Hey, folks, welcome back to City of Ashes. I know it’s been a while since chapter one, and I could try to give you all kinds of reasons for the delay, but I think there’s only one real reason for why I’ve been putting this off:

I hate this chapter.

Let me rephrase that – I hate this chapter. I’m not talking about the “throw the book against the wall” hate. I’m talking about “fury of a thousand suns” hate. “AM from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” hate.

Let me put it another way – remember chapter ten from the last book? Specifically the dinner scene, where Jace and Alec act like racist douche-bags to Simon? And no one calls them on their shit?

Yeah, this is basically a whole chapter of that.

Prep your rage-gifs, folks – you’re gonna need ‘em.

The chapter begins with the introduction of a new character, Maia Roberts, and finding out that Jace has not wound up at the bottom of the East River, much to my dismay. And Maia doesn’t trust Jace, but not for the obvious reasons – no, she doesn’t trust him because he’s pretty.

Maia Roberts had never trusted beautiful boys, which was why she hated Jace Wayland the first time she ever laid eyes on him.

Because no one can dislike Jace for actual reasons – like, say, that he’s an egotistical, racist, sociopathic prick. No, it’s because he’s just so damn pretty. And the not-so-subtle implication that Maia is in the wrong for this really doesn’t help matters.

And thus yet another count is brought back.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

Even people who don’t like Jace must acknowledge that his hawtness.

We then get a long-ish info dump on just why Maia is so distrustful of “beautiful” boys. First, there was her brother, Daniel, who was pretty much a psychopath (wow, he and Jace already have so much in common!). He’d do all kinds of horrible things to her, including breaking her arm, but whenever she told anyone what he’d done, they wouldn’t believe her, because they all believed that Beauty Equals Goodness. Which is complete crap, because there’s no way that anyone (particularly her parents) would buy that, especially if said accusations are as chronic as implied here.

Un-Logic: 1

Anyway, Daniel eventually got hit by a car, and Maia felt conflicted about this, because even though she was glad the psychotic little fucker was dead, he was still her brother. She was even convinced that God (Hey, a character who actually has religious beliefs! Let’s see how long that lasts!) would punish her for feeling happy.

Anyway, the next in the line of utterly fucked-up pretty boys in Maia’s life was Jordan. He’s even got CC’s trademarked “long, girly eyelashes.”

Both Hands, Ma’am: 2

Seriously, CC, what is up with you and guys with girly eyelashes?

Sorry, moving on. They started dating, and then it turned out the Jordan was also a violent, possessive psycho. Maia actually did the smart thing and ran, but then did a really, really stupid thing and intentionally made-out with another guy while Jordan was looking. It’s almost like she’s got a death wish or something.

Whelp, turns out that not only was Jordan a violent psychopath, he was also a werewolf. That night, he attacked her and bit her, then completely disappeared. When the next full moon comes around, she transforms, and to CC’s credit, it actually sounds pretty horrifying.

Afterwords, Maia left her home in New Jersey, and I think you guys need to see her reasoning:

It wasn’t a hard decision. It was bad enough being biracial in her conservative suburban neighborhood. God knew what they’d do to a werewolf.

Un-Logic: 2

Seriously, CC? It’s the 2000s, not the 1950s. And it’s implied that her mother is Latino (Daniel is described as having “her mother’s honey-colored skin and huge dark eyes”), so what’s the problem? Also, they live in New Jersey, not the Deep South. Hell, I’m from Georgia, and I doubt anyone living in a “conservative suburban neighborhood” down here would bat an eye at a mixed race couple in this day and age.

So Maia ran off to New York City, and joined up with one of the several packs of werewolves. And of course she ended up in the pack that’s now lead by Luke.

Now, so far, I like Maia. Apart from a few bumps, her back story is interesting. She has a good reason to distrust Jace, even though she doesn’t know him. She seems to have learned the hard way that appearances can be deceiving. As the saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

But then we get this bit about the leadership of the pack:

Pack leaders were mutable. There’d been Kito first, then Véroniquie, then Gabriel, and now Luke. She’d liked Gabriel alright, but Luke was better. He had a trustworthy look and kind blue eyes, and he wasn’t too handsome, so she didn’t dislike him on the spot.

Okay then. So she developed a tendency to distrust attractive people (sorry, just attractive boys), but has not taken it to it’s logical conclusion – i.e. not to judge people based on their appearance. Maia doesn’t think Luke is a better alpha because of anything he’s done. No, he’s a better alpha because he looks “trustworthy” and has “kind blue eyes”.

Un-Logic: 3

I’m sure I’ve made it perfectly clear at this point, but I don’t like the Beauty Equals Goodness trope. I don’t like the implications of it, and I really don’t like how some YA authors take it to the extreme, i.e. “it’s okay if he’s hot”. This is sending some very dangerous messages to young girls. There are real men like Edward Cullen and Jace Wayland out there, and the do not need help.

But I suppose I shouldn’t be all that surprised by this. CC practically came out and said that anything Jace does is excusable by his “tragic back story” and the fact that he’s “soooo haawwwt”. She is, underneath it all, still a fan-fic writing Suethor.

Anyway, we’re finally reaching the end of the exposition-dump. The chapter title get’s name-dropped: the Hunter’s Moon is a werewolf bar where they go to get drunk after full moons (they don’t even card you, so long as you’re a werewolf). The name’s not quite as bad as the Jade Wolf from the last book, but I’m still kinda bugged that apparently any werewolf-related business has to have a name advertising the fact. I mean, at least True Blood gave an excuse for a vampire bar being named Fangtasia, even if it did basically boil down to “vampires like puns”.

So aside from the whole “turning into a ravening monster once a month” thing (insert your own menstruation joke here), Maia’s actually pretty happy with her new life, and “hardly [thinks] about her family at all”, which is of course ruined when Jace motherfucking Wayland walks into the bar. His sudden appearance freaks Maia out, because Jace reminds her of her brother. Not exactly because of the way they look, mind, but in their behavior.

Let me say that again: Jace is sending this girl into a PTSD-like flashback. And he’s supposed to be the hero.

