Hey guys. Sorry it’s been so long since my last posting. A lot of stuff – one of my last classes for grad school, my internship, weekly orchestra rehearsals, and some personal things – that I’ve just felt a bit drained. But I said I would try to get this thing done by the end of the semester, and I’m going to aim for that.
But before we get started, a quick bit of news: Sherilyn Kenyon, author of the Dark-Hunter urban fantasy books, has brought suit against CC for plagiarism. Now, I haven’t read any of Ms. Kenyon’s books (though I’m a bit tempted to, now), so I can’t speak to the veracity of her claim, but given the similarities (both major and minor) between characters in both series, the fact that Kenyon’s books had been published for almost a decade before City of Bones, that CC does have a history of plagiarizing other authors, I don’t think this is just a case of sour grapes on Kenyon’s part. At the very least, CC looks to have basically written fanfiction, changed all the proper nouns, and published it. Which is – at least in my opinion – a morally gray area.
Oh, but CC claims the inspiration for her books came from going to a tattoo parlor with a friend, and seeing the footprints of previous customers on the ceiling (hey, whatever works for you), and thinking it looked like a big magical fight had gone down. Let’s just ignore the fact that no scene like that has occurred in the series as far as I’ve seen, despite it being the “inspiration”. You’d think that, if an author’s inspiration for a book/series came from imagining a particular scene, they’d be sure to include that. But what do I know?
And now, a quick recap before we get to this chapter. Last time, Clary and Luke went over to Simon’s place, only to find that Valentine had already left. But, being the clichéd villain that he is, Valentine left a handy note that more or less explained why he’d kidnapped Simon. Clary was amazed to discover that Valentine’s reasons for doing so were at best only partially to get back at Clary, rather than entirely about her.
Meanwhile, Jace escaped his captivity via authorial fiat, namely by suddenly developing the (not at all totally lame) ability to jump really, really high. He then went on to prove what a huge douche canoe he is by allowing Isabelle to beat up on Alec for no other reason than it amused him. Jace then devised the ‘brilliant’ plan of escaping the Institute by jumping around the roof and then making a break to a waiting car (provided by Clary and Luke). Much to my dismay, this plan went off without a hitch. Because we wouldn’t want to inconvenience the heroes – that might lead to them having to actually struggle to succeed.
Chapter 17 begins with Clary asking Jace how he did what he just did. Jace somehow concludes that she wants to know how he got on the roof, rather than the obvious question, and explains. Basically, he climbed up the outside wall. I guess I should be glad CC apparently wasn’t aware of Assassin’s Creed, or we would have been subjected to an entire account of that. Jace also mentions that ‘his’ motorcycle is gone, and speculates that the Inquisitor must have taken it for a ride.
Jace, you stole that motorcycle. I wouldn’t be surprised if Raphael and the vampires let you keep it because A) they can’t get to it, and/or B) they know Maryse won’t give a shit. It would not surprise me at all if the Inquisitor had simply returned the bike to it’s rightful owners, i.e. the vampires, as a means of apologizing for all the crap you’ve pulled with them.
Also, we get a totally unnecessary description of Jace’s injuries.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
Then Clary explains what she actually meant, which just further shows how what Jace just said was nothing but filler.
Entirely Pointless: 1
Jace answers that he just kind of did it, which isn’t really an answer, but does allow CC to give her Designated Protagonists vaguely defined superpowers that she can then use to fix any problems that arise.
Clary figures out that the Seelie Queen was right, and that Valentine did some sinister experiments on them.
No Shit Sherlock: 1
Uh, no duh? She wasn’t exactly circumspect about it – all she did was describe it in flowery language.
Anyway, Luke asks Jace where they’re going. Jace explains about the boat, and says that he intends to stop Valentine. Luke doesn’t like this plan, so Jace amends it to include him as well. Luke still disagrees, and he and Jace get into an argument about what they should do: Jace wants to stop Valentine now, but Luke wants to let the proper authorities handle it. Jace doesn’t like that, because he’s somehow determined that the Inquisitor is too set on her stupid plan to bother with another (gee, that certainly feels familiar), and she’s somehow blocking the Lightwoods from contacting Shadowhunter-land.
And now something has occurred to me: if Jace wants to prove he’s still loyal, why didn’t he offer to help the Inquisitor? Why didn’t he just offer to lead her and her men to the boat, and let them do their job? That way, they get Valentine and the MacGuffins. And we don’t have to bother with the convoluted prisoner-exchange gambit the Inquisitor proposed.
But then, that plan involves Jace sitting on the sidelines while other people get to be the heroes, and we can’t have that.
Clary asks what the Inquisitor’s plan is, and Jace explains. He also says that the Lightwood kids will tell the Inquisitor about Simon and Maia (because I guess that’s all they’re good for, despite all their training), but concludes that the Inqluisitor “[is] not going to upset her precious plan just to save a couple of Downworlders.”
