Hello, and welcome back to my sporking of City of Ashes. Last time, Valentine hired some poor schmuck of a warlock to summon up a demon, which somehow managed to escape its bonds in some inexplicable way, only to be stopped by the resident “evil mastermind” because he had the MacGuffin Cup from the last book. Don’t ask me how that works, because I’m pretty sure CC was just making up the rules as she went.
(Oh, one quick addendum – after checking around a bit, I now believe that Elka Cloke is the same Elka responsible for the “better in black” thing from the first book’s acknowledgments. This does not do good things for my impression of her.)
And now we enter the book proper, with Part One, which CC decided to call “A Season in Hell”. How appropriate.
The quote for part one comes from Arthur Rimbaud: “I believe I am in Hell, therefore I am.” For those interested, Rimbaud was a French poet, born in 1854, and who died of cancer shortly after his 37th birthday. The line quoted is from his work Night in Hell, published in his collection/prose poem titled A Season in Hell (gee, what a coincidence).
Here’s the thing – doing a bit of poking around, I found out that Rimbaud started writing this when his relationship with another French poet, Paul Verlaine, was nearing its end. The book was finished shortly after their relationship ended, and it was hardly on pleasant terms. For one, about a month before the book was finished, Verlaine got drunk and tried to shoot Rimbaud.
(I’m not going to speculate on the nature of their relationship as a whole, as I’m not an expert on either man, but I don’t think it’s inconceivable that they might have been more than simply friends)
Put simply, Rimbaud was not in a good place when he wrote his Season in Hell. And if the book is about his deteriorating relationship with Verlaine, it seems Rimbaud was placing a lot of the blame for it on himself. Going with the “more than friends” interpretation, Rimbaud comes across a bit like a victim of an abusive relationship.
(Again, all this comes from about ten minutes of skimming Wikipedia, so I could be wrong.)
But knowing CC, this will have absolutely nothing to do with what happens in this section of the book. Or if it does, I’m sure we’re supposed to conclude that Clary is just so tormented by the fact that she can’t be with Jace, because that is the very definition of suffering – not being able to be with a hot douche-nozzle who she’d only known for maybe a week before finding out they’re siblings, thus making their having made-out gross. Oh woe is she..
Anyway, Chapter 1 itself is called “Valentine’s Arrow”, as you probably already figured out. One last thing before getting started – that’s a really dumb name for a chapter, mostly because “Valentine” is a really dumb name for a villain. It does not inspire feelings of fear and dread.
We begin with Alec and Jace acting like an old married couple.
“Are you still mad?”
Alec, leaning against the wall of the elevator, glared across the small space at Jace. “I’m not mad.”
“Oh, yes you are.”
No, CC has not made the very progressive step of having the former Male Love Interest turn out to be gay (though I’m sure some of her fans were disappointed by that), because the narration refers to Alec as Jace’s stepbrother. Not sure when that happened, and I’m pretty sure neither of Jace’s parents were ever married to either of Alec’s, so I have no idea how they’re “stepbrothers”.
You Keep Using That Word: 1
Jace starts to point at Alec, then “[yelps] in pain”, which makes me happy, until we find out why he’s in such pain – apparently they were fighting something, and Jace fell three floors, only to land on a pile of scrap metal. And apparently the only injuries he received from all that was significant bruising all over.
Apparently CC believes that giving her protagonists magic tattoos (I refuse to call them “Runes” – I’m too proud of my Norse heritage to allow such an association) means that they can more or less follow cartoon injury logic – it doesn’t matter how severe the injury, at most they’ll just have to be wrapped up in gauze for a scene or two.
This is also the point where we find out that Alec’s only recently healed enough to no longer need crutches. Yeah, remember when that happened, about ¾ of the way through the last book? And it served as a convenient excuse to have both Alec and Isabelle be absent for the big fight at the end? Now, that might give you the impression that several months have passed between books. And you would be wrong, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Also, if Alec just got through needing those crutches, why was he going out demon hunting? I’d think he should spend a little more time recovering before returning to facing the incredibly dangerous monsters?
And then we’re given a brief description of how Alec looks, because apparently that’s important.
His clothes were covered in mud and his hair hung down in lank, sweaty strips. There was a long cut down the side of his cheek.
Why do I need to know this?
Entirely Pointless: 1
We’re only three paragraphs in, people. And one of those was only four words long.
