Alright, second half of chapter eight. No recap this time – let’s get to it.
The gang used the scene break to travel to the park, so at least we didn’t have to sit through that. They find Isabelle waiting in a gazebo (the most dangerous of all monsters) looking out over a pond. Which for some reason CC refers to as a “lake”.
You Keep Using That Word: 1
To paraphrase another shitty author, words is your business. So maybe you should learn what they mean.
We get a paragraph describing Isabelle as looking like a fairy tale princess, which is immediately followed by a description of how very unlike a fairy tale princess she is.
Isabelle with her whip and boots and knives would chop anyone who tried to pen her up in a tower into pieces, build a bridge out of the remains, and walk carelessly to freedom, her hair looking fabulous the entire time. This made Isabelle a hard person to like, though Clary was trying.
Clearly not that hard, if this so offends Clary. Don’t get me wrong, I can totally get a character complaining about another being able to maintain their appearance regardless of circumstances (for example, there was a bit like that in one of the Animorphs books). But to do that kind of bit properly, the one doing the complaining should sound more incredulous than indignant. Clary doesn’t sound incredulous or impressed – she sounds jealous. Which doesn’t speak well of her.
Our “Heroes”: 1
Jace says hi, and Isabelle spins around and hugs him. The narration goes to great lengths to point out how they’re embrace is like siblings. Given that the last book had Isabelle describing Jace as being “sexy”, I’m really starting to wonder what CC considers appropriate behavior for siblings. Also, Clary has to “[try] to school her features into a happy and loving expression.”
Our “Heroes”: 2
And Clary wonders why she has no female friends. Or friends in general.
On the up-side, we do get this reaction to Clary’s attempt to hide her reaction:
“Are you alright?” Simon asked, with some concern. “You’re eyes are crossing.”
It’s not really that funny, but it’s something.
Isabelle asks how they managed to free Jace, and they explain their leaving Alec behind. Isabelle demonstrates actual humanity by being concerned that the trade might be permanent. Jace responds to her concern by making a joke:
“No,” said Jace. “Just for a few hours. Unless I don’t come back,” he added thoughtfully. “In which case, maybe he does get to keep Alec. Think of it as a lease with an option to buy.”
Rapier Twit: 1
Our “Heroes”: 3
Because why be concerned? Alec’s only your bestest-friend in the whole world, and you’re potentially putting his life on the line with these antics. No biggie.
Shoddy World Building: 1
“Lease with an option to buy”, CC? Really?
Luckily for may sanity, both Isabelle and Simon react somewhat more realistically:
Isabelle looked dubious. “Mom and Dad won’t be pleased if they find out.”
“That you freed a possible criminal by trading away your brother to a warlock who looks like a gay Sonic the Hedgehog and dresses like the Child Catcher from _Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?_” Simon inquired. “No, probably not.”
And remember, Alec has never shown Simon the least amount of respect in this series so far. Seriously, why am I supposed to like Jace again?
I’m going to apologize in advance for this next bit, but I feel I have to do this line-by-line.
Jace looked at him thoughtfully. “Is there some particular reason that you’re here? I’m not so sure we should be bringing you to the Seelie Court. They hate mundanes.”
I could say the same thing about you, Jace. I know why you’re here, and it has nothing to do with actually progressing the story. The same goes for Clary, by the way.
Also, I’m giving you one of these on principle.
*Our “Heroes”: 4
Simon rolled his eyes upward. “Not this again.”
“Not what again?” said Clary.
If we needed concrete proof that Clary’s brain actually shuts down in Jace’s presence, that line right there would do it. Seriously, have you not been paying attention to their interactions at all, you dizzy little bint?
“Every time I annoy him, he retreats into his No Mundanes Allowed tree house.” Simon pointed at Jace. “Let me remind you, the last time you wanted to leave me behind, I saved all your lives.”
Holy shit, someone actually remembered that that happened! Too bad it’s not anyone who’s behavior should be affected by it.
“Sure,” said Jace. “One time—”
See what I mean? Most people would seriously reconsider how they treat someone who saved their life. But not Jace – his reaction is to go “yeah, but what have you done for me lately?”
*Our “Heroes”: 5
“The faerie courts are dangerous,” cut in Isabelle. “Even your skill with the bow won’t help you. It’s not that kind of danger.”
That’s actually a cogent and reasonable point. So why don’t you explain said danger to him? Perhaps if Simon knew what he was in for, he might just reconsider going. But no, that would mean treating Simon the mundane like an intelligent person, rather than one of the mentally handicapped people all Shadowhunters seem to think mundanes are.