Uh, no, Jace, that would be you who doesn’t give a shit about Downworlders. Remember chapter 2? Because I sure do!
Our “Heroes”: 1
Look, just because you’re a racist asshole doesn’t mean everyone else is.
Clary says they can’t wait, and they have to get to the boat now, because… reasons.
I guess it could be because Valentine could drain Simon and Maia at any time, but he could have already done that. There’s no reason to believe they’re alive now, and if Valentine hadn’t been hijacked by the plot, he would have drained the pair of them immediately, just like the other two.
Luke puts the kibosh on that, pointing out that they kinda need a boat of their own to reach Valentine, and that *“[he’s] not sure even Jace can walk on water.”
Rapier Twit: 1
Nice show of humility there, CC. Oh, sorry, did I say ‘humility’? I meant blasphemy.
Clary gets a text from Isabelle, and Jace explains that it’s the address where they’re to meet Magnus, because they need someone to help them get past the wards that are apparently on Valentine’s boat. I don’t recall hearing anything about them last time, but I’ll let that slide.
Luke proposes he face Valentine while Clary and Jace stay back with Magnus, but Jace insists that he has to go. When asked why, he explains about Valentine’s pet
digimon demon, and what it does. Luke takes us further down this rabbit hole by telling us just how nasty it is, and wonders how Valentine has managed to maintain his control of it. Jace recounts the story of how Valentine summoned it in the first place (again, I don’t remember him explaining that, but if it keeps things moving…), and concludes it with this:
“The Mortal Cup,” he finished, “lets him control Agramon. Apparently it gives you some power over demons. Not like the Sword does, though.”
I… just… why? Why would it do that? What sense does that make? Why would both of these items, which were given to people whose whole job is to fight against demons, be able to control them? I mean, I could understand the Shadowhunters locking them away because of that. And that would be fine and dandy.
But instead, CC decided that these things also have to be important to the Shadowhunters for entirely unrelated reasons, leading to the MacGuffins getting tacked-on demon controlling powers that have nothing to do with their other purposes.
Regardless, Luke says he’s now more set on making sure Jace doesn’t come. So Jace finally explains why he has to go – because he’ll use the special rune Clary made up, and that’ll make him immune to the demon’s powers!
On the one hand, I like that this was set up in advance. On the other, it was so obvious and requires no real effort on either Jace’s or Clary’s part, so it feels like cheating.
Clary isn’t happy with this, because she doesn’t want Jace to have to rely on “[her] stupid rune.” Jace points out that it worked fine before. Since no one else will point it out, I will – there’s a huge difference between coming out to your parents and facing down a smoke monster that can literally scare you to death.
Clary doesn’t point this out, instead saying that she might mess up. How does Jace reassure her? By telling her that he believes in her, or that he trusts her? Nope. Their eyes meet, meaning we’re subjected to yet another description of Jace’s freaky yellow eyes
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2
and he says this:
Yeah, I guess that’s reassuring, but I can’t help but imagine that Jace mentally adds “Or I’ll skin you alive.”
The scene ends, and the next one begins with them arriving at the address Isabelle sent them.
A Word From Our Sponsors: 1
(Best part of the Super Bowl, in my opinion – all the new commercials)
Luke asks if they’re sure this is the right place, because Magnus isn’t there. Clary looks around, and we get a decent description of the surroundings. She then asserts her confidence that Magnus will show up because, “If he told Alec he was coming, he’ll do it.”
I just love how easy it is to read a chain of manipulation into that statement – Jace manipulating Alec, who in tern is manipulating Magnus.
Our “Heroes”: 2
Maybe if CC had gone with, “Alec said he would be here,” it wouldn’t bother me so much. Then again, if Magnus had just called them instead of having to relay all this through Alec and Isabelle, this wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.
(I’m also trying not to giggle like a twelve-year-old for reasons I’m sure most of you can figure out.)
They get out of the truck. Clary thinks it’s weirdly quiet, but given that they’re at the waterfront, on a Sunday, and presumably at night (though I can’t be sure, since CC once again fails to establish what time it is), I think Clary’s overreacting.
It’s also cold. CC fills up some more space describing both Clary and Luke zipping up their jackets, Luke giving Clary his gloves, and describing how tiny Clary’s hands are compared to Luke’s. I have no idea why any of this is here.
Entirely Pointless: 2
They then notice that Jace is not right next to them, and is instead over by the river. Luke decides they should stick together, so they walk over to him.
We get more description of the area. Jace has his jacket off and is throwing crap into the river. Clary asks him why, and he says he’s “Sending a message.” Clary thinks she sees something in the water, but it disappears. She asks who his message is to, and Jace scowls and says, “No one.”
Yeah, I don’t know what I was supposed to infer from that – maybe that Jace was trying to contact someone or something that lives in the river, but for some reason it doesn’t want to talk to him? But then why does he get all huffy about it? Because someone is else isn’t putting up with his crap any more?
