Hello, folks. I hope you all had a wonderful winter holiday season. Me, I got a few nice toys (including a Kindle FireHD tablet that I just love), spent some time with relatives that I don’t get to see that often, and learned that I’m going to have a niece in a few months. I also managed to get a bit of personal writing done as well. So, fun times all around.
So of course that means I must, perforce, subject myself to yet more of this crap.
We start with Clary redialing Simon’s phone, only for it to go straight to voice mail. This upsets Clary quite a bit. Luke informs us that they’re almost at Simon’s house, only to pull up to it by the time the sentence ends. Which throws my whole mental geography of this series out the window, but then CC was never all that good with conveying that kind of information anyway. Clary bursts out of the truck and runs to the door, yelling for Simon. Luke tries to get her to calm down, pointing out that the neighbors might notice, but Clary doesn’t care. Which raises this question: is it because she cares that much about Simon, or so little about the lives of everyone else? You make the call!
Clary opens the door (she has a key – because what parent wouldn’t give keys to their house to their child’s friends?) and very carefully starts looking around once she’s inside. Which is kinda pointless, considering how you were yelling and screaming not ten seconds ago – you’ve lost the element of surprise, Clary.
Everything looks completely normal. Clary spends a few minutes staring at the kitchen, remembering when they made out there. Despite the fact that there is nothing in the kitchen that might draw her attention. Also, we’re told that their make out session happened, “a few days ago,” once again screwing up my mental timeline. Because CC isn’t happy messing up just three dimensions, apparently.
(And yes, I know that “a few” could mean three or more, but I figure it’s been at least a week, and I figure that if the amount of time is more than five days, you can’t call it “a few days” anymore.)
Finally, Clary’s brain kicks back in and she moves towards Simon’s room. The door is ajar (there’s a koan for all you Dresden Files fans), and Clary whips out her not-wand drawing stick. And object which even the narration points out is not an actual weapon. But I guess that’s for the best – she’d be just as much a danger to herself as anyone else.
Simon’s room is dark, as he’s tried to sun-proof it. Luke reaches for the light switch, but something hisses, and Clary valiantly shoves Luke aside. And what is terrible beast?
The cat. That was a literal, literary cat scare.
Wow, CC. That is a whole new level of sad.
Anyway, the cat runs off and Luke turns on the lights, revealing the room is completely in order. Which leads to this exchange:
“Is it a glamour?”
“Probably not. Probably just magic.”
I… what? How does that response make any sense? No, don’t tell me “glamour isn’t magic” because “Shadowhunters don’t use magic” because that’s complete horse shit. Being able to make yourself invisible (or close enough for all practical purposes), or do spells by drawing on yourself or an object is fucking magic.
But I think what Luke is trying to say is that Simon’s room has been magically cleaned up, rather than having an illusion put on it to make it seem that way.
Luke goes to open up the curtains, leading Clary to spot Simon’s cell phone on the floor as Luke almost steps on it. The description of the phone also immediately dates this book, as it has an antenna. I haven’t had a cell phone with an antenna since my first one, and that was over ten years ago.
And since Valentine is a complete cliché, he left them a note on Simon’s phone: “Now I have them all.”
Let’s pause here, because I have to go on a bit of a tangent.
First, why didn’t Valentine just write that damn message on a piece of paper or something? Or better yet, write it on the wall (preferably in Simon’s blood), and hide it behind a glamour. That would actually be creepy, especially after the non-scare that just happened. Yes, it would still be cliché as hell, but at least it would be the good kind of cliché.
Second, I’m now picturing Valentine typing that out on the twelve-button number pad of those old phones, and it taking forever, and that image is hilarious. I know some people got really good at typing text messages out really fast, but come on, do you honestly think Valentine would be that aware of mundane tech? Hell, I’m amazed he even knows what a cell phone is.
Anyway, back to the book. Clary, being Clary, is utterly baffled by Valentine’s note, so it’s up to Luke to explain that, since Valentine has Simon and presumably Maia, he can complete his little weapon alignment spell. And I just have to quote this bit:
Clary stared at him. “You mean this isn’t just about getting at me – and you?”
