Hey, everybody. I know it’s been a little while, but I have some good news on the professional author front. After having to wait over a month for any further response re: that anthology, I finally got a response. While the folks in charge weren’t entirely happy with my original submission, they did provide some feedback, and said that they’d take another look if I got a revised version back by May 25th.

I managed to get my revisions back with a few days to spare, and then left it alone. Then, on the 25th, I got a response. Short version – they’re including my story in the anthology.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to.

Now, on to this mess.

Last time, we flashed back to shortly before everything went to shit in Shadowhunter City. The city’s defenses were shut down, and demons were running rampant through the streets. One of them grabbed Aline, so Isabelle ran off to rescued her, but not before some bad stuff happened off-screen to the new Designated Bad Girl. And before the poor girl could get rescued, Alec showed up and took Isabelle back to the house. After taking charge for all of a minute to give them some instructions, Alec then left, because apparently being a legal adult means he’s allowed to go running through the streets killing stuff.

Which he proceeded to do. The running through the streets stuff, at least. He did some Assassin’s Creed style rooftop hopping, mostly to watch the demons go hog-wild, until finally deciding to investigate a fight or something, where he found non other than his semi-boyfriend Magnus doing what he should have been doing the whole time – namely, fighting the damn demons.

This interesting action scene was, unsurprisingly, ruined by these two having to hash out their relationship nonsense during the far-too-long break.

Meanwhile, Isabelle, Sebastian, and Max were stuck at the house. Isabelle left the boys alone for all of two minutes, and when she came back downstairs, we got confirmation of what most people had likely figured out by this point – Sebastian is a bad guy.

Dun dun dunnn.

Chapter 11’s title is “All the Host of Hell.” On the one hand, it is evocative, and is certainly a good descriptor for what’s attacking the city, but on the other, I can’t help but want to correct it to “hosts.” I don’t know, I guess that just sounds better to me.

And we’re back with Clary. I knew it was too good to last.

They’re exactly where we left them – standing on a hill, looking down at the city. Jace immediately declares that Valentine’s behind whatever’s going on – which, as far as they know, is that some parts of the city are on fire. There is a decent description of what the city looks like, by the way.

Clary, though, is less than sure, and argues it could just be a fire. Which is a fair point – I kinda doubt anything in Shadowhunter City is really up-to-code. They probably still use asbestos and whatnot.

Jace’s argument consists of two points: first, the North Gate is open, and apparently it’s never left open. It’s at this point I’d like to remind everyone that, while the city might have gates, it does not, apparently, have any walls, making the existence of gates a bit moot.

Jace’s second point is that the anti-demon wards are down. Personally, I would have lead with that. Probably wouldn’t have mentioned that bit with the North Gate, either. Why was that even there?

Entirely Pointless: 1

Clary is momentarily concerned about Simon’s safety, but Jace assures her that he was probably evacuated, and is likely safer than most people in the city – an odd argument, considering he knows quite well how they’ve been treating him. But also, demons tend to ignore Downworlders anyway.

Again, I probably would have lead with that second point.

Clary then shows concern for the Lightwoods, which is also fair. But then, the narration focuses on Jace, who’s gearing up to head in, and gushes a bit about his ability to basically shut off his emotions.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

That’s… not healthy. I understand that it might be necessary for a “soldier” (the actual term used to describe Jace in this moment), but I feel like that’s also a bit of a problem with actual soldiers trying to return to normal life.

They get into a bit of an argument – Jace wants Clary to stay, Clary wants to go with him – when a pack of werewolves show up. I swear, werewolves are in these books what the eagles are in Lord of the Rings. Except that the eagles have at least some degree of agency – werewolves are just here to help out the heroes whenever they need it.

There’s an attempt at making it seem like the werewolves might be coming for them, but given how they’ve yet to demonstrate any undeserved hostility towards Shadowhunters in this series, I can’t believe that any but the most gullible of readers bought that for a second.

So the werewolves run past, and Clary is all confused because she’s a moron. This was also apparently enough to convince Jace to let Clary come along, because he hands her an extra not-lightsaber, and they go chasing off after the actual cavalry.

End scene.