But then we come to an actual good bit of writing:
“I am not,” Alec said, through his teeth. “Just because you said dragon demons were extinct–”
“I said mostly extinct.”
Alec jabbed a finger toward him. “Mostly extinct,” he said, his voice trembling with rage, “is NOT EXTINCT ENOUGH.”
See, that’s actually kind of funny. And according to my Kindle, about 1500 people agree that the line is at least amusing.
But I do have a few nits to pick. First, there’s a word for when something is “mostly extinct” – it’s called being “endangered.”
You Keep Using That Word: 2
Also, apparently “dragons” weren’t good enough for CC – she had to make them fit into her pre-determined set of supernatural creatures, hence why they’re “dragon demons”.
Shoddy World Building: 1
“All myths are true” my ass.
And then CC has to ruin a serviceable bit of humor in her usual way – by having Jace try to make a joke.
“I see,” said Jace. “I’ll just have them change the entry in the demonology textbook from ‘almost extinct’ to ‘not extinct enough for Alec. He prefers his monsters really, really extinct.’ Will that make you happy?”
Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on humor or anything, but one thing I do know is that one of the worst things you can do with a joke is drag it out. Alec already gave the punch line – but we can’t have anyone be funnier than Jace, so he has to make a joke, too. And he completely ruins the whole bit.
So, we bring back yet another count from CoB – Rapier Twit.
Rapier Twit: 1
(Again, I’ve decided to modified it – this time, it will be applied to everyone.)
Isabelle decides to step in to prevent any bloodshed. Of course, we can’t have the teenage girls identifying with her, what with her being the sensible one an all, so of course she’s introduced as having been “examining her face in the elevator’s mirrored wall” this whole time. Because that’s clearly shorthand for her being vain and stupid. Oh, wait, the stupid bit comes from next line:
“All right, so it was a little more action than we were expecting, but I though it was fun.”
[sigh] Damn it, Isabelle. I actually liked you in the last book – you were both sexy and confident, while also being able to kick some ass when the situation called for it. You didn’t avoid feminine things like cooking just to fit in with the guys. I’d actually be willing to call you a good example of a feminist character.
And on top of all that, you were also the only member of your little trio to regularly refer to Simon by his name, rather than as “mundane/mundie”.
But now that’s all over. Because I guess CC found out that some of her fans actually liked Isabelle, and we can’t have anyone liking any female characters who are potential rivals for
her self-insert Clary.
Alec then asks how she manages to remain mud-free despite everything, to which Isabelle responds thusly:
Isabelle shrugged philosophically. “I’m pure at heart. It repels the dirt.”
I know I’ve seen this elsewhere, but I have to ask – how does one shrug “philosophically”? And why is CC using it here, when it’s probably just going to confuse her target audience?
You Keep Using That Word: 3
Now, you’re probably asking yourself what the point of all that was. It was so Jace could laugh at, wiggle his fingers at her, with his nails described as “black crescents” (which I didn’t need to know, since the previous sentence informed me that his fingers were covered in mud)
*Entirely Pointless: 2
and then proclaim that he is “Filthy inside and out.”
Well, I won’t argue with him.
Isabelle’s no doubt biting retort is cut off by the elevator reaching it’s destination, so instead she complains that the elevator’s breaks need to be fixed. I have to wonder how they’d do that, as I doubt any of them have the expertise needed to perform such a repair, they would almost certainly never stoop so low as to hire a mundane to fix it, and I just can’t picture one of the High and Mighty Shadowhunters learning something so practical.
Not that it matters, though, because all that was just to ensure Jace got the last word in.
Entirely Pointless: 3
We are then informed of the fact that Alec and Isabelle haven’t been to go out and kill demons since Hodge left, which makes sense. Oh, and this little trip was Jace’s idea – because he’d rather distract himself with “the oblivion of fighting, the harsh diversion of killing, and the distraction of injuries” than actually deal with the events of the previous book.
Oh, and Alec and Isabelle are again referred to as his “stepsiblings.”
You Keep Using That Word: 4
CC, they are not stepsiblings. At most, he is their adopted brother. They are not synonyms.
But of course they went along with Jace’s idiotic idea, because he’s the leader of this little power-trio (as well as the Designated Hero), so what he says goes.
Isabelle complains that she’s hungry, and wishes her mom were there to cook something for them. Jace counters that they should be glad she’s not, as Mrs. Lightwood would go ballistic over them tromping mud all over the carpet.
Which just makes me wonder why they didn’t bother cleaning it off before coming inside, but whatever.