Oh, oh wow. That is just too damn hilarious. Because in my head, she’s just so shocked that Valentine abducting Simon (let alone doing anything) isn’t connected back to her. Also, the implication that Valentine trying to hurt Luke is hastily tacked on, like Clary just realized that Valentine might have a grudge against Luke.
Luke goes on to remind Clary (and the audience) that Valentine needs the blood of children from all four Downworlder races. And Clary “brilliantly” points this out:
“But Maia and Simon aren’t children. They’re teenagers.”
Oh my god, it’s like CC is trying to make up for all the rage-inducing moments she’s made so far.
So Luke has to explain that, when the spell was created (why the hell was this spell created in the first place?) the word “teenager,” let alone the concept, didn’t exist.
And unfortunately for us, the funny train stops here, as Luke explains that, in Shadowhunter society, you’re considered an adult at eighteen. And apparently that has always been the rule.
This is stupid, and really shows that CC knows nothing of any culture outside of modern Western Europe/America. Because eighteen being the age of majority (aka adulthood) is not now and never has been a universal belief. Hell, it’s not even universal in the USA – it’s 19 in Alabama and Nebraska, and 21 in Mississippi and Puerto Rico. Admittedly, 18 is the most common age of majority, but if we’re going back even a hundred years, that age drops. And assuming this spell was created during the middle ages, adulthood might begin as early as 15 or younger – you know, when you can do the work of an adult, whether that be physical labor or having children.
This little gaff is especially egregious, because CC was raised Jewish. Which means she probably had a little ceremony when she was 12 or 13 – it’s called a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and it basically means that, under Jewish law, you are now effectively an adult. Now admittedly, I’m not Jewish, but this isn’t some new, random thing that only a few people do – it’s kind of a big deal.
So for that, I’m giving this book a few of these:
Shoddy World Building: 5
One for every person Valentine has or plans to kill for his ritual, since apparently Shadowhunters have always held modern beliefs on what age constitutes adulthood.
So Clary then asks this brilliant question:
“Then why didn’t we do something? Why didn’t we think of protecting them somehow?”
That is a good question, Clary. Why didn’t any of you chuckle-fucks do something? I mean, you’ve only known this was Valentine’s plan since chapter fucking twelve. You’ve only been in regular contact with the leaders of both the werewolves and the vampires – the two groups that Valentine needed children from – and could easily have said, “Hey, Valentine is up to no good, and is after any of your group under 18. You might want to keep them close by until we’ve stopped him.”
But no, that would require putting forth the slightest bit of effort and having the tiniest bit of foresight. And it would have distracted from forcing Clary and Jace to make out, and Simon going to the vampires, and all the other teenage, high school drama bullshit that CC is far more interested in writing than the actual fucking plot of this book!
… Okay. I’m okay. Quick count, and then we move on.
Because the ultimate answer to Clary’s question is, “because that would have ruined CC’s plot.”
Luke explains that Valentine hasn’t exactly been exerting himself to get Downworlder kids for his ritual, but does note that grabbing Simon is riskier, and wonders why his behavior has changed. Clary deduces (read: pulls out of her ass) that it must be to get back at Jace, and that Jace must have done something to make Valentine angry. This also demonstrates that Valentine knows absolutely nothing about his son, otherwise he’d know that Jace doesn’t give a shit about Simon.
Luke asks why Clary thinks that Valentine’s change of plans is because of Jace, and she gives this explanation:
“Because,” Clary said with grim certainty, “only Jace can piss someone off that much.”
… Yeah, that sounds about right.
The scene ends there, and the next one is at the Institute. Alec is pounding on Isabelle’s door, and she refuses to let him in. The door opens a crack and Max glares out Alec, and he explains that neither he nor Isabelle want to talk to him. Ah, such loyalty the Lightwood children display: Jace teams up with a knock-off Voldemort, and all is forgiven; but Alec sides with the lawful authorities against Jace, and he is persona non grata. Wonder where they learned that from…
Alec threatens to force his way in, but Max says he won’t, so Alec threatens to get their parents involved. Isabelle mercifully decides to end his mess and lets Alec in.