And while we’re at it, Clary’s just as clueless – why aren’t we still insisting that she not come? Why aren’t we giving her all these vaguely ominous warnings?
Back to recapping. Simon says that he can take care of himself. Clary tells him he doesn’t have to come, but he says he does, with the implication that he’s going because she is.
Jace grudgingly accepts, and tells Simon not to expect special treatment, and calls him “mundane” for good measure.
*Our “Heroes”: 6
Simon manages to get this off, which makes me smile:
“Look on the bright side,” said Simon. “If they need a human sacrifice, you can always offer me. I’m not sure the rest of you qualify anyway.”
And then Jace/CC immediately ruins the moment with this:
Jace brightened. “It’s always nice when someone volunteers to be the first up against the wall.”
Yeah, fuck you, Jace. I’m fairly certain you’d be next in line, with your attitude and “charming” personality. Also, I’m not sure CC knows what “first against the wall” implies.
Isabelle tells them that the door to the Seelie court is about to open, and starts walking toward the pond. The rest follow her. Simon slips in the mud, Jace tries to help him, only to get snapped at, because CC really wants to sink the Clary/Simon ship.
So Isabelle once again acts like the fucking adult:
“Stop it.” Isabelle tapped a booted foot in the shallow water at the lake’s edge. “Both of you. In fact, all three of you. If we don’t stick together in the Seelie Court, we’re dead.”
Thank you, Isabelle. And CC? It’s a fucking pond.
You Keep Using That Word: 2
You specifically mentioned back at the beginning of the scene that they’re at Turtle Pond. Why do you keep fucking this up?
Clary gets indignant on being scolded, and Isabelle points out that she hasn’t done a damn thing to keep Simon and Jace from fighting. Personally, I think it’s because CC, much like SMeyer, likes the idea of two boys fighting over her. But of course, she/her avatar can’t admit that, so Clary responds thusly:
“I can’t tell them what to do!”
Because like all of CC’s female protagonists, she exists largely to be an object of lust for the principle male characters, and can’t actually stand up for herself or accomplish anything on her own. Don’t believe me? Check out her Draco Trilogy fics and see what she did to Hermione.
On the up-side, Isabelle does give a good response to Clary’s reaction:
“Why not?” the other girl demanded. “Honestly, Clary, if you don’t start utilizing a bit of your natural feminine superiority, I just don’t know what I’ll do with you.”
Seriously, how does CC manage to write a character like Isabelle, while having someone like Clary as the main protagonist? Hell, why isn’t Isabelle the protagonist? She’s strong, sexy, confident, and knows how to kill monsters – she’s exactly the kind of female character who should be the lead, not relegated to the supporting cast.
I guess it’s just as well – CC would probably fuck her up.
For some reason, Isabelle turns to the pond (which is now referred to as such – guess someone finally pointed that out to CC), only to turn around and tell everyone “for the love of the Angel, don’t eat or drink anything while we’re underground.”
You Keep Using That Word: 3
Simon asks what she means by “underground”, but doesn’t asks why he can’t have a snack. Questions which could easily have been answered if they’d taken two minutes to explain things beforehand, rather than insulting Simon. Seriously, they had the whole trip from the apartment to the park to explain things – did no one say anything during the trip?
Not that Isabelle takes the five seconds needed to explain anything now, of course. Why take time to explain the warnings, after all? If the stupid mundie doesn’t listen, that’s his fault.
Also, that whole bit with the food and drink is probably one of the laziest Chekhov’s Guns I’ve ever seen.
They all head into the water, heading for the moon’s reflection, only to find that said reflection isn’t moving. Isabelle asks Jace to go first, and he does (if only this were secretly a trap for him). As he moves past Clary, CC feels the need to tell us that he smells like “wet leather and char.” Because that just sounds so appealing.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
Jace walks backward into the reflected moon, probably to show how badass he is or some shit, smiles like the cocky little shit he is, and promptly disappears. Simon pretty much sums up my reaction to this:
“Okay,” said Simon unhappily. “Okay, that was weird.”
Yeah, I’m sure I’m supposed to be impressed or something, but it’s just not doing it for me.
Clary’s next, because reasons. She also goes in backwards (because I guess actually seeing where you’re going is for losers), and is described as “[falling] backward into darkness as the moon swallowed her up.”
Darkness, eh? Despite falling into the bright, silvery reflection of the moon? Sure, why not. At least the scene’s over.
