Hello everybody, and welcome back to City of Ashes! I’ve not only made it through NaNoWriMo, but also another semester of grad school – just two more to go.
Since it’s been awhile, let’s get a quick recap:
Valentine has managed to get his hands on another of the Mortal Insturments, the Mortal Sword, which has the power to detect lies. He intends to use a special ritual that involves dipping the sword in the blood of children of each of the Downworlder races (warlock, fairy, vampire, and werewolf), which will somehow turn the sword evil and allow its wielder to summon demons. Don’t ask me how that works, because that makes no damn sense.
Meanwhile, the evil (read: mean) Inquisitor (basically Shadowhunter Internal Affairs), has arrived, and is convinced that Jace is secretly working for Valentine, so she had him locked up. It didn’t work very well, so she put Jace under house arrest with Magnus Bane serving as his warden/host. This turned out to be a terrible idea, because Magnus was more than willing to let Jace go, provided another Shadowhunter took his place. In this case, that meant Alec, and was basically an excuse for them to spend the day screwing each other, while Jace was free to do who knows what.
Free from the not-even-remotely-harsh confines of Magnus’s apartment, Jace, Clary, Isabelle, and Simon went to the court of the local queen of the Seelie fairies, ostensibly to gain support against the Inquisitor (or something…), but mostly so CC could force Clary and Jace to make out. Simon wasn’t too happy with this, and once they were out, ran off to the vampires. He got turned, and there was much angsting from Clary.
Frustrated with being ignored for most of the second part, Valentine sent some demons to attack the “heroes”, which resulted in Maia (a werewolf girl) and Luke getting injured. Last chapter, Jace blackmailed Raphael (leader of the vampires) into loaning him a flying motorcycle, which he used to fly off and have a chat with Valentine, and action which I feel completely undermines any claims he might make of being innocent. Valentine, being a moron, explained his Evil Plan TM. It’s stupid – most of the plans from Pinky & the Brain have a better chance of succeeding, including the one where they faked a televised alien invasion a la Orson Welles’ 1938 radio production of War of the Worlds.
But now we begin part three, the final part of this book, which is titled Day of Wrath. And, like every other part, we begin with a pretentious quote:
Day of wrath, that day of burning,
Seer and Sibyl speak concerning,
All the world to ashes turning.
Yeah, that’s about the amount of subtlety I’ve come to expect from CC. But let’s take a look at this.
This is the first stanza from the poem ‘Dies Irae’ by Abraham Coles. According to Wikipedia, Coles was a physician, translator, author, and poet, was born in New Jersey in 1813, and died in California in 1891. That’s it – guy’s entire entry is a single sentence.
As to the poem, well, anyone who knows Latin or is familiar with hymns knows that “dies irae” means “day of wrath”. The hymn even gave rise to a motif used in a lot of music, usually to give the impression of “something really bad is going down”. The poem (like every other version) is about the end of the world. The poem, in 18 stanzas (the first of which CC quoted) describes what will happen, and how the writer will beg for God’s mercy and forgiveness.
But I doubt any part of that will be relevant or accurate – I’m fairly certain that CC went with this because she wants it to sound all big and apocalyptic, but given her track record, that’s not going to happen.
On to the chapter.
We’re back in Clary’s POV, so that at least is an improvement over the previous chapter. She wakes up to find her sketchpad is poking her in the face, and she dropped her pen on the blanket. And apparently it’s a fountain pen, because there’s also a stain.
And already I have to stop. Does anyone really fall asleep like that? I mean, I get falling asleep unexpectedly; I understand being so tired that you fall asleep as soon as you lay down; but if you’re in bed and you’re that tired, why would you try to do something else?
Anyway, she gets up and heads for the bathroom, where she finds piles of bloody clothes from last night. Clary’s unnerved by the sight, and hops in the shower to “ scrub away her lingering feelings of unease.” And I’m sure CC’s referring to Clary being bothered by the attack, but in context, it reads like she’s grossed out by the blood on the clothes.
When she gets out, Magnus is waiting, and we get this delightful bit of CC’s “comedy”:
“Why does it take girls so long to shower?” he demanded. “Mortal girls, Shadowhunters, female warlocks, you’re all the same. I’m not getting any younger waiting out here.”
Clary stepped aside to let him pass. “How old are you, anyway?” she asked curiously.
Magnus winked at her. “I was alive when the Dead Sea was just a lake that was feeling a little poorly.”
Clary rolled her eyes.
Magnus made a shooing motion. “Now move your petite behind. I need to get in there; my hair is a wreck.”