We get a description of Isabelle: she’s in full hunting gear next to her window. She glares at Alec, then does that whip-lasso thing she hasn’t done since chapter one of the last book to Alec’s leg. And I really have to wonder why Isabelle’s weapon of choice is a whip – they’re impossible to wield in tight quarters, difficult to control, and not nearly as effective as the friggin’ knives everyone else uses. Then again, CC seems to think that a whip is just a fancy rope, because all we’ve seen Isabelle do with it is lasso people. Alec isn’t even on the ground right now.
Anyway, Isabelle isn’t happy with Alec, and berates him for not siding with Jace in all things:
“How could you just turn on Jace like that? After all he’s been through? And you swore that oath to watch out for each other too—”
“Not,” he reminded her, “if it meant breaking the Law.”
“The _Law!_” Isabelle snapped in disgust. “There’s a higher law than the Clave, Alec. The law of family. Jace is your family.”
Yes, let’s just totally ignore the fact that, by betraying Jace, Alec might have protected his actual family. Right, better they all go down together than give up the guy who clearly doesn’t give a shit about them. But I guess this is why they’re so okay with Jace joining Valentine – they’re family. Even if they’re genocidal psychopaths, you side with your family.
Now in all seriousness, this could have been an interesting plot – both sides have (or seemed to have) good reasons for their actions. That kind of thing muddies the waters, because there’s no clear “right” or “wrong” side.
Except CC would completely ruin it, because the right side is clearly the one that supports Jace. And there’s the fact that we already know Alec supports Jace, so there’s no tension here at all.
You Keep Using That Word: 2
Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop doing that.
Alec points out that this “law of family” is complete bullshit, and Isabelle responds like a petulant child and trips him. Alec somehow manages to land on his front, despite the fact that he was facing Isabelle and she would have pulled his leg forward. Maybe he did some kind of cool mid-air flip/roll thing that doesn’t get described.
(But you can bet if it were Jace, every bit of it would be lovingly detailed.)
Isabelle contemplates tying Alec up and leaving him there, but Alec decides he’s had enough and whips out a knife he’s apparently had this whole time, cuts the whip, and gets ready to throw down with his sister.
Then this happens:
A low chuckle broke the tension. “All right, all right, you’ve tortured him enough. I’m here.”
Isabelle’s eyes flew wide. “Jace!”
Yep. Jace has been standing out in the hallway this entire time. He stood there, listening to them argue, and then fight, and it amused him.
Our “Heroes”: 1
Oh, and because he could have come in at any time and easily prevented this whole mess, that makes the entire scene up to now
Entirely Pointless: 1
Yes, that’s what will help maintain that tension – a pointless argument/fight between Alec and Isabelle. Forget that whole “Valentine could complete his ritual and summon a demon army at any moment” thing, we needed a quick fight scene between siblings.
Which, combined with the whole Clary/Jace thing, really makes me wonder about CC’s relationship with her siblings.
Isabelle and Max run over to hug Jace. Isabelle sees the marks from Jace’s bonds, and asks if he’s okay. Because Jace’s wrists being injured is a much larger concern than the possible concussion she just gave her brother. Of course.
Our “Heroes”: 2
Jace shrugs off Isabelle’s concern – because we wouldn’t want to weakness in front of the girl, no sir, never mind that they’re probably at least second-degree burns – and says that Alec helped him escape. Isabelle asks if it’s true, and Alec confirms it in a somewhat petty manner. I’ll let that slide, as he’s been mistreated for this entire scene.
Actually, I think I just realized why Alec got treated like this – he betrayed Jace, and this is his punishment. Even if he only faked it, it still counts. Because Jace is the moral center of this universe – whether a character or action is good and bad is determined entirely by their relation to Jace.
Oh, and here’s Isabelle’s response to Alec confirming that he helped Jace:
“Well, you should have _said._”
Yes, he should have. In fact, Jace should have come in with him, especially if there are Shadowhunters loyal to the Inquisitor hanging around. So just for that, I’m giving this scene another one of these:
Entirely Pointless: 2
CC, when even the characters are pointing out how stupid stuff is, that should be a sign that you need to fix it.