We pick up with Jace and Clary approaching the city, so the break was mostly to cover travel time. Which is technically an improvement over previous books, so I guess I have to let it slide.

However, the narration also gushes a bit over just how super-fast Jace is, because apparently that’s his super-power, so we have to keep bringing it up or something.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 2

Yes, we get it. He’s fast.

Jace either plays at being a gentleman, or is demonstrates about as much tactical thinking as a semi-experienced D&D player, because he waits for Clary to catch up before heading in to the city. Clary brings up the lack of guards manning the gate, so of course Jace mentions that one of them is in a nearby stand of trees. In pieces.

Again, this just feels needlessly dark.

Moving on, Jace gives Clary a quick lesson in how to use a not-lightsaber. She receives even less training than we saw Luke Skywalker get in Star Wars. So, don’t be surprised when she’s later shown to be wielding it like a master.

Also, she has to name it for… reasons. And honestly, at this point, I just have to ask – what’s the point of that little gimmick? Why do these things need names? Why can’t they just have an on-switch, or a universal activation word? Did CC buy an encyclopedia of angels and want to write it off as a business expense? What?

Oh, and Jace talks about how Clary really needs more training, and how she’s already demonstrated surprising skill with this stuff, and blah, blah, it’s all just trying to cover for the fact that we’re trying to excuse the fact that by all rights Clary should be utterly useless with the thing, but won’t.

Oh, and just to top it off, we get this line from Clary:

“Or maybe you were just worried that if you did train me properly, I’d turn out to be better than you.”

So, are we just going to acknowledge that Clary is a Mary Sue, then? Lampshading doesn’t excuse bad writing, CC.

And then, for some inexplicable reason (I mean, even the narration notes how out-of-left-field it is), Clary flashes back to them making out earlier.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 3

Would you please stop doing that and just get on with the plot?

Okay, they finally get inside the city. There’s some description of the two moving through the city, and what they see. For some reason, Clary pontificates on being able to tell the difference between an unconscious person and a dead body at a glance. Well, dead people generally don’t breathe, for a start.

Eventually, Clary catches sight of the Guard, which is in pretty bad shape. Then there’s more general gruesome walking-through-a-war-zone stuff, until they finally run into a demon to liven things up a bit. In this case, it’s a “Behemoth demon,” but unlike the Biblical creature, it’s a big slug with teeth that eats everything.

Oh, but it’s also slow, so of course, ”Jace shouldn’t have much trouble killing it.”

Yes, because in a fight between a Fragile Speedster and a Mighty Glacier, the Speedster always wins.

Also, I’m reminded of the Marv (Glacier) vs. Kevin (Speedster) fight from Sin City. It, ah, didn’t end well for Kevin.

Oh, and then the blob can apparently teleport. Because reasons.

At this, Clary figures, hey, let’s just make a break for it, only for the blob-monster to block their way again. So, of course, Jace has to fighting (goddamn railroading). Unfortunately, Jace ascribes to the Leeroy Jenkins school of tactics, and runs right at the damn thing.

Luckily (for me, anyway) this actually works exactly as well as one would expect, i.e. not very well. Or, at least it’s not the super-perfect always-wins strategy that Jace probably expected. But, then Clary jumps in, and figures that they might be able to whittle the blob-monster down, given time.

But, of course, that would make this thing an actual challenge, and we can’t have that. So a random werewolf spawns in and one-shots the blob.

My comparison to the LOTR Eagles is feeling even more appropriate.

Despite the werewolf pretty obviously being on their side, Jace is still super racist and doesn’t trust it.

Our “Heroes”: 1

So the wolf transforms back to human form, and it’s Maia. Because why introduce a new character, when we can just bring in an old one instead?

Though I will give Maia this much – at least she calls Clary out for not recognizing her. Though I’m not entirely sure if the “do we all look alike to you?” comment is supposed to be taken as a joke or not.

Now, you might be wondering why I didn’t ding Maia’s sudden presence as being a problem, like lazy world-building. That’s because, to CC’s credit, she actually addresses this point.

