Chapter 15 – The Serpent’s Tooth
Hello, all. I know what you’re thinking – another chapter? So soon? You’re damn right. This book has 21 chapters, if you count the prologue and epilogue, and I want to be done with this thing ASAP.
Last time, the plot finally got moving again. Sort of. Well, Jace has been locked up again, so that’s something, I guess.
Chapter fifteen begins a few minutes after the end of the last chapter. Clary asks Luke what they’re going to do, and Luke says he needs coffee. Once he’s properly caffeinated, Luke says that the situation is “very bad.”
No Shit Sherlock: 1
I mean, you guys have pretty much alienated the one possible ally you might have had, your best guy has been benched, and you’ve wasted far too much time focusing on your personal crap instead of trying to stop Valentine from summoning his demon army. So now you really need to focus on finding Valentine and figuring out how to stop him, so…
Oh, wait, they’re mostly worried about Jace being locked up. Because that’s the most important issue right now.
CC’s fanfic origins are once again on display – everything, and I mean everything has to be about the Sue and/or the favored character. If something’s wrong with them, then everyone has to drop everything to solve their problem, even if the Big Bad should by all logic be the bigger concern.
So Clary asks what’ll happen to Jace in Shadowhunter Land, and Luke tells her.
“Trial before the Clave. They’ll probably find him guilty. Then punishment. He’s young, so they might just strip his Marks, not curse him.”
“What does that mean?” Luke didn’t meet her eyes. “It means they’ll take his Marks away, unmake him as a Shadowhunter, and throw him out of the Clave. He’ll be a mundane.”
“But that would kill him. It really would. He’d rather die.”
I don’t think CC really thought out the implications of that statement – that Jace would rather be dead than be forced to live as a mundane. You know, like all her readers. And her. What does that say about what he thinks of mundanes in general?
I feel tainted just thinking about it. Like my soul is dirty. If I were more religious, I might consider going to confession. Or flogging myself.
Luke says that the Clave doesn’t care about Jace’s feelings (one reason to root for them, then), and that they’ll do it just to get back at Valentine. Because they’re just that petty, I guess. Or is this more of that “sins of the father” stuff?
Clary points out that Valentine is also her father, but Luke tells her that she’s practically a mundane (my phrasing, not the book’s), they don’t care about her. He then opines that they can’t just run off to his farmhouse. I don’t know why they can’t leave – it’s not like he has actual responsibilities (that he takes seriously, at any rate). The Inquisitor didn’t tell them not to leave town or anything. I might buy that they need to take care of Jocelyn, but she’s in the hospital, so that can’t be it. So I guess they can’t just pack up and leave because… plot, or something.
The mere mention of leaving upsets Clary, so Luke has to explain that that wasn’t what he was saying. He then brings up the fact that, since the Inquisitor knows Valentine’s location, New York could become a very dangerous place.
Which just raises a whole bunch of questions:
1)If the Inquisitor knows where ol’ Val is, what makes you think that she won’t capture him, thus negating the Clave’s petty need to punish Jace?
2)If you’re reasonably sure New York will become a war zone, shouldn’t that provide further incentive to leave?
3)The only way you’d be in any danger is if you got in the way in what is, ostensibly, a purely internal matter for the Shadowhunters. Why would you get involved in the first place?
4)Admittedly, the werewolves and Shadowhunters are sort-of allies, but given what happened in chapter two (NO, I STILL WILL NOT LET THAT GO), not to mention the general treatment Downworlders receive from Shadowhunters, you have plenty of excuses to stay out of this fight.
The only explanation I can come up with for any of these is… because plot. Which is the worst possible answer.
Clary says that she’s only worried about Jace (uh, duh), and Luke points out that the Inquisitor isn’t making baseless accusations. Clary somehow interprets this as him saying he thinks Jace killed the Silent Brothers, so Luke has to once again explain what he means (MY GOD, CLARY IS SO DENSE) – in this case, that Jace went off to have a chat with Valentine.
Clary brings up Luke mentioning them “failing” Jace, and asks what he meant. Luke explains that what Jace really wants is some parental/father figure, and when the Lightwoods kicked his ass out, it didn’t leave him with a lot of options, so it’s really their fault he went to Valentine.