But then – surprise, surprise – she is there! And from what little description Maryse Lightwood is given, she is basically an older version of her daughter, Isabelle. Because children are just photo copies of their parents, right?
Speaking of Isabelle, she’s happy to see her mother again, and rushes over to hug her. Alec does as well, only slower, and trying to conceal the fact that he has a bit of a limp.
Which really makes me wonder why he went on this little excursion in the first place, as you’d think something like that would be a liability in a life-or-death situation. But then I’m not a Big Name Fan who parlayed that into a book deal, so what do I know?
Maryse hugs her kids, then gives Jace a straight-up Death Glare. Because of this, I’m inclined to like her. However, knowing what comes later, I can’t.
Isabelle asks where her dad and younger brother Max are, and Maryse tells her that Max is in his room, and Papa Lightwood had to stay in Shadowhunter City for vague reasons.
I hate to do this again so soon, but apart from “I need a reason not to get actual adults involved in the plot”, was there any reason for the Lightwood parents to attend the fantasy Geneva Convention? They did try to kill several of the delegates at the last one, and are known members of a terrorist organization. Which are exactly the kind of people you don’t want at a major peace summit.
Sorry, I don’t want to bring that up again, but this whole world is so poorly thought-out it completely falls apart the minute you start thinking about it.
Anyway, Alec asks if something’s wrong, and his mom turns that right around and asks if he’s limping. Alec hesitates, but his sister has his back, and explains that they ran into a “Draconidae” demon, which is apparently the actual name for the aforementioned “dragon” demon.
But it turns out that Maryse isn’t as oblivious as her kids might think, because she’s totally aware of the fact that they went up against a Greater Demon in the last book. Which apparently occurred some time in the previous week.
That’s right – it’s only been days since the end of City of Bones. How miserable must these kids have been to think risking getting killed hunting demons would be preferable to waiting for the adults to get back?
And it appears that Maryse’s armor-piercing question technique is super effective against her own children (of course), so Jace swings in to rescue Isabelle. He starts to explain that it wasn’t like they planned to face down a Greater Demon, but gets interrupted by a random Max attack.
At first, I like Max, because his response to his mom saying that she told him to stay in his room is to go “I don’t remember that.” Not exactly an affective argument, but he’s a kid, so what are you gonna do?
We’re told that, despite looking younger than he is, Max’s attitude and glasses somehow balance that out. And I’m gonna have to call bullshit on that – as someone who’s worn glasses since the fourth grade, I feel I can say with some authority that glasses (especially “oversized” ones) do not make you look older – if anything, they probably do the exact opposite.
It’s at this point, though, that Max loses all my good will, because he’s a Jace fanboy. Apparently Jace is “far more tolerant of Max’s presence” than Alec. I’m inclined to doubt this, but only because I’ve actually been paying attention to how Jace really acts instead of taking CC’s word for it.
Max asks Jace about the fight with the Greater Demon, and to my surprise, Jace actually resists the urge to gloat about it. Then again, their collective asses _were _ saved by Simon, so he’s probably doing his damndest to repress the memory. Jace then turns changes the subject to Max’s visit to Shadowhunter City, and Max (being an excitable child) starts going on about what he did over his summer vacation. All of which is directly related to fighting demons.
You know, this reminds me of another group from a much better franchise – the Klingons from Star Trek. Specifically, Klingons in and after TNG. In case you don’t know, they’re whole species basically consists of Proud Warrior Race Guys. Everything in Klingon culture revolves around being a warrior – science, art, engineering, everything is about fighting and how awesome it is.
Same thing here – I doubt that there are any Shadowhunters who are artists, or poets, or pretty much anything that’s not somehow related to their mission. Which is really sad.
(Okay, new headcanon – Jocelyn didn’t leave Shadowhunter land because she was afraid of Valentine. She left because she’d always wanted to be an artist, and didn’t want anything to do with hunting demons.)
During his little rambling recitation, Max mentions wanting to talk to Hodge, which gets Jace wondering why Maryse hasn’t told him about Hodge’s betrayal. Because, being a psychopath raised by a psychopath, Jace doesn’t understand that sometimes parents like to protect their children from things that will upset them, possibly scarring them for life.
But, since it’s Jace thinking this, somehow this fact is supposed to reflect badly on Maryse.