Anyway, Jace walks over to his jacket, where he’s got three Shadowhunter magic knives laid out. Apparently they aren’t quite ready, because they haven’t been named yet. Jace explains that, because he couldn’t ransack the armory, those (and some throwing discs he stole from Isabelle) are their only weapons. And I have to wonder how he managed to get a hold of not one, not two, but three of those knives without going to the armory, considering how important they supposedly are. I mean, did he keep them in his room? Why wouldn’t you keep stuff like that in the armory? I can’t believe that the Inquisitor would just let him keep things like that on him – no way she’s that stupid.
Oh, wait, I know why – because plot.
So Jace picks each one up, says a name that CC probably found on some list of angel names online, and they’re magically finished. He gives one of them to Luke, but Clary doesn’t get one, presumably because she’s a girl, and we’ve already hit our quota of “girls who get to actually fight”, even though Isabelle hasn’t actually gotten to show off her skills once in two books (no, I don’t count tripping guys with her whip as demonstrations of her prowess).
Clary then asks an interesting question – has any Shadowhunter named their blade after Raziel. I say it’s interesting because Raziel supposedly created the Shadowhunters, so you’d think honoring him by giving their weapons his name would be fairly common. But Luke says no, but doesn’t supply an explanation beyond “That’s not done.”
That seems a bit weird, given how cavalier they apparently are with every other angel out there. Which leads me to wonder if Shadowhunters have used the names of more popular angels (like Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, or Uriel). Probably not, because then CC would have to justify why more “big name” angels aren’t given the level of respect that her chosen one is.
Anyway, Clary gets a text, which she shows to Jace. The Inquisitor has apparently given Valentine until sunset to decide if he wants to make the swap. Also, she and Mayrse have been arguing for a few hours, which Jace somehow uses to conclude that the Inquisitor is entirely unaware of his escape.
And for two reasons.
First: CC, do you honestly expect me to believe that the Inquisitor’s people wouldn’t immediately burst in to mention that the guy she personally locked up had managed to escape? What, they heard her and Mrs. Lightwood arguing, and like a couple of children decided to just wait outside? No. I can’t believe that, because that’s both stupid and unprofessional. Despite all your attempts to convince me that the Inquisitor is the bad guy here, she’s not Darth Vader – I can’t believe that she’d kill one of her people because Jace escaped.
Second: I’m having trouble following that train of logic. Here’s the reasoning: 1) the Inquisitor has set a deadline for Valentine to agree to the exchange; 2) the Inquisitor has been arguing with Mayrse for several hours. How does this lead to the conclusion that the Inquisitor doesn’t know that Jace is gone? Wouldn’t a more logical conclusion be that she’s hoping Valentine doesn’t know that Jace is gone, and is planning on ambushing Valentine at the exchange? And the reason she’s been yelling at Mayrse is because she thinks she had something to do with Jace’s escape?
But I guess those explanations would be reasonable, present the Inquisitor and her people as being rational and intelligent, and subsequently not portray Jace as being super-special-awesome.
But enough of that – it’s time for Luke to give this book’s info-dump. At least this time it doesn’t take up a whole chapter, thank Cthulhu.
This one begins with Jace asking about the Inquisitor’s son, and whether he died. Luke is amazed that Jace figured this out, what with how the Inquisitor reacts whenever he’s mentioned.
No Shit Sherlock: 2
So Luke gives the backstory – Stephen (the Inquisitor’s son) was great and wonderful and practically-perfect-in-every-way, blah blah blah. And, of course, he was friends with Luke, Valentine, Jocelyn, and the Lightwoods when they were kids (because no one is allowed to not be connected to them in these books), but oddly enough, he was not a member of the
Order of the Phoenix Deatheaters Circle. At least not at first. No, he only joined after Luke left, and took Luke’s place as Valentine’s second in command. Which is weird, as any sensible person knows you promote from within the organization.
But I guess it’s justifiable by how easily Valentine was able to manipulate him. (Okay, head-canon – Stephen replaced Luke in more ways than one). The Inquisitor wasn’t happy about her son joining the Circle, but Stephen didn’t listen because he was in love or brainwashed or something.
How much control did Valentine have over Stephen? Well, when Valentine didn’t like Stephen’s
beard wife, Stephen divorced her and married someone who Valentine did approve of. And apparently Stephen’s new beard wife really did love him, because when he died during a raid on a vampire nest, she committed suicide.
And she was eight months pregnant at the time.
Yeah, I’m sure that little bit of information is totally irrelevant and won’t become important later.
Anyway, the Inquisitor’s husband heard this and died of grief (like you do), Stephen’s second wife got buried at a crossroads (because I guess Shadowhunters are old-school like that), and when the previous Inquisitor got killed in Valentine’s cluster-fuck of a revolution, she took the job. And given that all the family she had or could have had – husband, son, daughter-in-law, and grandchild – were dead, she became pretty bitter about it.
