Hello all, and welcome back. It hasn’t been nearly as long since the last entry, but just in case you forgot, here’s what happened in the last chapter:

Jace returned to the Institute, and the status quo was restored. We got a brief glimpse of an interesting plot, which was quickly escorted off the premises in a sparkly haze of purple prose. We learned a bit more about the back-story of the Lightwoods, namely that they actually took part in Valentine’s grab for power, making their punishment (or rather, lack thereof) all the more puzzling. Maryse Lightwood blames Luke for their failure, because apparently he, the recently-made werewolf, was supposed to be loyal to the genocidal psychopath and his cult of morons.

In current events, the Inquisitor is coming, and we’re supposed to frightened by this. Given CC’s previous attempts at writing villains, you can imagine how well that’s gone. She’s on her way to investigate the events of the previous book, which is a surprising demonstration of competence on the Shadowhunters’ part. Of course, this means questioning Jace about his loyalties, which is, of course, bad. But Jace, for once being smart and acting like an adult, has decided to stay and face the Inquisitor, rather than run, even agreeing to be “tried by the Sword”, meaning being subjected to the Soul-Sword, the second Mortal Instrument, which for some stupid reason also acts as a lie detector. Honestly, while it sounds cooler, it’s probably much lamer than trial by stone.

We begin chapter four with Simon and Clary poking around in Luke’s fridge.

“Orange juice, molasses, eggs— weeks past their sell-by date, though— and something that looks kind of like lettuce.”
“Lettuce?” Clary peered over Simon’s shoulder into the fridge. “Oh. That’s some mozzarella.”
Simon shuddered and kicked Luke’s fridge door shut. “Order pizza?”

Wow, that’s… actually not that bad. I kind of have to wonder why CC gave Luke the bachelor pad fridge, but aside from that, it works.

Luke walks in and tells them he already ordered pizza. He also called the hospital for an update on Jocelyn, but nothing’s changed.

We get a quick description of Luke’s kitchen, and learn that Clary feels guilty for not helping clean up, but just hasn’t felt up to it. I’d count this as another Our “Heroes”, but given what she’s gone through in the past few weeks, I’m willing to let it slide. Admittedly, I’d be more lenient if Clary had shown any real concern for her mother in the last book, but I’m feeling generous.

We’re also told the Luke doesn’t cook much, with CC citing Luke’s spice rack being used to hold coffee and tea as proof. Given the green mozzarella and way-out-of-date eggs, I’d already figured that out, CC. Compared to that, the thing with the spice rack is pretty minor.

They talk a bit about Jocelyn still being in a coma, with Clary saying she’s somehow concluded her mom hasn’t woken up because she’s waiting for/missing someone or something. I have no idea how she reached that conclusion, but given that she glances over at Luke when she says it, I’m sure CC intended it to be subtle foreshadowing.

The conversation then turns to the events of the previous chapter, and Luke graciously corrects me on my mistake. See, Jace didn’t decide to stay and face the Inquisitor out of any sense of responsibility or conviction. No, he chose to stay because otherwise he can’t be a Shadowhunter, and that’s the most important thing to him. So yeah, he’s only staying because it’s the only way he gets to beat up and kill things without having to worry about getting in trouble. We also learn that Maryse’s name is apparently pronounced “May-ris” for some reason, and that “It’s an old Shadowhunter name.”

I actually took the time to look the name up, and it is French, so it would work with where Shadowhunter-land is supposed to be. You win this round, CC.

The doorbell rings, and Luke goes to answer it, and Simon starts talking about Luke. He says he can grasp the concept of Luke being a werewolf (they’re a “known element”, as he puts it), but not as an ex-Shadowhunter, and compares the whole group to a cult. Clary, of course, objects to this, and Simon says something so awesome I think you should all see it for yourselves:

“Sure they are. Shadowhunting is their whole lives. And they look down on everyone else. They call us mundanes. Like they’re not human beings. They’re not friends with ordinary people, they don’t go to the same places, they don’t know the same jokes, they think they’re above us.”

I know I might be over-using those two, but it makes me so happy when a character says or does something like this. I’m sure that CC intended her readers to disagree with Simon, but like many a Scary Sue, he’s actually right – from what we’ve seen, the Shadowhunters do look down on everyone who isn’t them. They don’t interact with normal humans if they can help it, and despite their claims to the contrary, they don’t consider themselves to be the same as other humans.

But apparently CC realized that she’d accidentally lost control of Simon, because he suddenly brings up his meeting Maia at the bar. And yes, it is just as jarring as it sounds.

Luke pops back in with the pizza before Clary can get jealous, though, and we learn a bit more about Maia – she’s part of Luke’s pack, has been helping out at Luke’s book store while he’s been at the hospital, and that she’s been taking payment in books.

Simon, drop Clary right now and hook up with Maia. I’m not kidding.

Luke’s method of payment somehow leads to Clary talking about her mom “selling her father’s stocks” for money, and Luke quickly explains that Jocelyn was actually selling jewelry that Valentine gave her, many of which were family heirlooms. Simon comments that he hoped Jocelyn got some enjoyment from it, and then grabbing a slice of pizza. The fact that it’s his third prompts gets this reaction from Clary:

It was truly amazing, Clary thought, how much teenage boys were able to eat without ever gaining weight or making themselves sick.

And to which I respond with this:

Entirely Pointless: 2

One for the whole conversation about where Jocelyn got money, and another for the quote above. Also, it might just be me, but I’m detecting a slight whiff of jealousy on CC’s part.

We then move on to something pertinent – namely, Luke encountering Maryse again. Luke says the Maryse hasn’t changed all that much, and that “she’s more like herself than ever.” Which to me implies that she’s still just as much of a genocidal racist as ever, further making me wonder why she’s been given the amount of free rein she’s clearly been given.