Maryse finally steps in and starts acting like a mother, telling Max to be quiet. When Max starts to object, his mom tells Alec and Isabelle to put him to bed, and then tells Jace to get cleaned up and meet her in the library.
Alec doesn’t understand what’s going on, because apparently he completely missed his mom’s death glare. So Jace explains to anyone who couldn’t figure it out (likely including the audience) that it has to do with Valentine, only instead of using his name, Jace referrers to him as “[his] father”. Which only serves to piss Maryse off even more.
But since Alec and Isabelle have been demoted to Jace’s fawning flunkies, they try to defend him, because they were all totally in on it together. Except for the last quarter of the book, where Jace gleefully went back to his abusive fuckwad of a father and probably would have helped him commit multiple genocides just to get a pat on the head, but why bother with minor details like that?
Maryse continues to act sensible, though, because unlike her kids (and probably a good chunk of the audience), she’s not willing to excuse Jace’s horrible behavior just because he had a bad childhood. Or something. Honestly, it’s a bit confusing.
And then we have a scene break.
We now flash over to Clary and Simon, who are doing normal teen stuff. In this case, that means watching anime at his house. And CC once again manages to pack more awesome into a single line of dialogue than Jace does in an entire book. Behold!
“Rule number one of anime… Never screw with a blind monk.”
I’d point out that “Never” probably shouldn’t be capitalized, but that’s on CC for shoving several sentences between the two halves of that statement.
Clary immediately ruins it by noting that blind monks do have a tendency to be better fighters than monks who can see, which just tells me that, for all her alleged “geekiness”, Clary is really not all that familiar with Asian media. I mean, Blind Martial Arts Guy is right up there with Old Martial Arts Guy on the list of “People Not to Fuck With” in anything remotely related to Asian culture. Anyone who’s seen the original Karate Kid knows that.
They get back to watching the show, which is a bit confusing to both them and the reader. It’s confusing to the reader because in all honesty, it just sounds like CC was mostly going for something weird and nonsensical. And it’s confusing to Clary because as near as I can tell, Simon’s been piecing together/making up the plot as they’ve gone along, as not only is this show in Japanese, but the subtitles are all in Chinese.
Quick question – how can you tell? I mean, yeah, they’re different languages, but unless you’re familiar enough with both to recognize the script, I don’t think you’d be able to tell the difference. For example, if I showed you two pieces of text, and one was in Russian and the other Ukrainian, and you had no knowledge of either language, would you be able to tell the difference?
This of course assumes that Simon can neither speak Japanese nor read Chinese, though. For all we know, he just might. Which would just make him more awesome, honestly.
Also, I’m going to ignore the fact that Simon’s mom is letting him be alone with Clary in his room. They have been friends since they were kids, after all, even if Simon has (unfortunately) been pining after Clary for all that time.
Simon explains a bit about the show, and then the phone rings. But Clary tells him not to answer it because… reasons. Simon points out that it could be Luke calling from the hospital, but Clary points out that Luke would just call her cell phone.
Wow, isn’t Clary such a wonderful daughter? Her mom’s in a coma, but she’d rather spend her time tugging on Simon’s leash than with the woman who raised her. And besides, Jocelyn has her own not-boyfriend to take care of her.
I think it’s time to bring in another modified count. Last time, I eventually introduced a count for all the times Clary did or said something that was not very in keeping with her status as the book’s heroine, to put it lightly, and that she never got called on. However, my chosen terminology ruffled a few feathers, so I decided to change the name. Say hello to Our “Heroes.”
Our “Heroes”: 1
Also, this now applies to everyone, not just Clary. There were far too many instances of this kind of thing in City of Bones, and I know for a fact that there will be plenty more in this one. Just wait until next chapter if you doubt me.
Simon agrees to let the machine get it, with the unstated (by him, anyway) that he, “just [wants Clary] to be happy.” Which of course leads to Clary wondering if she is happy. And that’s a fine thing to wonder, for several reasons (some of which CC even mentions) – he mom is in a coma, her whole world-view has been shaken, she’s just found out that her father’s a genocidal maniac, etc. It’s been maybe a week since the events of the last book, so I doubt Clary would be in the same zip code as “happy”.
But then CC has to ruin the whole thing by bringing everything around to Jace. Of course. Apparently they haven’t been talking, and Clary has had to actively force herself to not call to check up on him.