Jace logically concludes that this is also why she hates Valentine so much – because he’s directly or indirectly responsible for all those deaths.
But Luke says that’s wrong, because that would make the Inquisitor somewhat sympathetic, and we can’t have that. No, Luke insists that the reason she hates Valentine is that, despite everything he did, he still has a son, and she doesn’t, and she blames Valentine for her son’s death. Because that’s not complete bullshit – I mean, who cares that Valentine pretty much took her entire family away, no, she lost her son.
So she’s basically a female version of Flashpoint-Batman (“_My son is DEEEAAAD!_”).
But it doesn’t end there! Jace points out that, hey, Valentine is kinda responsible for all that death, but for some reason Luke decides to defend Valentine. After all, he never forced any of his followers to do anything. Which totally contradicts the point of how much control Valentine had over his followers, especially Stephen. And is a nice bit of victim-blaming, too. By this logic, Hitler, Stalin, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Pol Pot weren’t responsible for any of the actions of their followers – particularly the all the people they killed, because they (the leaders) didn’t do them personally.
No, CC, that is complete bullshit. Because all that horrible stuff was done on their command, and with their approval. Valentine is just as responsible for the deaths of Stephen and the Inquisitor’s family. I have no doubt that the raid that Stephen was killed in was done under Valentine’s orders – thus, without Valentine, Stephen wouldn’t have died, his wife wouldn’t have committed suicide (hell, she probably wouldn’t have even been his wife in the first place), and the Inquisitor’s husband wouldn’t have died either. So tell me, how is none of this Valentine’s fault again?
Anyway, they talk about this a bit more, and it seems to end up favoring Valentine. Which I find weird, given how he’s, you know, the bad guy.
Sadly, the conversation ends before we can delve deeper into this morass of a topic, because Magnus shows up. And for the first time in this series, he’s not dressed like Liberace, instead looking like he’s here to work. He and Luke talk a bit (which includes a joke from Luke that I don’t feel is entirely appropriate, given the circumstances), and Magnus asks him to unlock the truck. They walk off, and Clary stares at them so long that Jace has to snap her out of it. Which leads to this bit:
“It’s all right.” He touched her face, gently, with the back of his hand. “You disappear so completely into your head sometimes,” he said. “I wish I could follow you.”
You do, she wanted to say. You live in my head all the time.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 5
One for each of the following:
- Jace touching Clary’s face in a vaguely romantic way, despite them believing they’re siblings. That’s really gross, dude.
- Jace thinks Clary is “deep” and “thoughtful”, when in fact she is the exact opposite, as anyone who actually reads these books can attest.
- Clary’s reaction, which I’m sure CC intended to convey just how EPIC their romance is, when (just like with Bella and Edward) it isn’t.
Anyway, Jace wants Clary to put her new, spiffy, cheating rune on him now, because Luke will object if he asks later. Because Jace is absolutely convinced that it’s the only way to defeat Valentine’s digi-demon. Clary asks what it’s like, and Jace says it shows you *“what you fear the most in the world.” Clary says she doesn’t know what hers is, and Jace replies that she doesn’t want to.
And now that I think about it, if that’s what this demon does, that’s kinda lame. I mean, suppose what you most fear is something abstract, like financial destitution? What’s it going to show you, an image of your bank account being empty? Hell, even some of the stuff the demon’s shown its victims (like Jace) aren’t really all that frightening. Honestly, what CC probably should have gone with something like Pennywise from It – taking on the form of something that actually scares its victims (like with Maia), because that would actually be an interesting threat.
Besides, we all know the things Jace really fears the most – people realizing that he has no redeeming qualities beyond his physical appearance.
Anyway, Clary gets ready to draw on Jace, and for some reason he tells her (and us) that runes work better the closer they are to a Shadowhunter’s heart. I’d say I don’t know why this was suddenly mentioned, but it’s pretty obvious – so Jace can pull up his shirt and Clary/CC can ogle him without feeling bad.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 6
So Clary draws the thing on his back, and Jace puts his shirt back on. We get some pretty description of the sky as the sun’s going down, and then Jace offers to draw on Clary. Hey, you know what might also be helpful? Giving Clary one of those nifty, freshly-finished blades. Yeah, she has no real training with one, but A) that’s never meant anything before, and B) at least that way she could, you know, defend herself, rather than being utterly useless. Like always.
Clary sees the rune she got in her dream from waaaaay back at the beginning of part 2, and still doesn’t ask any questions about it, like how it got there, or what it means.
Then Magnus pops up and quotes the Bible, specifically the bit where Cain gets marked so no one will kill him. Jace is amazed that Magnus can quote scripture, as if it’s somehow odd. Then again, I doubt Jace could quote the Bible. Magnus mentions a theory he has about Cain’s being the first Mark, which leads into this little exchange:
“But he was hardly one of the angels,” said Clary. “Didn’t he kill his brother?”