Our “Heroes”: 1

This is so fucked up. I’d say the book was being meta, but I it doesn’t have the depth for it.

And because CC is so reliant on tropes, everyone acts like this is a Western and Jace is the big, tough gunslinger, even though in real life they’d be laughing their asses off at the pretty-boy trying to play at being a badass. And because CC is trying so damn hard, and failing so spectacularly, I think you should all see. Never say I don’t love you guys.

A rush of murmurs swept through the bar on the heels of the boy’s arrival, like the froth of a wave spreading out from the stern of a boat. The boy acted as if he didn’t notice anything, hooking a barstool toward himself with a booted foot and settling onto it with his elbows on the bar. Maia heard him order a shot of single malt in the quiet that followed the murmurs. He downed half the drink with a neat flip of his wrist. The liquor was the same dark gold color as his hair. When he lifted his hand to set the glass back down on the bar, Maia saw the thick coiling black Marks on his wrists and the backs of his hands.

[wipes away tear]

Oh, wow. That is the very definition of “trying too hard”. If it were just a complete cliché, that’d be one thing, but that bit with the shot really puts it over the top. I mean, who only drinks half a shot? I can’t help but imagine that Jace pulled a face and went “ew, yucky”.

And what makes it even funnier is that I have absolutely no doubt that CC believes that Jace is being a total badass here. My god, woman.

One last thing before we move on.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 3

Because we really needed to know that Jace’s hair is the exact same shade as the scotch. It’s super important, guys.

Sadly, no one else has the same reaction to Jace’s little display that I do, because CC is still imposing her will on them. Maia hears the guy sitting next to her – we’re told his name is Bat, and that he and Maia had dated at one time, but now they’re “just friends” (sure you are, honey) – call Jace a “Nephilim”, which I remind you guys is the actual name for the Shadowhunter species (like Sebaceans and Peacekeepers on Farscape).

Entirely Pointless: 1

Did I really need to know that Maia had friend zoned this guy? This guy who I’m absolutely sure will never show up again?

Anyway, this revelation leads Maia to give another info dump, this time about the Shadowhunters. In brief, they are the “secret police” of this world, there’s no way to actually join them, and there are a lot of nasty rumors about them, such as that they’re “ haughty, proud, cruel” and “[look] down on and [despise] Downworlders.” And while I’m sure CC intends for the reader to protest that none of this is true, given what we saw in the first book, I think it’s safe to say that those rumors are entirely accurate.

Also, I’m fairly certain those don’t qualify as rumors. They’re more of a stereotype, if anything.

You Keep Using That Word: 1

And spoilers, Jace isn’t going to do anything to dispel said stereotype.

Maia continues to info dump about Shadowhunters, namely that they also hunt demons. She didn’t take the revelation that demons actually exist all that well – she can grasp vampires and werewolves, but refers to things like heaven, hell, angels, and demons as “crap” (despite the narration earlier identifying Jordan was God’s payback for Maia’s relief at her brother’s death), and she’s still frustrated that no one can flat-out tell her whether or not God exists. I’m tempted to think of this as CC doing a bit of lampshade hanging, and if so, she’s doing a piss-poor job of it. Little tip: if you’re going to bring in things like angels and demons, you kind of need to address thing like if Heaven, Hell, and, you know, God actually exist in this setting. Especially when you have a super-special awesome Mary Sue race who claim to be descended from angels.

Maia finally finishes info dumping (at least for now), and things go straight to hell because Jace opens his stupid mouth.

“I take it,” the boy said, leaning his elbows onto the bar, “that you don’t serve Silver Bullet here. Too many bad associations?” His eyes gleamed, narrow and shining like the moon at a quarter full.

Rapier Twit: 1

The bartender – who’s name we’re told is Freaky Pete, for some reason

Entirely Pointless: 2

ignores Jace’s attempt at humor. Under normal circumstances, I’d commend this, because the absolute last thing you want to do with people like Jace is engage with them, because they will drag you down to their level. But no, we’re told through Maia’s POV (guess she has info dump diarrhea or something) that, were Jace not a Shadowhunter, Freaky Pete would have tossed his pale, pretty-boy ass out for making a crack like that. So, Jace is basically acting like the Nazis in this scene from Casablanca, only there’s no Victor Laszlo to get everyone to drown out his obnoxiousness.

Thanks, CC, for further encouraging me to associate the Shadowhunters with Nazis. The fact that you’re Jewish just makes it more disturbing.

But of course someone has to take Jace’s bait, and since there’s only two other named characters in this scene, it is of course Bat. I think we can add “idiot” to his list of character traits. Oh, and we’re also told that he has his own place, and he was the one who broke up with Maia. Because we really needed to know that.

Entirely Pointless: 3

He tells Jace that they don’t serve Silver Bullet because it’s a crappy beer. I wouldn’t know, because I’m not a beer drinker.

As you can imagine, Jace is all kinds of pleased that he’s not being ignored, and decides to make a “hair of the dog” joke.

Rapier Twit: 2

But instead of making an actual comeback (like, say, calling Jace a pussy for not being able to down a whole shot in one go), Bat just goes, “Oh, you think you’re so funny, huh?”

And here’s how Jace responds:

“Who am I to deny the obvious?”

Rapier Twit: 3

[sigh]

Jace, let me explain this to you. And I’ll try to use small words so you’ll understand:

You are not funny. I don’t know what gave you the impression that you are (probably one too many ultra-shallow girls trying to get in your pants), but nothing you have ever said has been funny. Probably because CC managed to perfectly emulate Draco Malfoy, but utterly failed to grasp why pretty much everyone (both in and out of the books) considered him to be a completely reprehensible human being for the bulk of the Harry Potter series.

Maia tries to talk Bat down from confronting Jace, because she’s the only one who realizes how “dangerous” Jace is (read: the only one actually frightened by the pansy-ass little twit). But since CC is the one writing this, and Jace is the Gary Stu Designated Hero, of course Maia will be right.

Jace says something nasty to Bat (we don’t actually get to overhear it, because that might imply that Jace is somehow less than perfect), which of course sets Bat off. So takes a swing at Jace, but Jace is somehow miraculously five feet back from where he’d been standing.