Personally, I prefer the methods of entering a faerie knowe used in the October Daye books. Yes, they’re often complex and convoluted, sometimes silly and nonsensical, but at least they can be replicated at any time. Then again, Seanan McGuire is actually knows about fairies and folklore and such, in addition to just being generally awesome.
Next scene. Clary’s suddenly stumbling in a cave, soaking wet. I’m not going to ask why she’s standing, rather than landing on her back, because there’s no point. Jace steadies her, and we get a description of the cave. It’s a cave. And it’s lit by phosphorescent moss, because of course it is. Then Clary takes a minute to oggle Jace in his soaking wet clothes.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
Jace asks if Clary feels cold, mostly so CC can tease her readers by talking about how warm Jace feels despite also being soaked.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2
Hey, she’s the one who can’t control her libido. And I thought it was guys who’re supposed to be obsessed with sex.
Thankfully, Simon comes crashing in – literally, because he’s not allowed to be cool any more – and starts feeling around for his glasses. Yes, CC is implying that Simon can’t see at all without his glasses.
Okay, quick sidebar. I have pretty bad vision. Like, anything further than six inches from my face starts to get blurry. Even so, I’m not completely helpless without my glasses – I can still make out shapes and objects. And yes, I’ve dropped my glasses, and during those times I’ve felt around to find them, but only because I tend to get thin frames for my glasses that might be hard to distinguish from whatever they’re sitting on, so I have to rely on finding them by touch. My point is, you’d have to have serious vision problems if you’re effectively blind without corrective lenses.
Clary helps Simon out, reminiscing about doing the same thing when he played soccer. Which makes me wonder why he didn’t get a strap or something for that, if it was such a regular occurrence.
There’s a little bit about Clary feeling Jace watching all this and feeling vaguely guilty or something, which bugs me because A) as far as both of them know, they’re siblings, and even if they weren’t, B) it’s none of Jace’s business.
And then Isabelle drops in (literally), and manages to neither fall over nor stumble. I’m honestly not sure if that’s supposed to be a Shadowhunter thing or not. She proclaims the experience to have been “fun” which leads into this bit:
“That does it,” said Jace. “I’m going to get you a dictionary for Christmas this year.”
“Why?” Isabelle said.
“So you can look up ‘fun’. I’m not sure you know what it means.”
Isabelle pulled the long heavy mass of her wet hair forward and wrung it out as if it were wet washing. “You’re raining on my parade.”
“It’s a pretty wet parade already, if you hadn’t noticed.”
Rapier Twit: 3
Because that’s two “zingers” from Jace. Dude, just because she happens to be enjoy things about being a Shadowhunter apart from getting to kill stuff with impunity doesn’t mean Isabelle’s not having a good time.
Also I’m giving CC these:
You Keep Using That Word: 5
One for using the word “wet” twice in one sentence, and another for the totally unnecessary analogy. If you’d just said that Isabelle wrung her hair out, I think it would be perfectly clear.
Jace asks what they’re supposed to do now, and Isabelle explains that they’re to wait for an escort. Clary asks how the faeries will know they’re here, and Isabelle basically answers “magic”. Then Simon asks a pertinent question – how is it that Isabelle knows so much about these faeries?
Much to mine and the characters’ surprise, Isabelle blushes. However, I’m sure the reasons for being surprised are somewhat different – I’m surprised because I think of Isabelle as being strong, sexy, and confident, and thus generally not ashamed of almost anything she does. Their surprise is probably because they (which includes CC and her fan base) probably think of Isabelle as a shameless hussy.
Before she can answer, their escort arrives – a faerie dude by the name of Meliorn. And right about now is when Isabelle suddenly stops being awesome and basically becomes the stereotypical valley girl that CC probably meant for her to be. Elf-boy basically has to pull Isabelle off him and has to tell he that this is not the time. He asks if they’ll come with him to meet the queen (why else would they be here?) and then this happens:
Meliorn looked impassive. “Mundane humans are not permitted in the Court.”
“I wish someone had mentioned that earlier,” said Simon, to no one in particular. “I take it I’m just supposed to wait out here until vines start growing on me?”
Meliorn considered. “That might offer significant amusement.”
Rapier Twit: 4
I’m really not sure if any of that’s supposed to be a joke or not, but I’m counting it anyway. And I have to wonder why the faeries of all people have this rule – I’d gotten the impression that they like screwing around with mundanes, so why would they try to keep one from walking head-first into their lair?