“Don’t use up all my body wash, it’s expensive.”
Oh, there’s so much I have to say. First, the count:
Rapier Twit: 2
One for the “girls take long showers” bit, and another for the idiotic “Dead Sea” joke. I’d add another for the “non-straight guy worrying about his appearance”, but since Magnus has glitter in his hair, I’ll let it slide.
Now for the actual “jokes” themselves. The first one is at least a bit misogynistic – the only way it could be worse is if he were complaining about her getting dressed. The Dead Sea bit is just, well, stupid. Not only does it make no sense, it doesn’t actually give an impression of his age. A better line might have been “when I was a kid, [major city] was a little town with a well,” or something similar. I’m tempted to believe that that particular “joke” is either lifted from something else, or an inside-joke.
And finally, I want to point out Clary’s comment about her body wash. First off, given that neither your mother nor Luke seem to be rolling in cash, why are you buying “expensive” body wash? Does Clary have a sensitive skin or something? Second, where are you buying this stuff that it’s so “expensive”? I can get a bottle of body wash for under $10 from Target or Wal-Mart. And don’t tell me Clary has to have this particular brand – again, unless it’s for health reasons, she can get by with the regular stuff. Hell, use soap and water if it comes to that.
Gah, I’m getting way to caught up in minutia.
Clary goes to the kitchen, starts making coffee, and then goes to get dressed. Ten minutes later (no comment), she’s dressed and trying to wake Luke up, coffee in hand. Luke asks what happened, because he doesn’t remember much of the previous night. Clary explains, and Luke is a bit freaked when he learns he was attacked by Raum demons, as apparently they’re much tougher than the Drevak he ran over. Given how easily they got taken down, this feels like CC trying to build up
her self-insert Clary and Jace as being oh-so-awesome, but given how all the demons are just different kinds of mooks, this feels more like moving up from goblins and kobolds to orcs – I’m not really impressed.
Also, I’m not happy that Clary says that it was her and Jace who took care of the demons, glossing over the fact that all she managed to do was scare one off, and omitting Simon’s presence completely. I don’t care that he didn’t help, he was still there.
Our “Heroes”: 2
One for exaggerating her role, and another for removing Simon.
Well, Luke gets pissy about the idea of Clary going out to fight demons, and asks why Magnus didn’t do it. Then Magnus pops up and explains he was busy with Maia, and he smells like Clary’s body wash. I actually like that bit, because I feel that’s a bit of the old Magnus seeping through. Luke and Magnus start going at it, and then Maia shows up, and this happens:
Honestly, Clary thought, it was hardly fair for a werewolf to be curvy and pretty; she ought to be big and hirsute, possibly with hair coming out of her ears. And this, Clary added silently, is exactly why I don’t have any female friends and spend all my time with Simon. I’ve got to get a grip.
Yes, Clary, you’re kind of a bitch. Now that she’s realized that, who wants to bet that she’ll actually take steps to correct her behavior?
Clary goes to the kitchen and fixes Maia a cup of coffee. To be fair, I do think Maia could have fixed her own coffee, but she is recovering from a nasty injury. When Clary comes back, we learn that Maia also doesn’t remember much of the night before. The one thing she does remember has to do with Simon, so Clary drops this little bomb:
“Well, you did try to kill him,” Clary said, settling back onto the arm of the sofa. “Maybe that’s it.”
Maia paled, staring down into her coffee. “I’d forgotten. He’s a vampire now.” She looked up at Clary. “I didn’t mean to hurt him. I was just . . .”
“Yes?” Clary raised her eyebrows. “Just what?”
Maia starts crying, and Magnus makes a snide comment. And I think it’s telling that Maia is having a more honest reaction to attacking a guy she barely knows than Clary has about pretty much anything.
Clary and Magnus freak out at this, and Clary tells Luke to intervene, as he is “ hands down the top choice between the two [Luke and Magnus] for dealing with crying teenage girls.” Because I guess Clary, being a teenage girl herself, is utterly incapable of dealing with Maia. Okay.
But then Jace and Alec bust in, because I guess having Clary can’t be the least empathetic person in the room. Jace sees the crying Maia, makes a snide remark, and basically tells her to fuck off.
Our “Heroes”: 3
And this is the guy who’s supposed to be getting girls’ panties moist?
Maia, either having served her purpose or beings sensible, leaves the room. No one goes after her, including Luke. Such a kind, caring group of people.
