This one’s pretty short compared to the last few chapters. Mostly because it’s wrapping up the “rescue Simon” subplot.
We pick up right where we left off – the wolves and vampires staring each other down like the Jets and the Sharks about to rumble. And it’s about as tense, too.
Raphael cements himself as both a pretentious douche and a horrible stereotype by calling the wolves “Los Niños de la Luna,” which CC helpfully informs us means “children of the moon,” which in turn means werewolves.
No Shit Sherlock: 2
Double because 1) I think we can figure out what the Spanish means, and 2) were we supposed to think they were normal wolves? Seriously, CC, I know you’re writing for a YA audience, but that doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
We then learn that CC has decided to follow the World of Darkness/Underworld trend and have the werewolves and vampires be mortal enemies, and that one group being in the others’ territory is strictly forbidden by Covenant law. Considering that we learned last chapter that it’s perfectly legal for vampires to kill anyone who enters their territory, this whole Covenant think kida sucks. I’m with Valentine – tear the whole thing down and start from scratch.
Jace goes on to inform us that something must have happened to cause the werewolves to do this, and that the current situation is very, very bad.
No Shit Sherlock: 4
Gee, ya think? CC, please stop explaining this kind of thing. When you do, it really kills the tension.
But Clary, having the IQ of a cucumber, has to have it explained that they’re “about to be in the middle of a war.”
No Shit Sherlock: 5
All that explaining suddenly makes sense – if Clary can’t figure this stuff out on her own, there’s no way the readers can. And considering that this series shares an audience with Twilight, that might not be entirely wrong.
CC finally gets back to the impending violence. And in true Meyer-esque fashion, it immediately turns to talking. One of the wolves shifts back, thankfully including clothes, and explains that they came for Clary. Jace swears and asks why Clary didn’t tell him she knew any werewolves. She tells him that she doesn’t. It appears that Jace has completely forgotten that, until a week ago, Clary didn’t know that any of this stuff existed. Nice to know that our hero has the memory of a goldfish.
And then we get this little exchange:
“This is bad,” said Jace.
“You said that before.”
“It seemed worth repeating.”
“Well, it wasn’t.” Clary shrank back against him. “_Jace_. They’re all looking at me.”
Rapier Twit: 1
I showed you that for two reasons.
First, the obvious bad comedy. Some writers/characters can do flippant during tense situations. Harry Dresden, for example. Buffy Summers or Angel, for another. This is not funny, because I keep reading Jace’s dialogue with this smug, self-satisfied tone. As if repeating the joke will just make it funnier.
Second is the fact that everything has literally ground to a halt while Clary and Jace had their conversation. The last chapter ended with a huge fight about to break out, and within pages all that tension has disappeared. That Westside Story reference I made back at the beginning? A dance-off would have been preferable to this.
Raphael pulls that idiotic rule about vampire territory, and it seems either CC realized that there was supposed to be a fight, or someone pointed it out to her, because the werewolves and vampires finally start going at it. If the five minutes of talking between the end of chapter 14 and now had been cut, I might still care.
While that’s going on, Clary and Jace are cowering in the corner doing absolutely nothing. Simon gets loose, leading to Clary chasing after him. Jace, predictably, doesn’t respond well to this.
“Clary, don’t chase the rat. He’s fleeing. That’s what rats do.”
There is no way to interpret that statement that makes Jace look good. If he means that Simon’s brain has been overridden by rat instincts, that’s clearly wrong. If he means “rat” in a metaphorical sense, then that’s also demonstrably false.
Clary calls Jace an “ungreatful cretin,” and continues after Simon.
Weird Word Choice: 1
I think you mean “arrogant douche,” Clary.
Simon runs up and starts pawing at some drapes. Clary moves them aside, revealing a door.
Let me make this clear: Simon has been turned into a rat, and he’s still more useful and heroic than Jace. Seriously, why is he not the hero?
Speaking of the asshole, Jace shows up and acts vaguely nonchalant about the whole thing. I think it’s a coping mechanism – he just can’t accept that he’s less awesome than a rat. Clary tries the door, but it doesn’t work. Jace then tries to break it down. It’s the most useful thing he’s done since entering the hotel in the first place. When the door does not immediately yield, he responds with this:
“My shoulder will never be the same. I expect you to nurse me back to health.”
Rapier Twit: 2
Jace, given the small scale battle going on behind you, if you don’t get that door open, your shoulder is going to be the least of your worries. And CC, it really kills the tension if your characters are flirting while trying to flee for their lives.