Apparently, Luke got the word out through the local werewolf pack – which I guess he’s still apparently in charge of, despite leaving them over a decade before, and also taking charge of the New York pack – who then spread the word to other werewolf packs – because I guess they’re all on the same web forum or something. So the New York pack hopped a flight to the Franco-German border, and then ran all the way to Shadowhunter City.

Now, none of that is exactly unbelievable. But, when you start breaking it down, it starts to fall apart.

Let’s start with the plane ride. Now, first off, that’s at least a 7 hour flight from New York to, let’s say Paris, even though Paris is nowhere near the border. And it’s being done more or less at the drop of a hat. So, a quick visit to Delta’s website shows me that even the cheap tickets are somewhere in the range of US$3,000. And that’s for one person.

Now, admittedly this book is somewhere around a decade old, but last I checked, the New York pack was squatting in an old Chinese restaurant. Somehow I doubt they make enough cash doing the odd delivery to cover that kind of an expense.

And of course, all of this is ignoring the very real possibility that the werewolf community wouldn’t respond to Luke’s call for help by simply telling him to pound sand. I mean, it’s not like the Shadowhunters have really gone out of their way to ingratiate themselves to the werewolves.

But the werewolves in these books have never really had any kind of agency. So, of course, they’re here.

Moving on, Jace makes an off-hand remark about the Clave being racist, so Maia starts ranting at him (I swear, I can almost hear comments about her having “fiery Latin blood”), but Clary steps in and acts like the adult.

Turns out everyone is meeting up at the Accords Hall, so they all head off.

End scene.

Again, our protagonists travel via scene break. I’m seriously wondering if someone actually pointed out to CC that she didn’t have to show every step of her characters take, and that readers can fill in some blanks.

Anyway, Clary recognizes the interior of the Hall of Accords from that dream she had way back in City of Bones. Because of course her Dream of Foreshadow-y Symbolism had to be set in a real place. Because reasons.

We get a description of the place – namely, big room, fountain in the middle, and full of lots of Shadowhunters. And for some reason, Clary is surprised that everything is so quiet. Which gives her a chance to shit on normal people:

If this had been the aftermath of some disaster in the mundane world, there would have been people shouting, screaming, calling out to one another.

First, this

Our “Heroes”: 2

Second, given that Clary lives in New York City, and has for most of her life, is around 15/16, and this book was published in 2009, but maybe-possibly set in 2007, I’d expect that Clary herself has experienced something similar to what’s happened here. It would have been about, oh, 6-8 years earlier (again, depending on exactly when these books take place), around mid-September?

I’m not trying to play on your emotions (no more than usual, at least), but there is a non-zero chance that Clary knows someone who was directly affected by the 9-11 attacks, whether it be a personal connection with one of the victims, or with a first responder. And they certainly would have left an impression on her, even if she was less than 10 years old. Hell, I still remember that day, and I was maybe as old as Clary is now.

But my point is, Clary likely has access to first- or second-hand accounts of what happened that day, and how people reacted. And yes, people will react differently to events like this, but don’t assume that normal people would panic and run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Sometimes, people go numb. Neither response is better than the other.

Anyway, there’s also a group of scruffy-looking folks in the middle of the room that everyone is avoiding. Maia quickly confirms that this is her pack. Because of course the werewolves are scruffy-looking. Maia runs off to join them, and Clary momentarily thinks about following her, wondering how they’d react.

However, Jace stops her, and before we can learn his reasons, Alec shows up. He’s curious as to why Jace disappeared for several hours, given that he said he was “going for a walk.” Yeah, because everyone knows that super-best-friends, closer-than-brothers constantly lie to one another.

Our “Heroes”: 3

Of course, Jace plays off his complete disappearance, because why actually explain this shit to your super-best-friend?

Our “Heroes”: 4

Also, his answer is a stupid joke.

Rapier Twit: 1

They quickly catch up on what’s happening to the other named characters. Alec still doesn’t know about what happened with Isabelle after he left, but his parents are going to get her and Max. Aline and her parents are here, but she’s been severely traumatized by what happened to her. Of course, he describes it as having “a pretty bad time”.

Our “Heroes”: 5

Also, apparently the demon that grabbed her was a “Rahab” demon. Now, a quick google search brings up a reference to “Rahab” as a character from the Old Testament.