Clary then asks if Luke thinks the Lightwoods really hoped he was dead. Luke says probably not (I beg to differ), and goes on to say that, from their perspective, he complicates things. I’ll let him explain:

“That I’m not just alive but am leading the downtown pack can’t be something they’d hoped for. It’s their job, after all, to keep the peace between Downworlders— and here I come, with a history with them and plenty of reason to want revenge. They’ll be worried I’m a wild card.”

There’s two issues I have with this: first, I question the commitment the Shadowhunters have to keeping the peace. Yes, Maryse did seem to care, but as I’ve already mentioned, Jace clearly doesn’t, and will never be punished for agitating things. Second, as I mentioned back in part two of chapter two, Luke is the Downworlder Vidkun Quisling – he’s about as far from being a ‘wild card’ as possible.

And Luke more or less confirms my conjecture, but refers to himself as being “Middle-aged.” I’m willing to go along with this, until Simon once again acts as the voice of reason, and points out that thirty-eight is not middle-aged. Luke thanks him for saying so, and then comments that Simon ate the entire pizza, and Simon protests that he only ate five slices.

Given that they started eating about a page ago, I can imagine only three possible explanations for how this has happened:

A) The pizza was really small.

B) Simon almost literally inhaled each slice.

C) CC sucks at demonstrating the passage of time.

As the entire conversation seems to have taken maybe five minutes, I’m going with C.

However, this does lead into this exchange, which is actually kind of amusing:

“Does this mean you’re going to wolf out and eat me?”
“Certainly not.” Luke rose to toss the pizza box into the trash. “You would be stringy and hard to digest.”
“But kosher,” Simon pointed out cheerfully.
“I’ll be sure to point any Jewish lycanthropes your way .”

It’s not exactly “ha-ha” funny, but it’s leagues better than anything coming out of Jace’s mouth.

Luke moves the conversation back to meeting with Maryse, and says that it wasn’t Maryse that made it weird, it was being around Shadowhunter magic* again. Apparently Luke’s spent a lot of time trying to forget that stuff, but it’s been hard. I imagine it’s kind of like a recovering alcoholic walking around a liquor store.

*(And yes, I’m calling it magic – if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, don’t tell me it’s an iguana.)

This leads Clary into saying that she wants to get some magic Shadowhunter tattoos. Simon is, understandably, incredulous. Here’s Clary’s rationale:

“No, I’m not. Why would I joke about something like that? And why shouldn’t I get Marks? I’m a Shadowhunter. I might as well go for what protection I can get.”

See, here’s the thing, Clary – you’re not a Shadowhunter, at least not in any way that really counts. I’d like to think that there’s a lot of training involved, and while you managed to acquit yourself reasonably well in a fight or two in the last book, one of those was sheer dumb luck (and you still ended up flat on your ass), and the second time was flat-out authorial intervention. Every other time you were in the vicinity of violence, you were about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

Hell, you’ve barely had any real experience with the supernatural in the first place. The last book took place over maybe a week, tops, so she’s known about all this stuff for maybe two weeks. There’s more time between your periods than the beginning of the last book and now.

This reeks of two things: either CC once again forgetting her own timeline, or Clary wanting to distance herself from humanity as much as possible. She’s just like Bella Swan – she’s learned about a secret group that looks down on humanity, and is perfectly willing to abandon her normal life to join up.

Simon says he thought Clary was done with all the Shadowhunter crap, and just wanted to go back to living a normal life, which prompts Luke to reply that he’s “not sure there’s such a thing as a normal life.”

I don’t know, dude – you seemed to be making a pretty decent go of it for a while there. You’ve already demonstrated that you don’t give a shit about leading a pack of werewolves, so why not give it another chance?

Clary looks at the Mark Jace gave her

You Keep Using That Word: 1

(stupid fucking capitalization)

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

(just for spite)

and we come to yet another bit that I just can’t quite sum up:

“Sure, I want to get away from the weirdness. But what if the weirdness comes after me? What if I don’t have a choice?”
“Or maybe you don’t want to get away from the weirdness that badly,” Simon muttered. “Not as long as Jace is still involved with it, anyway.”

DING-DING-DING! WE HAVE A WINNER!

Much like the aforementioned Ms. Swan, the Designated Love Interest is a large motivating factor for Ms. Frey. And while she hasn’t been quite as insistent on joining the Shadowhunters as Bella was coughflighttoItalycough, I think the added incest balances it out.

Since CC once again can’t come up with a way to refute that argument, she once again shifts the conversation away from the topic. This time, Luke pipes up, informing us that most would-be Shadowhunters go through quite a bit of training before even getting their first magic tattoo,

You Keep Using That Word: 2

(because he uses that word again)

but despite Clary having absolutely no training at all, he’s going to give her “Something every Shadowhunter should have.”

God, I’m really starting to hate that idea.

So CC once again does what she’s known for – shamelessly ripping off something from a much better bit of media. This time though, she steals from Star Wars. Yep, Luke just so happens to have Jocelyn’s old magic drawing stick, which he now gives to Clary. And here’s her reaction:

“Pretty,” said Clary.

Our “Heroes”: 1

Look, I know Luke Skywalker did some stupid shit when he first got his lightsaber, but at least that thing came with a fucking off switch. This is the equivalent of buying a car and giving the keys to a kid who just got their learner’s permit. Does this Luke honestly believe that Clary isn’t going to play around with that thing? Nothing good can come of this.

Clary takes the magic not-wand and starts waving it around like the idiot she is, Simon compares it to when his grandfather gave him a set of golf clubs which he’s never used, Clary totally misses the point of the comparison, and the scene ends.

The next scene is from Jace’s POV. And it begins with a dream.

… do we really have to do this? We do? Fine.

So, Jace is having a dream/flashback thing. Valentine’s been treating Jace’s skin like a two-year-old with a marker treats a blank wall, and now there’s black smoke and shit coming from the magic tattoos.

Wait, actual evidence of a downside to these things? Amazing! Let’s see how long it takes CC to completely forget this.