Alec and Isabelle start going at it, and it’s Jace of all people who acts like an adult. He stops the fight and asks Isabelle if she has any weapons and bandages. Isabelle suggests they just use a healing spell, but apparently magic healing doesn’t work on magic wounds. Kind of a flaw, if you ask me, but whatever.
Also, given the description we get of the burns (“blank and cracked in places, oozing blood and clear fluid”) I’m thinking you’re going to want more than just bandages for those. Like, maybe some kind of disinfectant.
Jace starts to say that he’s going to need weapons, but now Isabelle gets to be the intelligent one, and insists that they deal with his wounds first. Luckily, she apparently keeps a lot of first-aid materials on hand, and drags Jace into the bathroom. If this series had Isabelle being more involved with mundane society, it might even be a first-aid kit.
And then CC ruins the whole bit by having Isabelle tell Jace to take his shirt off, to which Jace responds with this:
“I knew there was something in this for you.”
Rapier Twit: 1
Really? Really? Why is this here? Jace didn’t mention any other injuries, so it’s not like Isabelle could be checking for them. And what injuries he does have don’t require removing his shirt to be treated.
The only reason this is here is so CC can lovingly detail what Jace looks like with his shirt off.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
And since this is apparently from Alec’s POV, we also get told how the scars from old runes totally aren’t imperfections, like some stupid mundane might think.
Our “Heroes”: 3
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2
And don’t forget, this bit is only here so CC can ogle her character through another character’s eyes, and does nothing to progress the plot at all.
Entirely Pointless: 3
Jace notices Alec staring at him, and asks him to get Isabelle’s phone. Isabelle tells Alec it’s on her dresser. Alec looks, and says that it isn’t. Then Isabelle realizes that she left it in the kitchen.
Can’t you just taste the tension?
Entirely Pointless: 4
Isabelle says she doesn’t want to go to the kitchen, because she might run into the Inquisitor. Because it would be awkward. Or something.
Our “Heroes”: 4
And I’m sorry to subject you guys to such a large dose of un-diluted CC, but you have to see this:
“I’ll get it,” Max offered. “She doesn’t care about me, I’m too young.”
“I suppose.” Isabelle sounded reluctant. “What do you need the phone for, Alec?”
“We just need it,” Alec said impatiently. “Izzy—”
“If you’re texting Magnus to say ‘I think u r kewl,’ I’m going to kill you.”
“Who’s Magnus?” Max inquired. “He’s a warlock,” said Alec.
“A sexy, sexy warlock,” Isabelle told Max, ignoring Alec’s look of total fury.
“But warlocks are bad,” protested Max, looking baffled.
“Exactly,” said Isabelle.
“I don’t understand,” said Max. “But I’m going to get the phone. I’ll be right back.”
This is how I’m feeling right now, guys:
Only I will not be receiving the blessing of sweet, sweet death via xenomorph bursting through my chest. Oh, no, I have to keep going with this.
Now let’s dissect this, shall we?
First, why does Max’s age somehow place him beneath the Inquisitor’s notice? We saw back in chapter 14 that someone being a “child” doesn’t somehow make them innocent in her eyes. So really, this is just CC whipping up a quick way to get Max out of the room.
Considering how much he contributed to this scene, I have to wonder why he was here in the first place.
Next, Isabelle’s comments about Alec’s relationship with Magnus. I mean, my god, she might as well be going “Alec likes Magnus, Alec likes Magnus!” It’s just so damn childish, and not even remotely funny.
Rapier Twit: 2
And finally, Max’s comment that “warlocks are bad.” That’s definitely not the kind of overly-simplistic thinking you’d want from people who are supposed to keep the peace. Now, why would he believe something like that? He’s too young to have gone out on actual missions, and from all appearances, the Lightwood kids have been homeschooled. So Max probably learned that “warlocks are bad” from his parents.
And Max was born long after Valentine’s failed coup.
Our “Heroes”: 5
Suddenly my claims about mama and papa Lightwood training the Circle 2.0 don’t seem so funny.