Then Jace of all people defends Simon, an act which surprises everyone. Probably because it’s incredibly out of character for him. It’s sort of implied that this might be because of Simon reminding him that he (Simon) saved all their asses, but that rings a bit false considering Jace’s initial reaction to being reminded of that fact. Then Clary steps in and says that they won’t go without Simon. I have to say, this whole bit would work a whole lot better if it were the other way around (Clary defending Simon, then Jace supporting the decision), but that would require Clary to act of her own volition.
Not-Legolas shrugs and starts leading the way. As they walk, Clary asks if Isabelle’s parents would be okay with her going out with a faerie. Jace makes this comment:
“I’m not sure they’re going out,” Jace said, weighting the last two words with a heavy irony. “I’d guess they mostly stay in. Or in this case, under.”
Rapier Twit: 5
You know what she means, asshole – answer the question. Simon notes that it sounds like Jace disapproves of the relationship. Now, before we go any further, let’s look at the previous discussion of Shadowhunter-Downworlder romantic relations, specifically Jace having a quickie with the part-faerie waitress from the previous book:
“So they’re good enough to let live, good enough to make food for you, good enough to flirt with – but not really good enough? I mean, not as good as people.”
Isabelle and Alec looked at her as if she were speaking Urdu. “Different from people,” said Alec finally.
Now, let’s see how Jace feels about Isabelle essentially doing the same thing:
“I don’t disapprove exactly,” said Jace. “The faeries are known to dally with the occasional mortal, but they always end in abandoning them, usually the worse for wear.”
Bullshit you “don’t disapprove”. I’m thinking this is because Isabelle’s a girl – it’s perfectly acceptable for the men to dally with the Downworlders, but the women-folk must remain pure and untouched. Or this could just be more bashing Isabelle for being sexually active, rather than being chaste and virginal. You know – like Clary.
Of course, my whole point is undermined by Isabelle laughing/flirting with Elf-boy, and declaring that he’s “so funny!” She trips, he catches her, and makes a comment about her heels. Why she’s wearing heels, I don’t know, other than to lead to this stupid bit:
“It’s my motto,” said Isabelle, with a sultry smile. “‘ Nothing less than seven inches.’”
Meliorn gazed at her stonily.
“I’m talking about my heels,” she said. “It’s a pun. You know? A play on—”
Rapier Twit: 6
That actually kind of hurt. And Isabelle, that’s not a pun – that’s a double entendre. But I don’t blame you. I blame CC.
Ernie interrupts to remind them that there’s a reason they’re here, and keeps walking. Here’s Isabelle’s response to his not finding her “joke” funny:
“I forgot,” Isabelle muttered as the rest of them caught up to her. “Faeries have no sense of humor.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” said Jace. “There’s a pixie nightclub downtown called Hot Wings. Not,” he added, “that I have ever been there.”
See, that’s a pun. Sort of. Also, Elf-boy did describe letting Simon getting enveloped by vines as “amusing”, so yes, he clearly does have a sense of humor. Your “joke” just wasn’t funny.
Anyway, they finally reach the court proper. It’s all very bright and colorful and pretty. Clary sees some faeries dancing, and starts to head towards them, only to get stopped by Jace. He tells her that if she joins them, she’ll keep dancing until she dies. Anyone who knows about old-school fairies would know that, but since Clary didn’t, I’m left wondering why no one bothered to mention this sort of thing before. Jace draws a magic thingy on her arm, and suddenly the faerie-whammy stops working. Why he didn’t do this sooner, I don’t know. Isabelle’s doing much the same thing to Simon.
They all move on to the hallway, and suddenly Simon’s not being affected any more. Why? Because Isabelle blindfolded him. I’m not sure why this worked, since it was implied and quickly confirmed that it was the music affecting them:
Simon pushed his hair back; it was damp where the scarf had held it down. “That was some music,” he observed. “A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.”
Rapier Twit: 7
CC, there’s almost no way that Simon would make that reference. He’s too young. Hell, I’m too young for that reference. Also, how does blindfolding someone stop them from hearing music? Does CC think putting a bag over someone’s head works like a sensory deprivation tank?
Blah blah, talking about what happened, and Isabelle goes into a spiel about how regular people can join in on the dancing – either holding on to a faerie token, or having a faerie partner. Why bring this up? So she can glance suggestively at Elf-boy on mentioning the second one, because she’s a slut. It doesn’t help that Elf-boy isn’t even paying attention to her.
Legolamb leads them to the throne room, tells them that the queen’s inside, and leads the way in.