The tip of Valentine’s magic drawing stick is glowing read, which combined with the end of the last scene makes me think CC was watching a bit too much of Star Wars when she wrote this bit. He tells Jace that “pain is only what you allow it to be,” and then proceeds to start breaking bones in Jace’s hand, and the nightmare ends.

Okay, as much as I despise Jace, that right there? Not okay. And if that’s something Valentine did on a regular basis, it just makes me wonder why Jace would ever defend the bastard. I understand that victims of abuse will often excuse the terrible behavior of their abuser. However, when you’ve been removed from that kind of thing for years, and part of said abuse includes breaking the victim’s bones for shits and giggles, there is no defense for that.

But what makes this worse is that I’m 90% certain that CC only included that bit to elicit sympathy for Jace. Unfortunately in this case, it’s not working. Yes, Jace might be the victim of an abusive, genocidal, fundamentalist psychopath, but that doesn’t excuse his own horrible behavior. Jace is still a Joffery in desperate need of a Tyrion.

(I love that clip)

Or at leas a Tywin.

So anyway, Jace wakes up and realizes that the snapping sound from his dream is actually someone knocking at his door. How anyone could confuse the two, even when unconscious, I don’t know.

He gets out of bed, and we find out that he didn’t change out of his clothes before falling asleep.

He’d fallen asleep in his clothes and he looked down at his wrinkled shirt in distaste. He probably still smelled like wolf. And he ached all over.

Our “Heroes”: 2

Ah, casual racism is such an attractive trait.

Jace answers the door, and Alec is waiting for him, and says that Maryse wants to see him in the library. Jace mentions that he went by Alec’s room earlier, but he wasn’t there. Alec responds that he was “out” and doesn’t elaborate further. Jace agrees to go, but wants to put on a clean shirt first, which makes sense, because “in some places it was stuck to his skin with dried blood.”

Wait a second…

[goes and checks previous sporking]

Okay, I’m calling bullshit on that, CC. Back in chapter two, you said he only had a few cuts a bruises, which I doubt would bleed that much. Jace didn’t seem all that bothered by them, so why bring them up now? And if Jace was that injured, why didn’t anyone deal with the injuries? And don’t try to tell me that he somehow suppressed or ignored them, because despite what Patrick Swayze said in Roadhouse, pain does, in fact, hurt. That’s kind of the point – pain is the body’s way of telling you “something is wrong”.

But I’m digressing. Alec asks what happened, and Jace explains that he started a fight with a bunch of werewolves. I note that he provides almost no real details (like, say, the dead werewolf boy that he completely disregarded), or that he beat half of them to death, as well as Alec not seeming to give a shit or ask why Jace would do a stupid thing like that.

No, instead we get Jace noticing what looks like a bite mark on Alec’s neck and Alec being defensive and secretive about it (read: acting like a teen in a sit-com). Because this is what CC considers humor.

Rapier Twit: 1

I’m just going to save you guys some time wondering (in this case, about five seconds), and reveal the blatantly obvious: Alec has a hicky. And given that there’s only one other character in this series who isn’t straight, and CC sure as hell isn’t going to add another character just for funzies, Alec obviously got it making out with Magnus Bane.

Moving on, Alec starts telling Jace about how things seem to stand – Alec might not have any doubts about Jace’s loyalties, but the fact that Valentine is his father and he never mentioned it has raised some doubts. Which is entirely rational. But since Jace is a petulant little child, he doesn’t believe Alec. Alec then tries to calm Jace down, while also giving some advice:

“I’m just saying.” Alec’s tone was placating. “You can be a little— harsh sometimes. Just think before you talk, that’s all I’m asking. No one’s your enemy here, Jace.”

That’s a lot nicer than I would have put it, but then all the feelings I’ve had toward Jace are seething hatred.

Jace doesn’t respond well to Alec telling him that he’s not quite as kind and loveable as he might think, and storms off.

Jace once again storms into the library without knocking, because I guess manners are for people other than him. We’re informed that the library is Jace’s favorite place, which I rather doubt given how little interest he seems to have in anything not pertaining to killing things or reminding him how awesome he is.

And just like last chapter, Jace immediately thinks of Hodge. I’ll forgive it in this case, as Jace has lived there for several years, and thus closely associates the library with Hodge. Still, I can’t help but think that CC completely forgot that she’d already done this exact same thing in the previous chapter.

The library is dark, but Jace soon realizes that someone else is already there – the Inquisitor. Why she’s sitting there in the dark, I have no idea. Maybe to make her reveal in the adaptation more dramatic.

Un-Logic: 1

We’re given a paragraph description of the Inquisitor which isn’t bad, and she asks if he’s “the boy.” Before he can answer, Maryse shows up and confirms Jace’s identity, but refers to him by his real name, rather than the one he’s been using his whole life. The Inquisitor makes Jace look her in the eye, and then tells him to call her by her title. After briefly reflecting on his prior beliefs regarding the Inquisitor, Jace now thinks of her as being “direct” and “hostile.”

What, did you think she’d coddle you? You’re suspected of secretly working with your father, who is basically Hitler. Personally, I think the fact that the Inquisitor hasn’t dragged you off and started in with the hot pokers and water-boarding shows an immense amount of restraint.

But despite picking up on these not-at-all subtle clues, Jace decides to do possibly the stupidest thing possible in this situation. In fact, I’m going to give you the entire exchange, so you can see it for yourselves:

“My name is Jace,” he said. “Not boy. Jace Wayland.”
“You have no right to the name of Wayland,” she said. “You are Jonathan Morgenstern. To claim the name of Wayland makes you a liar. Just like your father.”
“Actually,” said Jace, “I prefer to think that I’m a liar in a way that’s uniquely my own.”

This is indicative of their conversation for this whole scene – the Inquisitor will say something true or accurate (at least from her perspective), and Jace will mouth off to her, probably in an attempt to show how “badass” he is. Apparently he doesn’t understand that antagonizing the cops is a bad idea.

Quick pit of record keeping before moving on.

Our “Heroes”: 3

Why am I supposed to like this twit again?

