With a chapter title like that, this can’t be good.
This chapter begins with not one, not two, but three of CC’s awkward similes: the rooms Clary and Jace walk past are “as deserted as stage sets,” and the sheet-covered furniture “[loom] up out of the dimness like icebergs through fog.” The topper, though, is when they get to the roof. Jace opens the door to the greenhouse, and “the scent hit Clary, soft as the padded blow of a cat’s paw.”
Weird Word Choice: 3
Really, did no one notice this? That’s three similes in only two sentences. Three very specific, very awkward similes.
On to the greenhouse itself – it’s basically a garden. It’s full of various flowers and whatnot, you get the idea. Oh, and apparently Alec and Isabelle don’t ever come up there, because they have allergies. Now I’m wondering how something like that could have been diagnosed, since the Shadowhunters seem to go out of there way to avoid anything having to do with mundanes – remember, all their weapons seem to date from the Renaissance at best. If they were normal people, they’d probably take medicine for stuff like that.
Guess that’s one thing CC didn’t learn from watching shows like Buffy – sometimes, “muggles do it better.”:http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MugglesDoItBetter
Sorry, that was off-topic. Anyway, Clary asks about some of the flowers, but Jace can’t answer her, because he doesn’t know. Why doesn’t he know? I’ll let him explain:
“You think I pay attention in botany class? I’m not going to be an archivist. I don’t need to know about that stuff.”
Yep. And what does he need to know? How to kill stuff. I’m not even joking – he actually admits that.
Now, anyone with a fully functioning brain (which may or may not include the author or this series’ hardcore fans) will see the problem with this. Since this stuff is probably what Hodge uses to make all those wonderful potions and whatnot, those botany classes probably contain a decent amount of basic medical training. So by ignoring them, Jace is effectively saying “I don’t need to know first aid.” Because why would someone on the front-lines of a war need to know stuff like that?
Yeah, Jace is an idiot, and CC probably is too. But then, I’m just being a big meanie, with my logic and reasoning.
Oh, but Jace also knows other things, like how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Because apparently that’s, like, really hard or something. I don’t know.
He sets down the basket and we get to see everything he brought – a few apples, a fruit and nut chocolate bar, and some bottled water. And Clary is actually impressed by all this. As near as I can tell, Jace mostly raided the pantry. I guess Clary just has really low standards. Imagine how impressed she’d be if he took her to a McDonald’s!
While Clary eats her sandwich, Jace pulls out a knife “that looked capable of disemboweling a grizzly” and proceeds to use it to slice up an apple. As opposed to, say, a paring knife, like a sensible person. Or maybe he’s compensating for something. Either way, I’m not impressed.
(And if I have offended any of the Australians in our community, I apologize.)
Jace passes her a slice, and apologizes for it not being cake. But Clary’s happy with it, as she wasn’t expecting anything for her birthday. Wonderful. She takes a bite of the apple, and it’s described as tasting “green and cool.”
Weird Word Choice: 4
Um, how does that work? I mean, that’s like saying something smells rough. Does Clary have synesthesia or something? Does CC?
Sorry, I keep getting distracted by this kind of stuff.
Jace starts talking about his own birthdays, and how his father would always let him do anything on his birthday. For example, on his fifth birthday, he got to take a bath in spaghetti. Which is actually kind of cute. We’re over half-way through this book, and only now are we finding out something likable about the hero.
Also, didn’t they do that in Patch Adams?
Clary is a bit incredulous, and Jace goes into more details:
“He had the servants fill a bath with boiling water and pasta, and when it cooled down…” He shrugged. “I took a bath.”
And the first thing that Clary takes note of is that he mentioned “servants.” Yep, Jace is actually a spoiled rich kid, much to the surprise of no one. And then Clary tries to imagine it.
She tried to picture him as a little boy, giggling, up to his ears in pasta. The image wouldn’t form. Surely Jace never giggled, not even at the age of five.
It really says something when the heroine can’t picture her Designated Love Interest as a giggling child. Kinda like how it’s hard to imagine Hitler as a baby. This is not a good thing, CC. Also, since we previously found out that Jace’s dad was kind of a psychotic fundamentalist, suddenly talking about what a loving father he was rings really hollow.
The other stuff Jace tended to ask for is less surprising – namely weapons. And books, because he claims that he reads a lot. I am understandably skeptical of this claim.
This somehow segues into how Jace never went to school, had no real friends, and hadn’t even met another person his age until meeting Alec when he was ten. I’m sure this is all intended to make me feel sorry for Jace, but I have several reasons not to buy into this. And I shall present them in list form.
1) As already established, Jace is kind of a sociopath.
2) Despite how pity-inducing all this is, Jace doesn’t appear to be all that bothered by it.
3) By this point, I as a reader have already formed an opinion of Jace, and it’s going to take quite a bit more than this sob story to change my opinion.
Jace then says that Clary shouldn’t feel sorry for him, since his dad was raising him to be the perfect weapon. Oh, he doesn’t phrase it like that, but how else am I supposed to interpret Jace saying that he received “the best education, the best training.”? And then Jace starts talking about all the places he and his dad used to go, specifically mentioning London, Saint Petersburg, and… Egypt. Because I guess we don’t need to actually name-drop any cities in Egypt like, say, Cairo, or Alexandria, or Luxor. I mean, Egypt is all pretty much the same, right?