Let me explain that in case you missed it – in the amount of time it took Bat to swing his fist at Jace, Jace somehow managed to move five whole feet, and without anyone (especially Bat) noticing.

You know, it’s bad enough that CC clearly wrote this scenario just to show how “awesome” a fighter Jace is, but the fact that she’s now got the little shit-stain practically violating the laws of physics just so he doesn’t get hurt in a fight that he started.

Our “Heroes”: 2

Freaky Pete jumps in again, because even though it’s clear that no one can harm the Great and Powerful Jace Wayland (the god-moding little shit), Pete knows that the Shadowhunters, oppressive bastards that they are, will fall on the place like a ton of bricks if they get even a whiff of someone attacking one of their own. Pete tells Bat to take a walk and cool off, which Bat does after a moment.

Jace, being a petulant little child, is put off by this, and insists that he didn’t need any help. Freaky Pete says he was only worried about them messing up his bar, and that if Jace doesn’t want any trouble, he should leave.

But since Jace is a “bad boy”, he says that he’s looking for trouble. And he hasn’t finish his drink. You know, the other half of his single shot. And no, that will never not be funny. He’s supposed to be this terrifying badass, but he can’t even down a whole shot.

Maia points out that the remainder of Jace’s drink is now dripping down the wall behind the bar, because even though Bat missed Jace, he did hit Jace’s drink. And instead of just flat-out refusing Jace service (hey, he did provoke a fight with one of his regulars), Freaky Pete pours Jace another shot.

Seriously, the amount of deference being shown to Jace doesn’t make me think the werewolves are scared of him – it makes me think they’re scared of the Clave.

But before the rest of the bar’s patrons can get down on their knees to start sucking on Jace’s no-doubt miniscule dick, Bat bursts through the door covered in blood. The blood’s not from him, though – it’s from the body of a dead kid in the alley. Everyone in the bar rushes to the door, except for one person. Can you guess who?

That’s right – Jace.

We get a few more details – the kid was attacked by a shadowy figure, who presumably cut the kid’s throat (it’s a bit unclear), and the attacker ran off when Bat came out. Oh, and the kid was still kind of alive when Bat found him, but died right after. And now I’m wondering why Bat didn’t make any noise upon seeing this, because as near as I can tell, maybe ten whole seconds passed between Bat leaving and coming back into the bar. Kind of a lag there, don’t you think? Then again, CC does have problems with indicating the passage of time.

One of the other werewolves figures that the kid got attacked by vampires, what with all the blood and the kid being left on their doorstep. Bat grabs Jace, and Jace of course gets indignant. Bat basically asks him why he’s sitting on his ass when “one of [their] own” is laying dead in the alley. And Jace, being a racist douche, responds as expected:

“Do you mean a lycanthrope or some other sort of Downworlder?” The boy arched his light eyebrows. “You all blend together to me.”

Our “Heroes”: 3

Hey, remember in the first book, where the reason Shadowhunters and Downworlders don’t get along is because of a long history of animosity? Yeah, maybe it’s also because of shit like this.

As you might imagine, Jace has now managed to piss off pretty much everyone in the room (well, except for Maia, who’s spent this whole scene sitting there like a bump on a log). Jace is talented like that. He’s even managed to get Freaky Pete worked up, and he tells Jace that the dead boy was named Joseph.

Good effort trying to humanize the kid, Pete, but Jace doesn’t care, because he’s a sociopath. Also, it really doesn’t help my impression of Maia that she’s not reacting to any of this either.

But Pete keeps going, saying that Joseph was part of the pack, and he was only fifteen. Jace continues to dig by going “what do you want me to do about it?”. Pete basically says he wants Jace to do his fucking job. Jace decides that the smart thing to do is insult the bar. Pete warns him yet again, and Jace is once again flippant (that’s bad parenting, Pete – if you make a threat, you have to carry through).

There’s a little more back and forth (and Jace once again can’t down a whole shot), and Pete finally says what he should have in the first place:

“So that’s the attitude of the Clave, a week after the Accords?” said Pete with disgust. “The death of Downworlders is nothing to you?”

And what sickens me is that I’m absolutely certain that, as far as Jace is concerned, that’s entirely true. But hey, even that’s better than being a filthy Mundane.

But Jace is at least smart enough not to actually voice this opinion. Not by much, though. He gives one of his creepy psycho smiles (meaning, all of them), which of course frightens Maia, because she’s a good little wimmin and is all frightened of the big bad man, and Jace says this:

“How like Downworlders,” he said, “expecting the Clave to clean your mess up for you. As if we could be bothered just because some stupid cub decided to splatter-paint himself all over your alley—”

Unfortunately, Jace isn’t being cut-off by one of the werewolves giving him a much deserved beating. No, it’s cut off because CC either doesn’t want to write or figure out exactly what Jace calls the werewolves. But from the lengthy description, it’s safe to assume it’s some kind of racial epithet.

And let me remind you – he’s supposed to be the hero. And there are people who actually believe it.

It’s things like this that make me fear for the future.

Our “Heroes: 4

As you might expect, this once again sets Bat off, and once again CC tells physics to shove it just to make Jace look good – in this case, he somehow goes from sitting at the bar to standing on top of it. Without anyone noticing. I’m not even kidding – people gasp, Maia’s jaw literally drops; it’s like something out of a cartoon.

CC then makes it worse by actually describing Jace as looking “like an avenging angel”.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 3

Because I guess that shit didn’t get old in the last book.

Oh, and then Jace has to make it even worse by doing that “bring it” gesture. Which CC takes the time to explain, because I guess her target audience wouldn’t be familiar with such things.

So two of the werewolves try to jump him, but since Jace is a god-moding little SOB none of them can even touch him. He kicks them both in the face, which of course sends them sprawling, and he laughs.

Yeah, Jace is, at best, on the bottom rung of the Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes. He definitely qualifies as a Nominal Hero, as well as a Sociopathic Hero. Hell, the only thing keeping Jace from being an out-right villain is that he’s on the side of the Clave, and they’re only the good guys because they aren’t actively trying to commit mass genocide. And because CC says so.

But we haven’t quite reached the most infuriating part. Not just yet.