Our “Heroes”: 4
Magnus gets pissed because Jace up and vanished in the middle of the night, as we saw in the previous chapter. There’s some brief questioning of how he did it, as there’s supposed to be magic ensuring that Jace stays with Magnus. The answer? Magnus was too drained to maintain the spell. Don’t know why that’s a problem, though – all you need to do is offer him some tail and he’d let Jace go.
Oh, but we also get this wonderful bit:
“Yes, and I made the little bastard swear to stay in the house.” Magnus glared at Jace. “Now I know what your much vaunted Shadowhunter vows are worth.”
“You need to know how to make me swear properly,” Jace said, unfazed. “Only an oath on the Angel has any meaning.”
“It’s true,” Alec said. It was the first thing he’d said since they’d come into the house.
“Of course it’s true.” Jace picked up Maia’s untouched mug of coffee and took a sip. He made a face. “Sugar.”
I’ve been saying this the whole damn time – the Shadowhuter’s little honor system is complete bull shit, and now there’s proof. The Shadowhunters are no more inherently honorable or trustworthy than anyone else .
And I don’t buy that whole bit about “swearing properly”, because we’ve never established why that would work. We know it’s not because Jace actually believes in the Angel and that it will come down and smite his ass for breaking his word, because we established that fact in the previous book. That’s kind of how swearing by or on something holy meant anything – because people actually believed that there would be repercussions if they broke that vow.
But that’s not the case here. And if there are consequences, why the fuck haven’t they been explained? Does CC just expect her readers to accept that there’s some mystical force that ensures that Shadowhunters always keep their word, so long as it’s said properly? Because that’s not the reader’s job – if the author didn’t put it on the page, it doesn’t exist. So Jace’s word isn’t worth shit.
So, further proof that all these characters are Lawful Evil – if an agreement isn’t done just right, it’s not binding. I’m kind of wondering why Magnus is so put off by this, considering he abused a loophole in his contract back in chapter eight.
And the cherry on top of this sundae of joy – after Jace gets indignant at the idea that they might not believe him, he steals Maia’s coffee and complains that it isn’t how he likes it. Because he’s just that big of a douche bag.
Okay, now the count:
Our “Heroes”: 6
One for the Shadowhunters as a whole, and one for Jace being his usual self.
Magnus asks where Jace was, and there’s a subtle implication that he thinks Jace and Alec were off fooling around. At least that’s how I’m choosing to interpret it. Jace says he was restless and went for a walk, and found Alec on the porch. Because that’s totally not suspicious. I mean, yeah, we know where Jace went, but the other characters don’t. Only the fact that no one in the room suspects him of being a mole is keeping Jace safe. But still, you’d think the guy suspected of being a spy would know better than to disappear in the middle of the night.
Magnus then asks if Alec spent the night on the porch, and we get what I think is supposed to be a funny bit:
Magnus brightened. “Were you there all night?” he asked Alec.
“No,” Alec said. “I went home and then came back. I’m wearing different clothes, aren’t I? Look.”
Everyone looked. Alec was wearing a dark sweater and jeans, which was exactly what he’d been wearing the day before. Clary decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Rapier Twit: 3
Also, Alec brought doughnuts, so we can’t blame Jace’s behavior on the Lightwoods. They might be racist and Nazi-esque, but at least they have manners.
They all have doughnuts (Jace takes two, because he’s a rude asshole) and Luke starts asking Clary a question about when she and Jace came out after him, but Clary interrupts to clarify that Simon was also out there with them. Gee, wonder why Luke might not have known that – could it be because you, Clary, didn’t bother to mention that little fact?
Anyway, Luke wants to know why the demons ran off. Jace gets all indignant about that, but Alec interrupts to point out that demons running off is kinda the bigger issue here. He hypothesizes that, as there were only two demons against the three of them, they might have gotten scared and run off. Magnus pisses on that idea, saying that of the three of them, Jace is really the only threat, ignoring the fact that the demons had no way of knowing that. Thanks, Magnus – nice to know that you’re still an asshole, and not in the way that I’d like you to be.
Then Clary says that she thinks she might have scared it off. How? Well, remember that magic mark she got from her mom in a dream waaaaay the fuck back at the beginning of chapter eight, and which hasn’t been mentioned, or discussed, or even brought up? Yeah, Clary thinks that’s what did it.
See, this just feels lazy. I’m sure CC intended this to be a case of Chekhov’s Gun, but it doesn’t work. Those kinds of things are usually fairly innocuous, something the reader might not notice or consider to be important at the time. The thing with the tarot cards in the previous book was a good example, demonstrating that CC does understand how to do this properly. Here, it fails, because it’s pretty damn obvious that the mark dream-Jocelyn gave Clary is somehow important, because despite her giving it to Clary in a dream it was still there when Clary woke up. This is not something being set up early to pay off later – the is the characters deliberately ignoring something for the sake of the plot.