More description that I don’t really care about. The queen’s pissed that they brought Simon along, and wants to know why. Jace says that he’s under their protection, which isn’t really an answer. Why Jace is the one doing all the talking instead of Isabelle (you know, the one who has actual experience dealing with faeries), I don’t know. I guess CC just can’t stand the thought of
Draco Jace not being in charge.
Somehow, Queenie figures out that they owe Simon a favor, and Jace confirms that Simon saved their lives. For some reason, Clary construes this as being “creative truth-telling”, and uses this as an opportunity to heap praise on Jace.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 4
How is that “creative truth-telling”? He’s not omitting anything, he’s not reinterpreting events, he’s not even doing that “certain point of view” BS like Ben Kanobi. It’s just an excuse to tell us how amazing Jace is. Which is only made worse, as it’s followed up with this:
“We had heard you were as kind as you were beautiful, and in that case— well,” Jace said, “your kindness must be extreme indeed.”
The Queen smirked and leaned forward, gleaming hair falling to shadow her face. “You are as charming as your father, Jonathan Morgenstern,” she said.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 5
Come the fuck on. I expect the Queen of the fucking Fairies to have heard better – poems, sonnets, books, plays, by some of the greatest writers in history in praise of her. But no, since it’s Jace fucking Wayland it’s automatically “charming”.
The queen offers them seats and refreshments, and they all hesitate. Elf-boy tells them that “It would be unwise to refuse the bounty of the Queen of the Seelie Court.” so they all agree to have a seat. For some reason, Clary expects to sit down on a root, as it *“seemed like the sort of thing the Queen would find amusing.”
Really? Having mortals dance until they die from exhaustion or sitting around until they’re covered in vegetation makes sense. Having a guest sit on a root? That’s pretty juvenile by comparison.
Of course nothing happens, because even CC realizes that that’s stupid. Drinks are brought out, and they all take one. Simon sets his aside, as he has some common sense, giving this explanation:
“The last faerie drink I had didn’t agree with me,” he muttered.
Clary starts sniffing hers, and pulls a floating petal out, and has to be reminded by Jace of the one piece of advice they were actually given – don’t eat or drink anything. Clary starts to argue, but Jace insists, so she sets her drink down. And the narration makes sure to note that Clary’s fingers are stained from the flower petal, in what I’m sure CC considers to be a subtle manner.
After all this screwing around, we finally get down to business. The queen explains why she called them: Elf-boy says they know who killed the faerie kid. She’s convinced that it’s vampires, and wants to know if there’s a specific vampire. Not that she cares, though, as she blames all the vampires. Which makes me wonder why she called them here in the first place. And why she called these Shadowhunters in particular, as I’d think she’d want official representatives.
Isabelle flat-out says that it wasn’t the vampires, and does so in a very condescending way. Which is odd, considering that she’s the one with the most experience dealing with faeries. Jace steps in (because of course he does) and explains that they think the vampires are being framed. The queen asks for proof. Jace tells her about the attack on the Silent City, to which the queen quite rightly responds by asking what that has to do with anything. It’s at this point that a little faerie bites Clary’s finger, drawing blood, which she immediately sticks in her mouth. I think we all know where this is going.
Anyway, Jace and Isabelle go on to explain Valentine’s Evil Plan^TM^, but when they say that Valentine won’t kill any more faeries, the queen says she doesn’t care.
Isabelle tries to play the revenge card, but the queen says that while Valentine is an enemy, they have plenty of time to avenge themselves. So Jace starts explaining the army of demons (which is only supposition on their part, not that it matters), and the queen points out that demons are the Shadowhunters’ problem, and also this:
“Remember, Shadowhunter, there are those of us who chafe under the rule of the Clave. Perhaps we are tired of fighting your wars for you.”
See, that’s interesting. I’d like to know more about this – do the Downworlders feel oppressed? Are those feelings justified? This looks like a topic worth exploring.
But of course we won’t, as that might make Jace look bad by association.
In response to the queen’s statement, Jace says this:
“But it isn’t our war alone,” said Jace. “Valentine hates Downworlders more than he hates demons. If he defeats us, he’ll go after you next.”
Uh, since when? I thought Valentine hated Downworlders because they’re part demon. This feels like someone pointed out that him using demons in the first place made no sense, so CC slapped this explanation on rather than abandon her plot.