So Max leaves (and I am soo jealous of him), and Jace puts his shirt back on and starts going though Isabelle’s stuff, looking for a weapon.
Our “Heroes”: 6
And rather than stopping him, Isabelle asks what the plan is, and points out that the Inquisitor will not be happy that Jace escaped. Jace says that she’ll be even more upset when Valentine turns down her offer, and quickly explains the Inquisitor’s plan, which we’re mercifully spared.
Isabelle is really upset about this, because how dare the Inquisitor try to get back two of the most sacred relics of Shadowhunter society (and nicely stop Valentine’s plans in their tracks) by trading away Jace. Because remember – family is the most important thing in the world.
Our “Heroes”: 7
Look, I get that it’s a bad plan, but at least the Inquisitor is looking at the big picture – getting the Mortal Instruments back benefits everyone, even if she doesn’t know what Valentine intends to do with them. Keeping Jace out of Valentine’s hands benefits no one, because (as has been pointed out) Valentine really doesn’t care about Jace that much, and Jace’s absence will in no way affect Valentine’s plans. In the end, it all comes down to numbers – “the needs of the many” and all that.
But again, Jace is the center of this world’s morality. Sacrificing Jace is the greatest of all possible sins. The needs of the many are outweighed by the needs of Jace.
Blah, blah, Inquisitor bad, blah. Jace does acknowledge that the Inquisitor could be
saved brought around after she sees how bad her plan is, but Jace isn’t going to try that, because he has to be the one to save the day or something.
Alec explains that escaping won’t be easy, as the Inquisitor has “called in half the Conclave.” Which just makes Jace standing around in the hallway while Alec and Isabelle had it out all the more baffling.
Jace arrogantly takes this as a compliment. Isabelle says the Inquisitor might be right to be so, and asks Alec if Jace really jumped thirty feet straight up. Alec says he did.
Yes, you heard it right – Jace’s special power, “the Angel’s own gift,” as the Seelie Queen put it, is that he can jump really, really high. And I have to say, I’m not that impressed. I mean, when I think “angelic power”, I expect something like being able to rain fire and brimstone down on your enemies, or turn people into pillars of salt – you know, some real Old Testament shit.
But no, instead Jace can jump really high. And combined with his uncanny speed, he’s now a crappy, racist, 2/3 Superman knockoff.
God, Valentine sucks as a villain.
Anyway, this happens:
“I’ve never seen anything like this.” Jace lifted a ten-inch dagger from the floor. One of Isabelle’s pink brassieres was speared on the wickedly sharp tip. Isabelle snatched it off, scowling.
Rapier Twit: 3
Really, CC? Did you seriously write that? What is wrong with you?
Also, who uses the word “brassier” in this day and age?
You Keep Using That Word: 3
Isabelle asks how Jace did it, and he says he just did, and mentions Clary having special (and arguably more useful) powers, but that line of conversation gets dropped so Alec can ask about the vampire motorcycle Jace stole in the last book. I’m going to assume someone reminded CC that it existed, and this is her covering up that plot-hole. So, good work, I guess.
Jace shoots down that idea, as it’s still day, so it won’t work. Isabelle chimes in and points out that it won’t fit all three of them. Jace says that he’s going alone, and Isabelle starts to argue, but then Max comes back, phone in hand. Because I guess we can’t have Isabelle arguing with Jace – after all, she might win.
Isabelle figures out that they intend to call Clary. Alec offers to do it, but Isabelle says that Clary likes her better. She makes the call, and our plotlines converge. Yay.
Jace gets concerned because he thinks Clary might be in danger (because if she dies, he can’t get in her pants). Isabelle explains that Valentine’s kidnapped Simon and Maia (though she doesn’t ask who Maia is, despite having never met her), and intends to use them to complete his ritual. So Jace grabs the phone from Isabelle, and tells Clary to drive to the Institute and wait for him outside. Then he hangs up and tells Alec to call Magnus and tell him to meet them at the waterfront in Brooklyn, so they can attack Valentine’s
floating fortress boat (I refuse to call it a “ship.”)
