basement, experimented on, with mention that some have died. A pregnant woman is poisoned and miscarries. Bombs fall during Blitz in London; talk of the loss of life. A young woman recalls her abusive upbringing of beatings and neglect. Another recalls growing up in a brothel, her mother being fed to vampires. Many stories of parent deaths -- often in front of children -- and how the loss impacted them through adulthood. Talk of regular mortals under enchantment doing horrible things, such as slitting another man's throat, putting out own eyes with hot coals. A demon wears a suit of human skin.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passionate kisses with hints of more, never explicit, straight and LGBTQ. Talk of threesomes and hooking up with many at one party, of a brothel and a stripper.
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"A--hole," "a--hat," "bastard," "hell," "whore," and "damn," all rarely.
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Products & Purchases
Mention of the makeup store Sephora and some books made into movies like Rosemary's Baby.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An older teen drinks. Mentions of hookah and regular smoking. Joking talk of a very drunken party that doesn't end well. A character remembers his addiction to a drug that nearly killed him.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ghosts of the Shadow Market is a companion to three connected best-selling fantasy series from author Cassandra Clare: The Infernal Devices, The Mortal Instruments, and The Dark Artifices. You will need to have read at least two of the three series, including The Infernal Devices to know who the characters are and follow along -- reading all three is ideal to avoid spoilers if you are planning on reading the rest of the books at some point. Ten connected stories span from 1901 to the near-present and feature guest authors Sarah Rees Brennan (Team Human), Maureen Johnson (Truly Devious), Kelly Link, and Robin Wasserman. In this collection, there's some gore described as demons, werewolves, rogue Shadowhunters, and vampires attack: throats are ripped out, a woman is torn apart, there's a stabbing with a poison knife that almost kills, a few stabbings that do kill, plus some torture. Innocents are found chained in a basement with a mention that some have died. A pregnant woman is poisoned and miscarries. Bombs fall during the Blitz in London. Characters have some sad backstories, which readers of the three series already know something about: child abuse, lots of parent deaths. Recovering from loss is a powerful theme here, shared throughout the stories. Characters attempt to love and live fully in the face of it. Expect the usual passionate kisses and heavy focus on romantic relationships, straight and LGBTQ. There's also a focus on honoring all types of families: ones with LGBTQ parents, with adoptive parents, with LGBTQ kids. Rare strong language includes "a--hole," "bastard," "hell," "whore," and "damn."
Is It Any Good?
For avid readers of the Shadowhunter-verse, this collection offers connective tissue between the three main series and more quality time with brooding hottie Jem Carstairs. For all others who don't know every single character, their extended family tree, and their sometimes dangerous affiliation with Downworlders, expect only a few of the stories to draw you in. "Every Exquisite Thing" (with the wonderful Maureen Johnson) is one of them, because it does develop new characters and deals with the impossible situation of girls cross-dressing and falling in love in 1901 London. "The Land I Lost" (with Sarah Rees Brennan) introduces Alec's second adoptive son, Rafa, and shows the heartbreaking situation he's found in.
Jem's search for a lost Herondale does tie all the stories together nicely. But it also pulls the reader far into his loneliness and sad memories and musings about love and loss and what it means to be human. It feels poignant and meaningful for a few pages, until it's just too much brooding for short stories to hold.
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