Jace tries to give an ominous warning, but it falls flat. The queen suddenly starts going on how it’s weird that Jace “ [feels] no loyalty toward Valentine” despite being Valentine’s son. You wouldn’t know that from the previous book. For once, Jace doesn’t say anything. Queenie wonders if he’s only pretending to hate Valentine, and Clary insists that they hate him. Again, bullshit – Jace for obvious reasons, and Clary because she doesn’t know Valentine enough to hate him.
Blah blah, Jace says his loyalty is with the Shadowhunters (bullshit once again), and the queen starts getting all cryptic, referring to Jace and Clary as “Valentine’s little experiments” because CC likes to tease her audience. Isabelle catches this, but the queen continues to be cryptic, telling Jace this:
“Ask your father, when next you see him, what blood runs in your veins, Jonathan.”
Jace says he hadn’t planned on seeing Valentine again. The queen calls him a liar, but a charming one (no, no he’s not), and says that she’ll help them if Jace asks Valentine that question. Jace repeats his half-assed compliment from earlier, and it’s so terrible that even Clary gags.
They start to leave, but the queen says that one of them has to stay. Yep, all that crap with the flower petal and the thing biting Clary’s finger were leading to this. I know I used this last time, but I’m sure you’ll all agree that it’s appropriate:
After an annoyingly long explanation of what happened, Jace asks what the queen wants. The queen says she wants to study a Shadowhunter. Clary says that she’s a bad example, as she “hardly [has] any training”. Correction, Clary – you have no training. At all.
Queenie starts going cryptic again, talking about stuff Valentine did to make Clary super special, because of course she’s special. She wouldn’t be an author-insert Mary Sue otherwise.
Clary asks what she’s talking about, and the queen drops pretty much all pretense of being cryptic, because at this point she’s being about as subtle as a brick through a window:
“Yours is the gift of words that cannot be spoken,” the Queen said to her, “and your brother’s is the Angel’s own gift. Your father made sure of it, when your brother was a child and before you were ever born.”
Gee, I wonder what that could possibly mean. And of course Jace is also super special, because he’s a giant Gary Stu.
Jace says that Valentine lied to the queen (yeah, like I believe that for a second), and the queen goes on a bit more about him being special.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 8
One for every time it’s been mentioned how “special” either Clary or Jace are.
Finally we move on with Jace asking if there’s something the queen would take in exchange for Clary, and the queen gives the real reason Clary, Simon, and Jace are here – Clary can be freed by a kiss.
The characters spend an obscene amount of time trying to figure out what the queen means – not Jace kissing her, not Isabelle kissing Elf-boy – before Simon decides to just kiss Clary. It’s awkward for Clary, because of course it is, and the queen says it’s wrong.
So Isabelle says she’ll kiss Simon, but that’s also wrong. Then we get this stupid bit:
“Well, I’m not kissing the mundane,” said Jace. “I’d rather stay down here and rot.”
“Forever?” said Simon. “Forever’s an awfully long time.”
Jace raised his eyebrows. “I knew it,” he said. “You want to kiss me, don’t you?”
Simon threw up his hands in exasperation. “Of course not. But if—”
“I guess it’s true what they say,” observed Jace. “There are no straight men in the trenches.”
“That’s atheists, jackass,” said Simon furiously. “There are no atheists in the trenches.”
Rapier Twit: 8
Right, because now is the time to be making gay jokes. Way to be progressive, CC!
You Keep Using That Word: 7
You’re both wrong – the phrase is “no atheists in foxholes”. Seriously, CC, it’s not that obscure a phrase.
And while I’m at it:
Shoddy World Building: 2
What the hell do you know about either trenches or foxholes, Jace?
But with that bit of teasing the Jace/Simon shippers out of the way, the queen explains the solution, which would have been immediately obvious to anyone with half a brain (so, maybe two-thirds of CC’s fans):
“While this is all very amusing,” said the Queen coolly, leaning forward, “the kiss that will free the girl is the kiss that she most desires.”
Simon is none too happy about this. Jace asks why the queen is doing this. I thought it was fairly obvious – faeries enjoy screwing with people.
Simon points out that Clary and Jace are siblings, but the queen doesn’t care, and says that if Clary really doesn’t want to kiss Jace, then nothing will happen.
We spend yet more time talking about this, because I guess the one thing CC likes more than having her self-insert make out with a knock-off Draco Malfoy is needlessly building up to said making out. Simon says it’s a trick, Jace says it’s a test, Isabelle says she wants to get Clary out. Simon asks if Isabelle would kiss Alec in this situation, and Isabelle says she would, and that “It’s just a kiss.”
