What Order To Read Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters Books In
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What Order To Read Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters Books In


  • The
    Shadowhunter Chronicles
    consists of five series and multiple short story collections, so its reading order could be confusing for newcomers.
  • The publication order of Cassandra Clare’s books is probably the best way to read them, but they can be tackled chronologically.
  • There’s still one series and another book left before Clare is done writing


    Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles consist of five series and 20 books, and the sheer scope of the author’s world may leave anyone less familiar with her books wondering what order to read them in. Clare’s Shadowhunters novels kicked off with City of Bones back in 2007, and Clary and Jace’s story soon expanded to become a much larger world. Clare recently published her first adult fantasy novel, but the author has stuck primarily to her young adult fantasy world for most of her career. Her commitment to her Shadowhunters stories is clear through her regular releases and connections between series.

    While it’s great to see Clare expanding her young adult fantasy world, so much content within the realm of Shadowhunters can prove overwhelming to newcomers. Breaking down the series within the Shadowhunter Chronicles and identifying the best reading order can make it easier for first-time readers to enter this world. While the Shadowhunter Chronicles can technically be read in both publication and chronological order, there’s a preferable way to get the most out of each series and short story collection.

    shadowhunters_bookplotpoints Related 7 Book Storylines Shadowhunters Will Never Adapt Thanks To Its Cancellation Shadowhunters did its best to adapt all of the books’ major storylines, however, there are some Mortal Instruments plots that still never came to be.

    How To Read All 20 Shadowhunters Books In Publication Order

    Imagery from the covers of Shadowhunter Chronicles books against a background of pages Custom Image by Simone Ashmoore

    Clare has been releasing new Shadowhunters books since 2007, and the series’ release order sometimes sees them overlapping with one another. While Clare mostly sticks to one series at a time, the later additions to The Mortal Instruments and the books in her Infernal Devices trilogy came out during the same time frame. The same is true of her two most recent trilogies, The Last Hours and The Eldest Curses. In general, Clare’s Shadowhunter books can be easily read in their publication order. In fact, they make a lot of sense that way. The release dates of all 20 Shadowhunter books are as follows:

    Book Title

    Release Year


    City of Bones


    The Mortal Instruments

    City of Ashes


    The Mortal Instruments

    City of Glass


    The Mortal Instruments

    Clockwork Angel


    The Infernal Devices

    City of Fallen Angels


    The Mortal Instruments

    Clockwork Prince


    The Infernal Devices

    City of Lost Souls


    The Mortal Instruments

    Clockwork Princess


    The Infernal Devices

    The Bane Chronicles


    Short Story Collection

    City of Heavenly Fire


    The Mortal Instruments

    Lady Midnight


    The Dark Artifices

    Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy


    Short Story Collection

    Lord of Shadows


    The Dark Artifices

    Queen of Air and Darkness


    The Dark Artifices

    The Red Scrolls of Magic


    The Eldest Curses

    Ghosts of the Shadow Market


    Short Story Collection

    Chain of Gold


    The Last Hours

    The Lost Book of the White


    The Eldest Curses

    Chain of Iron


    The Last Hours

    Chain of Thorns


    The Last Hours

    Even though series like The Infernal Devices and The Last Hours are set further in the past than the novels that come before them, they build on what already exists. There’s a reason Clare wrote and released these stories in the order she did, and the most straightforward way to dive into this world is in publication order. That said, it is possible to read the Shadowhunter Chronicles in chronological order if one wishes to. Of course, doing so requires a more in-depth breakdown of when each series and short story collection in Clare’s world takes place.

    How To Read The Shadowhunter Chronicles In Chronological Order

    The Shadowhunter Chronicles are set against the backdrop of the real world, so it’s fairly easy to determine the timeline of Clare’s saga. Unlike fantasy stories set in fictional universes, the Shadowhunters books adhere to the same calendar that readers do. As such, each trilogy can be dated and organized chronologically. Those looking to read Clare’s books that way can start with The Infernal Devices, which takes place in the 19th century, then move on to her works set closer to the present day.

    The Infernal Devices – Set In 1878

    The Infernal Devices is the first Shadowhunters series chronologically, as it takes place in London in 1878. The trilogy follows Tessa Grey as she’s thrust into the world of Shadowhunters, though Tessa herself isn’t a member of the angelic race. Instead, Tessa is a shape-shifting warlock, and she’s tasked with learning how to use her powers while juggling feelings for two different Shadowhunters: Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs. Tessa’s story factors into the later Mortal Instruments books, so reading them beforehand isn’t a bad idea — though going by release order still gets the job done. The books in The Infernal Devices are:

  • Clockwork Angel (2010)
  • Clockwork Prince (2011)
  • Clockwork Princess (2013)
  • Reading
    Clockwork Princess
    before finishing
    The Mortal Instruments
    series means readers will be exposed to minor spoilers regarding the characters’ fates. This is why going by release order may be best for a first-time reader.