So, basically, Jace is a spoiled brat with daddy issues. He’s also seventeen years old – get some damn therapy.
Clary says that she thought Jace might have wanted the same from Luke, and Luke says he thought so, too. And I still don’t give a shit, because none of this suddenly makes Jace not a whiny little prick.
Scene change, and we’re with Maia. Hopefully, this will be more pleasant than the last time we were in her head.
She’s apparently spent the past twenty minutes trying to open a window (this raises so many questions) so she can sneak out. She jumps down to the ground is disappointed that no one tried to stop her, and we get this wonderful bit:
She fought down an errant stab of disappointment. It wasn’t as if they’d paid that much attention to her when she was in the house, she thought, scrambling up the high chain-link fence that separated Luke’s backyard from the alley, so why would they notice that she’d left it? She was clearly an afterthought, just as she’d always been. The only one of them who’d treated her as if she were of any importance was Simon.
It really says something when a side-character is more self-aware than any of the protagonists. I mean, I really feel sorry for Maia right now. I want to give her a hug and put her in a book where she’ll get the treatment she deserves.
Maia gets going and we learn that she actually does remember the night before, and feels really guilty about it. All of which just makes me wonder why all of CC’s main characters suck so much.
She reflects on how much she wanted to trust Simon, and how she can’t do that now, but she’s still going to see him, if only to apologize for her behavior. Again, Maia, a secondary character at best, is more sympathetic than any of the main characters. CC, what is wrong with you?
Maia here’s someone laugh, which freaks her out a bit, and we learn how being a werewolf makes her tough and strong and fast, and yet she’s still kinda scared. I really like this.
She ducks down an alley, which is nicely described, and not too purple. And Maia is suddenly confronted by her dead brother. Maia collapses, and her brother threatens her with a piece of glass, but some guy tells her to stop.
I’ll save you the suspense and explain the obvious – the guy is Valentine, and Maia’s brother is actually Valentine’s pet demon. The demon with the stupid name drops his disguise, and Valentine admonishes it for almost killing Maia.
Valentine asks Maia how old she is. At first, Maia is confused, so Valentine steps on her hand and asks again. Maia literally says “Screw you”, I cheer inside, Valentine whips out his fancy Shadowhunter knife, cuts her face a bit, and asks her again. Maia says she’s fifteen, which pleases Valentine, bringing the scene to an end.
So that was another of those oh-so-rare bits of writing that demonstrate that CC can be a good writer when she puts forth the effort. I like Maia, and because I like her, I’m more invested when she’s threatened. Even the scene where she was confronted by Valentine’s demon in the form of her brother was actually kind of scary.
So again, CC, why does so much of this book suck?
Anyway, after the scene break we’re with Jace.
I’m okay, I’m okay. So, Jace is with the Inquisitor, who’s dragged him off to be locked up properly. Along the way, they pass by some mirrors, which gives Jace a chance to see how rough he looks. Mostly he’s dirty, though, so I don’t care, and I’m giving it one of these out of spite:
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
And we get this lovely bit of dialogue:
“Admiring yourself?” The Inquisitor’s voice cut through his reverie. “You won’t look so pretty when the Clave gets through with you.”
“You do seem obsessed with my looks.” Jace turned away from the mirror with some relief. “Could it be that all this is because you’re attracted to me?”
“Don’t be revolting.”
Rapier Twit: 1
Yep. Despite everything, Jace still hasn’t learned to keep his damn mouth shut. As a further example, the Inquisitor mentions her son (for… some reason), leading Jace to ask about him, which causes the Inquisitor to threaten Jace. Thankfully, this seems to have gotten through to Jace, and he shuts up.
Unfortunately, he quickly recovers:
He glanced down at his bound hands. His wrists and shoulders had gone from aching to a hard, stabbing pain, but he didn’t wince as the Inquisitor regarded one of the blades, named it Jophiel, and plunged it into the polished wooden floorboards at her feet. He waited, but nothing happened.
“Boom?” he said eventually. “Was something supposed to happen there?”
“Shut up.” The Inquisitor’s tone was final. “And stay where you are.”
Rapier Twit: 2
Again, I have to wonder why I’m supposed to like Jace.
Jace figures out that the Inquisitor is doing some kind of ritual, as she’s shoving Shadowhunter not-lightsabers into the floor at the cardinal points.
