Hi everybody, and welcome back to City of Ashes.
Now, before we dive into chapter 9, I want to address something I forgot in the last sporking. I griped several times about how long chapter 8 was – a full tenth of my copy – and there’s literally no reason for this. Chapter 8 could easily have been divided into two separate chapters, and even feels like it was intended to be – one dealing with the characters making a “plan” (for lack of a better word) and “freeing” Jace, and another dealing with everything that went on in the Seelie Court. I don’t know why they were squeezed into one chapter.
And I’m not just complaining because it’s long – I’m complaining because there’s no reason for the chapter to be so long. Nothing of any consequence happened. And no, I don’t consider CC furthering her “love triangle” “plot” to be something of consequence.
With that out of the way, on to chapter 9.
We begin with our “heroes” coming back to the Institute. It is, of course, abandoned. And Clary, for some reason, decided to come with Jace and Isabelle, rather than going after her “best friend”/boyfriend because…
Maybe she forgot he existed. Again.
Max has passed-out on a couch, so Jace comes over and takes his glasses off. Then we get this:
There was a look on his face Clary had never seen before— a fierce protective gentleness that surprised her.
Uh, CC? Your –self-insert- heroine should not be surprised by demonstrations of affection by the hero/designated love interest. Just sayin’.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
Isabelle comes in then, complains about feeling the early stages of a cold, and then goes off to take a shower. Which elicits this response from Jace:
“Sometimes she reminds me of the poem. ‘Isabelle, Isabelle, didn’t worry. Isabelle didn’t scream or scurry—’”
That’s from The Adventures of Isabel by Ogden Nash (and no, I didn’t get the spelling wrong – CC did). It’s a short little poem, describing a girl (Isabel) who encounters various dangers and deals with them. It’s cute and kinda funny, so I recommend you all read it. Lord knows Isabel is a much greater heroine than Clary could ever hope to be. Exactly what brought this comparison on, I can’t quite fathom.
(Also, I was quite disgusted to find that my initial searches only brought up references to this book.)
And admittedly, the Isabelle in these books bears some similarity to the Isabel of Nash’s poem – neither freaks out or panics when faced with danger.
But here’s the problem – Ogden Nash was born in 1902, and died in 1971. Most of his work was published between 1931 and a year after he died.
So why the blue blazes would Jace know this poem?
Shoddy World Building: 1
Oh, wait, I know why – so he can prove how ‘cultured’ he is. Not like that nerd Simon, with his lame D&D references.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2
Jace starts making himself at home, and starts talking about taking a shower. Because why not? It’s not like they’ll all get in trouble if he’s discovered or anything!
Then Clary says that she doesn’t have any spare clothes. Uh, Jace wasn’t offering you a shower, Clary – he was considering having one himself. Clary briefly considers calling Simon, but doesn’t because…
Our “Heroes”: 1
Jace says Clary can borrow one of his t-shirts (which doesn’t exactly solve her clothes problem), and we’re treated to a description of how he looks in his soaked clothes.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 3
CC, after what happened in the last chapter, now is really not the time for this crap.
But Jace insists, and says he has something to show Clary, and proceeds to drag her off to his room. Along the way, this happens:
Surreptitiously, Clary checked the screen on her phone as she followed Jace down the hall to his room. Simon hadn’t tried to call. Ice seemed to crystallize inside her chest. Until two weeks ago, it had been years since she and Simon had had a fight. Now he seemed to be mad at her all the time.
GEE, I WONDER WHY?
Also, WHY DON’T YOU CALL HIM INSTEAD? YOU’RE THE PARTY AT FAULT HERE, CLARY.
Our “Heroes”: 3
So they get to Jace’s room, and we’re once again told how neat and tidy it is, and I don’t give a shit. He tosses her a shirt and goes off to take a shower. I guess that thing he wants to show her isn’t all that important. Though I’m still curious as to why he had to drag Clary all the way to his room just to give her a shirt.
Also, does this set-up feel a bit rape-y to anyone else? He’s got her alone, in a private spot, far from any means of getting help…
Yeah, I’m gonna stop thinking about that now.