Rapier Twit: 2

CC, this is not the time to have Jace cracking jokes. I’m honestly surprised Maryse doesn’t smack him upside the head.

Oh, but then we get something wonderful. Something glorious. Sorry to do this again so soon, but mere words can’t properly convey how amazing the Inquisitor’s response is.

“I see.” A small smile curved her pale mouth. It was not a nice smile. “You are intolerant of authority, just as your father was. Like the angel whose name you both bear.” Her fingers gripped his chin with a sudden ferocity, her nails digging in painfully. “Lucifer was rewarded for his rebellion when God cast him into the pits of hell.” Her breath was sour as vinegar. “If you defy my authority, I can promise that you will envy him his fate.”

God, it is so wonderful to not only have another character who not only doesn’t kowtow to Jace, but actively refuses to put up with his bullshit, but to have them be a Shadowhunter, and a high ranking one at that? Glorious. Simply glorious.

The Inquisitor lets Jace go, and he’s so pissed he clenches his fists so hard he draws blood, but for once he actually keeps his damn mouth shut.

CC remembers Maryse is in the scene, because she tells the Inquisitor that Jace agreed to face the magic lie-detecting sword, and accidentally let’s the Inquisitor’s real name slip (Imogen Herondale, if you’re interested). The Inquisitor says she already knows, and then turns her ire on Mrs. Lightwood. Let’s watch, shall we?

“You know, Maryse, the Clave is not pleased with you. You and Robert are the guardians of the Institute. You’re just lucky your record over the years has been relatively clean. Few demonic disturbances until recently, and everything’s been quiet the past few days. No reports, even from Idris, so the Clave is feeling lenient. We have sometimes wondered if you’d actually rescinded your allegiance to Valentine. As it is, he set a trap for you and you fell right into it. One might think you’d know better.”

It’s like someone pointed out the logical flaws in the last book. Now if only CC hadn’t decided to make the character spouting them into an obvious secondary villain, then this would be a major step in the right direction.

Jace insists that there’s no trap, and that Valentine convinced him he was Michael Wayland’s son so the Lightwoods would take him in. Of course, this doesn’t explain why Valentine faked his death the second time, but since when has this series been about making sense?

Un-Logic: 2

Retro-active? Maybe, but I don’t care.

Then the Inquisitor more or less gives us a title-drop, and again I think you guys need to see the whole conversation:

The Inquisitor stared at him as if he were a talking cockroach . “Do you know about the cuckoo bird, Jonathan Morgenstern?”
Jace wondered if perhaps being the Inquisitor— it couldn’t be a pleasant job— had left Imogen Herondale a little unhinged. “The what?”
“The cuckoo bird,” she said. “You see, cuckoos are parasites. They lay their eggs in other birds’ nests. When the egg hatches, the baby cuckoo pushes the other baby birds out of the nest. The poor parent birds work themselves to death trying to find enough food to feed the enormous cuckoo child who has murdered their babies and taken their places.”
“Enormous?” said Jace. “Did you just call me fat?”
“It was an analogy.”
“I am not fat.”

I can actually see the Inquisitor suppressing the urge to facepalm. And honestly, I’m not sure who deserves to be slapped the most – Jace for saying that stupid line, CC for writing it, or everyone involved in the revision process for not pointing out how the “joke” completely destroys any tension that’s been built up.

Rapier Twit: 4

One for Jace, and one for CC.

Maryse decides to once again remind us that she’s here by getting indignant at the implied pity in the Inquisitor’s analogy, and then points out that she and her husband were entirely honest about what they were doing with Jace (at least to their knowledge), and thus shouldn’t be punished. I’m a bit iffy on that, considering that neither of the Lightwood parents seemed to notice that Jace looks a hell of a lot like Valentine, and they never showed Jace a photo of Michael Wayland (or even the whole Circle) to see if he could identify his father. I’m just saying they were a bit too willing to take Jace at his word, is all.

Jace points out that he’s never done anything to hurt the Lightwoods (unless you count leading their kids into a life-threatening situation with no backup, of course), and that as horrible a person as Valentine is, he did make Jace a good Shadowhunter (by which I assume he means “really good at killing things”).

And then we get yet another bit of what I’m sure CC considers “witty repartee”:

“Don’t defend your father to me,” the Inquisitor said. “I knew him. He was—is— the vilest of men.”
“Vile? Who says ‘vile’? What does that even mean?”

Rapier Twit: 5

God, Jace, just shut up.

And you know what would be a good thing for the Inquisitor to bring up right now? Something demonstrating just how poorly suited Jace actually is for being a Shadowhunter, and that – beyond killing things – he’s just a liability for the organization?

THAT WHOLE INCIDENT AT THE BEGINNING OF CHAPTER TWO! You know, where he antagonized a bunch of werewolves (who let’s not forget lost several prominent members trying to rescue his ungrateful ass) and then proceeded to beat the crap out of them, all because he his widdle feewings got hurt. And it being a week after renewing the alleged peace treaty between the Shadowhunters and Downworlders.

But no, we can’t actually bring that up, because that might make Jace look bad, and that he might have to face actual consequences for his actions, and we can’t have that!

Instead, the Inquisitor (in a what I consider a display of near saintly control) just says this:

“You are arrogant,” she said at last. “As well as intolerant. Did your father teach you to behave this way?”

Jace replies that the only person he doesn’t mouth off to is his father (yeah, I know), and the Inquisitor basically says that Jace is exactly like Valentine, which leads to a nice long bit from Jace which apparently over 1400 thought was so good it needed to be highlighted:

“Yes,” Jace said, unable to help himself, “I was trained to be an evil mastermind from a young age. Pulling the wings off flies, poisoning the earth’s water supply— I was covering that stuff in kindergarten . I guess we’re all just lucky my father faked his own death before he got to the raping and pillaging part of my education, or no one would be safe.”

Jesus tap-dancing Christ, would you just shut the fuck UP. This is not ‘witty’. This is not ‘clever’. This is Jace openly antagonizing a person who would probably be more than willing to have him executed if given a good enough excuse – which Jace is doing.

