Hello everybody, and welcome back. Before we get started, I want to give a quick shout-out to Aikaterini for pointing out something I missed in the last chapter – despite having every reason to dislike and distrust Jace, the Inquisitor still takes the time to compare him to an angel. Now, initially, took this as the Inquisitor saying that appearances can be deceiving, and she wasn’t going to fall for any act on Jace’s part. However, Aikaterini noted that this could be read as the Inquisitor making a comment on Jace being hot. And given that this is CC, that is a not-inconceivable possibility. As such, I must once again retroactively give the book one of these:
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
You know it’s going to be one of those chapters when I have to give out counts before even starting.
So, chapter five. We’re once again in Jace’s POV (oh, joy), and he’s locked in a cell in the Silent City. And it’s dark. ‘Can’t see a damn thing’ dark. I just told you in under thirty words what CC needed almost ninety to convey.
After a brief bit where Jace is pretty sure the guys who brought him here (a couple Silent Brothers) probably think he’s a criminal, we get a description of the cell, because despite having only seen it for maybe a minute, Jace ‘knows’ all the details about it (and yes, the text does use the word ‘knew’ a lot). The cell is made of stone (derp), the bars are made of electrum, and Jace is handcuffed (in silver handcuffs, nonetheless) to a metal bar running the length of the cell.
I know it’s early, but I just have to stop to point out that CC clearly knows jack-all about metals. I’m fairly certain that CC has no clue what electrum actually is. For those not in the know (or who don’t remember from the first book), electrum is an alloy consisting primarily of gold and silver. You know some words Wikipedia uses to describe both of those metals? “Soft,” “ductile,” and “malleable”. In short, the exact opposite of what you would want to use in constructing a prison. Those bars aren’t going to be all that useful if the prisoners can bend them with their bare hands. And the same goes for the handcuffs – how is all this supposed to restrain anyone?
Shoddy World Building: 1
Anyway, for some reason they handcuffed Jace’s right hand to the wall, despite him being left-handed (and now that I’ve read more sporkings of CC’s Draco trilogy, that little fact is just further evidence that Jace = CC’s Draco). I don’t know why they couldn’t feed the chain around the metal bar, thus further restraining Jace, but then I’m not concerned with ensuring that he always comes out of any situation looking good, either.
Jace continues to pace his cell, and is bothered that he doesn’t know the time. For some reason, this leads into us being told that Valentine taught him how to tell time using the sun and position of the stars. I have no idea what the point of telling us this is, other than making Jace “more awesome,” and filling up space.
Entirely Pointless: 1
Wait, no there is a ‘reason’ – so Jace can ponder the possibility that he’ll “never see the sky again,” because he might be executed. But even Jace isn’t dense enough to believe that’s a real possibility of that happening, because “the penalty of death was reserved for murderers”. And since institutionalized racism is apparently a big part of being a Shadowhunter, I’m betting they don’t consider killing Downworlders or mundanes to be murder. Because remember – the worst crime a Shadowhunter can commit, the one that gets them sent to this allegedly terrible prison, is killing another Shadowhunter.
Wait a second…
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.
Goddamnit, CC, that was the last fucking chapter! Do Shadowhunters execute those who kill their own, or do they just lock them up? Did no one notice that little flub?
Shoddy World Building: 2
Anyway, despite Jace reassuring himself, he’s still kinda freaked out. Which leads into a nice paragraph or so talking about how Jace is never afraid, because he’s a big manly man or some shit.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2
Jace hears someone scream, which CC decides to call an “ululation”, which I won’t give her a point for, but I will kindly ask her to please put down the damn thesaurus. This freaks Jace out even more, and leads to a good chunk of a paragraph talking about how amazed he is that fear has a taste. He also hides, which the narration claims is in an attempt to calm down, but which I believe is him cowering in fear. Because if Jace were really the brave, strong, fearless hero CC keeps trying to convince me he is, he’d be trying to go towards the screaming, rather than cowering like he is. Maybe it’s Draco Malfoy seeping through…
There’s another scream, followed by the sound of crashing, and Jace starts imagining all the dead Shadowhunters rising from their graves. Wait, don’t you guys cremate your dead? Isn’t that what you use to make this underground city?