Anyway, everyone looks at the mark. No one recognizes it, and Magnus is bothered by it. Clary says she doesn’t know it’s meaning, but it’s not from the Shadowhunters’ big book of magic tattoos. Jace says that all such marks come from the book, and now Clary explains that she “saw it in a dream.” Note that she does not say that it was Jocelyn who showed it to her, or that Jocelyn put it on her in the first place. Once again, Clary is omitting certain details that make her seem more awesome.
Our “Heroes”: 7
Jace is still incredulous, so Clary brings up what the fairy queen told them about them being Valentine’s experiments and them having special gifts. Jace dismisses that as lies, and Clary has to point out that fairies can’t lie. She then walks him through the reasoning, because Jace (and possibly the readers) apparently need their hands held. But, oh, Clary can’t just make new marks – even regular ones are super powerful, too. So Clary’s not only a self-insert and black hole Mary Sue, she’s also got bits of Ginny Weasley (or at least the movie version) as well. Great.
Jace still doesn’t believe this, but everyone else is on board. Luke tells Clary to get her sketch book, and for some reason she has a random flashback before getting up.
On the way, she finds Maia in the kitchen. And I’m just going to have to show you their conversation:
“Look, I’m sorry about what happened with Simon. I was delirious.”
“Oh, yeah? What happened to all that werewolves are destined to hate vampires business?”
Maia blew out an exasperated breath. “We are, but— I guess I don’t have to hurry the process along.”
“Don’t explain it to me; explain it to Simon.”
Maia flushed again, her cheeks turning dark red. “I doubt he’ll want to talk to me.” “He might. He’s pretty forgiving.”
Yes, Clary, clearly it’s Maia’s fault that she can’t control instincts that are practically built into her on a genetic level. Never mind that you’re more than willing to let Jace shit all over Simon – Jace is a hot guy, and therefore immune to criticism; Maia’s a hot girl, and therefore deserves nothing but scorn.
Our “Heroes”: 8
Also, note that Clary has never told Jace to apologize to Simon for his behavior, despite Jace never showing regret for his actions, which Maia clearly is. Nope, Maia is the one who needs to be shown her place.
Anyway, Maia asks if Clary and Simon are dating. Clary asks why she asks, and Maia explains that, between her and Simon meeting at the bar and then at Luke’s house, Clary suddenly went from being his “best friend” (a sure sign that Simon needs to get out more) and being his “girlfriend” (further proof that Simon needs to get out more). Clary gets flustered, and explains that they were friends, and that it’s a long story.
No, Clary, it’s not – Simon’s had a crush on you since you were kids, and only now has mustered up the courage to make a move. The only complicating factor is that you’re still obviously lusting after a guy you think is your brother.
Well, Maia says that Clary is lucky, and that Simon being a vampire probably isn’t that big a deal, since Clary, being a Shadowhunter, is probably used to stuff like that. Clary’s response is kind of telling:
“It fazes me,” Clary said, more sharply than she’d intended. “I’m not Jace.”
The smirk widened. “No one is. And I get the feeling he knows it.”
Yes, Jace is an emotionally stunted, egotistical, psychopathic man-child. But that’s probably not what CC (speaking through Maia) means. Clary asks for clarification, which leads to this (sorry for all the quotes):
“Oh, you know. Jace reminds me of an old boyfriend. Some guys look at you like they want sex. Jace looks at you like you’ve already had sex, it was great, and now you’re just friends— even though you want more. Drives girls crazy. You know what I mean?”
Yep, CC is once again pushing that All girls want bad boys crap. Because of course all girls are the same – they all find arrogant, abusive assholes to be attractive. Because Jace has to be the most desired guy in the world – that just makes Clary all the more special by him only wanting her.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
Clary starts to leave, but then asks Maia about the old boyfriend she mentioned, and Maia explains that said boyfriend was the one who made her a werewolf.
Yes, that’s right – we’re once again told how Jace resembles that psycho. But of course Maia can’t actually tell Clary that, or say something as simple as “looks can be deceiving – I learned that the hard way,” oh, no, because then Clary might actually think being with Jace might be a bad or even dangerous thing, and we can’t have that!
There’s a scene break, and Clary’s got her sketchpad and returned to the living room. Because I guess Maia’s “revelation” was just so shocking.