So I guess Isabelle blanked out on that whole “kiss she most desires” bit, that Clary and Simon are supposedly a thing now, and what Jace’s kiss freeing Clary implies. Nice to know that she has just as much disregard for Simon’s feelings as everyone else:
Our “Heroes”: 7
But Isabelle’s words galvanize Jace, so he goes over and grabs Clary. We’re told that his hands are “inexplicably gentle” despite his harsh tone, because we really needed to know that.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 9
We’re also told how Jace’s eyes look dark, again because reasons.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 10
And here’s what Jace says right before laying one on the girl he believes to be his sister:
“You can close your eyes and think of England, if you like.”
Honestly, I’m torn between laughing and feeling insulted. So, counts:
You Keep Using That Word: 8
Jace? Or rather, CC? While that’s “apparently an acceptable version of that phrase”: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/close-your-eyes-and-think-of-england.html, the more common version (at least that I’ve heard) is “lie back and think of England”. And the implications of Jace using that phrase here are pretty damn squicky, as it’s usually referring to having sex, usually against the woman’s will.
Shoddy World Building: 3
I don’t know where Jace would have heard that phrase, or why he’d use it here. Unless it’s just to justify Clary’s response:
“I’ve never even been to England,” she said, but she shut her eyelids.
Seriously, explain to me how Jace, the Shadowhunter who seemingly never interacts with the mundane world, has heard that phrase, yet Clary, who’s lived her whole life as a mundane, hasn’t.
Just for that, I’m giving it another.
Shoddy World Building: 4
So Jace kisses her, and I really have to wonder how reluctant he really is to do this. I mean, I know he really wants to, but you’d think he might try to play up not wanting to – he could do a quick peck, but that wouldn’t be enough to satisfy CC.
No, instead we’re treated to three paragraphs – most of a Kindle screen, so probably about half a page – describing this kiss. There’s arms twining, hands moving, blood rushing, and to top it all off, a sigh from the audience. That’s right – CC included an audience reaction in her fantasy.
A few quick counts before we move on.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 13
One for each paragraph.
Why did Clary suck on her finger instead of, say, wrapping it in a napkin or something?
Entirely Pointless: 1
What did this whole bit accomplish? Furthering the non-existent “love triangle”? We have actual plot to focus on, yet CC insists on writing page after page of this fluff. CC, if your readers wanted “love triangle” BS, they can find it online – you, of all people, should know that.
Anyway, Jace asks if the queen is happy. The queen says she is, but that Clary and Jace probably enjoyed that more than she and her minions did. Jace fires back with this “witty” “quip”:
“I can only assume,” said Jace, “that mortal emotions amuse you because you have none of your own.”
Rapier Twit: 9
Given that he’s both received and observed some decent burns in this book alone, you’d think Jace would have learned something about witty comebacks. Like, ‘don’t try them in the villain’s lair’.
Thankfully, Isabelle is once again in acting somewhat mature, and gets everyone moving for the exit. But just before the scene ends, we get this exchange between Clary and Simon:
“We should go,” she said. “Before it’s too late.”
“It’s already too late,” he said.
Really? Look, I like you, Simon, but there’s enough melodrama in this book as is. I don’t need you adding to it.
So, scene break, followed by a quick summary of the trip back. Elf-boy acted as guide again, but doesn’t say anything, and once the kids are back top-side, disappears. Isabelle responds to all of that with this:
Isabelle watched him go with a scowl. “He is so broken up with.”
Isabelle? Sweetie? I like you – I really do. Seriously, you’re like, my second favorite character in this series. You’re strong, sexy, are actually capable of accomplishing things without help from one of the men-folk, and are generally awesome. At least when you’re not suddenly acting like a brainless ninny.
At no point during that whole extended mess of an experience did Meliorn display even the slightest hint of affection for you. At all. In fact, he spent a good chunk of it ignoring you. So if he even notices that you aren’t coming around any more, I doubt he’ll be all that bothered.
Jace laughs at this, because he’s a dick. There’s a quick description of the city, and I don’t care.
Isabelle suggests they get moving, since it’s cold and they’re wet. Clary suggests getting a taxi to Brooklyn, but Isabelle says that all the adult Shadowhunters are poking around in the Silent City, so they (meaning Jace) can pop by the Institute for some dry clothes. So, the professional demon slayers and enforcers of supernatural law have been investigating a crime scene for the better part of twenty-four hours? Really? I know the crime scene is huge, but you guys can’t take shifts? What am I saying, of course not – all twenty-five-ish of you were required to investigate the death of a single child the night before.