One of the other werewolves manages to grab Jace (to quote Marv from Sin City, “I got you now, ya little bastard. Let’s see you hop around now.”) and yanks him off the counter top. And still Jace is laughing.

But we don’t get to see Jace get nine kinds of shit kicked out of him, because Luke shows up and tells them all to stop and to “Leave the boy alone.”

And we aren’t quite done yet, folks.

So everyone moves away from Jace, except for Bat, who was about to go to town on Jace. You know, I’m really starting to reconsider my opinion of ol’ Bat. Sure, he’s a bit impulsive and has some anger control issues, but at least he doesn’t back down from a fight.

Bat says that Jace is a Shadowhunter, and thus doesn’t really qualify as a “boy”. I’d go further and say that Jace doesn’t qualify as a human being, but that’s me. Luke counters that the werewolves and Shadowhunters are allies, so they’re welcome at the bar.

Despite the fact that the narration earlier said that, as far as the werewolves are concerned, the only thing worse than a Shadowhunter is a vampire. Yeah, I don’t think the Shadowhunters have “allies” so much as “groups who aren’t quite scum”.

Bat starts to point out that Jace literally came out and said he didn’t give a shit about Joseph – you know, the dead 15-year-old werewolf in the alley – but Luke brushes that off, and flat-out asks Jace if he came looking for a fight. Oh, and he also finally drops Jace’s name, and Jace addresses Luke by name. This of course gets everyone, including Bat, to back off Jace, as opposed to getting them to turn their anger on Luke.

Un-Logic: 4

Freaky Pete steps up and gives the full story, namely that Jace flat-out said that the Clave didn’t give a shit about Downworlders. And mentions again that the Accords were renewed just a week ago. So yeah, Jace has not exactly been a sterling example of inter-species cooperation.

But again Luke brushes the concerns and opinions of his pack aside:

“Jace doesn’t speak for the Clave ,” said Luke, “and there’s nothing he could have done even if he’d wanted to. Isn’t that right?”

[eye twitch]

Oh, I beg to fucking differ. He could have gotten off his lazy ass and examined the scene of the crime. He could have said something like, “Sorry, I’m on probation, but I’ll make sure the proper people find out.” He could have not come down to this bar and actively antagonized the werewolves in an effort to start a fight, especially not (as has been mentioned several times already) a fucking week after renewing the treaty between Downworlders and Shadowhunters.

And I’m gonna drop some spoilers right now, folks – this whole incident? Never brought up again. Jace will be locked up several times over the course of this book by the Shadowhunters, and not once will it have anything to do with what he’s done here. So despite Luke’s claims to the contrary, I think it’s pretty clear that the Clave and Shadowhunters in general actually don’t give a shit about the Downworlders. But we already knew that based on how the members of the Circle were “punished”, didn’t we?

We’re almost done with the scene, so I think I can hold it together a bit longer.

Jace gets pissed that Luke knows about the thing with Maryse, and asks who told him, specifically mentioning Clary. Luke says that, no, he found out because he’s an alpha werewolf, so he has to know things. Because I guess the werewolves have a rather extensive intelligence gathering network or something.

(Then again, he/they did manage to track down Clary’s dumb ass twice in the last book, so maybe there’s something to that)

Oh, and Maia just “knows” that Clary is important to both of them, because the readers had to be reminded of that. It’s not as if we already know that everything in these books revolves around her and Jace.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 4

Because I’m feeling spiteful, okay?

So Luke decides to take Jace back to Freaky Pete’s office for a private chat, and Jace agrees to go, making one last quip because he has to get in the last word.

“Fine,” he said, “but you owe me for the Scotch I didn’t drink.”

Rapier Twit: 4

[twitch twitch]

Really, Jace? Do you mean the first one, which you were too much of a fucking pansy to drink like an adult, and which ended up on the wall because you decided to start picking a fight? Or the second one, which was on the house, and which also got spilled because you kept picking a fight and were too much of a pansy to drink like an adult?

And really, Pete had every right to card your ass and deny you service. Yes, he lets underage kids drink, but here’s the thing – they’re werewolves, and this is a werewolf bar. The kids are part of the pack, which I’m assuming equates to being family, and I imagine Pete still keeps a close eye on the minors.

But Jace? Yeah, he ain’t part of the pack. He doesn’t deserve special treatment, regardless of what CC thinks. Honestly, Pete should have just told Jace to leave after that first scuffle with Bat. Because even though Bat through the first punch, Jace clearly provoked him, and showed no intention of changing his behavior, and was obviously going to start another fight. It would have been a fucking preventative measure.

But nooooo, we can’t have someone not bow down the Almighty Jace and not be smitten for their transgression.

And you know what? That’s all I can take for now. I know we’re only about half-way through the chapter, but honestly? This has been exhausting to go through. So I’ll give some quick thoughts and then close it out.

This one single scene (and yes, it is only one scene) is a perfect demonstration of why Jace is in no way heroic. The things that are supposed to show what a badass he is are either infuriatingly arrogant or laughably over-the-top. What’s more, it shows how much of a petulant little child he is. Because the whole reason for this little demonstration? Jace is upset, and this is how he deals with his emotions.

It’s exactly the same as what happened before chapter 1 – Jace can’t deal with his emotions, so instead he goes out and beats things up. The only differences are that this time, the target of his frustration are innocent werewolves instead of a presumably dangerous demon, and that he didn’t drag Alec and Isabelle into this mess. And I’d applaud CC for doing this, if I wasn’t entirely certain that I’m supposed to fell sorry for Jace instead of being pissed off at him. “Oh, Jace has feeelings and doesn’t know how to deal with them! He just needs a hug!”

Well, here’s the thing about Jace’s “emotional problems”:

And I’ll be honest – I’d be fine with Jace being an emotional wreck right now. I was fine with Harry’s behavior in OotP. Hell, he was an orphan who’d lived in a closet for a decade; I’m kinda surprised he managed to make it to fifteen before having an emotional breakdown.