“Aren’t we planning to kill our father?” said Jace.
“That’s different,” said Clary.
Luckily for her, Luke pulls up in the truck before she can elaborate on that, probably because someone pointed out to CC that the Bible kind of has some very specific things to say about how children are supposed to treat their parents, and they really don’t support what Clary and Jace are trying to do – I mean, it’s one of the Ten Commandments.
That said, I do think a connection between Cain and the Shadowhunters (or a similar group) would be interesting – maybe they hunt and kill monsters and demons as a form of penance for their ancestor’s actions? It’s a thought.
Back to the book. Magnus tells them to get in the truck, and I learn that either CC or Luke doesn’t know a damn thing about trucks, because the spare tire is in the bed, rather than on the hook on the underside. You know, where it’s supposed to be. Clary also notices that Magnus has drawn a pentagram with some funky designs around it on the bed of the truck. For some reason, CC felt the need to inform us that Clary doesn’t recognize them.
No Shit Sherlock: 3
Well, yeah. It’s not Shadowhunter magic. Oh, sorry, I forgot – Shadowhunters don’t use “magic.” Ether way, why would Clary recognize the designs?
Luke pokes his head out the window and tells Clary to stay with Magnus once they get to the boat, which is probably the most sensible decision made in the entire book. And as such, will probably be ignored. Oddly enough, Clary doesn’t argue with this, so at least she seems to have realized how utterly useless she is in a fight.
The truck starts moving, and we find out what Magnus did to it – when it reaches the river, the truck starts driving over the water. Jace is kind of impressed by all this (well, it is different, I’ll give you that), but Clary thinks it’s kind of lame. Magnus moves somewhat back into my good graces by telling Clary that if she doesn’t like it, she can try walking.
The scene ends there, and the next one has us with Alec and Isabelle. Yay! They actually get to do something this time!
So the Lightwood kids are standing at the library door, presumably listening to their mother and the Inquisitor. I’d say that this is really rude, but again, at least CC decided not to just shove them aside for the ‘climax’.
Anyway, Isabelle asks Alec if he can hear anything, and he says no. Somehow, Isabelle deduces that the fact that their mother and the Inquisitor have stopped yelling means they’re just waiting for Valentine to show up. I guess that kind of makes sense, but so what?
Alec looks out the window and says the sun is setting. Isabelle decides to go into the library. When Alec tries to stop her, she gives this as her explanation:
“I don’t want her to be able to lie to us about what Valentine says,” Isabelle said. “Or what happens. Besides, I want to see him. Jace’s father. Don’t you?”
Okay, the first two I can sort of understand – they don’t trust the Inquisitor (because CC doesn’t understand that “doesn’t like Jace” =/= “is a bad guy”), so they want to see what happens first-hand. But that last bit? How does that fit? Was that one picture of the Circle from back in the day the only photo of Valentine in the entire facility? I guess that would make sense, given how Jace never figured out that Valentine was his father. Or did the Lightwood parents hide all the evidence of their past, because they don’t want their kids to be aware of their previous actions?
Isabelle opens the door and heads in, and Alec decides to follow her. Inside, their mom and the Inquisitor are glaring at each other, and we get this reaction from Isabelle:
Isabelle shot Alec a look, as if to say, Maybe we shouldn’t have come in here. Mom looks mad.
Isabelle, sweetie, you’re the one who opened the door. It was your idea to go into the library in the first place. If your look should say anything, it should say, “Oh shit! I’m sorry. I’ll take the blame.”
And honestly, given how you’ve been sitting in the hallway, listening to the two ladies go at it for a while, are you really that surprised that they’re mad?
No Shit Sherlock: 4
But I don’t blame you, Isabelle. I blame CC – she’s the one who decided to write you as an air-headed bimbo, because otherwise some of her readers might actually like you more than Clary.
The Inquisitor notices them, and is described as looking “positively demented” because CC is as subtle as a brick through a window. The Inquisitor starts yelling about them showing up, but then Valentine shows up, and the meeting is on. At first I thought he was doing that magic-portal thing from the first book, but apparently he’s just doing that super-realistic-holographic-projection thing like Raphael was doing waaaaaayyy back in chapter 3. We get an actual description of Valentine, with special attention given to how he “[lacks] anything of his son’s pale-gold looks,” because, again, CC does not do subtle. Also, I’m giving it one of these:
Both Hands, Ma’am: 7
Every time you describe Jace’s appearance using the word “gold”, I’m going to mentally replace it with “piss”. This is what you’ve pushed me to, CC.
Anyway, Valentine is all smug and condescending, proving he is Jace’s father in every way that matters (not that any of these characters will point that out), and makes comments about the Lightwood kids that, since he’s the villain, are vaguely threatening. He explains the deal for the reader – he gives up the MacGuffins for Jace, or the Inquisitor will kill Jace. Isabelle is, of course, very upset about this, because that’s one of the only things she gets to do now – be upset over people being mean to Jace. She objects to this, and her mother (quite rightly) tells her to shut up.
