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Cassandra Clare Books In Order: Which Book to Read first?

Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Louisa

We’re huge fans of Cassandra Clare, ever since we read her debut novel City of Bones, the first of the highly acclaimed Mortal Instruments series.

But having now read every single shadow hunter book by Cassandra Clare, and a few of her other novellas and collaborations, we’ve learned that her first novel might not be the best book to start with.

Since releasing the Mortal Instruments series, she has released not one, but two series that are set BEFORE it, and some set after. There are also several short stories and novellas intertwined in the universe.

So what is the best reading order of Cassandra Clare books? Here’s what we think…

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 


What is the Best Cassandra Clare Reading Order?

Although you may have been introduced to Cassandra Clare through her highly acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, this series does not come as the first series in the timeline of the shadow hunter universe.

Since the first book was released in 2007, there has been a series of novellas, anthologies and collaborations with other authors, and trilogies released that are dotted all over the timeline, which can make it confusing to know which to read first.

The truth is, you can read these books in any order, and it will still make sense, as long as you start at the beginning of the series.

We’ve read all the works in the shadowhunter universe, and we would advise you to begin with either The Infernal Devices series or The Mortal Instrument Series and then read chronologically from there.

Quick Answer: Cassandra Clare Books in The Best Order

If you don’t have much time, here are all the Cassandra Clare books in the best order to read them.

This does not necessarily come in chronological or publication order, but it’s the best way to read the stories as they develop without giving you any spoilers.


Chronological Shadow Hunter Books In Order

In the below guide, we share the chronological order to read Cassandra Clare’s book, which is the order in which each story happens in the timeline.

The timeline gets a little confusing when we get to the Tales from the Shadow Market, since the short stories in this anthology are set across the entire timeline of the shadowhunter universe.

If you have the whole set in one book, we recommend reading it last to avoid spoilers, otherwise, you can order the individual stories and read them in between each series.

The Infernal Devices Series in Order

The Last Hours Series in Order

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Cast Long Shadows, Story 1)

The first short story in the Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology tells of how Matthew bought the truth serum he gave to his mother, which we learn about in Chain of Iron.

It takes place before the events in Chain of Gold, but should be read after the series to avoid any spoilers.

The Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology is in collaboration with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman & Kelly Link.

All of the short stories in this series are sold together in one book. However, if you decide to read each story separately, you should read them in the order we have suggested. Otherwise, read the entire anthology after reading The Mortal Instruments.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Every Equistine Things, Story 2)

The second short story in the Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology tells of Anna Lightwood and her first encounter with Ariadne, as well as her coming-out to her parents.

It takes place before the events in Chain of Gold, but should be read after the series to avoid any spoilers.

The Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology is in collaboration with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman & Kelly Link.

All of the short stories in this series are sold together in one book. However, if you decide to read each story separately, you should read them in the order we have suggested. Otherwise, read the entire anthology after reading The Mortal Instruments.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Learn About Loss, Story 3)

The third short story in the Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology tells of Brother Zachariah and his sister and how they are tricked into giving Belial information about the Herondales.

It takes place before the events in Chain of Gold, but should be read after the series to avoid any spoilers.

The Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology is in collaboration with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman & Kelly Link.

All of the short stories in this series are sold together in one book. However, if you decide to read each story separately, you should read them in the order we have suggested. Otherwise, read the entire anthology after reading The Mortal Instruments.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (A Deeper Love, Story 4)

The fourth short story in the Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology tells of Tessa Gray and her life during WWII, where she works as a nurse to keep herself busy after the loss of her husband, Will Herondale.

It takes place after the events in Chain of Gold and before the Mortal Instrument series but can be read any time after the Dark Artifices series.

The Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology is in collaboration with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman & Kelly Link.

All of the short stories in this series are sold together in one book. However, if you decide to read each story separately, you should read them in the order we have suggested. Otherwise, read the entire anthology after reading The Mortal Instruments.

The Mortal Instruments Series in Order

The Bane Chronicles

A series of 10 novellas about the life and times of Magnus Bane throughout history.

The majority of the short stories happen before the events in The Mortal Instruments, mostly in the Victoria era of The Infernal Devices.

However, it does contain two stories after The Mortal Instruments, and so for that reason, it’s best to read this after The Mortal Instruments to avoid any spoilers.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (The Wicked Ones, Story 5)

The fifth short story in the Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology tells of how Valentine gained followers.

It takes place before the events in the City of Bones and the Mortal Instrument series but should be read after the Mortal Instrument series to avoid spoilers – and also, it won’t make sense before you are introduced to the characters in The Mortal Instruments.

The Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology is in collaboration with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman & Kelly Link.

All of the short stories in this series are sold together in one book. However, if you decide to read each story separately, you should read them in the order we have suggested. Otherwise, read the entire anthology after reading The Mortal Instruments.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (The Land I Lost, Story 7)

The seventh short story in the Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology tells of Tessa, Jem, Alec, and Magnus Bane and the events of their trip to Buenos Aires.