A Word From Our Sponsors: 1
Clary grabs a chair from the dining room, and again I’m confronted by CC’s inability to establish a normal setting – how big is Luke’s place? I understand that he lives above his bookstore, but it’s an independent one, and the only other employee we know of gets paid in books, yet this place has a basement, kitchen, dining room, office, living room, and two bedrooms, along with the space for the shop. I feel like these books aren’t set in the real New York, but the version from TV and movies, where people somehow manage to rent/own fairly large apartments despite having relatively low income.
Gah. Clary reflects that she feels like she’s taking a test in art school, the only reminder of the fact that she actually goes to school we’ve seen this entire book, and asks what she should do. Jace acts indignant (big surprise), and only now does Luke tell him to shut up. Dude won’t stand up for a member of his pack, but will for the daughter of the woman he wants to bone – yeah, he’s a great leader, alright.
To be fair, though, I do kind of sympathize with Jace – what the heck did Clary think they told her to get her sketchpad for?
Luke explains that he wants Clary to try drawing a new mark, and Clary gets performance anxiety:
Clary flipped the sketchpad to a blank page and stared down at it. Never had a sheet of paper looked quite so empty to her before. She could sense the stillness in the room, everyone watching her: Magnus with his ancient, tempered curiosity; Alec too preoccupied with his own problems to care much for hers; Luke hopefully; and Jace with a cold, frightening blankness. She remembered him saying that he wished he could hate her and wondered if someday he might succeed.
Apart from that last bit, it’s not that bad – artistic pursuits are often solitary activities, so suddenly having to do them in front of an audience can be intimidating. That said, I’m still giving it a count for her focusing on Jace.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2
Yes, “cold, frightening blankness” is such a turn-on. Though that might explain Edward Cullen.
Clary gets frustrated and says that she needs an idea first, and that she doesn’t know what runes already exist. Alec starts to say that even they don’t remember all the runes, but then Jace interrupts:
“How about,” he said quietly, “Fearless?”
“Fearless?” she echoed.
“There are runes for bravery,” said Jace. “But never anything to take away fear. But if you, as you say, can create new runes . . .” He glanced around, and saw Alec’s and Luke’s surprised expressions. “Look, I just remembered that there isn’t one, that’s all. And it seems harmless enough.”
YES THIS IS TOTALLY RANDOM AND WILL NOT BE IMPORTANT LATER AT ALL.
Ugh. I’ve known this was coming for a while, and it makes me nuts. Here’s why – fear is not the problem, what you do with it is. Here’s some select quotes from authors who understand that. First, George R.R. Martin in A Game of Thrones, a bit that was unfortunately cut from the show:
“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”
“That is the only time a man can be brave.”
Next, the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, from Dune, which was included (if shortened) in both adaptations:
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
You see what I’m going for, here? It’s not the fact that people have fear that’s the problem, it’s how they respond to that fear. Fear is a necessary part of life – it stops people from doing things that could lead to harm, or worse, death. Yes, it can be an obstacle, but that makes the hero overcoming their fear that much more of a victory.
For example – in the movie Zombieland, one of the first things we learn about Columbus is that, along with being afraid of zombies, he’s also afraid of clowns. So when he faces down a zombie clown to save Wichita and Little Rock at the end, his victory is that much greater. Saving them from a horde of zombies might have been enough, but that he faced a zombie clown shows how determined he was to rescue them.
But no, we can’t actually have Jace face Valentine’s pet demon and overcome it through his own will and determination – no, he has to cheat. Because if he has to exert any kind of effort to achieve his goals, then it’s just too hard.
Luke agrees, and Clary gets to work, and with almost no effort at all (let alone thought) she makes a new mark. Everyone is impressed, and once again Jace is the sole voice of reason, pointing out that they have no idea if the thing will actually work. Now Clary gets a bit indignant, and Jace explains that they need to try it out on a live subject. Luke doesn’t like the idea, but Jace decides that he’ll be the guinea pig, and we get more CC “comedy” from Magnus:
Jace dropped the paper back onto the table, and began to slide off his jacket. “I’ve got a stele we can use. Who wants to do me?”
“A regrettable choice of words,” muttered Magnus.
Rapier Twit: 4
Because that’s the kind of quips one expects from a supposedly old an powerful warlock – teenage level sex jokes.
Seeing the brain is free, Luke grabs it and explains why testing this thing on Jace is a stupid idea:
Luke stood up. “No,” he said. “Jace, you already behave as if you’ve never heard the word ‘fear.’ I fail to see how we’re going to be able to tell the difference if it does work on you.”
Alec stifled what sounded like a laugh. Jace simply smiled a tight, unfriendly smile. “I’ve heard the word ‘fear,’” he said. “I simply choose to believe it doesn’t apply to me.”