So I’m just going to mark the count, and then watch something that’ll calm me down a bit.

Rapier Twit: 6

Our “Heroes”: 4

Ah, I needed that. We’re almost done with the scene.

Well apparently that was so stupid even Maryse thinks Jace went too far with that last bit, and thankfully we’re given yet another entirely accurate assessment of Jace by the Inquisitor:

“And just like your father, you can’t keep your temper ,” she said. “The Lightwoods have coddled you and let your worst qualities run rampant. You may look like an angel, Jonathan Morgenstern, but I know exactly what you are.”

Maryse tries to defend Jace’s behavior by saying that he’s “just a boy,” which once again flies in the face of Jace’s proclamation of how he’s an adult from a few chapters ago (but is still entirely accurate), and Jace is just flabbergasted that she’s defending him (dude, that’s what she’s been doing the whole time).

The Inquisitor decides that Jace is too worked up to undergo interrogation-via-mind-rape, and says she knows just the place where he can calm down. Jace, of course, has to get in one last bit of snark before the scene ends.

Jace blinked. “Are you sending me to my room?”

Rapier Twit: 7

I don’t even care at this point.

But no, even CC can’t force the Inquisitor to do something that stupid. No, she’s going to have him locked up in the Silent City. Yeah, remember that place? We spent maybe a whole chapter there in the last book, but it somehow warranted being the title? Well, turns out the place also serves as the Shadowhunters’ prison. Here’s a description of the kinds of people who get sent there:

The cells were reserved for the worst of criminals: vampires gone rogue, warlocks who broke the Covenant Law, Shadowhunters who spilled each other’s blood.
Shoddy World Building: 1

So, if this place exists, why aren’t the Lightwoods, Hodge, Michael Wayland, and all the other surviving members of the Circle there? I mean, they’re known members of a terrorist organization – like I’ve been saying, there is no reason for them to be walking around free.

And I can only come up with two explanations, one author-related, and one world-related. The former is that CC only made this place up when she started writing this book, and didn’t bother to make it fit into the world she’d already established. The later is that Shadowhunters follow the Ape Shall Never Kill Ape bullshit, and that the Circle attempting to murder the Downworlder delegates and igniting a race-war is somehow less of a crime than killing one of their own (a prospect which I really wouldn’t be surprised by), and that they somehow managed to stage their little Putsch without harming a single Shadowhunter in the process.

Honestly, I prefer the first one.

Anyway, Jace doesn’t protest, leaving the Inquisitor to get in the last word.

“Very wise, Jonathan. I see you’re already learning the best lesson the Silent City has to teach you.” The Inquisitor’s smile was like a grinning skull’s. “How to keep your mouth shut.”

Hey, Jace – you want some ice for that?

After the scene break, we’re back with Clary. To my surprise, she’s actually helping out with the housekeeping by doing the dishes (no, I’m not being sexist – she’s living there, so she should contribute to the house’s upkeep in some way).

The doorbell rings, and after it’s confirmed that no one is expecting company, Luke goes to answer the door, but not before grabbing a knife. Simon’s a bit freaked out by the knife bit, but Clary points out that, given recent events, Luke’s just being safe. I’m a little ashamed to find myself agreeing with her.

Then reality as I know it is reasserted, because when Simon freaks out about Clary trying to see who’s at the door, her justification is that Luke “could probably use [their] help” if whoever/whatever is at the door were there to attack them. Let’s be clear, Clary – if you guys were under attack, you would be a liability. Just like in almost every fight in the previous book. Simon has proven himself to be more useful than you, and he’s just the pathetic mundane.

Oh, and Clary calls Simon being protective of her “cute.”

Our “Heroes”: 5

So it’s perfectly okay for Luke – the werewolf – to answer the door with a knife, but it’s funny that Simon – the normal guy – wants to keep you out of the line of fire? Or is it because Simon is the stupid mundie, so he’s obviously overreacting?

Luke gives the all-clear by yelling for Clary, and we find out who was at the door – it’s Maia, because CC can only introduce so many new characters at a time. I mean, they’re all so complex and well developed, it must be hard to keep track!

Well, now that Clary’s scented another young female, she immediately goes into bitch-mode. Which is kind of ironic, given that Maia’s the werewolf. (rimshot)

And to prove that I’m not at all exaggerating, I’m going to show you Clary and Maia’s first interaction:

“You must be Clary.”
Clary admitted that this was the case.
“So that kid— the boy with the blond hair who tore up the Hunter’s Moon—he’s your brother?”
“Jace,” Clary said shortly, not liking the girl’s intrusive curiosity.

How is that “intrusive curiosity”, Clary? She’s asking a question about Jace, and therefore must be interested in him? Or are you just playing Passive-Aggressive Kombat? (skip to about 2:55)

Either way,

Our “Heroes”: 6

Then Simon shows up, and Maia smiles at him, which really sets Clary off.

Our “Heroes”: 7

Luke butts in before Clary tries to claw Maia’s eyes out, and explains that Maia will be working in the bookstore for a few weeks, and he wanted Clary to meet her so Clary wouldn’t freak out. Maia adds that she’ll also be keeping an eye out for any supernatural stuff that might come sniffing around. Clary responds exactly how you’d expect, only to get totally pwned by Maia just now picking up on Clary’s attitude:

“Thanks,” said Clary. “I feel so safe now.”
Maia blinked. “Are you being sarcastic?”
Our “Heroes”: 8

God, Maia’s awesome. At least when CC isn’t behind the wheel, anyway.

But since Clary’s the self insert heroine, we can’t have other characters chastising her for her terrible behavior. No, instead Simon steps in and offers the excuse of everyone being tense to explain Clary’s behavior, says he appreciates Maia’s willingness to come around, and casually refers to Clary as his girlfriend.

Amazingly, Clary apologizes for her behavior. Maia says it’s okay, and offers her sympathies regarding Jocelyn being in a coma. Clary accepts this, but let’s be honest – she’d probably forgotten about her mom.