On an unrelated topic, does Jace just expect Clary to sit there waiting for him? I mean, when I take a shower, it’s usually about 10 minutes, maybe longer if I feel particularly gross (like after doing yard work), plus maybe another five to do other bathroom-stuff (dry off and brush teeth). If I’m also shaving, it’ll probably be a good 20 minutes between me getting in the shower to me leaving the bathroom.
My point is, does Jace really expect Clary to wait until he’s done taking a shower? And if so, why did he drag her all the way to his room just to sit around? Does he just get off on ordering her around?
… oh god, now that image is in my head.
Back to sporking. Clary actually does the adult thing and finally calls Simon. And gets his voicemail. But before she can say anything, Jace pops back out and asks what she’s doing. As if it’s somehow is business.
But Clary apparently feels all ashamed, and clams she was just checking the time. Jace, not being an idiot (at least not this time), and easily deduces that she was calling Simon. Or, as he’s back to calling him, “the mundane”.
Our “Heroes”: 4
Yep, Jace is back to his normal, asshole self.
To my surprise, Clary actually defends Simon. Jace again figures out that Clary is feeling guilty. And then tells her that Simon’s probably avoiding her, so she shouldn’t bother calling him. Because Jace is an asshole.
Clary, being the blind idiot that she is, asks how Jace has figured all that out, and he gives this explanation:
“I know it because I saw the look on his face before he took off,” Jace said. “You didn’t. You weren’t looking at him. But I was.”
I see we’re back to teasing the Simon/Jace shippers, then. How nice.
Clary then says that all this is Jace’s fault, and that he “shouldn’t have kissed [her] like that.” To which he responds with this:
“How should I have kissed you? Is there another way you like it?”
Well, for starters, you could have tried to not make out with a girl you believe to be your sister. I know it sounds crazy, but plenty of people around the world manage to kiss others without displaying any romantic feelings at all.
Oh, wait, this is YA urban fantasy/paranormal romance, written by someone who got their start writing crappy fanfic. The two leads just can’t help themselves.
So now we get a long conversation which essentially boils down to Clary admitting that she still has feelings for Jace. Why we’re focusing on this when there’s actual End-of-the-World shit going on, I don’t know. I’m not opposed to romantic sub-plots in other genres, but this is not what’s happening here. I recently said that this series is like a YA version of the Anita Blake books, and this is just another similarity – more time is spent on the soap opera-esque “romance” than what is ostensibly the actual plot.
The whole thing finally comes to a head with this:
Something inside Clary cracked and broke, and words came pouring out. “_What do you want me to tell you?_ The truth? The truth is that I love Simon like I should love you, and I wish he was my brother and you weren’t, but I can’t do anything about that and neither can you! Or do you have some ideas, since you’re so goddamned smart?”
Jace acts all shocked and hurt by this, which of course gets Clary to apologize, because cnidarians have more backbone than she does.
He walks over to her, stumbling so we can be told how he’s always so graceful
Both Hands, Ma’am: 4
and then grabs Clary’s face, so we can get a description of how warm his hands are. Because that’s something I wanted to read.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 5
And then, to top it all off, we get this:
“You don’t understand,” he said. His voice shook. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone. I didn’t think I could. I thought— the way I grew up— my father—”
“To love is to destroy,” she said numbly. “I remember.”
“I thought that part of my heart was broken,” he said, and there was a look on his face as he spoke as if he were surprised to hear himself saying these words, saying my heart.
Good LORD. I know I’ve been implying this for a while, but CC? I can practically hear you fapping away. And it disgusts me.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 8
Double, because on top of being gross as hell, it’s also cliché.
Jace, being the messed up fuck that he is, proposes that they start screwing anyway. His reasoning being that, hey, if they both want to, then why not?
Clary says that there’s no way they could do that, so Jace says they’ll keep it secret. So Clary points out that someone would eventually find out, and she doesn’t want to lie to either of their families, to which Jace points out that the Lightwoods already hate him (sure they do – that’s why they’ve all repeatedly gone out on a limb to protect your ass, you entitled little shit) so who cares?
Finally, Clary says what I and probably all of you have been thinking this whole time – this relationship is just gross. This actually reaches Jace, and he starts acting all wounded, which of course causes Clary, spineless twit that she is, to back down and start apologizing.