They start to argue, only for one of the werewolves to attack Clary. Well, I guess CC did remember the fight going on.
Jace gets back to working at the door and Clary pulls her dagger and throws it at the wolf. The narration specifically tells us that she’s never even held a weapon before, let alone thrown one. Neither have I, but I’m fairly certain that hitting anything with a thrown weapon, let alone hitting anything correctly, is kinda hard. Especially if the weapon being thrown isn’t properly balanced for throwing, which I’m assuming Clary’s dagger isn’t.
In a realistic book, she’d miss, or the knife would hit wrong and bounce off harmlessly. But since Clary is the author’s self-insert sue, her throw is perfect, and the werewolf runs off.
Clary’s innate awesomeness having been established, Jace finally manages to get the door open. They run through just in time to escape another two werewolves chasing after them. Of course. Jace whips out his wand (not that wand, you pervs), and casts some locking spell on the door. And since Clary now has her innate Shadowhunter abilities have been unlocked, she now can read runes. And yes, CC insists on explaining what each rune looks like and exactly what it means in a faux old-timey style reminiscent of the Harry Potter books (compare: “to hold against pursuit” and “for use on enemies”). It is really annoying.
They start moving down the hall, eventually coming to an old, disused stairway. How… convenient that the vampires didn’t destroy this particular stairway. They start up, being sensible for once and going slowly. And then Jace’s little ward breaks, and the werewolves are after them again. Guess Jace isn’t as good at this stuff as he thinks. And so they begin running up the stairs.
Again, if this book were set in any way realistic, some of the old wooden stairs would break or collapse under their weight. But that doesn’t happen. Oh, CC tries to make it tense, but when it’s revealed that they manage to reach the fifth floor without being in any real danger, I become a bit skeptical.
And it turns out that this hotel only has five floors, because the sixth floor landing leads to the roof. The door locks behind them, and Jace puts together that this must be how the vampires enter the hotel.
No Shit Sherlock: 6
Clary goes to see if there’s a fire escape, and gets a bit of vertigo from being ten stories up.
Wait, ten stories? What? Oh, I see what I did wrong – I assumed each landing connected to a corresponding level. There were five landings connected to interior floors, and the sixth to the roof. Silly me, not knowing that CC pictured this stairway with landings on every other floor. It’s not like that sort of thing could easily be avoided by using terms like “eighth floor landing” instead of “fifth landing” like a sensible person. Did CC’s editor or proof-reader not catch this?
Whatever. The fire escape is a bust, because the vampires destroyed it.
Let me get this straight – the vampires destroyed all the stairs, because they don’t need them. They destroyed the fire escape, and most of the interior stairways. But not the one that leads directly to the roof.
Plot Hole: 1
Yeah, sure, that makes sense.
Then Jace comes up with a brilliant idea. Remember those demon motorcycles from a few chapters ago? The ones that can supposedly fly? They’re gonna steal one.
Just wait. It gets worse.
Clary thinks this is a stupid idea, what with him not even having keys for the things. Oh, but since the bikes run on demonic energies, he doesn’t need a key to start one. What kind of moon logic is that?
Fuck it. Moving on.
Clary hops on the back, and we get a description of her feeling Jace’s muscles under his shirt.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
Werwolves? Vampires? What are you talking about?
Also, never before has the term “riding bitch” felt more appropriate.
The bike starts, and yet they don’t immediately get moving, because Jace is letting up on the choke. Even though the bike runs on demon power, not gas. Because CC has to artificially pump up the tension. The wolves and vampires break through the door just as the bike takes off over the edge of the roof.
And then Clary and Jace plummet to their deaths, because all those stories about demon motorcycles being able to fly were just that.
Instead, we get a commercial break.
Random Scene Break: 1
The bike starts, and they fly off into the night. And we’ve finally come to the real reason for why Alec and Isabelle weren’t brought along on this little adventure – so CC can do her own version of Harry and Hermione’s flight from Prisoner of Azkaban. I wonder if she was a Harmonian?
Jace is, of course, having the time of his life. And while I can appreciate enjoying flying, he should be more focused on escaping. Because those vampires could chase after them on their own flying motorcycles.
Oh, wait, never mind. This is CC we’re talking about.
Clary makes a comment about how her mother riding off on a motorcycle with some guy (oh, now you remember that you have a mother), and Jace gives her this bit of reassurance:
“She wouldn’t say that if she knew me,” he called back to her confidently. “I’m an excellent driver.”