[checks previous sporking]
Why yes, you do. This was established back in chapter 10 of the first book. You know the whole damn reason the book was called City of Bones in the first place ?!
And I realize there are extenuating circumstances here, but god*damn* does CC suck at consistency. I mean, how did no one catch that little flub?
Anyway, through sheer effort of will, Jace manages to get control of himself, which I’m sure is intended to be seen as yet another sign of his awesomeness.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 3
He also realizes how stupid the idea of undead Shadowhunters is. Not for the reasons I mentioned above, oh no, but because he’s a fellow Shadowhunter. Because mindless undead are so picky about who they target, don’t cha know.
Jace then wonders why he was so afraid, because emotions are always rational. And then we get this little bit that I feel you all need to see:
This panic was unworthy of him. He would master it. He would crush it down.
The word choice just says so much about his character, don’t you think? Panicking isn’t stupid, oh no, it’s unworthy of him. It’s one of those emotions that only lesser people have, and thus must be crushed and suppressed, rather than dealt with like a healthy person.
Then, finally something happens. Brother Jeremiah, aka the only Silent Brother CC bothered to give a name, stumbles around the corner with a torch, looking absolutely terrified (he’s screamed so hard the stitches holding his mouth shut have ripped), and falls over. I just told you in under forty words what takes CC over three times as many
And Jace being the budding sociopath that he is, his first reaction is to reach for the torch Brother J was carrying, rather than determining if he’s still alive. Because only people who are hot or potentially useful deserve helping. Jeremiah is still alive, by the way, but who cares about that?
*Our “Heroes”: 1
It’s only now that Jace figures out that those screams he heard before must have come from the other Silent Brothers. Wow. Jace is about as sharp as a brick. We’re informed that whatever scared the Silent Brothers must be pretty scary, “more profound and powerful than the ancient Rune of Silence.”
Really? I would have thought the fact that they screamed so hard they ripped the stitches holding their mouths shut would have been evidence enough. But what do I know. And here’s a question – if there is this special “Rune of Silence”, why do the Silent Brothers have their mouths sewn shut in the first place? Plenty of mundane monks manage to take and maintain a vow of silence, and they can still do important things like eat.
Oh, wait, the Silent Brothers’ mouths are sewn shut because CC thought it would look cool. Because in this world, Rule of Cool trumps logic.
So Jace starts having a panic attack, and manages to grab the torch, but breaks one of the bones in his wrist in the process. And injury which I’m sure will not inconvenience him in the slightest. Then he starts hearing a thump-slither sound (I’m not sure how that works, but whatever), holds out the torch to get a better look, and sees nothing. We’re told that this should have calmed Jace down, but instead has done the opposite, leading Jace to wonder if he’s “suddenly become a coward”.
I beg to differ – that kind of situation, with that end result, would be terrifying. It’s a variant on the trope Nothing is Scarier, and the examples listed (under the “Nothing at all” heading) are fucking terrifying.
Jace tries to clear his head, but fails, hears the weird sound again, along with some strange whispers, freaks out some more, and actually falls to the ground. Then some weird dark shape with “eyes like burning ice”
Weird Word Choice: 1
opens the door behind Brother Jeremiah’s corpse and starts coming for Jace. I’m not sure how, because I’m fairly certain Jeremiah died outside Jace’s cell, so the Ominous Dark Shape ™ will just have to go through yet another door, but who cares – the scene’s almost over.
Apparently the Ominous Dark Shape ™ is some kind of cloud, because when it lunges at Jace, a “great cloud of roiling vapor” comes at him, which also puts his torch out. And that’s where the scene ends.
I’ll admit, that’s actually not bad. It’s nice to see Jace express an emotion other than anger or disdain, if nothing else. I’m also unconvinced that he’s actually in any real danger, because, well, this is CC we’re talking about, and Jace is obviously her favorite character, but at least she put in some effort.