    The Last Hours – Set In 1903

    The Last Hours is a sequel to The Infernal Devices, and it follows Jem’s cousin, Cordelia Carstairs, as well as the children of the characters from the earlier series. While Cassandra Clare’s website states that readers don’t need to read any other Shadowhunters books before diving into The Last Hours, they’ll undoubtedly get more out of it by at least reading The Infernal Devices first. Characters from Tessa’s story appear in this trilogy as well, so it makes sense to dig into it chronologically. The books in The Last Hours trilogy are:

  • Chain of Gold (2019)
  • Chain of Iron (2021)
  • Chain of Thorns (2023)
  • The Mortal Instruments – Set In 2007

    The Mortal Instruments is set around the time the first book was published, with Clary Fray getting pulled into the world of Shadowhunters in 2007. After her mother disappears and a demon attacks her, Clary discovers there’s more to the world — and her family history — than she’s been told. She’s taken in by Shadowhunters who help her track down her mom, but she also gets wrapped up in their conflicts. The modern-day backdrop of The Mortal Instruments makes it incredibly easy to fall into — even if Clary’s Shadowhunter friends don’t have a good grip on the technology or pop culture of the time period. The books in the series are:

  • City of Bones (2007)
  • City of Ashes (2008)
  • City of Glass (2009)
  • City of Fallen Angels (2011)
  • City of Lost Souls (2012)
  • City of Heavenly Fire (2014)
  • The Mortal Instruments books do eventually overlap with The Infernal Devices, but reading Clare’s series chronologically won’t spoil Jace and Clary’s story in any way. If anything, reading Clockwork Princess prior to City of Heavenly Fire will reveal spoilers about The Infernal Devices’ characters’ fates.

    The Dark Artifices – Set In 2012

    The Dark Artifices is set five years after the events of The Mortal Instruments, placing its narrative in 2012. This trilogy tells the story of best friends and parabatai Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn. Both characters are seen in City of Heavenly Fire, and their trilogy elaborates on how the war in The Mortal Instruments impacts them and their families. Characters from prior books make appearances, so it makes sense to read The Dark Artifices last. The novels in this trilogy are as follows:

  • Lady Midnight (2016)
  • Lord of Shadows (2017)
  • Queen of Air and Darkness (2018)
  • The Eldest Curses – Set At Different Points Of The Shadowhunters Timeline

    The Eldest Curses is Clare’s trilogy (co-written with Wesley Chu) focused on The Mortal Instruments characters Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane — and it follows them at different points in their relationship, so each book in the series falls on a different part of the Shadowhunters timeline. While The Eldest Curses is a trilogy, only two books have come out so far. The final novel likely won’t arrive until after the final Shadowhunters trilogy, The Wicked Powers. For now, readers can dive into the first two books, which take place as follows:

  • The Red Scrolls of Magic (2019): This book takes place in 2007, in the midst of The Mortal Instruments series. It falls between City of Glass and City of Fallen Angels.
  • The Lost Book of the White (2020): This book takes place in 2010, after the events of The Mortal Instruments but before The Dark Artifices.
  • The Black Volume of the Dead (TBD): There’s no confirmation of when this takes place, but it will fall after The Lost Book of the White.
  • Where Cassandra Clare’s Short Story Collections Fit In

    Shadowhunter Collections

    Clare has also penned a number of short story collections set in the Shadowhunters world, and this is where the timeline gets even more complicated. As Clare’s collections tend to focus on specific characters or places, the stories within them fall in different areas of the franchise’s timeline.

    The Bane Chronicles

    The Bane Chronicles contains many stories about Magnus Bane’s life, and some take place well before Clary and her friends meet him, while others are set in the midst of The Mortal Instruments.

  • Stories set before The Infernal Devices:
  • “What Really Happened in Peru”
  • “The Runaway Queen”
  • “Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale”
  • Set between The Infernal Devices and The Last Hours:
  • Set between The Last Hours and The Mortal Instruments:
  • “The Rise of the Hotel Dumort”
  • “Saving Raphael Santiago”
  • “The Fall of the Hotel Dumort”
  • “The Last Stand of the New York Institute”
  • Set between City of Bones and City of Ashes:
  • “The Course of True Love (And First Dates)”
  • “What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You’re Not Officially Dating Anyway”
  • Set between City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire:
  • “The Voicemail of Magnus Bane”
  • Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy

    Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy follows Simon after the events of City of Heavenly Fire, though some of the stories reference characters and events from the past. In general, this collection should be picked up after The Mortal Instruments. Simon’s time at the titular academy takes place after that series chronologically, and readers will get any references to the past at that point in a chronological read.

    Ghosts Of The Shadow Market

    Ghosts of the Shadow Market follows Brother Zachariah on trips to the Shadow Market, the underground meeting place and trading post for creatures in the Shadowhunter world. Different stories are set at different points in the saga, from after The Infernal Devices to after The Dark Artifices.

  • Set between The Infernal Devices and The Last Hours:
  • “Cast Long Shadows”
  • “Every Exquisite Thing”
  • Set between The Last Hours and The Mortal Instruments:
  • ​​​​​​​”Learn About Loss”
  • “A Deeper Love”
  • “The Wicked Ones”
  • “Son of the Dawn”
  • Set between The Lost Book of the White and The Dark Artifices:
  • “The Land I Lost”
  • “Through Blood, Through Fire”
  • Set after The Dark Artifices:
  • “The Lost World”
  • “Forever Fallen”
  • The Best Order To Read Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters Books In

    Freeform's Shadowhunters Season 3 Poster

    When it comes down to it, the best order to read Clare’s Shadowhunter books is their release order, especially for anyone coming to the series for the first time. Although prequel series like The Infernal Devices and The Last Hours can technically be enjoyed prior to The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices, readers will get more out of these by following the order they were published in. Likewise, it’ll be easier to avoid spoilers by picking up The Eldest Curses and Clare’s short story collections when they were published. The Shadowhunter Chronicles can get confusing for a newcomer otherwise, though longtime fans may benefit from a new, chronological approach.

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