But Jace isn’t fifteen – he’s seventeen. He should be relatively stable by this point. And Jace has made it perfectly clear that, in his opinion, he deserves to be treated like an adult. And I will admit that he’s probably as skilled at killing demons as any adult Shadowhunter. Except there’s more to being an adult than just stuff like that, even if it is what this utterly fucked-up society most values.

And when Jace is in a very emotional situation – the kind of things adults have to deal with all the time – does he react with maturity and control?

Thank you, Mr. Holmes.

No, instead he goes out and starts fights. And it clearly doesn’t matter with whom – demons, Downworlders, who cares? Even if said Downworlders are “allies” of the Shadowhunters, and they just renewed their treaty, it doesn’t matter, because Jace has feeeeelinnnnngssss. And anyway, it’s not like they’re real people.

And I’m sorry for the lack of funny, but honestly? There’s not a whole lot for me to work with.

So that’s it for now, folks. I’ll be back with part two, which is… well, not exactly better, per se, but at least we don’t have to deal with Jace being an infuriating, smug bastard. No, it’s infuriating for entirely different reasons.

Counts

Entirely Pointless: 3 (Total: 13)
Un-Logic: 4 (Total: 11)
You Keep Using That Word: 1 (Total: 12)
Shoddy World Building: 0 (Total: 4)
Rapier Twit: 4 (Total: 6)
Our “Heroes”: 4 (Total: 5)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 (Total: 1)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 4 (Total: 4)

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Comment

  1. Juracan on 6 October 2014, 16:13 said:

    I’ve seen this chapter recapped/reviewed a few times, and every time I’m still blown away but what a complete asshole Jace is. Not only that, but CC refuses to let it affect him— he dodges every hit effortlessly and doesn’t have to deal with his shenanigans later.

    A fifteen-year-old died right outside, and Jace doesn’t give a shit. Why am I supposed to want Jace to live?

  2. swenson on 6 October 2014, 19:35 said:

    The return of Rapier Twit! How I’ve missed it.

    Whoops, meant to write “how delighted I was to be without it for so long”. Odd typo, that.

    Anyway. Jace is just… the worst. The worst. How do people read this and go “yeah, that guy, he’s a cool guy”?

  3. Apep on 6 October 2014, 19:49 said:

    Not only that, but CC refuses to let it affect him— he dodges every hit effortlessly and doesn’t have to deal with his shenanigans later.

    He does get a bloody nose once they finally pull him off his feet, but yeah, it doesn’t make me think Jace is awesome – it makes me think CC is breaking physics to make him look good.

    And really, it’s the second part that really pisses me off. He came within a hair’s breadth of shattering the Accords before the ink had even dried, and no one else cares. Forget liking Jace – why am I supposed to like the Shadowhunters?

    The return of Rapier Twit! How I’ve missed it.

    Huh? I brought that back in the last one.

    Or do you just mean CC’s flailing attempts to make Jace “funny”?

    How do people read this and go “yeah, that guy, he’s a cool guy”?

    Authorial intervention? Lack of taste? Lead paint mixed into their baby food? I don’t know.

  4. The Smith of Lie on 7 October 2014, 05:47 said:

    I must admit, you were right Apep. I went far too lighlty on the cast in my last spite fic. Now I need to think about something more appropriate. Maybe I should just unleash my own Mary Sues at them? I have created few of those during my stay here…

    Provided that I don’t get lazy there will be an epic crossover somewhere down below…

  5. swenson on 7 October 2014, 11:00 said:

    Huh? I brought that back in the last one.

    Ah, you’re right, I forgot. :facepalm:

    Still, it was a really good three weeks there, without having to read any of Jace’s stupidity.

  6. The Smith of Lie on 7 October 2014, 13:24 said:

    I am not a spite fic writer you deserve. Not even a one that you need. I just showed up one day and refused to leave, to much chargin of everyone who happens to read my work. But here I stand before you with an opus magnum. A spite fic of epic proportions. It uses my previous characters to deliver a well deserved comeuppance.

    If you have a masochistic streak you can find previous adventures of the characters in comments to (as if you’d want to…):
    http://impishidea.com/reviews/the-negative-reader-reviews-betrayed
    http://impishidea.com/spork/angelopolis-spork-chapter-1-let-the-bodies-hit-the-floor
    http://impishidea.com/spork/evermore-spork-part-9-chapter-eight

    May god have mercy on your souls.

    „So, can anyone explain to me where we are and how we ended here?” Father Jones asked. No one answered. “Sister Charity?” Young nun looked as confused as the rest of the group. “It looks like we are in an alternate dimension version of New York.” The priest nodded, theory sounded as plausible as any other. “And how did we get here? I know that you attended Father Anderson’s seminar on the issue last year.” “Well, if I had to guess it is due to the Eldritch nature of Venus Cove. The fact that no one is even sure about which continent it is on suggests that time and space do not work like they should around it. And it is all in a middle of big ball of wibbly wobbly time-y wimey stuff.” Jones’ eyebrow rose inquisitively (and appropriately so, considering how Vatican Black Ops were part of the Holy Office). “This is the best theory we have?” Sister Charity shrugged. “It is either that or String Theory.” “Wibbly wobbly, time-y wimey it is then!” And so they went, looking for a nearby church. Hopefully the dimension they slid to also had functioning Inquisition.

    Miles hated vampires. Not an unreasonable feeling. Especially for a vampire hunter. Now he hated witches as well. Probably an unreasonable reaction to one bad experience, but being sent to an alternate dimension against one’s will does not lent itself to a calm and balanced judgment. And for what? It is not his fault that his speech was slurred, vampire just punched him in the mouth. After bit of consideration he decided that after all he was not really wrong when he called her that.

    He quickly got his bearings. City around him seemed like New York. Few small changes compared to the one he’d been in couple of times, but New York nonetheless. The curse was supposed to bring him back. Sooner or later. That was another thing he hated witches for, stupid rhymes. For now he needed safe location. He hoped the hunters safe-house in that one old church exists even in this dimension.

    If there was something I hated more than having to work with a partner it was dimensional shifting. And that was even back when I was young enough to feel no physical effects of the jump. Luckily for me I landed in some back alley. A place with functional toilet would be preferable, but beggars can’t be choosers.