“Exactly the problem,” said Luke.
Now if only Luke pointed out that this was due to Jace being an arrogant jackass; as is, it just serves to make him seem more awesome.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 3
Clary suggests they try it out on Luke, but apparently marks don’t work on Downworlders. So then Alec volunteers. Jace offers to let Clary do it, but she demures, saying that Jace is “probably better at actually applying Marks than [she is].”
And yes, they’ve been Pointlessly Capitalizing that word this whole time, so now’s as good a time as any to tally them up:
You Keep Using That Word: 3
They use it several more times in the following paragraphs, so I’ll just preemptively tally them as well.
You Keep Using That Word: 7
Jace puts the new one on Alec’s arm, and they all wait for something to happen. Nothing does. They ask Alec if he feels any different, and he says no. They hypothesize that maybe they need to expose him to something he’s afraid of, so they ask Alec if he’s afraid of anything. He says he’s afraid of spiders, and I give CC the side-eye. Then this happens:
Clary turned to Luke. “Have you got a spider anywhere?”
Luke looked exasperated. “Why would I have a spider? Do I look like someone who would collect them?”
“No offense,” Jace said, “but you kind of do.”
I wasn’t aware that people who collect spiders have a particular look, Jace. However, pretentious assholes do.
Rapier Twit: 5
Alec expressed my feelings and says that this whole thing is stupid. Clary suggests that he might be afraid of the dark, and proposes they lock him up in the basement. Alec points out that he’s been trained to hunt demons, so he’s not bothered by the dark. They go back and forth on this for a bit, and the doorbell rings.
Clary looks over at Luke and wonders if it might be Simon. Luke points out that the sun is up, so no, it can’t be Simon. We’re told that Clary forgot about him being a vampire.
Our “Heroes”: 9
Well, it’s a step up from forgetting he exists, but given how not ten minutes ago she was giving Maia a hard time about attacking Simon for just being a vampire, it doesn’t reflect well on her. Either that, or CC is a lazy writer and one of her betas pointed out that, with Simon being a vampire, by this setting’s rules, he can’t go out during the day, but instead of just cutting that bit, she added more to try and cover it up. It failed.
Luke gets up and answers the door, figuring it’s a customer wondering why the bookstore isn’t open.
But it’s not just some random person, because this book runs on contrivances. No, instead it’s Mr. and Mrs. Lightwood, Isabelle, and the Inquisitor. They’re all pissed about being kept out of the story for so long. Magnus and Jace freak out, but Alec stands up, and we find out what this “fearless” mark really does – it doesn’t take away fear, it takes away common sense. Because Alec decides that right now is not only the perfect time to tell his parents that he’s dating a Downworlder, but also that he’s gay.
Oh, but it gets worse, because Magnus decides to step in an stop him. How, you ask? By doing this:
Magnus’s fingers moved, quick as a flash of light, in Alec’s direction. There was a faint shimmer in the air around Alec— his eyes rolled up— and he dropped to the floor, felled like a tree.
Our “Heroes”: 10
Yes, that was clearly the most sensible option. Never mind that no one seemed even remotely interested, and any one of them could have reiterated the point that this was not the time for that. No, the best thing to do is to use magic to knock Alec out.
Also, it gets one of these, because I’m sure CC meant for this bit to be like something out of a sitcom:
Rapier Twit: 6
Alec comes to and asks what’s going on. And Jace (who is Alec’s super-best, closer-than-brothers friend) gives this response:
Jace snorted. “You know how we were wondering if that thing Clary did would work or not?” he asked. “It works all right.”
CLEARLY THIS IT THE HEIGHT OF HUMOR! LAUGH, DAMN YOU, LAUGH!
Rapier Twit: 7
Alec is embarrassed and takes back everything he said. Magnus excuses his behavior as him being delirious from demon toxins. Maryse says that no one reported any demon attacks, and wants to know what the heck’s going on. Clary tries to cover this by explaining that Luke was also attacked, and was unconscious.
Then the Inquisitor speaks, and it is all jus so glorious. Bask in it, folks:
“How convenient. Everyone’s either unconscious or apparently delirious,” said the Inquisitor. Her knifelike voice cut through the room, silencing everyone. “Downworlder, you know perfectly well that Jonathan Morgenstern should not be in your house. He should have been locked up in the warlock’s care.”
“I have a name, you know,” Magnus said. “Not,” he added, seeming to think twice about interrupting the Inquisitor, “that that matters, really. In fact, forget all about it.”