Then Valentine goes into how he and the Inquisitor are so alike, because he’s a walking cliché. CC again tries to pound in that whole bit about the Inquisitor hating Valentine because he still has a son, despite it making less sense than just blaming Valentine for her entire family’s deaths. And, as anyone could have guessed, Valentine turns down the deal.
This shocks the Inquisitor, because she (unlike Valentine and Jace) can’t grasp that some people (like Valentine and Jace) don’t care for anyone who isn’t of some use to them. Valentine explains that he made his whole Darth Vader “join me” spiel, and Jace turned him down, so Valentine is just fine letting him die.
It’s really, really sad when Darth Vader is a better, more caring father figure than you are. So I guess, kudos for that, CC.
The Inquisitor makes one last play at Valentine’s emotions, saying that her superiors will order Jace’s death, and she won’t be able to stop them, but (big surprise) Valentine doesn’t care.
Isabelle does the whole “emotional female” thing, because that’s really all she’s here for, and Alec has to restrain her for some reason.
The Inquisitor is just shocked to hear that Jace turned down Valentine’s offer. Honestly, I can’t say I blame her for believing he was working with Valentine, given how utterly uncooperative he’s been from the very beginning. Again, if Jace really wanted to prove where his loyalties lay, he could have volunteered to lead the Inquisitor to Valentine’s ship, but again, that would mean he wouldn’t get to be the big hero, which is what really matters.
Now the Inquisitor goes all emotional female and attacks Valentine, but since he’s not really there, noting comes of it, other than him going “Seacrest out” and disappearing.
And that’s the end of that scene. It wasn’t great, but it was a nice break from having to deal with Clary and Jace.
So of course the next scene has us back with them.
They’re still heading for Valentine’s boat, so I guess either they weren’t that close to begin with, or Luke is driving really slow. Clary is cold, which Jace comments on. She asks if he is, and he says he’s not, either to show how ‘manly’ he is, or more likely so he can offer Clary his jacket. Given how Clary reacts to it (“reveling in the softness of the leather”) I’m going with the latter. Also, this:
Both Hands, Ma’am: 8
Jace asks if Clary will stay in the truck, and she says she will. Yeah, let’s see how long she sticks to that once things start going down.
Then Clary says Jace will find Simon for her. I’m not kidding about that either – she doesn’t just say he’ll find Simon, but that he’ll do it “for me”. Which I suppose could be read as “you’ll find Simon in my place,” but I can’t help but read that as “you’ll do the job I should be doing.” Jace tries to say that Simon might be dead (hey, in a realistic world, he would be), but Clary insists that he’s not. No real reason why, other than it would mean she failed at something, and we all know that will never happen.
Jace stares at the water for a bit, and Clary thinks the reflection of the water in Jace’s eyes looks like tears. If you think I’m kidding, see for yourself:
His irises rippled with dark blue water – like tears, Clary thought, but they weren’t tears, only reflections.
So either Clary or CC has never seen someone’s eyes tear up, or she/they have no idea how reflections work.
You Keep Using That Word: 1
(That might be the first time in a long time that I’ve used that count to refer to the actual word choice.)
Anyway, now that Jace is magically without fear (and thus incapable of bravery, at least according to Ned Stark), he decides to try an kiss Clary. The description is very purple.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 9
CC, I get that you and a disturbing number of your fans (i.e. any at all) get off on this, but it is seriously gross. They have every reason to believe they’re siblings.
Luckily (for my stomach, if nothing else) they reach the boat before things can get going. The boat is described, and it’s passable. There’s mention of big, weird-looking birds, which I guess qualifies as decent foreshadowing, at least for CC. Jace says something, but Clary can’t hear it, so he reaches under his jacket (probably so CC can write Clary’s reaction)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 10
and grabs the magic knife from her belt.
… wait, what? When did Clary get one?
Oh, sorry. My bad. Clary got the one Jace tried to give to Luke. Okay then. (CC mentioned in passing that Luke has a kindjal instead, so I’m retroactively giving it one of these:
You Keep Using That Word: 2
It’s a dagger, CC. Just call it that.)
Clary is confused (big surprise) until Jace points out that the birds aren’t really birds. I’m not sure how useful a knife will be against things that can fly, but I guess it’s better than nothing. The demons attack, and the description is, again, decent – they’re basically little pterodactyls, which while simplistic, does get the image across.
Jace jumps up onto the truck’s roof so he can look awesome and impressive (seriously, I can’t think of any other reason to do that) and throws one of his knives at one of the demons.
CC, I don’t care how “cool” that looks. I don’t care that it worked. Throwing a melee weapon – unless it’s specifically designed to be thrown, or you have some means of getting it back – is a stupid thing to do. Because even if it works, you now don’t have that weapon. And Jace only had two to begin with. So how many hours worth of work were put into that knife, only for it to end up at the bottom of the harbor?