    Dimension I landed in was pretty low on magic. One of those where most of humanity is not aware of its existence. It meant I had to gather enough magic for shift back home. Another reason to never leave. I traced the rune in the air and concentrated. The geographical location of the city was more or less equivalent to New Atlantis. Nice to see that there were realities where Deep Ones did not flood the east coast.

    Having few hours to burn I started walking. Might as well have done some sightseeing while on this Goddess forsaken plane. And then I felt the smell of magic, coming quite strong from the nearby church. Maybe I didn’t have to be there all that long…

    The church did not feel right. There was no residual hum of faith, no echo of prayers. Even old and abandoned it should at least retain traces of the quiet power that fills the places of Lord worship. “Brother Ignatius, do you feel anything?” All eyes turned to tall man. He did not answer, he never actually spoke. He closed his eyes in concentration and after a minute he nodded. With still closed eyes he pointed to eastern wall. Now that he brought it to their attention everyone felt the slight chill emanating from it. It was not physical and it had the taste of corruption and foul undercurrent of magic.

    “Sister, can I borrow your rosary?” Father Jones did not have his hammer, they jumped with only their conventional weapons. But Lord would never burden them with task that they are not equal to. Sister Charity’s rosary joined his own, wrapped over priest’s palm. He tightened his fist and with a bellow struck against the coldest point of the wall. “IESU DOMINE! LAVA QUOD EST SORDIDUM!” There was a flash of white light and suddenly the inside of the church was transformed. For one thing, there was an elevator now.

    This was not hunters’ safe-house. For one thing, in his reality church was abandoned, here there were three nuns and two priests. Actually they looked somewhat out of place. Miles might not have been terribly religious, and as a Protestant he knew little about Catholic traditions, but he was pretty sure that making rosaries into makeshift brass knuckles was frowned upon. Big, black man looked like he was planning to hit the wall with his rosary fist… “IESU DOMINE! LAVA QUOD EST SORDIDUM!”

    Who knew. In this dimension priests had power to… Redecorate churches with punches? Summoning elevators to existence? At least it seemed so, though he was admittedly blinded by a flash of bright light, so maybe it was always there. Or it wasn’t there minute ago but NOW it was always there? And weren’t there three nuns? “You’d better not move. The blade is very sharp and you could accidentally cut your own throat.” The feminine voice was quite pleasant, pretty merry even. And he indeed stood with a knife at his throat. A knife held by a nun that somehow managed to get behind him in such a short notice.

    Have you ever had a day that just kept getting worse and worse? Well, it still was not as bad as my day was shaping up to be. I barely arrived at my best hope to get home before supper (of course considering different time flow between dimensions it was possible that I’d return before I left) and there was someone with powerful magic negation.

    At least seeing a kid in danger of being shanked by a nun cheered me up. At least I was not the only one having bad day. I actually should have expected that Catholicism still existed here. It still existed in most places where magic was not commonplace. Yet there was something strange about the group here. They had wrong vibes. I was about to comment on how none of the present company seems to be a local when one of nuns shot at me with rocket launcher.

    I was not shot at with heavy ordnance since 1948. Back then it was a Russian revenant shooting at me. In the middle of one bloodiest battles of history. Not a diminutive nun in the middle of a church. Good thing that old habits die hard. I increased inertia of the rocket to the point it stopped in midair. Goddess, even two hundred years ago I could have stopped it in middle of the way, not two inches from my face. “How about we talk a second before we try to kill each other?”

    Father Jones nodded. “Is what he is saying plausible Sister Charity?” Sister Charity did her best not to show that he knew about as much about complex magical theory as her superior. “I think so.” She made a vague gesture that somehow conveyed to him the idea of wibbly wobbly time-y wimey. Or at least she hoped so. “And you can send us back home?” The mage nodded. He introduced himself as Nicholas York. “I can send you back to your dimension and the boy to his. But I need to gather the energy of this place.” Father Jones was skeptical. He did not like idea of working with magic. But they had little choice if they ever wanted to see their home. May God have mercy on their souls. “You have a deal.” He looked at the teenager whom Sister Misericordia almost given Glasgow Smile. “You wait here for us.”

    Scary, black priest looked at him. “You wait here for us.” Obviously, they took him for a civilian. He could act all indignant. He could do like his fake public persona and throw a fit like queen. Instead he did what seemed like most respectful and at the same respectable thing to do. He stood at full attention and saluted. “Sir, with all due respect, I am trained in combat both hand to hand and with firearms. Back home I have been tasked with fighting vampires. I requested permission to join the operation.” Hunters did not put a lot of stock in formality. His aunt however could be a drill instructor. Who would have thought that military – like discipline of stays with relatives would come in handy?

    Jones was apparently won over by the display, since he nodded. Miles wondered which part was what convinced him. Probably the vampires, at least judging by contempt on the faces of all Vatican Agents when he said the word. People after his own heart.

    I done some strange things in life. I hunted a living dead with an Irish werewolf. I fought in fourteen of fifteen wars. I played a poker game with a chupacabra, a sasquatch and a high priest of octopus people (cheating bastard). Storming some kind of secure compound hidden under a glamoured church together with a teenage vampire hunter and hit squad of religious fanatics is in top five of strangest things I did. Or at least top ten.

    The first people we found were twins., boy and girl Terribly surprised to see us. Not that one can blame them, we were a rather motley crew. Sisters Clementia and Misericordia moved to intercept them. I never saw a mere human moving so fast. They were actually a little bit scary.

    Sister Clementia moved in. Her opponent had a whip. Such an impractical weapon for close quarters. It required some distance to use effectively. A much longer distance than she was ever gonna give her. She ducked a clumsy shove attempt and swiped at black haired girl. She drew blood and moved even closer, so close that even knife was bit unwieldy. But it did not matter, since she got one, two, three good punches right into the wounded spot. The girl fell on her back. Such a sorry sight. In the last attempt she got a knife hidden in her sleeve and threw it at Sister Clementia. It struck her right into the chest. Sister smiled. Loose clothes were perfect to hide a tactical armor beneath them. She took the blade so graciously given to her and gutted its previous owner.