“I know your name, Magnus Bane,” said the Inquisitor. “You’ve failed in your duty once; you won’t get another chance.”
“Failed in my duty?” Magnus frowned. “Just by bringing the boy here? There was nothing in the contract I signed that said I couldn’t bring him with me at my own discretion.”
“That wasn’t your failure,” the Inquisitor said. “Letting him see his father last night, that was your failure.”
Oh, Inquisitor, how I’ve missed you and your ability to cut through all of Jace’s bullshit. I don’t care if every one of the main characters hates you – if anything, it makes you more appealing, because they’re all such horrible people.
And the fact that she knows exactly what Jace did in the last chapter is just that much sweeter.
Anyway, Luke gets super pissed at her accusation, and tells her Jace is innocent, and that she should stop harassing him. The Inquisitor bats that away by pointing out that doing that is her job, then tells Jace to confess. Jace refuses to cooperate, but the Inquisitor points out that that just makes him look guilty, and mentions Valentine’s boat.
And just like that, everyone, including Clary, is suddenly suspicious of Jace. The Inquisitor explains that Valentine is on a boat in the East River, and Magnus exposits that that was why he couldn’t locate Valentine. Luke asks what Valentine is doing, and the Inquisitor says he should ask Jace, and mentions him getting a flying motorcycle from Raphael (though not that he blackmailed him for it).
Jace doesn’t respond, so she tells him to take something out of his jacket. It’s the bit of magic-mirror glass that CC totally didn’t steal from Harry Potter. The Inquisitor explains that she knew he’d head back to the Institute to get it, and then we learn how she knows what Jace did in the previous chapter:
With a sudden, violent motion at odds with her calm tone, the Inquisitor dashed the piece of mirror to the ground. It shattered instantly into powdery shards. Clary heard Jace suck his breath in, but he didn’t move.
The Inquisitor drew on a pair of gray gloves and knelt among the bits of mirror, sifting them through her fingers until she found what she was looking for— a single sheet of thin paper. She stood, holding it up for everyone in the room to see the thick rune written on it in black ink. “I marked this paper with a tracking rune and slipped it between the bit of mirror and its backing. Then I replaced it in the boy’s room. Don’t feel bad for not noticing it,” she said to Jace. “Older heads and wiser than yours have been fooled by the Clave.”
Jace accuses her (and the Clave) of spying on people, bringing in the “everyone hates Internal Affairs” crap, but she shoots that down by pointing out that his friends have also broken the rules (or rather, “the Law”).
You Keep Using That Word: 8
Isabelle says that they’re family (making Jace a really shitty brother), and the Inquisitor tells her to shut up, because she could bring Isabelle up on charges. Papa Lightwood objects, and well, this:
“Complicit?” To everyone’s surprise, it was Robert Lightwood who had spoken. “The girl was just trying to keep you from shattering our family. For God’s sake, Imogen, these are all just children—”
“Children?” The Inquisitor turned her icicle gaze on Robert. “Just as you were children when the Circle plotted the destruction of the Clave? Just as my son was a child when he—” She caught herself with a sort of gasp, as if gaining control of herself by main force.
Again, I have to side with the Inquisitor: these aren’t some innocent, deluded kids – they know exactly what they’re doing, and she knows first-hand what bullshit that is. Also, gotta love her bringing up the Lightwoods’ past, seeing as she’s the only one who hasn’t forgotten it.
But this quickly dissolves into accusations that she’s only acting like this because of her son and she wants revenge, not because she knows just how dangerous Valentine really is. No, she was mean to Jace, so she’s the bad guy.
(Also, we have another instance of her impersonating Judge Dredd)
You Keep Using That Word: 9
Maryse asks what’s going to happen to Jace, and the Inquisitor says she’s taking him back to Shadowhunter-land in the morning, and that’s all she’ll say on the matter. Clary objects, wanting to know when Jace will be free, Jace tries to get her to shut up, but she insists that they should be focusing on Valentine, completely ignoring the fact that Jace had a secret meeting with Valentine last night. Because even when Jace is acting suspicious, no one is allowed to do anything about it.
Luke steps in and says that it’s their fault, not Jace’s, if he went off to meet Valentine. Because Jace can’t be held responsible for his actions, ever. The Inquisitor tells Luke the shut the hell up, and Alec of all people takes the Inquisitor’s side:
“She’s right.” Alec was sitting on the edge of the sofa, his arms crossed and his jaw set. “Jace lied to us. There’s no excuse for that.”