Well, another demon-bird-pterodactyl hits the hood and goes for Luke and Magnus. Clary screams (big surprise) and gets attacked by a third one. We get a little more detail on these things, which is also good (they don’t have eyes – creepy), but apparently they’re pretty pathetic, because the one attacking Clary goes down after she “smash[es]” it with her magic knife. Not stabbing, just smashing.
But apparently this one kill is enough to make Clary an expert (of course it is) because she’s stopped screaming, and even starts talking with Jace while they’re fighting. One of the demons manages to catch the sleeve of Jace’s jacket and tear it up, which (to no one’s surprise) gets more of a reaction out of him than anything else.
Our “Heroes”: 3
Even Clary is incredulous at this, but gets distracted when one of the things starts ripping the roof off the cab. And if they’re strong enough to do that, I’m surprised that last one didn’t rip Clary’s arm off.
Luke somehow ends up on the hood of the truck, manages to hold back the two attacking him, and actually manages to kill one (with special mention that his weapon is a kindjal, just to show how much CC knows about weapons and stuff).
You Keep Using That Word: 3
The other one flies off, and heads for the boat. Much to my surprise, Clary checks on Magnus and actually displays some concern for him. He’s not hurt (of course not, that would be inconvenient), but he is drained. He explains that the wards on the boat are tough, but he has to do it, otherwise (and I quote):
“anyone who sets foot on that ship, other than Valentine, will die.”
For some reason, Luke suggests he come with them, and Magnus further explains that he can’t do anything to the wards if he’s on the ship. Personally, I would have reiterated that whole “we’ll all die if I don’t deal with the wards” thing. Seems pretty straight-forward, if you ask me.
And just to pile on more needless crap, Magnus says that his powers aren’t really much use in combat (guess he’s spec’d for buffing or something).
Clary starts to say something, but then another one of the flying demon-bird things (which was apparently clinging to the side of the truck, and no one noticed) jumps out, grabs Clary, and takes off for the boat.
Well, so much for that whole “I’ll stay in the truck” thing. I guess I should at least give credit where it’s due – at least she’s not leaving of her own free will.
We get a scene break that only results in us switching POVs from Clary to Luke. Y’all know what that means:
A Word From Our Sponsors: 2
So Luke screams Clary’s name, because I guess this is supposed to be dramatic or something, but that’s about all he does. Jace says the demon is probably taking her to Valentine, and that it won’t hurt her. Luke is bothered by how casual Jace is about that (at least that’s how I’m choosing to read it), and starts to ask how he knows that (answer: because CC told him), but Jace has already jumped off the side of the truck and into the water and is swimming for the boat.
Luke checks to see that Magnus is okay, then sheathes his dagger (sorry, “_kindjal_”),
You Keep Using That Word: 4
and dives after Jace, ending the scene.
So, I guess we’re just going to ignore Magnus’s warning about the wards, then? What am I saying, CC forgot that the second after she wrote it.
But that’s the end of that scene. It was short, and almost entirely pointless. The next scene is the last of the chapter, and it brings us back to Alec and Isabelle, so maybe we’ll end on a decent note.
So we pick up with the rest of the gang exactly where we left off. Alec decides to let Isabelle go, and actually expects her to go all “crazy emotional female.” Nice. Mayrse looks over at them and tells them to get their father. Of course, only Isabelle actually goes, because if she’s not going to be the crazy emotional female, she serves no purpose in this scene. Oh, the narration says Mayrse looked at Isabelle, but since she’s standing right next to Alec, I’m fairly certain she’s addressing both of them. And, of course, since Alec is the POV character, we need him to stand around mutely observing and not interacting with anyone.
Meanwhile, the Inquisitor is in the middle of a Heroic BSOD over Valentine’s actions. So of course Mayrse decides that now is the perfect time to give her a “The Reason You Suck” Speech, because what’s the point of having a Scary Sue-type villain if you don’t get to tear them apart at the climax? And while everything Mayrse says might technically be true, it’s not like Jace is entirely innocent in all of this – remember, he could have volunteered to help her stop Valentine, but decided not to. Yet no one is pointing that out, because it would make him look bad. Gods, this is chapter two all over again.
So Mayrse goes on and on about how the Inquisitor should have known that Valentine wouldn’t take the deal, and it was her ego that kept them from calling in reinforcements, and now it’s too late to do anything. But then Papa Lightwood shows up, and he’s all geared up and raring to fight. The description of him is okay, especially how Alec reacts to it, but the fact that it specifically mentions how he’s spent the last few years dealing with “Downworlder issues” just reminds me of how stupid, corrupt, and generally horrible Shadowhunter leadership must be.