(Speaking of lightsabers, has anyone seen the new Star Wars movie? If you haven’t, you should. Seriously.)
Anyway, the Inquisitor puts four blades into the floor, then draws something on the floor next to one of them, and suddenly Jace is trapped inside a force field. This upsets him, because how dare anyone try to cage the mighty Jace Wayland, and he tries to escape, only to get electrocuted and fall on his ass. The Inquisitor gets a good laugh, and basically explains what I just said, and that the only way to remove the force field is to remove the Shadowhunter knives. Then, when Jace tries to go for one, the Inquisitor tells him that if he touches one, he’ll die.
Personally, I wouldn’t have mentioned that last bit – it’s a Darwin Award in the making, right there.
Then Jace gets indignant and asks how they’re going to feed him, but the Inquisitor doesn’t care. Then we get this wonderful bit:
“But my hands—” He looked down at his bound wrists. The burning metal was eating into his skin like acid. Blood welled around the fiery manacles.
“You should have thought of that before you went to see Valentine.”
Thank you, Inquisitor. Jace, if you’re too stupid or reckless to consider the possible consequences of your actions, then you deserve every bad thing that happens to you because of them.
And unfortunately, this is the last we’ll be seeing of the sane, rational, good Inquisitor. From here on, she’s just the crazy, obsessed Inquisitor everyone’s been claiming she is.
Jace calls her super-mean for keeping him bound up, and that the Council (there’s a council now?) can’t be any worse, and the Inquisitor says that she’s not taking him back home for a trial – no instead, she plans on meeting with Valentine to swap Jace for the magical MacGuffins. I’d like to think that this is just part of a sting operation, but CC probably isn’t clever enough for that.
So now I’m forced to side with Jace, as he explains that Valentine, a man who tried to stage a coup and start a race war, and who experimented on his own children in utero, probably doesn’t place much value on said children’s lives. But the Inquisitor insists that, no, since Valentine is a parent, he clearly must value the lives of his children over everything else, and this is clearly just Jace trying to help Valentine.
However, there is this wonderful little gem:
He’s using the Sword and the Cup to summon demons and control them. The more you waste your time with me, the more he can build up his army.
Oh, this is the fucking definition of irony – Jace, who along with the other main characters, spent a good third of this book screwing around and focusing on teenage, high school drama bullshit, is now criticizing the Inquisitor for wasting time by not going after Valentine. If this were a better book, I might believe CC did this on purpose.
So the Inquisitor goes to leave, but before she does, we get this bit:
“Don’t think,” she said, “that returning you to your father is what I want to do. It’s better than Valentine Morgenstern deserves.”
“What does he deserve?”
“To hold the dead body of his child in his arms. To see his dead son and know that there is nothing he can do, no spell, no incantation, no bargain with hell that will bring him back—” She broke off. “He should know,” she said, in a whisper, and pushed at the door, her hands scrabbling against the wood. It shut behind her with a click, leaving Jace, his wrists burning, staring after her in confusion.
And despite CC’s best efforts, I still feel more sympathy for the Inquisitor than for Jace.
And of course Jace is confused – he can’t imagine caring about anyone that much, including his best friends/siblings, the Lightwoods. The only reason he cares at all about Clary is because he wants to bang her.
Scene change, and we’re back with Clary. Whoop-di-fuck.
Clary’s been trying to call Isabelle, but hasn’t had any luck. Luke thinks she might have been trying to call Simon, but in a rare demonstration of human decency, she says she doesn’t want to wake him up. Don’t get excited, because it doesn’t last long.
She gets up, grabs a yogurt from the fridge, and is half-way through it before she remembers that Maia is in the house. Again, if certain characters aren’t actually in front of her, Clary forgets they exist. Clary offers to go check on Maia, but Luke says he’ll do it, since he’s Maia’s pack leader and all. Yes, remind me of what a great leader you are, Luke. That’s just what I need right now.
Luke comes back with the note Maia left, which he shows Clary. And I will share it with you, in its entirety:
Sorry about everything. Gone to make amends. Thanks for all you’ve done. Maia.
Clary is completely stumped by this, as is Luke. For some reason, Luke mentions that the demons from last night might still be after Maia, and then Clary figures out that Maia has gone to talk to Simon. Yeah, Nancy Drew she ain’t.