Jace’s jaw dropped. He’d been sure of Alec’s loyalty, at least, and Clary didn’t blame him. Even Isabelle was staring at her brother in horror. “Alec, how can you say that?”
“The Law is the Law, Izzy,” said Alec, not looking at his sister. “There’s no way around that.”
Again, god forbid someone actually call Jace out for being suspicious as fuck or respond accordingly.
Isabelle gets all emotional and runs out, because I guess she’s just here to be the emotional female character. Magnus goes to leave, and actually gets in a semi-decent line before he departs:
“I’d say it’s been nice meeting you all, but, in fact, it hasn’t. It’s been quite awkward, and frankly, the next time I see a single one of you will be far too soon.”
Eh, I’ve heard better.
Jace gets snarky, and the Inquisitor puts some magic handcuffs on him that look like actual fire. Clary gets all worked up about this, but Jace tells her that they’ll only hurt him if he tries to escape. The Inquisitor tells Clary that, while she wasn’t raised by Valentine, she will be watching her. Luke gets indignant, and the Inquisitor gets another awesome line:
Luke’s grip tightened on Clary’s shoulder. “Is that a threat?”
“The Clave does not make threats, Lucian Graymark. The Clave makes promises and keeps them.”
Ooh, you want some ice for that, Luke?
The Inquisitor is described as sounding happy, and everyone else is upset, and Jace is described as looking “like a lion in a trap.”
Because of course he has to be compared to a lion. But then, so was this little shit:
And we all know what happened to him. Best part of Storm of Swords, if you ask me.
The Inquisitor makes Jace walk ahead of her, and tells him she’ll kill him if he makes a wrong move. They leave, and everyone else sits around in Luke’s living room.
Meanwhile, I’m doing my happy dance, because once again the little psycho has been locked away. Maybe it’ll stick for more than a chapter this time.
It’s been a while since I looked at this book, and this chapter did a wonderful job reminding me of why I’m doing this: Clary’s unnecessary hostility to Maia; Jace’s general dickishness; ill-defined powers that require no effort to use, let alone master; and everyone rallying to defend Jace, in spite of actual evidence of his behavior.
The fact that everyone immediately takes Jace’s side is probably what pisses me off the most. I’m always bothered in cop shows where the IA folks are always treated as the bad guys, because how dare they lock up other cops. Never mind that a bad or corrupt cop is probably more dangerous than a criminal, because it almost guarantee’s that their behavior won’t be reported – civilians will be afraid of telling other cops, and other cops won’t do anything because of the blue wall of silence. And we’re seeing the same thing here – even though Luke, Clary, and the Lightwoods know what Jace has done, and the Inquisitor brought out irrefutable proof that Jace knew about Valentine’s whereabouts, they all still circled the wagons to defend him. Hell, they were doing that from the beginning.
And it’s not that I have a problem with some of the characters assuming Jace is entirely innocent, and that the Inquisitor is being irrational. I could believe Clary and Alec buying that, because they’re in love with him (for some reason) and believe Jace’s shit doesn’t stink. Heck, I could even accept Isabelle siding with them, too. Have the kids working on their own to prove Jace’s innocence to the adults. Yes, that wouldn’t exactly be original, but at least it would be realistic.
But no. Instead, we get everyone acting like the Inquisitor is an authoritarian fanatic, and everyone else opposes her – she’s basically Delores Umbridge. Except that with Umbridge, we knew for a fact that she was endangering children, and her (and Fudge’s) persecution of Harry and suppression of information about Voldemort’s return were wrong, and that Harry was innocent (which is hardly the case here). But even then, not everyone was immediately on Harry’s side – even some of his friends didn’t believe him. What’s more, it was never implied that Umbridge or Fudge were villainous for doing any of that – at worst, the were misguided. Obsessively so, perhaps, but that didn’t make them evil.
But that’s not what we have here. Jace is not the unwitting victim of an uncaring system or crazed authority, and the Inquisitor isn’t some crazy woman seeing conspiracies in every corner. Jace is a violent psychopath who has no real reason not to join Valentine, and the Inquisitor is the only person not blinded by his facade of innocence and heroism. Maia is right to compare Jace to her dead brother – they’re exactly the same. Too bad no one, including the author, seems to realize that.
Entirely Pointless: 0 (Total: 29)
Un-Logic: 1 (Total: 37)
You Keep Using That Word: 9 (Total: 64)
Shoddy World Building: 0 (Total: 30)
Rapier Twit: 7 (Total: 52)
Our “Heroes”: 10 (Total: 127)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 (Total: 6)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 3 (Total: 88)
*A Word from Our Sponsors: 1 (Total: 7