New to the series? Welcome! This page can serve as a guide to new readers of the The Shadowhunter Chronicles series who would like to know which they should begin with. Take note that these are only subjective suggestions and are by no means definitive or authoritative, and obviously you can read the stories in whatever order you choose, but this is guidance for those who seek it. Leave a message on the talk page if you have any suggestions for topics we should be covering.
(If you are a parent worried about what your child may be reading, please go the the wiki's Parent Page.)
If you intend to read all of the books, we recommend keeping a distance from the Shadowhunters' wiki pages. However, if you have decided to only read a certain series and familiarize yourself with certain elements or characters, then we can only advise that you explore the wiki with caution. Do not visit pages related to the series you intend to read, as if we can promise you one thing, it would be this: this wiki is full of spoilers; full of it. Even some intros have spoilers.
Where to start?
Starting a series with several installments can be daunting, but what's good about this series is there are several ways you can get into the books. A common question among new readers is "Which of the books/series should I read first?" The most advisable and simplest to follow would be publication order (to avoid being spoiled about other books), but if this proves difficult (i.e. you can't get access to all the books immediately), as already said, there are so many other ways!
Each first installment of each series is written by Cassandra Clare to be new-reader-friendly as possible, meaning you can start with any series. She also avoids revealing too much, even about an already done series, when mentioned in passing in other main books. (Companion books, however, do tend to spoil things if you have not read a certain series. See What about the companion books? section below.)
TDA and TEC take place after TMI, and TLH after TID, so although CC will make them as new-reader-friendly as possible, you a) will definitely be spoiled about some events of the previous series (survival, standing species of certain people, relationships, etc.), and b) may not relate to how other readers feel about certain guest/supporting characters.
In conjunction with the "Where to start?" section above is this section, which will provide a straightforward list of the books in its variety of orders, all of which can serve as reading orders.
The more detailed chronological order of each individual installment can be found in the sortable table below, just click the Chronological or Alt column headers upon expanding.
|Title||Publication order||Chronological||Alt *|
|01.0 The Mortal Instruments||1||53||56|
|01.1 City of Bones||2||21||27|
|01.2 City of Ashes||3||23||29|
|01.3 City of Glass||4||25||31|
|01.4 City of Fallen Angels||7||27||33|
|01.5 City of Lost Souls||9||29||34|
|01.6 City of Heavenly Fire||23||31||36|
|02.0 The Infernal Devices||5||51||52|
|02.1 Clockwork Angel||6||4||6|
|02.2 Clockwork Prince||8||5||7|
|02.3 Clockwork Princess||10||6||8|
|03.0 The Bane Chronicles||11||55||51|
|03.01 What Really Happened in Peru||12||1||2|
|03.02 The Runaway Queen||13||2||3|
|03.03 Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale||14||3||5|
|03.04 The Midnight Heir||15||10||14|
|03.05 The Rise of the Hotel Dumort||16||13||17|
|03.06 Saving Raphael Santiago||17||16||20|
|03.07 The Fall of the Hotel Dumort||18||17||21|
|03.08 What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who...||20||24||30|
|03.09 The Last Stand of the New York Institute||21||18||24|
|03.10 The Course of True Love||22||22||28|
|03.11 The Voicemail of Magnus Bane||24||30||35|
|04.0 The Shadowhunter's Codex||19||28||1|
|05.0 Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy||25||56||53|
|05.01 Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy||26||32||37|
|05.02 The Lost Herondale||27||33||4|
|05.03 The Whitechapel Fiend||28||34||9|
|05.04 Nothing but Shadows||29||35||10|
|05.05 The Evil We Love||30||36||22|
|05.06 Pale Kings and Princes||31||37||23|
|05.07 Bitter of Tongue||32||38||38|
|05.08 The Fiery Trial||33||39||39|
|05.09 Born to Endless Night||34||40||40|
|05.10 Angels Twice Descending||35||41||41|
|06.0 The Dark Artifices||36||57||58|
|06.01 A Long Conversation||38||45||45|
|06.1 Lady Midnight||37||44||44|
|06.2 Lord of Shadows||39||46||46|
|06.3 Queen of Air and Darkness||49||47||47|
|07.0 Ghosts of the Shadow Market||40||58||54|
|07.01 Son of the Dawn||41||20||26|
|07.02 Cast Long Shadows||42||7||11|
|07.03 Every Exquisite Thing||43||8||12|
|07.04 Learn About Loss||44||14||18|
|07.05 A Deeper Love||45||15||19|
|07.06 The Wicked Ones||46||19||25|
|07.07 The Land I Lost||47||42||42|
|07.08 Through Blood, Through Fire||48||43||43|
|07.09 The Lost World||52||48||48|
|07.10 Forever Fallen||53||49||49|
|08.0 The Eldest Curses||50||54||57|
|08.1 The Red Scrolls of Magic||51||26||32|
|08.2 The Lost Book of the White||56 (pending)||41.post (pending)||40.post (pending)|
|08.3 The Black Volume of the Dead||58 (pending)||49.post (pending)||49.post (pending)|
|09.0 The Last Hours||54||52||55|
|09.1 Chain of Gold||55||9||13|
|09.2 Chain of Iron||57 (pending)||11||15|
|09.3 Chain of Thorns||59 (pending)||12||16|
|10.0 The Wicked Powers||60 (pending)||59||59|
* Alt being the alternate chronological order considering the chronology of events of the flashback stories of The Shadowhunter's Codex, The Bane Chronicles, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, and soon, Ghosts of the Shadow Market: An Anthology of Tales; can be confusing.
* This list does not include other short stories released as extras or bonus content.
What about the companion books?
Reading The Shadowhunter's Codex, The Bane Chronicles, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, and Ghosts of the Shadow Market without background in any series is not advised, but not impossible. Meanwhile, An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld does not have a story but contains some spoilers.
Another commonly asked question is "Do I need to read these companion books to understand *insert book name*?" Simple answer: No, you don't have to. Should you? That's entirely up to you. These collections contain short stories that could give you insight or background stories on several other recurring, minor, or mentioned characters in the series and would allow you to revisit other characters from the previous series.
However, reading these when you have not read other series installments may unexpectedly reveal some things for you. This is because each companion series is a companion not only specifically for one series. TBC, TfSA, and GotSM all contain stories involving TMI, TID, and TLH characters, so if you have not read one of those, you may find things confusing, but based on testimony by some readers, it is not entirely impossible.