And why would she have any desire to call him? Well, to answer that, we get a brief flashback to what happened when Clary actually took Jace to visit Jocelyn. You guys remember that, right? Clary’s idea that, despite being separated for most of Jace’s life and thus being a complete and total stranger to her, Jace’s words would somehow draw Jocelyn out of her coma? Well, it seems that, for once, reality actually imposed itself.
Too bad it had to happen between books.
So yeah, apparently Jace just stood there like a bump on a log. The one time he doesn’t have some smart-ass comment, and we don’t even get to see it. His silence pissed Clary off, so she yelled at him, then he yelled at her and stormed out of the hospital room. And then Luke made this observation:
“That’s the first time I’ve seen you act like sister and brother,”
Dude, that is so not helping right now.
And then we get to real reason Clary isn’t happy – namely, that she and Jace can’t do the nasty because they’re siblings, and that kind of thing is both illegal and really, really gross. Not that CC/Clary will acknowledge that, mind.
Oh, you want proof? Well, see for yourselves:
Clary had said nothing in response . There was no point telling [Luke] how badly she wanted Jace not to be her brother. You couldn’t rip out your own DNA, no matter how much you wished you could. No matter how much it would make you happy.
Drink it in, folks. The only thing that will make Clary happy is being able to boink a guy who she has every reason to believe is her brother. And somehow this is supposed to be the equivalent of being in Hell.
Yeah, Clary has officially lost any possibility of being a “strong female character” at this point.
Which then leads us to why she’s back to hanging out with Simon – because he’s her fall-back guy. Oh, CC tries to dress it up as Clary being “comfortable”, but I’m not buying it. As far as I’m concerned, she’s just using Simon. He’s been pining for her for years, so he’ll bend over backwards to please her. Which is really sad, because he’s one of the few good characters in this series. At least for now.
Simon thankfully drags us out of Clary’s pontificating by commenting about what’s on the TV. The first show’s over, and he doesn’t like the one that’s on next – apparently it has a bunch of chibi characters, he can’t follow the plot, and “no one ever has sex.”
I’m not really sure where to go with that. I mean, Simon could be joking, but it’s hard to tell. Normally CC is so obvious with her jokes.
Clary counters that anime is, “wholesome family entertainment.”
Again, I’m not entirely sure if she’s supposed to be joking or not. If it is a joke, it’s just not funny. If it’s serious, then Clary/CC hasn’t seen some of the animes I have. (skip to about 4:00 and watch to about 5:10 if you don’t believe me. Fair warning – this stuff’s pretty messed up.)
Simon then says that if Clary wants wholesome entertainment, they could switch to one of the porn channels. And the only explanation I can think of for this is that it’s CC showing her age.
Quick refresher: City of Bones was published in March of 2006, so it’s fair to say it’s takes place in 2005/2006. As has already been established, this book is set shortly thereafter. The musical that this song is from was first performed in 2003. In short – I doubt anyone, especially a teenager in 2005/2006, would have tried to watch porn on TV. I’m not even sure there are porn channels on TV anymore. (unless you count HBO, that is)
Anyway, Clary grabs the remote and randomly switches it to another channel. That just happens to be airing the 1931 classic Dracula. Clary’s response is to make a random quip, in this case about how you can totally tell that the spider webs are fake.
Rapier Twit: 2
Oh, and CC also spells it “spiderwebs”.
You Keep Using That Word: 5
Then does she notice Simon’s reaction – he’s gone pale, gets up, and leaves the room. And it’s only at this point that Clary realizes that maybe Simon’s not doing so hot himself.
Our Heroes: 2
Gee, Clary, he only got turned into a rat, kidnapped by vampires, and killed a demon pretty much single-handedly, all within the past week. That kind of stuff’s bound to have some side-effects. I’m willing to give you a pass on “not being happy” because of all the shit you went through – I don’t think it’s too much to ask for you to do the same with Simon. Who, need I remind you, is not a super-special-awesome Shadowhunter, and only got dragged into that whole mess because of you.
In short – exhibiting basic human empathy should not require huge demonstrations like this. I’m really starting to wonder if Clary was repeatedly dropped on her head as a child, or ate lead paint.
On a side note, I do kind of like that Simon’s been affected by what he’s been through. Or at least, I would, if that’s what was going on here. It’d be nice to see a perfectly normal person having an adverse and realistic reaction to being exposed to the supernatural. But Cassandra Clare wrote this, and as a fan-fic writer, only the hot MCs get to have PTSD. It just makes it easier for their Designated Love Interest to come along to provide sexual healing.