Our “Heroes”: 8
Jace is allowed to be a rude asshole and bark orders at everyone. It’s part of his “charm”.
Isabelle asks who all is going, and Jace says it’s going to be him, Luke, and Magnus. Meanwhile, Alec and Isabelle get to hang back and try to bring the Inquisitor over to their side once her plan fails.
Alec asks how Jace is going to get out in the first place, and Jace smugly jumps out the window. Alec and Isabelle both freak out, even though they both know he’s practically invincible and can jump really high.
One for each of them.
And that brings that scene to a merciful close.
The next scene is with Simon, so maybe it won’t totally suck.
Simon wakes up and hears water sloshing around, smells and tastes metal, and his hand hurts. He opens his eyes to find himself in a metal room, and his hand in the sunlight coming through a small window. It is describe as being “red and blistered.”
Somehow I get the feeling that CC has never so much as touched a hot pan, because there’s no way in hell you’d be able to sleep through pain like that.
Simon does not freak out and scramble away swearing, though – instead, he just groans and rolls over. Apparently having your hand severely burnt is about as annoying as your alarm clock going off.
It’s only after he sits up that Simon notices that Maia is chained up on the other side of the room. I’ll give it a pass though, because burning pain. Maia starts crying with joy, because she thought Simon was dead. Simon jokes that he is dead. Wow, not even being kidnapped, locked up, and suffering a second-degree burn is enough to make him stop joking. Maybe Simon’s like Mark Watney.
Simon watches as his hand heals in seconds. Well, I guess sunlight isn’t that much of a problem for this world’s vampires. I mean, you’d think it would at least do some serious damage.
Maia is still teary, so Simon tries to comfort her, only to find he’s chained up as well. Still, he does reiterate that he’s alright.
Then they get to discussing their abductions, and that Valentine is behind them. Maia asks if he’s the same Valentine behind the Uprising, and we get this wonderful exchange:
“He’s Jace and Clary’s father,” Simon said. “That’s what I know about him.”
“I thought his voice sounded familiar. He sounds just like Jace.” She looked momentarily rueful. “No wonder Jace is such an ass.”
Simon could only agree.
Now if only more characters would notice that.
Maia asks for details about Simon’s abduction, and whether he saw any ghosts or something, like she did with her dead brother. Simon says he didn’t see anything, just being on the phone with Clary when something burst through his door. Maia gets excited about that, thinking that maybe Clary & co will find them.
The only way those idiots could find anything is through authorial intervention. Clary couldn’t figure out that Valentine was her father, even when the evidence was practically slapping her in the face.
Simon does not point this out, instead asking for details about their location. Maia explains that they’re on a boat (I’ll let you guys make the obvious joke), and that there are demons everywhere. And here’s Simon’s reaction to this bit of information:
“But Valentine’s a Shadowhunter. And from what I’ve heard, he hates demons.”
Gee, it’s almost like his plan makes absolutely no damn sense.
Seriously, CC, your own characters are pointing out the plot holes. This should be a sign. A big, flashing, neon one.
Maia shrugs that off, instead wondering why Valentine would go through all this trouble just to kill two Downworlders, and starts shivering for some reason.
Simon elects not to tell Maia about Valentine’s plans, and instead takes off his jacket and gives it to Maia. And when Maia asks if he’s cold, Simon says he isn’t bothered by cold anymore.
Meh, I’ll still give him points for it. Seriously, Clary, why do you insist on pining after Jace? Simon is such a great guy.
Anyway, Maia apologizes for her previous behavior, and we learn why she doesn’t like vampires – back when she was still new to being a werewolf, she and some of her friends bumped into a couple vampires one night, they started fighting, and one of the vampires literally ripped one of her friends in half.
Yeah, I think that’s a perfectly legitimate reason to fear vampires. Kinda makes me wonder why she didn’t mention any of this before, though.
Oh, wait, it’s because then Clary berating Maia for her behavior would have made Clary look bad. Either that, or CC just came up with that little anecdote right when she wrote it.