No Shit Sherlock: 2
Luke asks if Maia even knows where Simon lives, and Clary says that they “seem kind of close in a way,” so she just might. Never mind that Simon and Maia have interacted a grand total of three times, and that Clary was present for two of them. And if I’m totally honest, it feels kind of racist – “Oh, you’re a Downworlder? So is my friend. Do you know him?”
Our “Heroes”: 1
A little petty, but still.
Also, this brings up a nice plot hole – we’ve seen all the interactions between Simon and Maia. At no point do I recall Simon mentioning where he lives. So, how did Maia plan on finding him to apologize for her actions? You know, the whole reason she left in the first place?
The only answer I can come up with is because plot.
So Clary calls up Simon, which is somewhat justifiable given everything else that’s been going on. Simon isn’t too pleased, and points out that he’s nocturnal, which I like. Clary explains why she called, and Simon says that Maia isn’t at his place. Clary starts to tell him to call if she does, but Simon interrupts to tell her that someone’s breaking into his house.
And the scene ends there. CC really likes her forced cliff-hangers, doesn’t she?
Now we’re back with Jace. He’s been sitting in his make-shift prison for a while, and apparently the magical handcuffs are too tight, because his fingers are starting to go numb. He briefly considers how the first person to come into the room will react to seeing him (evidently he’s in the training room – I guess the Institute doesn’t have temporary holding cells or anything, despite its size), but then figures that the Inquisitor probably put the room off limits. None of this matters, though, because Jace “[can’t] bring himself to care.”
What a coincidence – neither can I.
But because even CC realizes that an entire scene of Jace angsting and pontificating how terrible his situation is would be incredibly boring, someone comes in to talk with him. It’s Alec. Because we wouldn’t want to give more screen time to that slut Isabelle, I guess.
Alec starts to poke at the magical force field, but Jace warns him not to. They have this little exchange:
Alec drew his hand back with a low whistle. “The Inquisitor meant business.”
“Of course she did. I’m a dangerous criminal. Or hadn’t you heard?” Jace heard the acid in his own tone, saw Alec flinch, and was meanly, momentarily, glad.
“She didn’t call you a criminal, exactly . . .”
“No, I’m just a very naughty boy. I do all sorts of bad things. I kick kittens. I make rude gestures at nuns.”
Don’t forget starting fights with innocent packs of werewolves because you have man-pain! Lord knows I haven’t!
Rapier Twit: 3
CC, your constant insistence on how Jace is entirely innocent is getting really grating, especially when we’ve seen first-hand that he’s not.
Even Alec thinks Jace is being too flippant, and asks why the hell Jace went to Valentine in the first place. Jace responds that Valentine is his father. Alec doesn’t take that too well, and this happens:
“What if it was your father? What would you do?”
“My father? My father would never do the things that Valentine—”
Jace’s head jerked up. “Your father did do those things! He was in the Circle along with my father! Your mother, too! Our parents were the same. The only difference is that yours got caught and punished, and mine didn’t!”
… Goddamnit, CC, stop making me side with Jace. He’s such a complete prick the rest of the time, I feel like I’m defending Hitler when I agree with him.
Seriously, this is the first time any of the main characters have pointed out that the Lightwoods aren’t purely good and innocent. Also, note that Jace only says that they were punished, not that they’ve repented or changed their ways. Kinda makes me think that they’ve just toned down the racism – like only using racial slurs in private. Which adds a whole layer of teen rebelliousness to the fact that both of their kids are dating Downworlders.
Anyway, Alec gets a bit pissed at that, and Jace looks down at his wrists, which are bleeding slightly. And I don’t care.
Alec composes himself, and clarifies what he meant – Valentine abandoned Jace, and let him believe his father was dead for years, so why would Jace feel any loyalty to him? Which is a good point, and something that maybe should have been brought up sooner. Say, at the beginning of this book, because this same question applies to Jace’s motivations for working with Valentine in the last book.