It takes place after the Mortal Instruments series.

The Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology is in collaboration with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman & Kelly Link.

All of the short stories in this series are sold together in one book. However, if you decide to read each story separately, you should read them in the order we have suggested. Otherwise, read the entire anthology after reading The Mortal Instruments.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Son of the Dawn, Story 6)

The sixth short story in the Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology tells of Jace and Alec as they discover an unknown shadowhunter living with a downworlder.

It takes place before the City of Bones.

The Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology is in collaboration with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman & Kelly Link.

All of the short stories in this series are sold together in one book. However, if you decide to read each story separately, you should read them in the order we have suggested. Otherwise, read the entire anthology after reading The Mortal Instruments.

Tales From Shadowhunter Academy

A series of 10 novellas about Simon’s education to become a shadowhunter at the shadow hunter academy.

The novellas take place after the events of The Mortal Instruments series.

The Shadowhunter’s Codex

An illustrated copy of the Book of the Gray, which is said to be the copy of Clary Fray.

The Eldest Curses Series in Order

A series about Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood’s travels across Europe. This series is co-written with Wesley Chu.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Forever Fallen, Story 8)

The eighth short story in the Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology tells of Jem and Kit Herondale and how he first settles into shadow hunter society.

It takes place after the mortal instrument series.

The Ghosts of the Shadow Market anthology is in collaboration with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman & Kelly Link.

All of the short stories in this series are sold together in one book. However, if you decide to read each story separately, you should read them in the order we have suggested. Otherwise, read the entire anthology after reading The Mortal Instruments.

The Dark Artifices Series in Order

Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Novella

A short story that reveals insider secrets about the stories, such as why Simon always loses to Jace and the secrets behind Magnus and Alec’s trip to Europe.

A History of Notable Shadowhunters and Denizens of Downworld 

A special anthology of all notable shadow hunters.


Shadow Hunter Books By Cassandra Clare In Publication Order

If you would prefer to read these books in order of publication, here are all of Cassandra Clare’s books in publication order…


Non-Shadow Hunter Cassandra Clare Books In Order

Here is some other Cassandra Clare books not in the shadow hunter universe.

The Magisterium series in Order

This series is written in collaboration with Holly Black.

The Sword Catcher series in Order

  • Sword Catcher, To Be Published in October 2023
  • The Ragpicker King, Publishing Date TBC

Short Stories In Order


Who is Cassandra Clare?

Cassandra Clare is the pen-name of American writer, Judith Lewis. She writes young adult fantasy fiction and is best known for her series, The Mortal Instruments – a fantasy series with forbidden romance stories, shadow hunters, fairies, vampires, and werewolves.

She was born in Tehran, Iran, but both her parents are American. Her father, Richard Rumelt, is also an author and professor. Though she was raised in a Jewish household, her family has defined her as non-religious.

Clare spent much of her childhood traveling from place to place, having lived in Switzerland, England, and France.

She went to high school in Los Angeles and went on to become an entertainment journalist working for publications such as The Hollywood Reporter.

She released her first book, City of Bones, in 2007 and it was an immediate success. The City of Bones is the first book in the Mortal Instrument series which went on to have six books.

The City of Bones was turned into a motion picture movie, but the series was canceled due to the poor reception of the movie.

It was also turned into the Shadowhunter series on Netflix, which ran for three seasons.

FAQs About Cassandra Clare Books In Order

Here’s what people usually ask us about Cassandra Clare books in order…

What is the order of the Shadowhunters books?

In chronological order (in the time frame of the universe) the order goes The Infernal Devices, The Last Hours, The Mortal Instruments, The Bane Chronicles, The Dark Artifices.

Should I read Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices first?

In order to understand the universe, you should read The Mortal Instruments first. You can read The Infernal Devices first and it will still all make sense.

How many Shadowhunter books are there altogether?

Including the 5 series, short stories, and novellas, there are 34 books about shadow hunters in total.

Do you have to read Cassandra Clare series in order?

You don’t have to, but it makes sense if you read The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices before the others so you can be introduced to the characters.


Final Word on Cassandra Clare Books in Order

So there you have it, those are all of Cassandra Clare’s books in order, and hopefully, this guide helped you to work out which book to read first.

No matter where you start in her series, we know you are going to get sucked into the shadow hunter universe as we have.

If you have any comments or suggestions about the order in which to read Cassandra Clare’s books, let us know in the comments.

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cassandra clare books in order
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About Louisa

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom but now resides in Asia. She was a published poet at the age of 7, and spent several years working as a journalist. As well as writing about books, she is also a travel writer and English as a Second Language Teacher at a Primary School. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. She is the holder of a PGCE in Primary Education.

1 thought on “Cassandra Clare Books In Order: Which Book to Read first?”

  1. I love reading her books. Everytime she has a new 1 come out I have to buy it. I’ve think I’ve read them all so far and loved everyone of them.

    Reply

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