Scene break and we’re back with Jace, who’s just gotten out of the shower. He stares at himself in the mirror, but thankfully not to marvel at his own good looks. Instead, it’s to note that the healing magic that fixed up all his little boo-boos (he fell three floors and landed on a pile of scrap metal! He shouldn’t be able to walk!) didn’t do anything for the circles under his eyes. Apparently he hasn’t been sleeping all that well.
And then he suffers a brief bout of dizziness. Because he hasn’t eaten anything all day.
(What time is it, anyway? I’m assuming it’s some time in the late-afternoon/early-evening, but CC didn’t bother to establish that. I guess little things like that are for people who aren’t BNFs.)
(And I would hope that Jace would continue this trend, as it he’d eventually become so deprived of food and/or sleep as to get himself killed, but he’s the Gary Stu in a glorified fan fic, so that ain’t happening.)
These two things get him longing for a concoction that Hodge used to make, and which sounds like a mix of coffee and crack, as it’s described as “[taking] away hunger pangs and [bringing] a swift surge of energy.” And apparently Jace tried mixing some up for himself, but with bad results.
Betting you’re regretting ignoring all that botany crap now, aren’t you, you colossal douche. Oh, and as interesting as the fact that Hodge has been drugging these kids (and possibly their parents) for years is, it has no real reason to be here.
Entirely Pointless: 4
As he gets dressed, Jace notices that his hair is getting a bit long, which gets him thinking about Maryse Lightwood. Which gets him thinking about how the Lightwoods have treated him like one of the family since adopting him after his dad faked his death.
Um, duh? They adopted him. He is part of the family.
Thinking about Valentine makes Jace’s tummy feel weird, but we do get another piece of good writing.
He’d felt like a jack-o’-lantern for the past few days, as if his guts had been yanked out with a fork and dumped in a heap while a grinning smile stayed plastered on his face.
Someone check the temperature in Hell.
But alas, Jace’s pontificating brings him to the only subject of any real importance for his POV – Clary.
Must you, CC? I mean, you’ve already done this from Clary’s POV – do we really need a repeat from Jace’s?
Luckily for my sanity, CC somehow manages to resist the no-doubt incredible desire to tell us how he’s utterly miserable because he can’t be with Clary, even though I have my doubts that incest is quite as taboo among Shadowhunters as it is among mundanes (remember – they aren’t supposed to breed with non-Shadowhunters). Praise be to Azathoth, the Blind Idiot God for small mercies.
Jace finishes getting dressed and heads off to meet Maryse. Along the way, we learn a few things about the difference in parenting methods used by the Lightwoods verses those of Valentine. Namely, that Valentine tended to physically discipline Jace, while the Lightwoods have not.
Now, I’m not usually one to encourage physical means of disciplining children, but given what we’ve seen and will see of Jace’s behavior, I’m willing to suspend those convictions. Besides which, this is clearly just another attempt by CC to elicit sympathy from the audience. Well it ain’t gonna work – you already wrote Jace as practically being a member of the Hitler Youth, so it’s gonna take more than an abusive father to make me not want to see the little shit thrown into the sun. Like, say, making him not a horrible, psychotic, racist douche bag.
Also, we already knew Valentine was a horrible father, CC. Maybe try another fan fic cliché.
He finally reaches the library, where Maryse is waiting. Good, maybe something will finally happen.
Whoops, spoke too soon. Instead of asking her why she wanted to see him, Jace brings up the fact that, when he was ten, Maryse would sing to Alec and Isabelle whenever they were scared of the dark, but she wouldn’t sing to him. Well, it’s not exactly Papa Winchester, but I guess it’s better than nothing.
Now, I’m sure this is supposed to imply that the Lightwood parents never treated Jace like their own children, but again, they did choose to adopt him – not simply raise him, but actually make him a member of their family. I’m really starting to think that CC does not understand what adoption means.
And again, the fact that Jace is pre-character development Draco Malfoy with the serial numbers filed off does not help matters. CC may have been going for fanon-Draco, but instead did a damn fine job capturing canon-Draco instead. However, this has no real bearing on the rest of their conversation, so I have to wonder why it didn’t get cut.
Entirely Pointless: 5
Maryse wants to know how long Jace was aware of the fact that his father was actually Valentine, and not Michael Wayland. Jace tells her that, until the big reveal in the last book, he’d believed his father was Michael Wayland. And apparently both Valentine and Wayland had sons named Jonathan, which we’re told is a very common name in Shadowhunter society.