But regardless, he’s somehow both aware of what’s going on and already has the Inquisitor’s people ready to move on Valentine’s boat. I’m not sure how he managed to pull that off since he probably got the news from Isabelle less than a minute ago, but I guess it’s yet another instance of CC not understanding how to properly convey the passage of time. I’m also curious as to why the other Shadowhunters would actually listen to, let alone take orders from this guy, but again, their leaders thought sending the known, convicted terrorists far away and giving them their own base with absolutely no oversight whatsoever was a good idea.
The Inquisitor points out that their superiors need to be told, so of course Mayrse acts like a petulant child and says that she should do it. Oh, and she puts all the blame for this on the Inquisitor, because again, it’s “let’s shit on the Scary Sue” time.
Isabelle pops back in armed with her whip and a “wooden-bladed _naginata_”.
You Keep Using That Word: 5
Just follow me on this one.
Yes, a naginata is a particular kind of pole weapon, and I won’t fault CC for specifying in this case. But I can’t shake the feeling that she’s only including it because either A) it’s Japanese, and therefore cooler, and/or B) because she read about it and thinks that using specific weapon names will somehow impress her audience.
And while wooden-bladed versions of naginatas do exist, according to Wikipedia those versions are either used to practice katas or in bouts, where the goal isn’t to hurt people. So why the hell would Isabelle use one with a wooden blade, when a metal one (you know, one that’s actually intended to do damage) would be more useful?
Alec grabs for the naginata, with CC still insisting on italicizing the term,
You Keep Using That Word: 6
but Isabelle tells him to get his own weapons. Well, at least she’s somewhat recovered from her bout of forced-helplessness. Not that it stops Alec from rolling his eyes at her behavior, because hey, girls, am I right?
Our “Heroes”: 4
But Papa Lightwood steps in, and says that Alec can use is “_guisarme_” if he wants to.
You Keep Using That Word: 7
Okay, CC, now you’re just showing off. Badly. Put down your Encyclopedia of Weapons already – no one’s impressed. Besides, didn’t we establish in the last book that Alec’s weapon of choice is a bow? Or did CC just forget that? (Probably)
But it turns out the naginata
You Keep Using That Word: 8
(yes, I will do that every time CC insists on italicizing these words – it’s clearly done to draw attention to them) was for Mayrse. She takes it and then for literally no reason at all points the business end at the Inquisitor. Not that it’ll do much good, because the blade is made of wood.
The Inquisitor draws the logical conclusion from this, namely that Mayrse intents to kill her. But no, instead Mayrse starts going on about how they’ll need every available Shadowhunter they can get, and that she’s in charge now (yeah, because her loyalties are totally beyond question). Here’s how she’s described from Alec’s POV:
She looked magnificent as she spoke, Alec thought with pride, a true Shadowhunter warrior, every line of her blazing with righteous fury.
Interesting choice of words, “righteous fury”. Because I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that she looked exactly the same right before she and the rest of the Circle tried to interrupt the Accords and start a race war.
Anyway, Mayrese also insists that Jace be freed. And Alec turns the scene into something from a sitcom by ending the chapter with this:
He cleared his throat. “Actually,” he said, “there’s something you should probably know…”
Rapier Twit: 3
Double points because the narration points it out. CC, just because you lampshade it doesn’t make it funny, nor does it excuse it. I can see this scene in my head right now: everyone turns to look at Alec like “oh, you scamp!” and he gives an exaggerated shrug.
So that’s chapter 17. On the one hand, stuff actually happened – the plot and tension moved in the correct direction, rather than being put on hold while everyone sat around talking about stuff. On the other hand, the scenes not focusing on Clary and Jace were pretty much there just so the Inquisitor can get her comeuppance.
Because from what I remember of her plot from other sporkings, this is pretty much the end of her plot-line – she has seen the error of her ways, and realized what a fool she was to ever doubt that Jace was anything other than the physical embodiment of all that is good and noble. Just ignore the blatant racism, egotism, and general dickish behavior.
And once again, we have a title that has almost no connection whatsoever with the actual content of the chapter. For those who don’t know, the phrase “east of Eden” comes from the Bible, specifically Genesis 4: 16, which in the King James Version is rendered as this:
And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
Now, that has nothing to do with what happened in this chapter. At best, the only connection I can find is that brief discussion of the mark of Cain, but that’s it. So I think we can definitively state that CC picks chapter titles at random, putting absolutely no thought into them at all.
But that’s all for now. I’ll try to get to chapter 18 soon, because we’re closing in on the end, and my suffering will end, at least temporarily. See y’all next time.
Entirely Pointless: 2 (Total: 39)
Un-Logic: 3 (Total: 55)
You Keep Using That Word: 8 (Total: 78)
Shoddy World Building: 0 (Total: 37)
Rapier Twit: 3 (Total: 64)
Our “Heroes”: 4 (Total: 141)
No Shit Sherlock: 4 (Total: 12)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 10 (Total: 102 – TRIPPLE DIGITS!!)
A Word from Our Sponsors: 2 (Total: 9)