Rahab was a woman who lived in Jericho. And may have been a prostitute.

Moving on!

Clary asks about Simon, but apparently he, the Aldertree of the Consul (whose name I’ve completely forgotten) have all disappeared.

But enough demonstrating concern for Clary’s friend. Luke comes in, leading a group of werewolves, so of course Clary runs over to him. Their reunion is fine, with the generic realization of how petty any anger was and blah blah.

Apparently Luke is injured – he got clawed by a demon in the shoulder near ”Merryweather Bridge.”

Shoddy World-building: 1

And then this semi-decent scene is ruined by Consul What’s-his-face showing up. He is, of course, accusing Luke of leading the attack on the city. So, we can pretty definitely put him in the Villain camp.

There’s some arguing over whether or not the Shadowhunters actually need help, an argument which is pretty moot, given their city is literally on fire right now.

Then Magnus shows up, and is again back to being his old snarky self. And god, how I’ve missed his “don’t give a fuck” attitude.

Clary decides to take this opportunity to drag Magnus off to hand off the special magic book to him. And while I appreciate her holding up her end of their bargain, I’m still bothered by the fact that we’re literally being dragged away from the Actually Important stuff to once again focus on Clary’s nonsense.

And before we can get back to that, Sebastian shows up, rocking the bloodstained-battle-damage chic look, including mild – but unobtrusive – scars. Of course, Clary is still concerned about these mild injuries, so much so she almost lets slip who Magnus really is.

Sebastian catches a look at the magic book, and asks to take a look at it, which is definately not suspicious at all, but before he can, Alec and Jace pop in. Alec is, of course, angry that Sebastian is here, yet his siblings aren’t.

You know, this whole bit would probably work a lot better if that last scene from Isabelle’s POV had been excised. Seriously, it’s the same issue from the previous book – the reader knows far more than the characters, so we’re stuck having to watch them bumble along until they catch up.

Sebastian manages to wrangle Clary into a corner for a private chat. Apparently he recognized the magic book, which isn’t really surprising. Then, for no reason at all, Clary reveals Magnus’s real identity. I suppose this is to balance out Jace’s behavior – he’s constantly lying to his friends, while Clary won’t even lie for her friends.

Sebastian responds to this news by going super-racist. Because again, villains in this series don’t do subtle.

Anyway, Sebastian continues to try to get Clary outside, presumably to whisk her off somewhere, but she doesn’t pick up on that. He even mentions that the prisoners – including Simon – were left in their cells, likely hoping she’ll do the stupid, but not unexpected thing and run off. Again, this whole bit would work much better if we didn’t already know Sebastian is a bad guy.

And then Jace shows up, because we all know that eventually Clary will either get worn down or Sebastian will simply overpower her. Because “strong, independent woman” she ain’t.

Jace again reiterates that he alone doesn’t like Sebastian, because I guess CC can’t bear the thought of him being wrong about anything. And he declares that, if Clary wants to go rescue Simon, then they’ll all go. Sebastian puts the decision to Clary, and is not happy when she goes with Jace’s plan. I have mixed feelings about this, because on the one hand, it’s the smart decision for numerous reasons, but on the other hand, it’s really stripping Clary of any autonomy.

So the whole gang heads for the nearest exit, and somehow in all of this, Sebastian got some blood on Clary, which she notices because it stings her skin. And given what passes for “subtlety” in this series, that’s downright devious.

And that’s the end of this chapter. What can I say? It was… short.

And now that I’ve taken the next step in my journey to being a Real Professional Author , the wait for the next entry won’t be quite so long.

Hopefully.

… no promises.

Counts

Both Hands, Ma’am: 3 (Total: 46)
Entirely Pointless: 1 (Total: 9)
Our “Heroes”: 5 (Total: 60)
Plot Hole: 0 (Total: 8)
Rapier Twit: 1 (Total: 5)
You Keep Using That Word: 0 (Total: 102)
Shoddy World Building: 1 (Total: 27)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 ( Total: 2)
A Word From Our Sponsors: 0 (Total: 7)

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Comment

  1. Aikaterini on 4 June 2019, 09:35 said:

    I understand that it might be necessary for a “soldier” (the actual term used to describe Jace in this moment)

    Yeah, a soldier who throws tantrums whenever he doesn’t get what he wants and is more concerned with his relationship issues than whatever else is going on. Some soldier.