    Sister Misericordia’s opponent had a sword. This did not bode well, since that gave him better reach than her. He saw her hesitation and smiled. The blade started a complicated eight-shaped pattern and whiled in his hand faster and faster. The show was pretty impressive. So she took out her gun and just shot him. Two bullets hit his chest, third hit the head. At this distance it was like shooting a fish in a barrel. Just to be sure Sister Misericordia emptied the clip into the body. It jerked and twitched as the bullets torn into it.

    “They are our marksmen.” Maybe he should have said markswomen? Or markspersons? Father Jones could not really be bother with political correctness. “But they received basic training in close combat.”

    The twin nuns scared him. He fought vampires for a living and endured being in the same class as Ever Bloom. And those two scared him. He closed his eyes for second. Soon he will be safe, a whole dimension away from them.

    They moved past the room that looked like a library. Jones stopped and looked inside. “Blasphemous grimoires! Sister Charity, Brother Ignatius, deal with them.” Miles gulped. Brother Ignatius had a flamethrower. “Go nuts!” Jones shouted back towards the library as they left. Scratch the part about Clementia and Misericordia being scary, the whole group was terrifying.

    The vampire they ran into was a bit of surprise. Miles waved the rest to move on and stretched. Finally something for him. A vampire is a vampire, alternate dimension or not. Well, except when they are sparkling in the sun and brooding over their eternal love. Then they are not vampires but adolescent girl sexual fantasy. And the less Miles dwell on those the better for him.

    Vampire came at him quick and ferocious. So it was young one. Objectively young, not just looking so. And the guy looked pretty good. Shame Miles had to kill him. He kept dodging the swipes vampire took at him. They were strong, if any connected it would probably kill him, or at least break few bones, but they were clumsy. Miles could not hit half as hard as a vampire, but he knew how to hit. And he had a Kukri.

    The fight was over pretty soon. Hamstrung and staked the vampire lay at his feet decomposing. Miles caught himself smiling and shuddered. Was he becoming one of those guys who actually enjoyed fighting? The thought scared him a little. Not willing to dwell on it he followed the rest of the rag-tag team.

    Things were going pretty well. At least for an unplanned trip into other dimension. Definitively better than in the one where Poland conquered the world. I could not look at alcohol for few years after that one. And then we ran into first adult in the compound. By her looks the mother of the twins slaughtered earlier.

    “I will end you!” Apparently she knew already. She held her right hand out and started drawing a sigil on it with what looked like a piece of chalk. It left her flesh scarred. How primitive. The instant she was over flames shot out of her outstretched palm. I threw up a Maxwellian Shield and the heat never reached us. “Leave her to me Jones. There should be only one more person to take care of. You can do it?” He nodded.

    The priest left and I was alone with the woman. Rage has twisted her features. She still held her scarification device, primitive as it was, magic in hands of madwoman could be dangerous. I threw a probing stream of entropy at her. She did not even perceive it, not till her body started to decay. To her credit, she managed to stop it with another sigil. It had a side effect of making her glow bluish light and move at breakneck speed right at me.

    + My back hit the wall with almost enough force to break it. I did not howl in pain. I don’t like hitting women. Well, I don’t like hitting anyone or anything. I did not spent centuries honing my will and learning how to make laws of nature bend to it, to hit people. Which is why no one ever expects me to pull out brass knuckles and punch them.+

    Few hits to the torso bought me enough space to unleash my magic. I locked the woman at her exact coordinates relative to the Sun, while shielding myself from a sonic boom that followed. The room filled with red mist.

    The last one was a Blonde. He had that smug look that Jones found so annoying. “You are a credit to your kind.” There was a lot of condescension in the boy’s smile. “To get so far into Shadowhunter compound. Not bad for a… Mundane.” Jones took two quick steps and hit with all his strength. He should have crushed blonde’s windpipe, but somehow he missed, the blasphemous mage stood five feet from where he was a second ago. “Why won’t you try again?” Jones ignored the taunt and instead he knelt. “You didn’t have to, I know I look divine but I’m not god.” He heard some murmur from the priest. “Ah, the last prayer. I’ll magnanimously allow it.” The volume of Jones’ prayer was building. He virtually shouted last words “ET VADE RETRO IN ABYSSUM INFERNI!” He shot up towards the boy. Faster than his large build suggested possible, he closed in. Self proclaimed Shadowhunter had his scarification stick. He managed to draw a sigil that unleashed a wave of ruinous energies at Jones. “Heathen! My faith is my shield!” His hands closed on boy’s neck. He started squeezing. “I am the fiery sword of Lord’s vengeance! I am the sower who burns the weeds!”

    Nicholas looked like he bathed in blood. Miles preferred not to ask about details. He felt like he was not going to sleep well anytime soon already. “So now we go home?” Mage nodded and than waved his hands around. “I hope I never see this place of any of you. Psychos.” And than everything flickered and Miles was back home, looking at himself disappearing due to the curse of a certain bitch. God, how he hated inter-dimensional travel induced time paradoxes…

  7. Castor on 7 October 2014, 18:33 said:

    Jace is one of the most reprehensible “heroes” I’ve ever read about. He’s rude, obnoxious, and thinks the entire world revolves around him and that he can do whatever he wants with absolutely no repercussions.

    And he’s RIGHT. CC doesn’t let anything bad happen to him, ever. The entire world does revolve around him because CC is so enamored with her Gary Stu. He can do whatever he wants because NO WE CAN’T HAVE ANYTHING HAPPEN TO JACE HE’S SO HAAAWT. I’d say CC was being meta but that’s giving her waaay too much credit.

    Seriously, the only protagonist that I’ve read about that was worse than Jace was Jonnie Tyler in the Battlefield Earth spork I recently read. At least Jace isn’t directly responsible for the genocide of an entire species. Yet. (With the way he treats Downworlders, who knows…)

  8. Aikaterini on 8 October 2014, 11:23 said:

    I hate this chapter too. And I think of it whenever I see someone claiming that Jace is a hero and that he’s so much better than Valentine and [character who shows up in City of Glass].

    Because there’s no excuse for this. Jace is a bully. Plain and simple. I don’t care if he’s sulking because Maryse (whom he barely thinks of as a mother anyway) rejected him. That is no excuse to take his frustration out on innocent people. He’s using them as a punching bag. And not only that, he’s smug and gleeful while he’s doing it.