We get more description of Jace’s wrists bleeding, and I still don’t care. Jace says that Val promised not to hurt anyone Jace cares about if he
went over to the dark side joined Valentine. Alec points out that Valentine probably meant that he wouldn’t personally hurt anyone Jace cares about, but Jace isn’t listening. Instead, he talks about how big Valentine’s demon army will be (and now I’m thinking about Dragon Age: Inquisition) and how the impending war will just be so terrible and whatnot. Alec points out that Valentine probably isn’t trustworthy, Jace brings up the Shadowhunter honor system (I guess Valentine is supposed to be Lawful Evil), and we learn the answer to whether or not Jace agreed to join Valentine:
Wow, that bit of “tension” lasted a whole chapter and a half. I suppose Jace could be lying, but that would tarnish the whole “bad-boy with a heart of gold” thing CC keeps trying to convince everyone Jace is.
Alec asks if Jace told the Inquisitor about Valentine’s plans, and Jace says this:
“I wouldn’t say she didn’t care. More like she didn’t really believe me. She’s got a plan she thinks will take care of Valentine. The only problem is, her plan sucks.”
Yeah, but at least she has a plan – you chuckleheads don’t even have that.
Alec then says that, before they do anything else, they need to get Jace free. The revelation that Alec is, in fact, still on Jace’s side, shocks Jace.
“_What?_” Disbelief made Jace feel slightly dizzy. “I thought you came down right on the side of go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars. ‘The Law is the Law, Isabelle.’ What was all that you were spouting?”
Shoddy World Building: 1
I’m really sick of Shadowhunters being utterly baffled by any pop culture reference Clary or Simon makes one minute, then dropping their own the next. I don’t care that the predecessor to Monopoly has been around for over a century, or that the version everyone knows about has existed since the 1930s, there’s no reason for the Shadowhunters, who hold themselves so aloof and don’t mingle with mundane society, to know about it.
Second, I think Jace is dizzy because of blood loss, rather than disbelief.
Alec explains the freaking obvious – he only said that so that the Inquisitor would think he’s on her side, and thus wouldn’t keep an eye on him like she’s doing with the other Lightwood kids. Because of course she’ll buy that Jace’s super-best closer-than-brothers friend will forget any loyalty he might have to Jace at the drop of a hat. Sure, that makes sense.
He also goes on about how the Inquisitor is completely out of line, never mind that Jace has yet to actually demonstrate he feels absolutely no loyalty to his genocidal father, and has in fact done the exact opposite. Or that if Jace were the one letting things get personal, everyone would be on his side. Nope, the Inquisitor is wrong, because how dare she be mean to Jace.
Oh, and Jace’s response to learning that the Inquisitor feels a personal hatred for him?
“I bait her,” said Jace. “I can’t help it. Vicious bureaucrats get under my skin.”
Oh, fuck you, you little shit. You’ve done nothing but try to piss her off from the minute she showed up, and it has nothing to do with her being a “vicious bureaucrat” – it’s because she’s the only authority figure who judges you based on your behavior, rather than just assuming you’re as pure as the driven snow.
Alec says he thinks there’s more to it than that, but before this conversation can get any more infuriating, the bell rings… for some reason. Jace has a brief flashback to Hodge’s pet raven, again for no apparent reason. Then he has a sudden revelation, and figures that the Inquisitor’s son might have something to do with her feelings towards Jace.
I’m trying to remember if that was actually covered in a previous chapter, but I can’t quite find any references to it.
Anyway, Alec says he’ll ask his parents about it, but Jace tells him to ask Luke. I’m not sure why – he has no more reason to be honest with Alec than Alec’s parents do. Or does Jace not want the Inquisitor to know about this?
Whatever. Alec balks at the idea of having to go all the way to Brooklyn (there’s mention of leaving the Institute being difficult, but I think he just doesn’t want to go all that way), and Jace points out the obvious – Isabelle has a cell phone, as does Clary. Alec asks if Jace wants him to relay a message to Clary, but Jace gets all moody and says no. End scene.
And now we’re back with Clary. No time has passed since the end of the last scene with her.
She turns to Luke and tells him about what’s going on with Simon. Luke says he should try to run. Simon reminds him that vampire + sunlight = crispy critter. Clary relays this, but, Luke’s already put that together. Luke says Simon should lock himself in his room, which Simon does. And then he starts barricading the door with his furniture, including his bed.