I’d give that little fact a World Building point, but it seems that Jonathan is a name in both French and German. You win this round, Clare.
Anyway, that little coincidence, combined with the fact that Valentine faked his own death, got Maryse wondering how long he’d been planning to assume Michael Wayland’s identity.
And then she mentions something I did back in the first book – that Jace looked nothing like his supposed father, but did bear a striking resemblance to Valentine. Maryse then brings up a few other similarities between Jace and Valentine, notably not mentioning the whole “racist, genocidal psychopath” bit, but then again, she probably holds some of those views herself.
Maryse mentions how she knows Jace has heard descriptions of Michael Wayland from her and her husband, so how could Jace have realized it then?
And I think you all need to see his response.
“You said he was a good man.” Anger twisted inside him. “A brave Shadowhunter. A loving father. I thought that seemed accurate enough.”
Okay, Clare? I know some victims of abuse don’t really seem to realize it until after they’ve been removed from the abusive environment, but please pick one characterization for Valentine as a father. Was he a kind, loving, and indulgent, or was he abusive, fanatical, and psychotic? Because when Jace insists that he was a good father, it kind of undermines him as being the Embodiment of Pure Evil you’re trying so desperately to convince me he is.
So Maryse brings up whether Jace had seen photographs of either man, but Jace fires back that all of said photos were destroyed during Valentine’s little Putsch. How convenient. Well, except for the one Hodge kept in his copy of Mein Kampf – Shadowhunter Edition. Guess neither Mr. nor Mrs. Lightwood ever opened said book in the almost twenty years since the event occurred. Which is also very convenient.
All these coincidences are so contrived that Maryse is having trouble believing them. Here’s a hint, writers – if even your characters won’t buy the shit needed to make your plot work, you need to go back to the drawing board.
Shoddy World Building: 2
Just for spite.
Jace, however, is still firmly attached to his strings, and asks Maryse to trust him. She says she wants to, but obviously has her doubts. So Jace tries to prove his loyalty with this argument:
“I didn’t know,” Jace said again. “And when he asked me to come with him back to Idris, I said no. I’m still here. Doesn’t that count for anything?”
Uh, no, no it doesn’t. Because right up to the point where you learned that your father was actually the psychotic, genocidal madman, you were all gung-ho to run off with him. Hell, you even tried to convince Clary to come with you. So yeah, not exactly a convincing argument, buddy.
Maryse says it doesn’t, because there is the possibility that Valentine wants Jace where he is, and that she can’t afford to trust anyone who’s been close to Valentine. Jace points out that she was once close to Valentine, but Maryse says that she “repudiated” him.
You Keep Using that Word: 6
Yes, the word is correct, and it’s not quite so glaring as Jace using words like that, but I can’t imagine many teenagers knowing what “repudiate” means.
Mayrse wonders if Jace could do such a thing, and then asks him to do just that. But Jace can’t bring himself to do it. And when Maryse asks why, rather than actually explaining his reasons, Jace says this:
“Why can’t you say that you trust me? I’ve lived with you almost half my life. Surely you must know me better than that?”
Okay, here’s the thing, Jace – Maryse doesn’t have to prove a damn thing. You do. Your actions threw your real loyalties into question. Again, right up until you found out that your dad was actually Valentine, you were more than willing to do anything he said. Which to me says that your problem wasn’t with his goals or methods, but rather with his name and reputation. You’re more concerned about your façade of being a hero than actually being a hero.
But instead of pointing out the gaping flaws in Jace’s argument, Maryse reminisces about how he’s always been such a good liar. CC, this is not a good trait for the kind of hero you keep trying to convince me Jace is. Do I need to remind you that is one of several signs of a budding psychopath, and that Jace exhibits many such indicators?
And because this was written by someone who never quite moved past writing fan fiction, Valentine is the only other person Maryse has ever known who was that great a liar. Because not only are children just carbon copies of their same-gender parent physically, they also inherit their skills and personality as well. That’s how genetics work, right?
Maryse then goes on to describe how much of a sociopath Valentine was – how he viewed everyone outside his little group as an enemy, and everyone in it as a tools to be used. She then concludes that he’s done the same thing with Jace, turning him into “an arrow shot directly into the heart of the Clave,” and then name-drops the chapter’s title, just in case some of the readers couldn’t put it together.