Clary and Luke head inside, and Luke apologizes for Maia, because he didn’t realize that Clary “[wasn’t] in the mood to meet anyone.”

No, Luke. Fuck that – I don’t know if I used this quote from Gurney Halleck in the last book, but it applies here:

Mood? What has mood to do with it? You fight when the necessity arises — no matter the mood! Mood’s a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It’s not for fighting.

No, there’s no fighting in this scene, but that’s beside the point. Maybe it’s because I’m from the South (though neither of my parents were raised here), but being rude to a guest (which is putting it generously) isn’t excusable, regardless of your “mood”. If Clary wasn’t “in the mood” to meet someone, she could have politely excused herself, rather than go all bitch-face on the poor girl. It’s called having manners, CC.

Anyway, Clary – being the observant person she is – notices that Simon’s not currently attached to her side, and asks where he is. Luke points out that he’s still talking to Maia (and being friendly and a decent human being, but whatever), and then Luke explains that part of the reason he asked Maia to come around was that he hoped she and Clary might become friends.

Clary points out the she has Simon. To which I’ll bring this up again:

Simon. She had forgotten he was outside, had almost forgotten he existed. – City of Bones, Chapter 19.

Clary, you are a terrible friend.

Luke then brings up Simon calling Clary his “girlfriend”, and asks if he (Luke) should have known that already. And I actually like this bit – it’s a very father-daughter moment, and it feels genuine. Clary admits that she hadn’t heard it herself, and then ruins the moment by saying this:

“Somebody’s girlfriend,” she said. “Somebody’s sister, somebody’s daughter. All these things I never knew I was before, and I still don’t really know what I am.”

A Mary Sue and the author’s self-insert. There. Do I win a prize?

Simon pops back in and asks if he can spend the night, as it’s really late. Luke gives it the okay, and says he’s going to bed – he plans to get up at 5:00 to get to the hospital as soon as visiting hours start.

Clary says that Simon doesn’t have to sleep on the couch, to which he replies with this:

“I don’t mind staying to keep you company tomorrow,” he said, shaking dark hair out of his eyes impatiently. “Not at all.”

What? How does that connect to what Clary said? Or is this a remnant of a previous draft?

Anyway, Clary repeats herself, with a little more emphasis, and Simon finally picks up on the not-at-all-subtle innuendo. He blushes, and we get this comparison:

Jace would have tried to look cool; Simon didn’t even try.

Personally, I find that to be a point in Simon’s favor – his reaction might be awkward, but it’s genuine, which I think is more endearing. But I just can’t shake the feeling that it was intended to point out Jace’s superiority. As such,

Both Hands, Ma’am: 2

And seriously, Clary – comparing your boyfriend to a guy you think is your brother is seriously fucked up.

They kiss again, Clary makes a comment about being tired of doing that in a kitchen, and they head to the guest room, bringing the chapter to an end.

So, a few final thoughts, and then we’ll call this one done.

I said at the end of chapter three that there was no point to chapters one through three, but I feel it deserves reiterating here. Almost nothing from the first three chapters will be brought up again (especially the crap at the werewolf bar), or be of any relevance. And what little that is important could easily have been fixed: we could have learned about the Inquisitor and the reason for her visit when she showed up; we don’t need any background on Maia before she shows up at Luke’s door; we really don’t need that whole sub-plot about Maryse kicking Jace out, and excising the whole scene at the Hunter’s Moon could only be an improvement.

But no – CC already wrote it, and therefore it has to stay, because that kind of revision is for other, lesser authors.

Now let’s discuss what’s at the heart of this chapter – the Inquisitor.

Given the obvious connections between this series and the Harry Potter books, it’s tempting to compare this book to Order of the Phoenix. Both have the authorities expressing doubts about the protagonist and persecuting him (unjustly or not) for events which occurred in the previous book, said doubts and persecution are tied to the reemergence of the primary villain, a secondary villain is introduced to embody the persecuting authority, and perhaps most telling, said secondary villain has or is given the title of inquisitor.

But there’s one critical difference – Rowling gave us reasons to hate Dolores Umbridge. Her methods of punishing students are cruel, dismisses a teacher, and sets up a student organization which acts like spies and secret police. Basically, she is a nasty, horrible person, and we see that.

That’s not the case here, though. Oh, we’re told the Inquisitor is mean and horrible, but there’s no real proof of that. Yes, she’s responsible for the Lightwoods being more or less banished from Shadowhunter-land, and for Hodge being under magically-enforced house arrest; but as I’ve said before, considering their crimes, that’s a slap on the wrist. I guess we’re supposed to hate her because she doesn’t like Jace, but the fact is, most of what she said is entirely correct. And the stuff that isn’t is a logical supposition. Basically, CC wants us to hate her because she’s doing her job.

Well, I can’t do that. Maybe if I actually liked Jace, or the believed the Lightwoods were as pure and innocent as CC wants me to believe they are, but that’s not the case. I hate Jace because of his actions, and I don’t trust the Lightwoods because of their past. Sorry, CC, but what you’re telling doesn’t line up with what you’re showing.

Counts

Entirely Pointless: 2 (Total: 20)
Un-Logic: 2 (Total: 17)
You Keep Using That Word: 2 (Total: 22)
Shoddy World Building: 1 (Total: 9)
Rapier Twit: 7 (Total: 20)
Our “Heroes”: 8 (Total: 31)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 (Total: 4)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2 (Total: 14)
A Word from Our Sponsors: 0 (Total: 2)

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Comment

  1. The Smith of Lie on 17 January 2015, 15:03 said:

    Sometimes when I see quotes like Siomn’s or Inquisitor’s from this chapters in sporks I think that suddenly characters became self-aware for a second and managed to slip few words before author reasserted their domination.

    Also, somehow, reading the exchange between Jayce and Inquisitor reminded me about Steel Inquisitors. How much awesome would that book be if it was one of them sent instead?