But it’s not enough, and Jace gets all huffy and heads back to the shower (which has been running this whole time, btw), and says this before closing the door:
“And if you’ve made me run through all the hot water, I’ll be very annoyed.”
Not exactly, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” but I don’t think Rhett Butler was the manipulative fuckwad in that relationship.
So Clary lies back down on the bed, starts huffing Jace’s dirty shirt, and passes out, bringing the scene to a close.
The next scene begins with another dream sequence. Oh, joy.
Clary’s in the middle of some random place, walking across a body of water so perfectly flat and reflective it’s practically a mirror. And then she starts walking on it, further cementing its mirror-like qualities. There’s suddenly a city somewhere in the distance, and Clary can smell it. Personally, any city you can smell from any distance is not a place I’d want to visit.
Then the stars start falling from the sky, only they’re not stars, because one falls near her, and it turns into Jace. CC makes sure we know to associate the color gold with Jace, as she uses it four times to describe him. In the same sentence.
You Keep Using That Word: 4
I don’t care if that’s not what that count’s for – CC started it. Also, I’m fairly certain she misuses a colon, too. I’m also giving this one of these as well.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 9
Because did she really need to spend twenty-seven words describing Jace? Oh, and did I mention that, in the dream, Jace has wings?
Both Hands, Ma’am: 10
Then Jace points behind Clary, and she turns to see Simon (she’s not quite sure, but it’s Simon), and he also has wings, only instead of being white and gold like Jace’s they’re black and have blood on them.
And that’s the dream sequence. To it’s credit, it does have some not-terribly foreshadowing. However, it seems to be there mostly to perpetuate Jace and Simon as being opposing forces, with a clear bias towards Jace.
For some reason, Clary gasps when she wakes up. Not sure why, as that dream wasn’t particularly stressful, apart from the “flaming shit falling from the sky” bit, which took up all of one sentence.
Clary looks around and realizes she’s still in Jace’s room. Then she looks over and realizes Jace is sitting in the chair, and has been watching her this whole time.
…um, I think I’ll let Dean Winchester handle this one.
CC, I realize the Twilight books probably became a big thing right around the time you started writing this, and that Stephenie Meyer even gave you a cover quote, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore how incredibly creepy Edward’s whole “I like to watch you sleep” thing was. You didn’t have to actively speak out about it, but you didn’t have to include… that either.
Thankfully, CC at least sort of diffuses the creepy by having Jace point out that Clary drooled on his shirt. Why he sat there and just let her do it, I don’t know – he mentions that she was dead asleep, but I’d think that would make snagging something out from her grasp easier.
Anyway, Clary pulls out her phone to check if Simon called, but he hasn’t. Gee, Clary, maybe if you’d bothered to actually leave a message when you called him, instead of freaking out when Jace popped back up, Simon might have called you. If one of your friends (or even a family member) doesn’t like one of your other friends, that’s their problem.1 You should never be embarrassed by who you’re friends with.
1 Note: this does not apply when said friend or family member is acting out of concern for your well-being.
And then we get this:
“It’s three in the morning,” she noted with dismay. “Do you think Simon’s all right?”
“I think he’s weird, actually,” said Jace. “Though that has little to do with the time.”
Rapier Twit: 1
Our “Heroes”: 5”
Gods, would it kill you to acknowledge that Clary might have a valid reason to be concerned? Oh wait, that would require Jace to have and demonstrate basic human empathy, and that would ruin the whole “sexy sociopath” thing he has going on.
Clary goes into the bathroom and changes into Jace’s (slightly drool-stained) shirt, and comes out to find that Jace hasn’t moved.
Seriously, this kid is creepy as fuck.
Anyway, we finally get to see what he dragged Clary all the way to his room to see – he has a piece of the mirror-portal thing from the end of the last book, and has been using to try to find Valentine. And no, this is totally different from that piece of two-way mirror Harry had in Deathly Hallows.[/sarcasm]
Seriously, CC, if you want people to forget that whole “plagiarism” thing, then maybe you should try to avoid taking ideas from other authors. And I know JKR didn’t create magic mirrors, but the ideas are just a little too similar, and Harry Potter is the franchise that got you in trouble in the first place.
Anyway, Jace hasn’t spotted Valentine, and even got Magnus to find Valentine with magic, but with no luck. Also, I feel I have to comment on this:
“Magnus didn’t get to be High Warlock for nothing.”