Seriously, how have these people become top-dogs of the supernatural world? It’s not numbers or ability, so what is it?
Fuck it, we’re almost done.
Jace agrees, because apparently there’s something in his room he wants to get. Clary decides she’s going to share a cab ride with Simon, intending to explain what happened during the ride. Clary, I know that you’re denser than lead, but even you have to understand that there’s no “explaining” what when on down there.
Jace points out that Simon’s already gone. And has apparently made it quite a ways, as he’s almost out of sight. That’s just how much attention Clary was paying to him.
Our “Heroes”: 8
Honestly, I wonder how deluded Simon must be to think Clary ever really cared about him in the first place.
And that’s it for the chapter. I just have one question:
What was the point of all this?
I’m serious – absolutely nothing was accomplished in this chapter. Okay, Jace is now free – so what? He was never in any danger. The whole point of going to the Seelie Queen was to get some support – which they didn’t get.
CC seems to be under the impression that the “love triangle” is an actual plot. It’s not, because I doubt that anyone at any time believed for a second that Clary would ever end up with Simon. This isn’t plot – it’s plot substitute. It’s pointless filler; CC’s personal fantasy that somehow slipped into her manuscript and didn’t get caught.
So because of that, I’m giving this whole chapter one of these:
Entirely Pointless: 2
Now, I said I’d talk about this last time, so let’s get to it – CC’s faeries (or rather, her take on Holly Black’s faeries) kind of fail.
As Pryotra has already pointed out, traditionally the Seelie fairies are generally the good fairies, and the Unseelie the bad ones. Now, personally, I’m okay with neither of them being “good” or “evil” as we understand it, because fairies aren’t human. To me, they should operate on a Blue and Orange morality – a set of values that are utterly alien to us humans. At best, fairies being “good” would be more “benignly neglectful” – as long as we don’t bother them, they’ll ignore us.
But as for CC’s/Black’s faeries, I’m just not impressed. We’re told that they can’t lie, but enjoy messing with mortals by getting creative with their words, and yet none of that’s on display here. The closest we get is some semi-cryptic foreshadowing, which CC really sucks at. And the whole bit with Clary being trapped reads like a child taking her dolls and going “now kiss!”
So let’s take a look at some good examples of fairies, shall we?
The first that jumps to my mind are the ones from the Dresden Files books. I think they’re a great example of that Blue/Orange morality thing I mentioned. They’re split into two three groups – Summer, Winter, and wild. The Summer fae are generally nice, but their main goal it to oppose Winter, regardless of the circumstances. Winter fae are not so nice, but more in the sense that they don’t put up with weakness. Winter fae will help people, but not in ways you might think of as being helpful; for example, for a good long time, Harry’s fairy godmother (not kidding) wanted to turn him into one of her hounds, because she thought that would be the best way to protect him. And in a recent book, the reasons for the two groups were revealed. Winter’s job is to protect the world from nasty Eldritch Abominations from outside reality; Summer’s job is to protect the world from Winter. And the wild fae? Well, they’re mostly un-aligned, but that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous – they do make up the Wild Hunt, after all.
Another example I’ve been thinking about while writing this is are the fae from Patrick Rothfuss’s Kinkiller Chronicle books, particularly the second book, The Wise Man’s Fear. Two in particular – Felurian and the Cthaeth. Felurian is your standard succubus type, though more by accident than by intention. The Cthaeth, on the other hand, is straight-up nasty. It’s trapped beneath a special tree, but omniscient and able to see all possible futures, and is pretty much straight-up evil. But since it’s trapped, it can only do its thing by telling anyone who speaks to it exactly what they need to hear to cause as much chaos and suffering as possible. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that the flowers of the tree can cure any ailment. There’s a whole order of fae warriors whose sole job is to make sure no one talks to the Cthaeth, and if they somehow do, that they’re killed before leaving the clearing where the tree stands.
I’m sure there are more out there, so feel free to share in the comments.
As for me, I’ll be back again with the next chapter. Hopefully that won’t be nearly as long as this one was.
Entirely Pointless: 2 (Total: 27)
Un-Logic: 1 (Total: 22)
You Keep Using That Word: 8 (Total: 45)
Shoddy World Building: 4 (Total: 25)
Rapier Twit: 9 (Total: 35)
Our “Heroes”: 8 (Total: 67)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 (Total: 6)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 13 (Total: 43)
A Word from Our Sponsors: 0 (Total: 3)