    Seriously, if you didn’t read the last chapter, if you didn’t know that the scene between Jace and Maryse had happened, would you really guess that Jace was doing all of this because he was ‘wounded on the inside’ or something like that?

    they wouldn’t believe her, because they all believed that Beauty Equals Goodness.

    Yes, it’s awful how Maia’s parents allowed Daniel to do whatever he wanted just because he was good-looking. Now let’s watch the author allow Jace to do whatever he wants just because he’s good-looking.

    Probably because CC managed to perfectly emulate Draco Malfoy, but utterly failed to grasp why pretty much everyone (both in and out of the books) considered him to be a completely reprehensible human being for the bulk of the Harry Potter series.

    As someone who actually likes Canon!Draco, let me just say this. Yes, Canon!Draco is a nasty, stuck-up jerk. But I’m still convinced that Clare’s version of him (which includes both Jace Wayland and Draco Trilogy!Draco, since they’re both the same person) is a worse and more unlikable version of him. And my reason is this:

    Cassandra Clare doesn’t call him out for his behavior, and she doesn’t allow him to lose.

    Yes, Canon!Draco insulted Harry and his friends and tried to get them into trouble. But he suffered consequences for that. Whether it was losing to Harry at Quidditch, getting turned into a ferret by Crouch!Moody, ending up in detention with the very same people that he’d tried to get into detention, etc. Even before the sixth book, he was allowed to be vulnerable, albeit physically. He was allowed to suffer defeat. He was allowed to get his comeuppance.

    But not Jace. As you’ve said, he doesn’t have to suffer any consequences for this and nobody ever mentions it again. It’s swept under the rug, just like his acceptance of Valentine’s offer in the last book. He just does what he wants and nobody stops him. And he’s a main character, so he’s constantly in the reader’s face.

    That’s also why Dolores Umbridge was the most reviled character in the fandom. Because unlike Draco, she seemed unstoppable. She was constantly on the heroes’ case, she was backed by the government, and she got away with doing horrible things to Harry under the noses of his authority figures.

    CC then makes it worse by actually describing Jace as looking “like an avenging angel”.

    Which is, coincidentally, how Stephenie Meyer described Edward Cullen when he was murdering people back in his vigilante days.

    By the way, just who or what is Jace “avenging?” He’s the one who started this fight. If anything, the werewolves have the right to avenge themselves on him.

    I was fine with Harry’s behavior in OotP.

    I wasn’t, but that’s a topic for another day.

  9. Z on 8 October 2014, 13:24 said:

    Honestly, it’s not even a stereotype. As we mentioned last time, every adult Shadowhunter seen in New York up to this point was affiliated with the Circle in some way — a group of Nephilim who wanted to wipe out Downworlders. The Downworlders are absolutely correct to believe that the Shadowhunters hate them — after all, why else would they make their entire supervisory body made up of reformed genocidal terrorists? Seriously, is there ever a reason given for this? Were they just short handed when they were giving out assignments?

    If Jace doesn’t have too much concern for his job of policing the supernatural world, it’s because he was essentially trained from birth by people who spent most of their lives rejecting and fighting against that system.

  10. swenson on 8 October 2014, 13:49 said:

    @Castor – that’s a great spork, the Battlefield Earth one. I’m very fond of it.

  11. Apep on 8 October 2014, 13:56 said:

    Yes, it’s awful how Maia’s parents allowed Daniel to do whatever he wanted just because he was good-looking. Now let’s watch the author allow Jace to do whatever he wants just because he’s good-looking.

    Mmm, smell that? That’s deep-fried hypocrisy, that is.

    re: Canon!Draco – maybe calling him “reprehensible” was a bit much. But he is definitely an ass, and deserving of all those punishments.

    I wasn’t, but that’s a topic for another day.

    I meant that I understood why he was having his issues. I had issues with the focus on teen romance, but oh well.

    @Z: That’s all true, but the Shadowhunters in New York are only a small part of a greater organization, and the adults’ views weren’t exactly the majority opinion. I’d like to think that there are Shadowhunters in other parts of the world that wouldn’t be so flippant with Jace’s behavior.

  12. Z on 8 October 2014, 19:10 said:

    “@Z: That’s all true, but the Shadowhunters in New York are only a small part of a greater organization, and the adults’ views weren’t exactly the majority opinion. I’d like to think that there are Shadowhunters in other parts of the world that wouldn’t be so flippant with Jace’s behavior.”

    You’re absolutely right. Later on in this book we do meet other Shadowhunters who take a harder line against the types of behaviors we’ve seen so far. Not for the most obvious reasons, of course, but it’s a start.

    My point was mostly about the perceptions of the Shadowhunters by the Downworlders in this city. The Downworlders in NYC don’t seem to interact with the Clave except through the Shadowhunters based in that city — that is, mostly just Hodge and the Lightwoods.

    It’s even more bothersome since it’s stated that none of these people repudiated Valentine until he had already been defeated. (In fact, the Lightwoods were put in charge of NYC as a punishment) They were fiercely loyal to him and the cause until the cause itself was hopeless. It’s not like Snape who turned to the side of good and proved himself by risking his own safety to work as a spy. As far as the Downworlders here know, their “protectors” would switch sides again as soon as Valentine reappears. Hodge does just that in the last book.

    In that dysfunctional system it’s reasonable for the Downworlders to fear and distrust the Clave.

  13. Kailey on 16 November 2014, 22:57 said:

    I’m getting scared for the teenage girls that like Jace. Are we supposed to excuse Jace for his behaviour because he has an emotional backstory that most people don’t care about? He injured other people, never mind the fact they are werewolves, and still is called “an avenging angel”. He didn’t bat a single girly eyelash when someone DIED fifty feet away from him.

    Honestly, it’s hard to tell who to root for.

    Jace has issues but usually, when people have issues, they down a drink (the whole shot, not just half) and they go home. The werewolves don’t need to bear witness to your angst. I mean, if you’re going to be a sociopathic jerk, be a sociopathic jerk alone.