Honestly, so far Clary has been entirely superfluous in this scene. She’s like Sigourney Weaver’s character from the show in Galaxy Quest – she’s just parroting what other people say, which only serves to fill up space. Thus making her contributions
Entirely Pointless: 3
One for every time anything Clary said (or would have said) served no purpose whatsoever.
Clary asks how Simon managed to move his bed, and he reminds her that, derp, he’s a vampire.
Luke starts acting like Liam Neeson in Taken, and asks if Simon is hearing anything. Clary relays the question to Simon, because she literally has no other purpose in this scene.
Entirely Pointless: 4
Simon says he heard the door crash, then his pet (dog? Cat? No idea) ran into his room, then nothing. Clary thinks this might be a good sign, that maybe whoever it was has left, but Luke says he should stay on the phone.
Clary asks what Simon’s doing now, though if it’s to keep him calm, I’m not seeing much point – if anyone’s panicking here, it’s Clary. Simon’s got all his furniture against the door, and is now trying to get his pet out from “behind the heating vent.”
I’m not sure how that works, because I imagine vents being flush with or inside a wall.
The call disconnects, and we have a brief moment of tension as Clary redials. Simon picks up, and apparently the pet is a cat, as it scratched him.
But that turns out to be a fake-out, as something bursts through Simon’s barricade. Clary freaks out again, and someone picks up the phone. It’s Valentine.
Clary addresses Valentine by name, and he’s bothered by this, because children should call their parents “mother” and “father”. Well, buddy, in my book you have to do a bit more than contribute DNA to be called either of those.
Clary tells him that, “What [she] actually [wants] to call [him] is a hell of a lot more unprintable.” Hey! Stop poking the fourth wall!
Clary asks where Simon is. Valentine makes a nasty comment about her hanging out with a vampire, then something about him “[having] a say in [her] choice of friends.” So, clearly Valentine is delusional as well as megalomaniacal, if he believes Clary will want to have anything to do with him. This might work if he had some big plans about them all being one big happy family, but so far that seems to be a side-project of his.
Clary again asks what Valentine’s done with Simon, and he says this:
“Nothing, said Valentine, amused. “Yet.”
Then hangs up.
Seriously, dude, you’re exactly the kind of character Ozymandias was mocking at the end of Watchmen.
And that ends that scene. The next one is the last of the chapter, thank the Elder Gods.
We’re back with Jace again, because CC hates me. He’s laying on the floor in his cell, “envisioning lines of dancing girls” to keep his mind off how much his wrists hurt when Alec comes in.
First, I don’t care how much pain Jace is in. Second, that whole bit about “lines of dancing girls” is so very juvenile. Tee hee, he’s thinking about sex. Isn’t that just like a boy?
Hate to burst your bubble, CC, but I think most straight cis-males are capable of thinking about something other than sex. As are girls. Not that you seem to be aware of that fact.
Anyway, Alec asks Jace what he’s doing, and we get this wonderful look into his thought process:
Jace tried to remind himself that when Alec asked this sort of question, he really meant it, and that it was something he had once found endearing rather than annoying. He failed.
Our “Heroes”: 2
Yes, how dare Alec ask a question. Why can’t he just know why Jace is doing anything? It’s like he expects Jace to explain things.
Jace makes a snarky comment about it that I won’t bother quoting here, because it’s stupid. Just trust me on this one.
Rapier Twit: 4
Alec is momentarily taken in by Jace’s comment, but then figures that he’s being sarcastic. Alec assumes that’s a good sign. Well, it is Jace’s default setting, so I guess that’s true.
Alec performs a little experiment and manages to roll something through the force field to Jace:
“An apple.” [Jace] picked it up with some difficulty. “How appropriate.”
I… what? Huh? Am I missing something? If there’s some symbolism here, it’s way too subtle for me. Which is odd, as CC’s symbolism is usually the opposite.
Jace starts eating the apple and asks if Alec got in touch with Clary. Alec says he hasn’t, as Isabelle wouldn’t let him into her room, and instead just screamed and threw stuff at the door, and threatened to jump out the window if he came in. Jace and Alec shrug this off, because, eh, girls? Am I right?
Anyway, Alec has another idea, and tosses Jace a coin or something with an unlocking spell on it. It works, and Jace demonstrates is gratitude in his usual manner:
“It’s not a file hidden in a birthday cake, but it’ll keep my hands from falling off.”