The next scene brings us back to Clary. And I have to say, while I’m glad CC decided to switch things up a bit with this book by having multiple POV characters, I kinda wish she’d stick with one for more than a scene. Or maybe I just wish she’d pick anyone other than Clary and Jace as the main POVs.
Anyway, Clary and Simon are making out, and it’s described as being “pleasant.” CC goes on for a whole paragraph describing exactly how pleasant it is, all of which is obviously just here so she can sink Clary/Simon (is there a name for that ship?), because while Clary doesn’t hate kissing Simon, she’s just kind of going through the motions. And to top it all off, the paragraph ends with mention of how the metal bar under the sofa bed hurts her back.
Clary makes a noise about the metal bar, so Simon (being the kind, considerate person he is) stops and asks if he hurt her. Clary explains about the bed, and decides that the only solution is to shove a pillow under her back, because I guess only bad, slutty girls would ever try being on top. She and Simon talk for a while, which consists entirely of Clary getting Simon flustered because it amuses her. Basically, Simon’s been fantasizing about this for a long time, so it’s kind of weird to actually be doing it, and then the conversation turns to sex.
And once again I find myself giving praise to CC. Yes, thank you for acknowledging that teens do think about sex, and that it isn’t a bad thing.
But before Clary and Simon can get back to doing what teenage couples do, Clary decides she needs to change into her pajamas because she “can’t take making out seriously when [she] still [has her] socks on.”
Yeah, I don’t know either.
So Clary goes to the bathroom, brushes her teeth, and stares at herself in the mirror, trying to prove to herself that she actually has romantic feelings for Simon, because CC doesn’t just want to sink Clary/Simon, she wants to torpedo the remains, which is only encouraged by the fact that Clary’s thoughts immediately turn to Jace:
Of course , she’d kissed Jace, on the night of her birthday, and that hadn’t been safe and comfortable and pleasant at all. It had been like opening up a vein of something unknown inside her body, something hotter and sweeter and bitterer than blood. Don’t think about Jace, she told herself fiercely, but looking at herself in the mirror , she saw her eyes darken and knew her body remembered even if her mind didn’t want to.
You know, Clary having this kind of reaction to Jace (especially that particular memory) doesn’t bother me – what bothers me is that CC is presenting this as the better/more romantic option. Because if you don’t have an immediate physical reaction to your partner, it’s clearly not real love, because simple lust does not exist, even if you’re a teenager, a demographic not exactly known for being calm and rational.
Clary splashes some cold water on her face, and then realizes she left her top in the bedroom, which is one of the most contrived excuses for anything I’ve ever seen. So she goes back to her room, only to find that Simon’s already passed out (seriously?)
Clary starts for the bed, only for her phone to get a sudden text message from Isabelle. Remember this, because I’ll come back to it in a minute. We aren’t told the text’s content, but given everything else about this book, I think you can take a good guess. And Clary, demonstrating just what a great girlfriend she is, immediately gets ready to leave without providing any explanation for her boyfriend.
Our “Heroes”: 2
Come on, Clary, you should know better than this – you saw how Simon reacted the last time you disappeared without a trace, and that was before he knew about the supernatural shit that’s out there. Common courtesy demands you at least leave him a note.
And with that, the scene ends.
Now I’m going to go back to that whole text message thing. So, apparently Isabelle has Clary’s cell number. Then why did she have to call Simon’s house to contact Clary back in chapter one?
And if Shadowhunters have access to modern communications technology, then why don’t they make use of it more often? Or is it because it’s made by dirty mundies, and therefore inferior to their cutting-edge medieval-era technology?
Shoddy World Building: 3
And finally, this scene is almost exactly like the scene from chapter one, which just throws the mere existence of that and the following two chapters into question yet again.
Entirely Pointless: 4
(One for each, again)
The scene break takes us back to Jace. Wow, CC – you managed to maintain some small amount of tension for a whole two pages. And while that’s two more pages than in the last book, it might have helped to include a chapter break or something.
Anyway, Jace wakes up and gets angry that he fainted, because that’s a sign of weakness, and that’s something to be abhorred, because Jace is a manly-man.