Again, I’m fairly certain he didn’t “get” to be High Warlock – I’m fairly certain he just appointed himself High Warlock. Just like I can declare myself “Grand Master Dragon Slayer of the South-Eastern United States,” and the title worth about as much as Magnus’s title of “High Warlock of Brooklyn”.
So Jace talks more about how Magnus can “sense” things in and around New York, which elicits this response from Clary:
Clary snorted. “He can feel disturbances in the Force?”
Rapier Twit: 2
Clary, it’s too damn late to try to establish your geed cred. Also, if you really want to impress me, you’re going to have to go with something that isn’t part of the cultural zeitgeist.
Anyway, Jace says Magnus is serious, and he even asked for something of Valentine’s to try and track him – you know, sympathetic magic. So Jace gave Magnus his ring, and I can see a glaring hole right there – Valentine hasn’t worn that ring for years, which I’d imagine is long enough for any connection between him and it to be gone. If that ring is connected to anyone, it’s Jace. This is why most settings involving this kind of magic point out how things like hair and especially blood are best for this kind of thing.
They finally get around to wondering if they should go back to Magnus’s place to let Alec go, but Jace says that he “[doubts] he [Alec] minds, somehow,” ending the discussion. Because that’s the only concern here – whether or not Alec “minds” being stuck in Magnus’s apartment. Not that all of them (including Alec, Magnus, Isabelle, and Clary) will be neck-deep in shit if this gets found out, oh no. That discovery of this will almost certainly result in all parties involved in this, even tangentially connected to it, being branded as traitors and law breakers, probably locked away for the rest of their natural lives, if not out-right executed, is utterly unimportant. No, the only thing that matters is –Jace being free- whether or not Alec “minds”.
Our “Heroes”: 6
For some random reason, Jace asks how Clary managed to open his cell door back in chapter six, but before she can get out her entire answer, the doorbell rings. Which she initially confuses for her cell phone. The Institue’s doorbell is described as “a harsh, tolling ring”. How Clary managed to confuse that for her cell phone, I don’t know.
So instead of hiding (which would be the smart thing), they run off to answer the door. Don’t ask me why – maybe they think it’s a candygram or something.
Isabelle comes out, and responds appropriately to someone ringing your doorbell at three in the goddamn morning. Clary only now realizes that it might be the Inquisitor, and practically wets herself at the thought, because she has yet to evolve an exoskeleton, let alone a spine. Jace points out that the Inquisitor wouldn’t need to ring the doorbell, which leads Clary to conclude that it must be Simon.
And once again, Isabelle responds as a sane person would:
“Oh, for goodness’ sake,” yawned Isabelle, “is he really waking us up at this ungodly hour just to prove his love to you or something? Couldn’t he have called? Mundane men are such twits.”
I’ll be nice and ignore that crack about “mundane” men being twits – because if Jace and Alec are anything to go by, Shadowhunter men aren’t really much of an improvement. Or an improvement at all, really.
And then Jace has to ruin the moment with this:bq. “I can’t believe he didn’t have the dignity and presence of mind just to get drunk and pass out in some gutter,” said Jace. “I must say, I’m disappointed in the little fellow.”
First, the legal age to purchase alcohol in the US is 21. Simon is, at best, 17. Now, I realize that other countries have different drinking ages, and that there are teen in the US who drink at that age. Hell, I’m pretty sure I’d had alcohol around that age. But there’s nothing wrong with respecting the law.
Second, not everyone responds to emotional trauma by going down to a bar, forcing them to serve you, drinking like a giant pussy, and then using the other patrons as your literal punching bags. Dipshit.
Also, please refrain from referring to Simon as “little fellow”, you arrogant jackass.
So they wait for the elevator, Clary remembers her dream and shivers, prompting Isabelle to give her a coat which CC spends a bit too much time describing for no apparent reason.
Entirely Pointless: 1
The elevator appears, and they all pile in. I’m not sure why they all need to go, but whatever. CC wastes a whole paragraph describing the trip, which would have been okay, especially the bit where Clary reflects on what happened at the Seelie court, but CC preemptively shoots herself in the foot by having Clary try to catch Jace’s eye, spending a whole sentence describing his behavior, and Clary thinking back to previous events being prompted by remembering how Jace’s hands trembled when he grabbed her before their Big Kiss.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 11
The elevator finally reaches the main floor, and Clary rushes to the door and flings it open.