    Except that the eagles have at least some degree of agency – werewolves are just here to help out the heroes whenever they need it.

    Also, the heroes in Lord of the Rings weren’t ungrateful morons who tossed insults at the eagles and Aragorn didn’t try to kill a group of them to let off steam after having an argument with Arwen.

    Jace gives Clary a quick lesson in how to use a not-lightsaber

    Which he could’ve done in the first book. Or the second one. Why is she only getting lessons now?

    Despite the werewolf pretty obviously being on their side, Jace is still super racist

    Because he’s a complete idiot. Why are we supposed to like him again?

    If this had been the aftermath of some disaster in the mundane world, there would have been people shouting, screaming, calling out to one another.

    Once again, this is the narrative equating “mundane world” with America. Because I remember reading a post once by a Canadian about how she was watching a Canadian TV show with some Americans. In the episode, there was a shooter in the shopping center and the mall patrons obeyed the police when they told them to calmly evacuate. The Canadian poster said that while she and her fellow Canadians watched that part of the episode without any comment, her American friends were talking about how unrealistic that scene was because they’d be screaming and running to get out of there.

    Because of course the werewolves are scruffy-looking

    Yeah, it’s another instance of the whole “werewolves = poor and scruffy, vampires = aristocratic and wealthy” dichotomy that’s common in Hollywood movies.

    Of course, Jace plays off his complete disappearance, because why actually explain this shit to your super-best-friend?

    Best friend? When has Jace ever treated Alec like he’s his best friend? Alec is nothing more than Jace’s lackey. And lackeys don’t need explanation, they just need to do what they’re told.

    Because again, villains in this series don’t do subtle.

    And because this series has no concept of double standards. Jace is racist about werewolves, but he’s still supposed to be our hero. Sebastian is racist about Magnus, so he’s going to be revealed as a villain.

    Jace again reiterates that he alone doesn’t like Sebastian, because I guess CC can’t bear the thought of him being wrong about anything.

    Got it in one. Also, there’s the fact that he doesn’t like seeing Clary alone with an attractive boy who’s not a mundane or a Downworlder like Simon that he can easily stomp all over and dismiss.

    Sebastian puts the decision to Clary, and is not happy when she goes with Jace’s plan

    And yet he doesn’t drag her off, does he? He doesn’t throw a tantrum or try to bully her into doing what he wants. He asks her for her opinion and even though he’s not happy when she listens to Jace, he goes along with it. Dear Lord, even when Sebastian is trying to trick Clary into doing what he wants, he’s more reasonable and considerate than Jace has been.

  2. Juracan on 4 June 2019, 15:37 said:

    Also, apparently the demon that grabbed her was a “Rahab” demon. Now, a quick google search brings up a reference to “Rahab” as a character from the Old Testament.

    Rahab was a woman who lived in Jericho. And may have been a prostitute.

    This struck me as a bit odd, both in this context and also because the idea of ‘Rahab’ demons was also used in Angelopolis.

    Because yes, anyone who uses Google or has done a basic Bible study involving the Old Testament knows that Rahab is a woman in the Book of Joshua that lived in Jericho, and is sometimes described as a prostitute. But here’s the thing: she’s one of the good guys. when the Israelite spies go and check out Jericho, she’s the one who gives them shelter, and helps them escape the city. In return, when the walls of Jericho fall and the Israelites duke it out with them, she and her entire family are safe, and they join the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land.

    In basically every religious tradition, no one says anything remotely bad about Rahab… until William Blake. Fun fact that most people don’t know: along with doing a lot of illustrations for Paradise Lost, Blake actually made up his own sort of weird mythology? It’s mostly divorced entirely from Abrahamic tradition. In Blake’s mythology, Rahab is a figure representing fallen human nature, especially in regards to sexuality and false religion. Essentially, the Whore of Babylon. Why Blake came to this conclusion? I dunno, but knowing the Romantics it probably had to do with opium.