Someone’s come to visit Jace, and I’m not going to let you guys guess who it is, because the answer is obvious – it’s Valentine, and he’s standing outside Jace’s cell. And to my surprise, he actually acts like a parent and asks if Jace is hurt. Jace ignores the question, instead asking about the smoke monster (no Lost jokes, please), but Valentine realizes that Jace is hurt, and asks who put him in the cell.
Jace tells Valentine it was the Inquisitor, and then tries to check himself for wounds because he’s got blood on his clothes. I’m not sure why he’d think he’d been injured – do demon smoke monster things usually cause those kinds of injuries?
Once he’s certain that he’s almost entirely unharmed (with only a token mention of his wrist injury), Jace looks at Valentine so we can have a nice description of what he’s wearing – leather armor with electrum-plated (which makes at least some sense) bits on his arms and legs (I’m assuming CC means vambraces and greaves, but who knows), and a sword sheathed on his back. I’d say he looks like a less badass version of Geralt of Rivia, but this book was written before the first Witcher game or the English translation of the first book came out, so we’ll just call it a coincidence.
Anyway, Valentine says that for all intents and purposes, the Inquisitor and the Clave are the same thing, which would make sense if I weren’t absolutely certain that she’s driven by her petty emotions. Valentine then goes on call the Lightwoods bad guardians for letting this happen, and says that he wouldn’t have let Jace get locked up. Yeah, but with you Jace would be a fugitive. And you were the one who decided to fake your own death and send your son to live with your old friends for… reasons. Plus, you have that whole ‘abusive, racist zealot’ thing going on.
Just saying, it’s going to take a bit more than that to make you father of the year, Vals.
Jace asks if Valentine is there to kill him, and Valentine asks why he’d want to do that. Jace points out that he did kill Brother J, but ruins it by making a joke:
“Well, why did you kill Jeremiah? And don’t bother feeding me some story about how you just happened to wander along after he spontaneously died. I know you did this.”
Rapier Twit: 1
Valentine explains that he killed the Silent Brothers because they had something he wanted. Well, he says “needed,” but let’s be honest. So Jace once again makes a dumb joke:
“What? A sense of decency?”
Rapier Twit: 2
Oh, like you’re one to talk?
So Valentine pulls out the sword, which is revealed to be the MacGuffin Sword. Because we’ve already established how “important” it is, and we can only have one plot coupon per book – we’re on a budget, after all.
Jace acts all shocked that Valentine did this (why? He stole the MacGuffin Cup before) and gets all indignant about it. Then Valentine tells him that apparently the MacGuffin Sword is the one that belonged to the angel that drove Adam and Eve out of Eden. This somehow means that it belongs to all the Shadowhunters.
I’m not quite sure how to take that. I’m inclined to believe that this is just Valentine ranting because he’s off his meds, but if it’s supposed to be true, it doesn’t make any sense. Just because the nephilim/Shadowhunters are supposedly descended from an angel (though not in the same way that the actual nephilim were), that doesn’t mean something that belonged to an angel belongs to you guys. If anything, it belongs to the angel.
Either way, I get the feeling that CC was just mining the Old Testament for material. And decided that the word ‘angel’ needed to be capitalized, for some reason.
You Keep Using That Word: 1
Anyway, now we finally get to the reason why Vals didn’t just book it once he’d grabbed the MacGuffin Sword – so he can do his version of the Darth Vader “come to the dark side” speech. He and Jace go back and forth a bit about trust, and how Valentine shouldn’t have expected Jace to be the good little soldier he was as a kid (uh, he was, right up until Clary showed up – were you not paying attention?), but he’s totes proud of Jace for wanting to do his own thing, and wants to explain his side of the story, because Valentine totally isn’t just a one-dimensional villain, and has layers and facets and everything!
Please. Most of the heroes can’t manage more than a single character trait, and now you’re trying to make the mostly off-stage villain complex? Pull the other one, CC, it’s got bells on.
Well this touching father-son moment is brought to an end by the sound of what I can only hope is the security forces bursting in. They’re so considerate, giving the Big Bad just enough time to give a big speech and whatnot.