Simon assures Maia that he would never do anything like that, and we get this wonderful bit of dialogue:
“It’s just that when I met you, you seemed so human. You reminded me of what I used to be like, before.”
“Maia,” Simon said. “You’re still human.”
“No, I’m not.”
“In the ways that count, you are. Just like me.”
Okay, I am shipping these two so hard right now. I mean, they’ve only had four scenes together, total, and the chemistry between them is so much greater than anything between Clary and Jace.
Now if only I didn’t know that CC totally ruins it (and probably Simon) later on. Because no OTP is allowed to supplant Clary/Jace.
Maia smiles, and Simon thinks she doesn’t believe him, and that he doesn’t quite believe his words either, and the scene ends.
The next scene has us back with Clary. Well, at least it’s a short one.
She’s in Luke’s truck, waiting for Jace to show up, and is being impatient. I’d complain about that, but they are waiting on Jace, who refused to provide even the slightest details of his “plan” of escape. Probably because he wants everyone to be impressed with him.
After asking again how long it’s been, Clary notices that Luke is looking pretty rough – he hasn’t shaved, and he has bags under his eyes. It’s only now that Clary realizes why her mother tried to lead a normal life.
Luke (at least I think it’s Luke – there’s no tag, and CC’s writing kind of muddles it) asks if Clary wants to go inside, but Clary says that Jace told them to wait outside. Because heaven forbid we go against what Jace wants.
They both stare at the Institute, then Luke notices something and points it out to Clary. It’s Jace, running, ducking, and jumping around on the roof, probably singing the theme song to Mission Impossible, because why the fuck not. And we know it’s Jace, because we get a loving description of the color of his hair.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 3
Now Clary decides to get out of the car and run up to the Institute, because that won’t draw any attention at all, no sir. Jace drops off the roof of the building, and Clary freaks out despite there being absolutely no tension at all, and Jace lands, completely unharmed.
And all I can think of is this bit from Underworld:
Only Kate Beckinsale (let alone Selene) is way more of a badass than Jace could ever hope to be.
(And I’m absolutely certain that that scene is what CC had in mind when she wrote that – this book came out in 2008, five years after Underworld,)
And just to rub salt in the wound, here’s what Jace says after making that entrance:
“If I made a joke about just dropping in,” he said, “would you write me off as cliché?”
Rapier Twit: 3
Oh, it’s far too late for that, Jace. You’re nothing but clichés and tropes, with absolutely no real depth at all.
Clary asks (very slowly) how Jace did that, but before he can answer, two guards come out the front door and start running towards them.
Ah, right, the guards. Now they make an appearance. I guess they’re like Schrödinger’s cat or something – they only exist when convenient for CC’s purposes.
Clary and Jace run for the truck, and jump inside. For some reason, Clary is either incapable of closing the door, or Jace is just that much of an ass, because he reaches over her to do it. We learn that one of the guards is Malik, aka the only other non-major Shadowhunter to get a name. Maybe he’ll be like the Wedge Antillies of this series.
Luke starts driving away, and Malik pulls out a “flinging knife” to try and take out one of the tires.
You Keep Using That Word: 4
Yeah, that’s not a thing, CC. Throwing knives are a thing, so I’ll assume that’s what you meant. This is one of those cases where you really should put down the thesaurus.
Also, a perfect example of why the Shadowhunters should use guns – this wouldn’t even be an issue if Malik had a gun.
Anyway, for some reason, the other guard jumps on Malik, stopping him, and allowing Luke, Clary, and Jace to get away, ending the scene.
The next scene is the last one in the chapter, and one with Simon. So at least I won’t leave with a bad taste in my mouth.
Apparently it’s been a few hours (way to go with that rescue, guys!), because Maia’s fallen asleep and Simon’s trying to figure out the time from the position of the light on the floor. Also, he’s getting really thirsty, which could be a problem.
Just to drive the point home, Maia wakes up, and just the blood pumping into her cheeks gets Simon going. Maia asks how long she’s been out, and Simon estimates three or four hours. Maia says that, while she’s sorry Simon got kidnapped, she’s also glad that he’s with her. I guess that’s sweet?