    And for a quick, dirty and short spitefic:
    “Don’t defend your father to me,” the Inquisitor said. “I knew him. He was—is— the vilest of men.”
    “Vile? Who says ‘vile’? What does that even mean?”
    The doors to the library flew open with a crash. Inside stepped a sillhoutte, a shape of a man. Shadows whiled around him in a cloud, making it hard to discern details. He walked forward slowly. “Who the fuck…” Jayce did not finish, hit in the face by the armored fist.

    Both Inquisitor and Maryse got their steles, used their marks. It was useless. Whatever projectiles were not stopped by living shadows, bounced harmlessly from black armor. Lord Vile stepped to the boy lying prone at his feet and looked down at him. And then extended his death bubble.

  2. Ziggy on 17 January 2015, 16:45 said:

    I definitely agree with that last part. The Inquisitor is correct to scrutinize the Institute. The only problem is that, because she’s the designated villain, her motives turn out to be petty and inane. I find that a lot of stories have this problem; they can’t wrap their heads around the idea that different people will have different perspectives on the hero’s conduct. Anyone who doesn’t instinctively trust and respect the hero is either evil or has some sort of warped mentality that makes them completely unreasonable, or both. It’s not possible for someone to just be wrong about something, they have to be evil or twisted.

  3. Anne on 17 January 2015, 18:21 said:

    You know what? Everytime Simon says something incredibly totally awesome mega YES it could further the plot into something good, but unfortunately CC is the writer so he gets written of. Damn I love that you are sporking this series but that you still love Simon. Alot of reviews write even Simon of as a useless/not important character.

    also
    Oh, and Clary calls Simon being protective of her “cute.”
    God, Clary. You are not a badass please don’t say “strong female character” things like that.

    Then Simon shows up, and Maia smiles at him, which really sets Clary off.
    Jesus H. Christ, Clary you possesive bitch. First with the whole Isabelle shebang and now literally everybody else interacting with your boys. Chill.

    btw are you going to read the fourth book? I don’t want to subject you to more horrible book-writing and plot holes, but that one has alot of Simon material and how he deals w/ being a vampire etc (ofc also some horrible plot about clary and jace being kidnapped by sebastian or something?)

  4. Aikaterini on 17 January 2015, 20:07 said:

    Clary saying she’s somehow concluded her mom hasn’t woken up because she’s waiting for/missing someone or something. I have no idea how she reached that conclusion

    Maybe Clary has watched too many movies and that’s why she was convinced in the last book that if Jace talked to Jocelyn, he would miraculously rouse her from her coma as if Jocelyn were Sleeping Beauty.

    Yes, Simon and Imogen are awesome. But, of course, the only reason why Imogen criticizes Jace is because she’s still grieving over her poor dead son, you see, and the only reason why Simon would criticize Jace is because he’s jealous. So, feel free to ignore the valid points they make.

    It’s not exactly “ha-ha” funny, but it’s leagues better than anything coming out of Jace’s mouth.

    Because Simon and Luke like each other and are just poking fun at each other. Jace doesn’t like anyone and the only purpose his ‘witty quips’ serve is to hurt others, boost his own ego, and demonstrate how superior he is to everyone.

    Ah, casual racism is such an attractive trait.

    I love how right after Clare tossed that nightmare in just to make us feel sorry for Jace, she shoots herself in the foot by having him spout racist lines again. Get back to me when Jace apologizes to the werewolf pack for attacking them. Then maybe I might start feeling sorry for him.

    Alec not seeming to give a shit or ask why Jace would do a stupid thing like that.

    Because nobody cares about the werewolves, including their author. They only exist because this series is a YA fantasy.

    Jace doesn’t respond well to Alec telling him that he’s not quite as kind and loveable as he might think

    Jace is such a hypocritical baby. Oh, he can shoot his mouth off all he wants at people, but the minute that someone suggests that he’s not perfect, he sulks. He can dish it out, but he can’t take it.

    What, did you think she’d coddle you?

    Well, everyone else does. That’s why they are good and the Inquisitor is evil.

    “Vile? Who says ‘vile’? What does that even mean?”

    This, coming from one of the most snobbish and pretentious characters I’ve ever read? The guy whose supposed ‘best friend’ says things like this: “your flippancy is wearing on my patience”? Bite me.

    Jace replies that the only person he doesn’t mouth off to is his father.

    Meaning that the only person that he respects is the villain. Charming.

    You may look like an angel, Jonathan Morgenstern, but I know exactly what you are.”

    Even within her very valid criticisms of Jace, the Inquisitor just has to compliment his looks.

    How is that “intrusive curiosity”, Clary? She’s asking a question about Jace, and therefore must be interested in him?

    Of course, just like the waitress’s friendliness to Edward in Twilight was a mask for her desire to date him. The only way to know that another woman isn’t interested in your man is if she’s a) not pretty and b) rude to him.

    Maia smiles at him, which really sets Clary off.

    Because, just like Jace, Clary is a hypocrite.

    Clary points out the she has Simon.

    Yeah, Luke, why on earth would Clary need female friends? She’s not like those other girls, you know, she gets along much better with men because she can drool over them and string them along. She can’t do that with girls and there’s always the possibility that one of her male ‘friends’ might wise up to her behavior and ditch her for someone else who will treat him right, so she can’t take any chances.

  5. Juracan on 18 January 2015, 21:04 said:

    Before I get to talking about the actual sporking, something I need to say:

    The doors to the library flew open with a crash. Inside stepped a sillhoutte, a shape of a man. Shadows whiled around him in a cloud, making it hard to discern details. He walked forward slowly. “Who the fuck…” Jayce did not finish, hit in the face by the armored fist.

    YES

    YES

    ALL OF THE YES LORD VILE KICK HIS ARSE

    Right, back to City of Ashes.

    I guess I’m thankful that there’s at least someone pointing out the main characters’ flaws. Mind you, I’m bummed no one listens to them, but it’s still good that it’s at least recognized by someone in-canon.