Valentine decides to book it, but Jace asks to be unchained first, because that totally won’t look suspicious or anything. Thankfully (I guess) Valentine is smart enough to not do that, and says this cryptic(?) line before bringing the scene to an end:
“When you want to find me,” Valentine said, “you will find me.”
Um, duh? Because he’ll look for you.
Look, CC, I’ve watched Babylon 5 – you’re going to have to try a bit harder than that to impress me. Getting a straight answer out of Ambassador Kosh is like getting blood from a stone.
After the scene break, we’re back with Clary for the last scene of the chapter. Apparently Isabelle’s text really freaked her out, but not so much for the narration to actually tell us its contents. Oh, and for some reason Isabelle didn’t answer when Clary called back, but Clary didn’t feel the need to leave a message or try calling back in five minutes.
Then Clary’s thoughts drift back to seeing Jace at the bar, which is eliciting the exact opposite reaction from me that I’m certain CC intended. I’m sure she intended for her readers to feel worried and concerned about Jace being violent and angry. Except it doesn’t work, because A) Jace has always had an undertone of violence and anger, so Clary’s just upset that he’s expressing them physically, and B) she’s once again showing more concern for Jace than the several innocent werewolves he beat the crap out of. Whom she knows, and who put their lives on the line repeatedly to help her.
Our “Heroes”: 4
No, I’m still not over that. I will never be over that. That one little thing just shows what an ungrateful, selfish, uncaring bitch Clary is.
Clary gets off the subway and heads for the Institute. She’s just about to ring the doorbell, when she suddenly decides that, as she’s technically a Shadowhunter (because who needs training when you have genetics, right?) she can just recite the Shadowhunter Pledge of Allegiance instead. Because why bother informing the people inside that you’re there when you can just burst in uninvited instead? Clary’s the protagonist, after all – she doesn’t have to follow basic rules of etiquette.
Our “Heroes”: 5
So Clary just barely starts her recitation, and the doors just open automatically. Why bother having a special code phrase if you don’t actually need to say it in the first place?
And if this is the only reason for establishing that method of entering the Institute, I’m going to be severely pissed off.
Clary hops in the elevator, and on the way up takes the time to be slightly horrified that she doesn’t look pretty enough.
Ron? Do you mind?
Church the cat meets Clary when she gets off the elevator, because apparently that’s his whole job. And while I’m getting a bit sick of what seems like a running gag, I also growing to like Church, if only because he clearly could not give less of a shit about what’s going on. Still, he leads Clary to Isabelle’s room.
Isabelle is surprised to see Clary, because while she did send Clary a text informing her (Clary) that Jace had been locked up, she (Isabelle) didn’t actually expect Clary to come racing over to the Institute, especially in the middle of the night.
Clary, of course, feels that Jace in jail = freak out, because logic. And were it anyone other than Jace, I’d be right there with her. But it is, so I’m not.
Alec is also in the room, and is more bothered that Isabelle told Clary what happened than anything else. Clary continues to freak out, and asks for more information. Alec very calmly explains that Jace is in one of the cells in the Silent City. When informed that this is where the Shadowhunters keep some of the more nasty criminals, Clary reacts like he’s been put in Federal Pound-me-in-the-ass Prison, and asks why they aren’t more upset. Then Isabelle points out that A) Jace will only be there for the one night, and B) there’s no other prisoners down there. So from their perspective, there’s nothing to worry about.
Really, this whole thing is just another example of CC’s failure to back up the intended reaction. It’s just like when Valentine was established as the villain in the first book – Clary was the only person in any way afraid of him, so instead of making Valentine seem threatening, it just makes Clary look more pathetic (which is a really annoying flaw in CC’s writing – you’d think someone who’s such a fan of Joss Whedon would write strong female characters). Here, Clary is the only one freaking out about Jace being locked up, so instead of appearing properly concerned, she looks like an easily frightened little girl.
(And yes, the reader knows what’s happened to Jace, but Clary doesn’t, so my point stands.)