Rapier Twit: 3
Really, Jace? How exactly did you learn to drive? Because I’m fairly certain that the Institute doesn’t have any cars (they have to borrow a van later on), and I doubt you’re willing to interact with mundane society enough to get a license. And on top of all that, motorcycles require their own specialized license.
Next, Clary’s mom obviously wasn’t referring to her daughter’s safety. Your whole “I don’t know a damn thing about mundane society” schtick has passed annoying and become blindingly stupid.
And now we get more proof that Jace is both a sociopath and should not be left unsupervised. Clary remembers that Jace said that only some vampire motorcycles could fly, and asks how Jace knew that this one could fly. His answer? He didn’t!
Yep. This is the second time that Jace has unnecessarily put Clary’s life in danger. Oh, yes, both times she was already in danger, but Jace doesn’t seem to consider that what he’s willing to do might also kill her.
But of course, since Jace is suck a huge fucking Gary Stu, everything always works out fine in the end.
Also, note that we only ever learn this stuff after the fact. Almost as if CC didn’t think of it at the time.
And then Jace tells Clary she should look down, because the view is great. Yeah, he’s really an asshole.
We get a lengthy description of them flying over New York, with Clary getting a very brief case of vertigo, giving her an excuse to clutch at Jace even more.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2
Also, for having such a terrible fear of heights, Clary is remarkably unfazed for being so high up with nothing below her but a magical motorcycle, if the narration is any indicator.
Plot Hole: 2
They start heading east, and once again Simon is the only one that’s really aware of what’s going on. Namely, that the sun is rising. Clary says that it looks pretty, but Jace freaks. Why? Well, the bike runs of demon energy, and sunrise cancels it out. Or something. It’s really not explained beyond the bike suddenly not working anymore.
Why exactly would sunrise cancel out demon powers? When was that established?
Plot Hole: 3
Okay, another quick counter example. In the Dresden Files, certain magical stuff (namely anything from the Nevernever) doesn’t react well to sunrise or sunlight. The October Daye novels have similar rules – sunrise wipes away magic, so things like protection spells have to be recast daily. Both series quickly explain this. But I guess CC just assumed that everyone would know this.
The bike starts dropping, and it looks like they’re going to crash. Rather than, say, landing the bike safely, Jace decides to gun it and they only sort-of crash in a parking lot. Clary even gets tossed from the bike. “Excellent driver” my ass.
When Clary starts looking around, the first thing she notices is how Jace looks, including the use of the term “gold curls.”
Both Hands, Ma’am: 3
I mention this because she completely fails to notice the now human Simon, even though he’s laying right next to her. I guess now that Simon’s no longer in danger, it’s okay for Clary to go back to ignoring him.
The two “best friends” reconnect, and Jace acts all hurt that Clary’s hugging the friend that she spent the past two and a half chapters trying to rescue. I’d almost feel bad for him, if I wasn’t almost certain that any emotional display from Jace was an act.
And thus the Simon as a rat sub-plot comes to an end. And what purpose did it ultimately serve? Well, CC got to rip-off J.K. Rowling without having to worry too much about legal reprisals, and she got to show us more of her really shoddy world building. And perhaps most importantly, she got to avoid having to write her characters actually having to figure out what’s really going on. Why have them actually work for something when she can just have some random guy explain everything?
Nothing was really accomplished, and the ramifications of this don’t show up until the next book. If that doesn’t just scream “fan fiction,” I don’t know what does. This whole subplot should have been cut. But CC probably got upset and whined to her friend Holly Black, who then told the editor to leave CC’s work alone. Of course, that’s just speculation on my part, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
And what the hell does “High and Dry” have to do with this chapter? I get the “high” part, but where does “dry” come into it? It doesn’t even work in a metaphorical sense, because at no point are they in any real danger.
Also, if I ever meet that Eric guy responsible for the flying vampire motorcycles, I’m going to hit him. Come to think of it, why would vampires even need flying motorcycles if they can fly on their own?
Plot Hole: 4
Anyway, that’s all for now. Now that this annoying little subplot’s finally come to a close, we can get back to the main plot.
Weird Word Choice: 1 (Total 66)
Rapier Twit: 3 (Total 42)
No Shit Sherlock: 6 (Total 33)
Plot Hole: 4 (Total 58)
Random Scene Break: 1 (Total 8)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 3 (Total 18)
Bitch: 1 (Total 16)