    I’m still confused by this. Clearly we’re supposed to side against the Inquisitor because she’s antagonizing the Lightwoods and Jace, but like you said, we don’t like them. I’m not sure why we’re supposed to. Well Jace, I do— he’s hot and he’s a good fighter, which is supposed to be enough. But assuming we like Jace (we don’t, but assuming we did), why would we be all that fond of the Lightwoods? We just met them, and what we know of them is that they sided with Valentine before. That doesn’t side like a trustworthy individual. I don’t understand why the Shadowhunters haven’t locked them up, honestly.

    The cells were reserved for the worst of criminals: vampires gone rogue, warlocks who broke the Covenant Law, Shadowhunters who spilled each other’s blood.

    Um… wouldn’t it be more prudent to just kill them? As far as I know, they have no rules preventing them from killing rogue vampires and warlocks, do they? They’re not the Justice League. It’s not like Percy Jackson where monsters eventually come back. There’s no reason to lock up dangerous monsters; that’s just a liability.

  6. Apep on 18 January 2015, 22:47 said:

    Also, somehow, reading the exchange between Jayce and Inquisitor reminded me about Steel Inquisitors. How much awesome would that book be if it was one of them sent instead?

    Oh, man, anyone from the Mistborn books would wipe the floor with the characters here. And the Lord Ruler is a way more effective villain than Valentine, and we barely see him. Hell, that might be half the reason he’s so effective – he’s just this dark presence looming over everything.

    (I really need to read the rest of that trilogy. Sanderson is awesome.)

    Damn I love that you are sporking this series but that you still love Simon. Alot of reviews write even Simon of as a useless/not important character.

    I like Simon because he’s pretty much the only character who doesn’t fawn over Jace. But apart from that one scene in the first book, he doesn’t really do much (other than being part of the forced love triangle). And then there’s what happens later in the book…

    btw are you going to read the fourth book?

    Maybe. I might just stick to the MI books, because from what I’ve heard, the steampunk prequel trilogy is just like this. Which honestly doesn’t surprise me.

    So, feel free to ignore the valid points they make.

    Hey, just because we’re supposed to be against them doesn’t make them wrong – Strawman Has a Point is a trope, after all.

    Because nobody cares about the werewolves, including their author. They only exist because this series is a YA fantasy.

    Well, they were just cannon-fodder in the last book, so pretty much.

    Meaning that the only person that he respects is the villain. Charming.

    It’s kind of amazing the flaws CC is willing to overlook just because Jace is “hawt” and has a “tortured backstory”.

    Even within her very valid criticisms of Jace, the Inquisitor just has to compliment his looks.

    Huh. I totally missed that.

    The only way to know that another woman isn’t interested in your man is if she’s a) not pretty and b) rude to him.

    Or is “old” (read: over thirty). Of course, “old” could also qualify as “not pretty”.

    why would we be all that fond of the Lightwoods?

    Well, they are Alec and Isabelle’s parents, and they’re “important” side-characters.

    That doesn’t side like a trustworthy individual. I don’t understand why the Shadowhunters haven’t locked them up, honestly.

    Yes, but that’s using logic and basic reasoning, which has no place in this series.

    Um… wouldn’t it be more prudent to just kill them?

    See previous comment. Also, further proof that CC was making this stuff up as she went, and had no concern for making new things fit with the previously established facts.

  7. Pryotra on 18 January 2015, 23:46 said:

    Ah, Inquisitor, how I wish that your motivation for hating Jace had just been because he was an obnoxious twit.

    Maybe. I might just stick to the MI books, because from what I’ve heard, the steampunk prequel trilogy is just like this. Which honestly doesn’t surprise me.

    The steampunk prequel suffers from the problem that most prequels do, since the characters clearly can’t fail or the current world wouldn’t happen. Also, we get Will Herondale. Who manages to make Jace look empathetic on occasion, a general lack of research into the mindset of the time, abuse of Charles Dickens because literature, and a very, very uncomfortable comparison between one character and the Opium Wars.

    The fourth MI book is just mostly boring.

  8. swenson on 21 January 2015, 16:39 said:

    She’s not like those other girls,

    Maaan I am so sick of this trope, aren’t you? It’s the worst. And I say that as a woman who IRL really does have more male friends than female ones.

  9. Aikaterini on 23 January 2015, 21:34 said:

    Hey, just because we’re supposed to be against them doesn’t make them wrong – Strawman Has a Point is a trope, after all.

    Oh, I know, I was being sarcastic. ^^

    Or is “old” (read: over thirty). Of course, “old” could also qualify as “not pretty”.

    Well, that’s one good thing about Clare’s series: older women aren’t attracted to Jace the way they are to Edward Cullen (ex. Ms. Cope, the waitress).

    I am so sick of this trope, aren’t you?

    Yes. It’s childish and dumb. And I’m tired of Clary’s hypocrisy. It’s not even that she’s worried that Isabelle will take Jace away from her. She knows that Isabelle isn’t interested in Jace, but she’s still jealous of her because Isabelle (like Maia) is nice to Simon, the same boy who barely warrants a reaction from Clary whenever Jace insults him.

  10. Pryotra on 23 January 2015, 23:51 said:

    Maaan I am so sick of this trope, aren’t you? It’s the worst

    I have kind of mixed feelings around it. I understand that the teenage girl reader wants very badly to be special and an individual, but the problem is that rather than just doing what she wants to do and not worrying about it, Clary (and others) and constantly looking at other girls and going “I’m so much better than they are because I’m not a shallow little skank” or something along those lines.

    And it also allows the author to not have to show how they’re any different than any other teenage girl ever.

    At least that’s my two cents.

  11. Castor on 2 February 2015, 22:50 said:

    Clary (and others) and constantly looking at other girls and going “I’m so much better than they are because I’m not a shallow little skank” or something along those lines.

    Basically Zoey Redbird in the House of Night series. She and Clary have a lot in common in that they don’t really do anything related to the plot and stare down their noses at the other female characters that don’t worship the ground they walk on.