I’m going to go through the next bit line-by-line, because I think you guys need to see this stuff.
“But why? What did Jace do?”
“He mouthed off to the Inquisitor. That was it, as far as I know,” said Alec.
Let’s be honest – that’s more than enough for what he got.
Isabelle perched herself on the edge of the vanity table. “It’s unbelievable.”
“Then the Inquisitor must be insane,” said Clary.
Oh, fuck both of you. Look Clary, just because your panties get wet every time Jace’s name is mentioned doesn’t make him a perfect little angel. He’s an arrogant douche bag who’s finally met someone who won’t take his shit.
“She’s not , actually ,” said Alec. “If Jace were in your mundane army, do you think he’d be allowed to mouth off to his superiors? Absolutely not.”
Thank you, Alec. You know, I’m really starting to like you – if you manage to not pull any racist crap, you just might move up in my ranking of favorite characters. Lord knows Isabelle isn’t exactly comporting herself all that well.
“Well, not during a war. But Jace isn’t a soldier.”
Shut up, Clary. And just so we’re clear, Article 89 of the US Uniform Code of Military Justice addresses this issue:
“Any person subject to this chapter who behaves with disrespect toward his superior commissioned officer shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
(1) That the accused did or omitted certain acts or used certain language to or concerning a certain commissioned officer;
(2) That such behavior or language was directed toward that officer;
(3) That the officer toward whom the acts, omissions, or words were directed was the superior commissioned officer of the accused;
(4) That the accused then knew that the commissioned officer toward whom the acts, omissions, or words were directed was the accused’s superior commissioned officer; and
(5) That, under the circumstances, the behavior or language was disrespectful to that commissioned officer.”
Yeah, Clary, that stuff doesn’t stop applying just because there isn’t a war on. It’s part of maintaining discipline and respect, not that your or Jace would know anything about either of those.
“But we’re all soldiers. Jace as much as the rest of us. There’s a hierarchy of command and the Inquisitor is near the top. Jace is near the bottom. He should have treated her with more respect.”
Thank you again, Alec.
“If you agree that he ought to be in jail, why did you ask me to come here? Just to get me to agree with you? I don’t see the point. What do you want me to do?”
Point of order, Clary – no one asked you to come, as evidenced by the surprise expressed by both Alec and Isabelle at your presence. You chose to come, and made only a token attempt to contact either of them to inform them that you were coming, including not ringing the door bell to announce your arrival.
But never mind that little ret-con. Alec and Isabelle explain that, once again, Clary is the only person who can make Jace behave himself (read: not do things that are suicidal), because she “[reminds] him that he has something to live for.”
Oh, gag me. And since I’m certain this is supposed to show just how much Jace luuurrrvs Clary, I’m giving that statement one of these:
Both Hands, Ma’am: 4
Because nothing says “I love you” like trying to get yourself killed because you can’t be with someone. Even if they’re your sibling.
You know, it really says something when the Lannister twins have a more healthy relationship than these two.
This statement makes Alec angry, because now that he’s done being rational, he’s back to being The Gay One, so of course he’s all jealous. Clary asks if they can visit Jace, to which Alec asks if she’ll tell Jace to be less of an ass to the Inquisitor (my words, not Alec’s), to which Clary gives the non-answer of wanting to hear Jace’s side.
Clary, Jace doesn’t have a side. He mouthed off to a superior, and got thrown in jail because of it. There are no extenuating circumstances.
But before they can get ready to go, someone knocks at the door (see Clary? That’s called courtesy), and CC whips out one of the weirdest staples of her vocabulary. That’s right, Isabelle is described as “unhitching” herself from the vanity table she’s been leaning/sitting on.
You Keep Using That Word: 2
I will never understand how CC developed that particular linguistic quirk. Never.
It’s Max, here to tell his older siblings that he thinks someone’s trying to contact the Institute, because he heard noises coming from the library. I guess the library is where they keep the phone, or whatever the magical equivalent is. Then he sees Clary, and asks who she is. When told that she’s Jace’s sister, he’s surprised and incredulous, and his eyes are described as having “rounded.”