But Simon isn’t waiting outside. No, instead, it’s Raphael, carrying a body. I’m going to save everyone some time and just explain that he’s carrying Simon, since CC apparently thinks it creates more tension or something to not actively say that, instead leaving it to be implied. Clary screams, bringing the scene to a close.
The next scene picks up right where the last one left off, so we have another one of these:
A Word From Our Sponsors: 1
We’re told that Clary’s scream doesn’t actually make a sound, which makes me wonder if she’s actually screaming or not. Or whether CC understands how screaming works.
Clary also collapses, and has to be supported by Jace, because reasons. Isabelle responds to this by grabbing a candelabra (no, I don’t know why that would be there), pointing it at Raphael, and demanding to know what he did to Simon. He replies in Spanish that might be slightly mangled (I’m not certain, because I took Latin in high school, but I feel that “El no esta muerta” isn’t quite right – I think CC mixed up the gender endings or something), saying that Simon isn’t dead. I’m not quite sure why Raphael speaks Spanish here, except for CC to demonstrate how “inclusive” she is by having the head vampire be Hispanic.
Anyway, this news snaps Clary out of her stupor, and she rushes over and starts pawing at Simon and trying to talk to him. Raphael explains that Simon probably can’t hear Clary, because he’s dying. This upsets Clary some more, leading to El Vampiro (kinda sounds like a superhero, doesn’t it?) to explain that he meant Simon isn’t dead yet. Clary starts to say they should get some help for Simon, only for Raphael to explain that there’s nothing they can do.
Much to my surprise, Jace actually responds accordingly by threatening to kill Raphael right there, unless he explains what happened. There’s some back-and-forth about that the oath Jace made in the last book, but eventually Raphael explains that Simon actually broke into the vampire hotel, thus making him fair game. But, being a smart leader, Raphael stopped his people draining Simon dry and instead brought him to the Institute to prevent the Shadowhunters attacking his people.
Turns out that Simon thought he might be turning into a vampire – back in the last book, Simon (in rat form) bit Raphael and accidentally swallowed some of his blood, which caused him (Simon) to come down with some vampire-like symptoms (remember all that stuff with him acting weird back in chapter one? This is our explanation). So he went back to the vampires’ lair to find out if there was a cure or something. And it turns out that all that stuff would have gone away in another few days.
Which raises the question of why Raphael didn’t explain this and then send Simon on his merry way. I mean, that would get you major brownie points with the Shadowhunters – helping out one of their friends, especially when (by the stupid and nonsensical rules of this society) he’s fair game? That’s a great way to demonstrate that you want to get along.
But no. Instead, the vampires apparently drained Simon, and now he’s turning into a vampire. Of course, CC doesn’t just come out and say that, oh no. For some reason, she has Isabelle interject, leading to Raphael clarifying what’s going to happen.
So, instead of coming by to ensure that Simon gets help, Raphael came by to… tell them he’s got a new vampire. Okay.
Oh, and he refers to the soon-to-be-undead Simon as “one of Night’s Children”.
You Keep Using That Word: 5
Seriously, does no one realize how pretentious that sounds?
And it’s Isabelle of all people who asks if there might be a cure. You’d think she’d know, being a born and raised Shadowhunter and all. If anyone were to ask about there being a cure for vampirism, I’d expect it to be Clary – you know, the one who knows almost nothing about this world.
Raphael explains that the only “cure” at this point would be killing Simon, but figures that they won’t actually do that.
And then this happens:
“No!” Clary’s arms tightened around Simon. “Don’t you dare hurt him.”
“I have no need to,” said Raphael.
“I wasn’t talking to you.” Clary didn’t look up. “Don’t you even think about it, Jace. Don’t even think about it.”
I think this is really telling. See, I personally don’t doubt that Jace would kill Simon without a second thought, and might even be eager to do so. But the fact that Clary, who practically worships the ground Jace walks on, seems to have come to the same conclusion…
Well, maybe she’s not quite so brainless after all.