    Also it’s a vampire in Legacy of Kain?

    In any case, it doesn’t really jive with any other traditional uses of Rahab, and Clare’s description of them, based off of what I’m seeing in the Shadowhunters wiki, doesn’t fit at all with either religious tradition nor with Blake’s idea.

    According to the Shadowhunters wiki, the first edition or so of this book didn’t call them ‘Rahab’ demons but Rezkor demons, which… makes me wonder why it was changed, as it isn’t as if ‘Rahab’ fits any better.

  3. The Smith of Lie on 5 June 2019, 04:01 said:

    Yes, we get it. He’s fast.

    I bet he always finishes first.
    (Yes, yes I am childish enough to make such joke. Sue me.)

    Moving on, Jace gives Clary a quick lesson in how to use a not-lightsaber. She receives even less training than we saw Luke Skywalker get in Star Wars. So, don’t be surprised when she’s later shown to be wielding it like a master.

    Ah yes, good old instant mastery. I think this is one of the tropes that grinds my gears the most. I suppose it is mostly because it is a sure sign of a Sue.

    Also, she has to name it for… reasons. […]

    I wonder if it’d work if it was named Jeff.

    And then, for some inexplicable reason (I mean, even the narration notes how out-of-left-field it is), Clary flashes back to them making out earlier.

    Well it is perfectly explicable. Clary is simply a flighty, shallow person with very skewed sense of priorities.

    But being more gracious, I can sort-of, almost consider the out-of-lef-fieldiness excusable. I know that I often end up at the end of bizzare and completely unrelated chain of associations that started with something completely innocuous.

    Except I am 100% certain that the real reason is to insert a bit more of romantic tension, therefore refer back to my remark about flightiness.

    But, of course, that would make this thing an actual challenge, and we can’t have that. So a random werewolf spawns in and one-shots the blob.

    Excuse me, but what? From what I got the werewolves in MI universe are pretty much run of the mill shapeshifters who change into relatively normal wolves, right? How would a wolf be more effective against giant blob monster than a speedster with a not-a-lightsaber?

    Or did I miss something about how the werewolves are supposed to work?

    Also, why is there a local pack in/near Shadowhunter Funland? Do they have a local vampire coven as well?

    However, Jace stops her, and before we can learn his reasons, Alec shows up.

    It probably was something like “we do not mix with those types, har har”. And yes, that ignores his visit to their bar, but he wasn’t there to mix with them, but to antognize.

    Because again, villains in this series don’t do subtle.

    Does anyone?

    [Aikaterini] And yet he doesn’t drag her off, does he? He doesn’t throw a tantrum or try to bully her into doing what he wants. He asks her for her opinion and even though he’s not happy when she listens to Jace, he goes along with it. Dear Lord, even when Sebastian is trying to trick Clary into doing what he wants, he’s more reasonable and considerate than Jace has been.

    You know that something has gone seriously wrong, when villain in a middle of enacting his nefarious plan is acting more like a decent human being than the protagonist at pretty much any given moment…

  4. Juracan on 10 June 2019, 08:40 said:

    Commenting again to add to my last one:

    So in my Bible reading a couple of days ago I came across the word ‘Rahab’ in Psalms which led me to this.) Essentially: yes, aside from the woman in the Bible, there is precedence for the word ‘Rahab’ being the name of a sea monster, similar to the Leviathan. So it’s not completely out there that she’s using it here to mean a type of demon.

    Still… the woman is probably the one most people are going to think of when they hear ‘Rahab’ and from what I can tell the context here isn’t meant to be an aquatic creature, so it’s still not a great fit.

  5. Apep on 10 June 2019, 10:14 said:

    from what I can tell the context here isn’t meant to be an aquatic creature, so it’s still not a great fit.

    Well, it did have tentacles and headed straight for the canal or something.

    But even then, it doesn’t explain why it did… what it presumably did.

    Because while I get that a book including some very bad actions doesn’t equate to an endorsement of them, the fact that CC did include that, had it happen to a character she’s spent the book setting up as the new Bad Girl Acceptable Target, and then kinda casually brushes it off?

    Yeah, that’s not good.