You Keep Using That Word: 3
Seriously, CC? ‘Widened’ wasn’t good enough? And what, were Max’s eyes angled before?
Alec and Isabelle get ready to go off to answer the phone or whatever (after a description of Alec’s hair frizzing out “like a soft dark halo” because of static electricity on his shirt, which serves no discernable purpose),
Entirely Pointless: 5
deciding to leave Max alone with Clary. Because we couldn’t possibly bring them along, or have Alec or Isabelle stay behind. Clary asks what’s going on, and apparently a dead fairy kid was found in Central Park, which is where all the adult Shadowhunters are.
I’m kind of wishing I could read about that instead. At least it would be something resembling actual plot, rather than watching more of the Stupid Teen Drama Hour.
So now, instead of getting to see interesting supernatural-CSI type stuff, or at least stuff that’s at least peripheral to the plot… we get to see Clary interacting with the younger brother of her friends.
And I’ll be honest – it’s another example of CC being a good writer. This is a pretty awkward scenario, and it’s played as being awkward.
As an opener, Max asks how old Clary is. She asks him how old he thinks she is. It’s quickly revealed that both of them are short for their ages, so people constantly think they’re younger than they are (we’ll ignore the other possible reasons for that, like physique). Clary then notices that Max has one of the Naruto books, which he says he got at the airport (I guess Shadowhunters aren’t opposed to using mundane technology when it suits them, eh?). But Max is having trouble reading it, so Clary explains that you read manga the reverse from western comics.
I just have one problem with that last bit – all the manga books I’ve read (which, admittedly isn’t an extensive list) which are translated into English have a handy thing on the inside of back cover (which would be the front of a western book) explaining this. But whatever.
Anyway, Max looks at the spine and realizes that he’s got vol. 9, and says that he should read vol. 1-8 first. Clary suggests he ask someone to take him to a comic shop, and name drops real-world New York City stores Midtown Comics and Forbidden Planet. Max is a bit incredulous at a store being called ‘Forbidden Planet,’ but since Max’s requisite character traits have been established (i.e. young and likes manga), Isabelle returns.
As you might expect, the message was from one of the Silent Brothers trying to tell anyone about the attack. Isabelle tells Max to go to bed, but when they tell him that they’re going to the Silent City, he gets upset and says he wants to go, too. Isabelle says that Max is too young, but he points out that she’s also under eighteen.
Max, that’s not the point – both your siblings have actual experience in combat, so they might be of some use in a dangerous situation. You, on the other hand, will be a distraction at best. Isabelle isn’t telling you to go to your room to be mean, she’s doing it for your safety.
But this brings up a weird thing in this book. Namely, that CC appears to be under the impression that everyone, everywhere has always agreed that adulthood begins at eighteen, so anyone younger than that is still a child. This concept is stupid, as anyone with common sense would conclude. It’s especially galling because CC was raised Jewish, and presumably had a Bat Mitzvah.
Isabelle suddenly asks Clary to step outside with her for a minute, and then traps Max in her room. As you might expect, Max doesn’t take this too well, and tries to come after them. Isabelle, busy keeping the door shut, asks Clary to grab her magic drawing stick out of her pocket and pass it to her. But instead of doing that (because if there’s one thing CC doesn’t do, it’s Les Yay), Clary pulls out her own magic drawing stick and offers that instead.
So Isabelle casts arcane lock on the door, and is surprised that Clary has a magic stick of her own, which I’m sure was the entire point of this bit. Clary explains that it belonged to her mom, and berates herself for using the past tense. I’d congratulate her for actually remembering that her mother exists, but since A) Jocelyn hasn’t used it in years, and B) Clary is now the one using it, I think it’s perfectly fine to use the past tense in this case. That’s kind of how hand-me-downs work.
Isabelle tells Max that she has some PowerBars if he gets hungry, and then they leave. You know, you could at least apologize or pretend to feel sorry. But I guess we have to pound home the “Isabelle is a bitch” theme.