Jace actually tries to convince Clary that Simon might want them to kill him, but Clary yells at him to back off. He tries again, but gets interrupted by Simon spasming to life for a second.
Clary starts reassuring Simon, and even says she loves him, before he falls dead.
And then the scene ends.
And the next one picks up right after.
A Word From Our Sponsors: 2
So Clary zones out a bit, and Isabelle asks what they should do now. Raphael says they need to bury Simon. And I think I’m going to do this next bit line-by-line.
“Bury him,” said Raphael.
The candelabra swung up again in Jace’s hand. “That’s not funny.”
Jace, considering some of your “quips,” you don’t really have much room to talk.
“It isn’t supposed to be,” said the vampire, unfazed. “It is how we are made. We are drained, blooded, and buried. When he digs his own way out of a grave, that is when a vampire is born.”
Well, that’s… interesting. I mean, I think it might be a bit similar to the way vampires are made in the Buffy-verse, but that’s not terrible.
Also, you’d really think that Shadowhunters would be at least somewhat aware of how vampires reproduce, for lack of a better term.
Shoddy World Building: 2
Isabelle made a faint sound of disgust. “I don’t think I could do that.”
Okay, was that first bit really necessary? I could have read that as “I don’t think I can bury my friend,” but as is, I can’t help but think she means, “Ew, I have to touch a dead body? _Gross!_”
CC, could you please stop bashing Isabelle? It doesn’t make Clary (or you) look any better by comparison.
“Some can’t,” said Raphael. “If no one is there to help them dig out, they stay like that, trapped like rats under the earth.”
Well that’s only completely fucking terrifying.
Anyway, Clary says she won’t bury Simon, but Raphael points out that, if they don’t, then Simon will just stay a corpse forever. And I’m sorry to do this so soon, but I think you guys really need to see this:
They were all staring down at her. Isabelle and Jace as if they were holding their breaths, waiting on her response. Raphael looked incurious, almost bored.
I just love that Raphael clearly doesn’t give a shit. Yes, this is a serious moment, but given the amount of melodrama we’ve already suffered in this book and the preceding one, it’s nice to see someone who just couldn’t be bothered to care.
Alright, we’re almost done.
Clary brings up Raphael being unable to physically enter the Institute, what with it being on holy ground and him being “unholy,” and Jace starts to explain, only for Raphael to cut him off and tell Clary that there’s a bit of a time limit, so if she wants to bury Simon, they need to do it soon.
I’m not sure why there was that brief digression. It didn’t really serve a purpose.
Entirely Pointless: 2
Come to think of it, why didn’t Raphael mention the time limit earlier?
Clary says she wants to do this at a Jewish cemetery, which is nice of her. Raphael warns her that what “It will not be pleasant,” to which Clary responds with what CC probably thought was a badass line. See for yourselves:
“Nothing ever is.” She set her jaw. “Let’s get going. We only have a few hours until dawn.”
Yeah, Clary? I can’t really buy that from you, since you seem to actively avoid anything remotely unpleasant or difficult for as long as possible, which is usually when it comes back to bite you in the ass.
Anyway, that’s the end of chapter 9. And it was… okay, I guess.
I certainly could have done without Jace and Clary hashing out their relationship issues, or that dream sequence, and I think it’s fair to say that Simon becoming a vampire is very much Clary’s fault (if she’d bothered to actually contact him, maybe he would have held off for a bit), but I can’t help but wonder if this particular turn of events wasn’t intended to make Simon an “acceptable” love interest – can’t have the wonderful, amazing –Cassandra Clare- Clary Fray ending up with just anyone, can we?
But that’s all for now. I’ve been accepted for an internship which started up a week or so ago, and I’m also doing a summer class, so I can’t guarantee when the next chapter will be up. On top of that, this was about where I stopped my initial read-through, so from here on, I’m going forward semi-blind. So we’ll see how that goes.
Entirely Pointless: 2 (Total: 29)
Un-Logic: 6 (Total: 28)
You Keep Using That Word: 5 (Total: 50)
Shoddy World Building: 2 (Total: 27)
Rapier Twit: 2 (Total: 37)
Our “Heroes”: 6 (Total: 73)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 (Total: 6)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 11 (Total: 54)
A Word from Our Sponsors: 2 (Total: 5)