Then they start reaching towards each other for some inexplicable reason, and then Valentine comes in to ruin what I guess was supposed to be a moment. They both pull back, and Maia gets all scared, because as the only female in the scene, it’s her job to quiver in fear of the villain. The fact that his second sentence is this doesn’t make her look any better:
“The children of Moon and Night, getting along at last.”
You Keep Using That Word: 6
It doesn’t matter how many times you try, CC, your whole “children of” naming scheme will always sound stupid.
Maia whispers Valentine’s name (why?), and Simon just stares at him. We’re told that he looks nothing like either Clary or Jace, but I kinda have my doubts, given that we’re then told how they both look kinda like him. I’ll save some time and just assume he looks like Jason Isaacs playing Lucious Malfoy. But I’ll let CC have her foreshadowing. At least it’s kinda subtle this time.
We’re told that Valentine has “enough weaponry to outfit a platoon,” but given that only a sword and a bunch of knives are mentioned, I’m assuming that either each soldier would only get one weapon, or CC doesn’t know how many solders are in a platoon (Wikipedia says usually between 15 and 30, with modern US platoons being a little more than 40 strong).
Anyway, Valentine tells Simon to get up, and after looking at Maia, Simon decides to take a page from Jace’s book (though in this case, I approve):
“So you’re Clary’s father,” he said. “No offense, but I can kind of see why she hates you.”
Valentine’s face was impassive, almost motionless. His lips barely moved as he said, “And why is that?”
“Because,” Simon said, “you’re obviously psychotic.”
On the one hand, I like Simon calling Val out to his face. On the other, I can’t help but imagine that Valentine’s lack of an apparent response is more from exasperation than any kind of control. I mean, he’s always struck me as being in the mode of a Skeletor or Cobra Commander.
And just to prove who twisted he is, Valentine blows a fist full of silver powder on Maia, causing her a lot of pain.
Well, at least that’s an actual display of villainy.
Simon starts berating Valentine, but chokes when he tries to say “God”. Valentine pulls out the MacGuffin Sword, and for some reason Simon can’t look at it without hurting his eyes.
Valentine explains (or rather, implies) that all that is because Simon’s a vampire. Which is actually kind of interesting, and raises the question as to how Jace and other Shadowhunters can be atheist/agnostic – it’s one thing to doubt when you have no proof, but this seems to be pretty clear evidence.
Valentine talks a bit about the sword, and how supposedly goes straight to Heaven (which makes no damn sense, but whatever). He prepares to kill Simon, and asks if he has any last words.
Simon tries to say a Jewish prayer (nice that that’s not being ignored), but can’t, as per the whole vampire thing. But instead he says “Clary,” which is just as good in this universe.
This pisses Valentine off, and he sort-of cuts Simon’s throat. If I didn’t know that Simon lives through this, I might actually be worried.
And thus ends the chapter.
So, first the positives. The plot is finally revving up for the big climax. Everyone’s more or less dropped the high school drama crap. And the few scenes between Simon and Maia were actually pretty good.
Bad stuff. We’re nearing the three-quarter mark (at least in my Kindle version) and far too much time has been wasted getting here. Jace is still being a complete asshole for literally no reason. And he’s been given a super power that, while I’m sure is supposed to be all impressive, kind of isn’t.
Also, what the hell does “a stone of the heart” have to do with anything that happens in this chapter? Was CC just putting down words/phrases she thought sounded pretty? Seriously, why didn’t she just go with numbers?
As for me, I’ll be starting back in on classes, which involves an internship that will keep me busy two days out of the week, so I don’t know when I’ll get back to this. I’ll try to get the next chapter done before too long, and I hope to finish this book before the semester is out.
See you next time, folks.
Entirely Pointless: 4 (Total: 37)
Un-Logic: 8 (Total: 52)
You Keep Using That Word: 6 (Total: 70)
Shoddy World Building: 5 (Total: 37)
Rapier Twit: 3 (Total: 61)
Our “Heroes”: 8 (Total: 137)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 (Total: 8)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 3 (Total: 92)
A Word from Our Sponsors: 0 (Total: 7)