Another scene break, and we’re back with Clary and Simon. Thankfully, it’s the last scene of the chapter, and it’s relatively short. I’ve gone on long enough as it is.
Clary comes out of Simon’s room to look for him. I’m hoping that this takes place immediately after the last scene with them, because otherwise Clary stared at the TV for several minutes before going to check on her so-called best friend.
Honestly, the latter would not surprise me.
She finds him in the kitchen, standing at the sink with the water running. Hey, Simon! Stop that. You’re wasting water.
Clary tries to get his attention, but then the narration gets distracted describing the kitchen and denigrating Simon for his lack of drawing ability. I’d put this up as a bit of Clary’s “artist” POV, but it has absolutely nothing to do with anything.
Entirely Pointless: 6
Clary goes over and puts a hand on Simon’s back, noticing that he may have lost some weight. I’m not giving it an Our Heroes point because CC does actually manage to explain why Clary might have missed that fact.
Clary asks Simon if he’s okay, which is probably the first time since he got turned into a rat that she’s shown any real concern for him, and Simon insists that he’s fine. But he’s clearly not, and Clary actually realizes this. Then she asks him if the movie upset him.
And we bring back yet another count.
No Shit Sherlock: 1
Gee, Clary, he only ran out of the room when it showed up. Unless you thought he was offended by your attempt at levity. I know I constantly am.
Simon is just as surprised that Clary didn’t immediately know why he’d be bothered as I was, but apparently she’s been working real hard to suppress that particular memory. Probably because it was the one time where she was not the center of the universe.
He then asks if he seems any different, and after a brief examination (read: CC inserting a description of him) and probably the only mention of his Crowning Moment of Awesome from the first book, Clary proclaims that “[he’s] still Simon.”
Well, yeah. That’s reassuring, but it’s not quite what he asked. But maybe I’m nitpicking.
But Simon seems happy with this result, and decides to kiss Clary.
And again, I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, I’m glad Simon finally made a move, but I also know that he can do way better than Clary. Then there’s the fact that he takes her lack of response as consent, which it’s not, but then I’m certain that Simon will be an all-around better boyfriend than Jace could ever hope to be. And on top of all that, there’s the awkwardness of two long-time friends possibly becoming more than friends, and honestly I’m sick of all this teen hormone crap. Where’s the plot?
My prayers are somewhat answered, because the phone rings, brining an end to the make-out session. Simon answers (it’s the house phone), and then passes it to Clary. She’s worried for a moment, assuming it’s Luke, calling about her mom.
Except that she already said that he’d call her cell phone, not Simon’s house.
Oh, but there’s an explanation. It’s not Luke calling; it’s Isabelle, and she sounds upset. But her calling only raises further questions. Like, why is she calling Simon’s house? Why isn’t she calling Clary’s cell phone? And finally, why does she even have Simon’s home number?
Double because I can come up with an answer for is the last one, and it’s that Simon gave her his number back when they first met. Because despite CC’s attempts to undermine him, we all know that Simon’s great with the ladies.
Anyway, Isabelle wants to know if Jace is with them. God, I hope not. That would make this whole scene even more awkward.
Clary says he’s not, and asks why Isabelle would think that. And a dramatic sigh, Isabelle answers: Jace has disappeared.
Which brings our chapter to a close.
Sorry this took so long – I admit, it kinda got away from me at times. Mostly because CC seems determined to undermine what few good characters were in the first book, as well as reminding me of just how horrible her two MCs are. And she seems to think that them being apart is just the most horriblest thing evar.
I could go on a long rant about how she doesn’t seem to understand the difference between infatuation and love, but I won’t do that. Put simply, as Clary and Jace only knew each other for about a week, I can’t believe that their relationship is this deep, strong, epic thing CC seems to think it is. At best, they thought the other was hot – we have ample evidence of that. But being attracted to someone isn’t the same as being in love with them.
Besides, they’re both hormonal teenagers, so they don’t know the first thing about love.
That’s all for now, folks. I won’t make any promises about when the next one will be out – it’ll be done when it’s done. And given what happens in chapter 2, well…
Let’s just say there will be rage gifs. Many, many rage gifs.
Entirely Pointless: 6 (Total: 10)
Un-Logic: 3 (Total: 7)
You Keep Using That Word: 6 (Total: 11)
Shoddy World Building: 2 (Total: 4)
Rapier Twit: 2 (Total: 2)
Our “Heroes”: 1 (Total: 1)
No Shit Sherlock: 1 (Total: 1)