Our “Heroes”: 6
They meet up with Alec, who’s put on his own set of leather armor. I swear, if Jace does the same at some point, I’m going to loose it. I’m going to show you guys this, because again, I think you need to see this:
“You should probably head home,” [Alec] said. “You don’t want to be here by yourself when the Inquisitor gets back.”
“I want to go with you,” Clary said, the words spilling out before she could stop them.
[…]“You sound like Max.”
“Max is nine. I’m the same age as you.”
“But you haven’t got any training,” Alec argued. “You’ll just be a liability.”
Thank you once again, Alec. Sorry, Clary, but age doesn’t factor into this – Alec and Isabelle know how to handle themselves in a fight, whereas you don’t. Hell, if you don’t want to go home, why not stay here and look after Max?
But no, Clary is the –author insert- heroine, so she manages to successfully argue her case, to whit, she knows where the door to the Silent City is, and they don’t (presumably). Much to my dismay, Isabelle sides with Clary, for some inexplicable reason. And one last quote from Alec, because he’s just on a roll today:
“Last time we faced a demon, she just cowered and screamed.” Seeing Clary’s acid glare, he shot her an apologetic glance. “I’m sorry, but it’s true.”
Clary, there’s no need to go all bitch-face on him. Yeah, I’ll admit, Alec didn’t do a whole lot either, but at least he did something.
But it seems that Isabelle has completely lost her mind, because she says that Clary just needs an opportunity. Because taking the un-trained rookie into what could be an incredibly dangerous fight just screams “learning opportunity”. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Isabelle just wanted Clary to get killed. And then she pulls out a quote from their Lord and Savior, Jace:
“Sometimes you don’t have to search out danger, sometimes danger finds you.”
Isabelle? Sweetie? That so very much does not apply to this scenario. As an argument for training Clary? Sure. But as an argument for bringing Clary to what could be an on-going attack on what should probably be one of the most protected Shadowhunter facilities in the world? It’s crap.
Clary also chips in, saying that if they leave her behind, she’ll just go on her own. Alec gives in, and Isabelle takes Clary’s magic stick to draw some magic tattoos on Clary, ending the chapter.
Honestly, this chapter wasn’t all that bad. A good chunk of that probably has to do with Clary and Jace being separated, as well as Jace having minimal chance to snark at anyone.
But there is one change I would make, which I’m fairly sure would increase the quality of this chapter – flip the scenes. Instead of starting with Jace being locked up, start with Clary and Simon making out. That way, at least some amount of tension is maintained. As is, we already know exactly what’s going on in the Shadowhunter necropolis (hey, language joke!) while Clary, Alec, and Isabelle don’t, so we’re forced to deal with their drama when actual plot is going on. By switching up the scene order, the reader would know only a little bit more than the characters, rather than a lot.
Also, we once again have a chapter title that has jack shit to do with what happens in the chapter. I did a bit of research, and here’s three places where the phrase “sins of the father(s)” appears in the Bible:
“Keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” – Exodus 34:7
“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.” – Deuteronomy 24:16
“The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.” – Numbers 14:18
So as one might expect from the Bible, there’s a bit of disagreement. But the central point is this – punishing a child (in this case, Jace) because of the actions of the parent (Valentine). Which has nothing to do with this chapter, because Jace is already locked up. If anything, this chapter name would be more appropriate for the previous chapter – you know, where the Inquisitor allegedly seemed to want to punish Jace for Valentine’s actions (rather than Jace being an arrogant little shit).
I’m starting to think that CC makes up chapter names before she actually writes the chapter. She should really stick to numbered chapters. Or come up with a title after the chapter’s been written.
And just so you guys know, we’re almost a quarter of the way through this book, and only now are we getting actual plot. Why did those first three chapters exist, again?
See you next time.
Entirely Pointless: 5 (Total: 25)
Un-Logic: 1 (Total: 18)
You Keep Using That Word: 3 (Total: 25)
Shoddy World Building: 3 (Total: 12)
Rapier Twit: 2 (Total: 22)
Our “Heroes”: 6 (Total: 37)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 (Total: 4)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 4 (Total: 18)
A Word from Our Sponsors: 0 (Total: 2)