Shoddy World Building: 2
Would you stop doing that?! It’s really annoying.
Alec randomly mentions him trying to convince Isabelle that jumping out her window would probably get her killed, and then ties it back into the present situation by pointing out how many times Jace jumps absurdly long distances and survives falling several stories without a scratch.
Oh, great, so all that crap was supposed to be foreshadowing. Wonderful. And once again, a main character is given special powers that can conveniently resolve his problem. Because we wouldn’t want him to actually have to use the skills and abilities he already has, oh no. That would mean he’d have to put forth some effort, and Jace should never have to struggle to overcome an obstacle.
Jace is snarky, of course
Rapier Twit: 5
Rapier Twit: 6
and Alec has to spell out the fact that the walls of this make-shift prison don’t reach the ceiling.
Jace considers it, but doubts that he can jump thirty feet straight up. And I have to wonder why the hell this “training room” has a ceiling that high. What possible reason could there be for this? Other than for this exact scene, that is.
Jace decides to test out the prison walls by tossing the remains of his apple at one. It bursts in what I’m sure is a very impressive display of what I wish will happen to Jace, but know in my heart is not to be.
Suddenly Alec is no longer so confident in his plan. Jace tells him to shut up, and we’re told that for some reason he still has a bunch of magic tattoos on him. Why the Inquisitor didn’t get rid of those before locking him up, I have no idea. Jace tries to think of himself as being light and like an arrow, so CC can include this incredibly awkward call-back:
“I am Valentine’s arrow,” Jace whispered. “Whether he knows it or not.”
What the fuck does that even mean?!?! I’m absolutely certain that CC only included that line because she thought it would sound cool in a trailer. Unfortunately, like many lines like that, it sounds really weird and awkward when placed in context.
Anyway, Jace jumps, and the chapter ends.
I’m sure CC intended for this chapter to be really tense, what with the constant flipping back and forth between Clary and Jace, but just like in chapter five, it doesn’t work all that well. Yes, the short scenes that end on cliff-hangers make it marginally more tense than other chapters, but that’s not enough. Jace spends almost the entire chapter in a single room, and Clary is only ever on the phone. All the really interesting stuff that actually advances the plot somewhat is happening elsewhere, and are relayed to the POV characters (and thus the reader) second-hand.
Let’s examine the two lines separately:
The one with Clary about Simon’s abduction does kind of work. As I mentioned, it reminds me of the movie Taken. Except in Taken, we get to see both the abduction of Liam Neeson’s character’s daughter and Neeson’s reaction to this. It works. Here, we only get one side, and it’s not the one where anything is actually happening.
The Jace scenes, on the other hand, are terrible. Remember – he’s sitting in a room. He’s not actually doing anything. He doesn’t even participate in figuring out how to escape – Alec does all the work. Once again, Jace is not required to put forth any effort to solve his problems.
You know what might have been interesting? Seeing what Alec was doing. Seeing his confrontation with Isabelle, and how this leads to him connecting the dots. But no, instead we get told all of that second hand. Because why would you want to follow someone trying to solve this problem, when we can watch Jace be moody instead?
Also, what the heck does this chapter title have to do with anything? The only reference that comes to mind is a quote from King Lear:
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
To have a thankless child!
But, like just about every other quote used in these books, it has no connection to the chapter! What, is it referring to the one, short interaction between Clary and Valentine? That wasn’t exactly a big pivotal moment. It’s not as if they had this great, strong relationship before hand – she’s pretty much rejected him from the moment they first met!
So that’s it from me for 2015. I’m taking the rest of the year (the week or so that remains) to rest and relax. I’ll try to get another chapter done before classes start up in January. So have a happy [insert winter holiday of your choice here], and I’ll see you all in 2016.
Entirely Pointless: 4 (Total: 33)
Un-Logic: 7 (Total: 44)
You Keep Using That Word: 90 (Total: 64)
Shoddy World Building: 2 (Total: 32)
Rapier Twit: 6 (Total: 58)
Our “Heroes”: 2 (Total: 129)
No Shit Sherlock: 2 (Total: 8)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1 (Total: 89)
A Word from Our Sponsors: 0 (Total: 7)