I apologize. That was a bit of an overreaction. Probably.
But then Jace says that he hasn’t left New York since his dad died. I guess I’m supposed to feel sorry for him, but that doesn’t scream “First World Problems,” I don’t know what does.
Clary tires to commiserate, saying that she’s never left the state, that her mom wouldn’t let her go on a field-trip to Washington, D.C., and that somehow that makes sense now. Jace makes a crack about her accidentally seeing demons in the White House. Clary asks if he’s serious, and Jace is pretty confident that there aren’t.
Rapier Twit: 1
While that wasn’t as offensively unfunny as some of the other bits, it was still awkward, and it also raises a few annoying questions.
Like, why would Clary’s mom be so clingy? I was under the impression that Clary only needed a “tune up” maybe once a year at most. So why couldn’t Jocelyn just do it before hand?
Plot Hole: 1
Also, why does Jace even know about the White House? Again, his knowledge of the mundane world is annoyingly inconsistent.
Plot Hole: 2
Clary says that her mom “changed a lot” after her father died, which prompts Jace to ask if Clary remembers her dad, but she says that he died before she was born. Wait, so how can she say that her mom changed after he died?
Plot Hole: 3
Did CC forget what she just wrote?
Jace ignores this inconsistency, instead pointing out how this is actually a good thing, because this way she can’t miss him. Because it’s not like you can feel the absence of someone (like, say, a father) if they’ve never met them, right?
Clary asks if Jace ever stopped missing his father. He doesn’t answer, instead asking if she’s thinking about her mom. But no, Clary says she’s thinking about Luke, even though the sentence prior to that statement is her thinking about how she won’t think of her mom as being dead.
Again, we messily segue into the next topic, Luke, and how Clary thinks he’s a dirty coward for not being willing to fight Valentine. Because Clary can’t perceive when someone is lying, and thus takes everything at face value.
But before we delve further into that, a clock somewhere starts chiming midnight, and Jace points out a particular bush. They watch it for a bit and the flower buds on it bloom. This would be the eponymous midnight flower. Yes, these flowers only bloom at midnight. I’m wondering what possible purpose this plant can serve, but then I’m still assuming that all these plants are here for a reason other than to look pretty.
And then Jace gives Clary a birthday present. He got her a rock.
Oh, but it’s not just any rock – it’s a special glowing rock. And then Jace gives us this wonderful quote:
“It will bring you light,” said Jace, “even among the darkest shadows of this world and others.”
You know, I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere before. “Can’t remember where, though.”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120737/?ref_=sr_1
Clary thanks him, and says that the stupid glow rock is way better than a spaghetti bath, which prompts this conversation, which I’m going to go through line by line.
[Jace] said darkly, “If you share that little bit of personal information with anyone, I may have to kill you.
Ow. I just got mood-whiplash. Seriously, CC, what the fuck?
“Well, when I was five, I wanted my mother to let me go around and around in the dryer with the clothes,” Clary said. “The difference is, she didn’t let me.”
Yes, because your mother has parenting modes other than “obnoxiously indulgent” and “borderline abusive.”
“Probably because going around and around inside a dryer can be fatal,” Jace pointed out
Because apparently we need that explained to us.
“whereas pasta is rarely fatal. Unless Isabelle makes it.”
Rapier Twit: 2
Ha ha, it is to laugh. It’s just so funny that Isabelle, being a girl, can’t cook. Let us mock her for her lack of skills in the Womanly Arts. Ha. Fucking. Ha.
Clary moves on to other birthday presents her mom wouldn’t give her, including letting Clary get a tattoo when she was twelve. Jace points out that most Shadowhunter kids get their first mark around that age, and says it must be “in [her] blood.” Because that’s how genetics works, right?
But Clary goes further, saying she wanted to get a tattoo of Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on her shoulder to cover up a chicken pox scar. And Jace, of course, has no idea what she’s talking about.
I’m going to pause for a minute here, because I think CC might be showing her age again. Now, this book came out in 2007, and Clary is 15, now 16, so she would have been 12 in 2003. “At present,”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_Mutant_Ninja_Turtles#First_animated_series_.281987.E2.80.931996.29 there have been three TMNT animated shows and one (short-lived) live-action shows. The first cartoon aired from 1987-1996, the second from 2003-2009, and the current one began in 2012. Now, Clary could have been referring to the 2003 series, but I can’t help but think she’s referring to the 1987 series.
Anyway, Clary moves aside the strap of her tank top to show Jace the scar, but he looks away. Yeah, don’t try being all chivalrous now. Besides, it’s just her shoulder. It’s not like she’s flashing you.
Jace says it’s late, so they should go. Clary feels all despondent, and then for reasons that will become clear soon, randomly asks if Jace has ever dated Isabelle. Jace is understandably perplexed by this, so Clary covers it by saying that Simon wanted to know. After a bit of hemming and hawing, Jace says that they haven’t, because Isabelle’s like his sister, and it would be weird.
Wow. Unlike the “Isabelle can’t cook” bit, this one actually manages to stay funny.
And then Clary says that Isabelle hates her. Wait, what gave her that idea? At what point has Isabelle been anything but friendly towards Clary when Clary wasn’t hostile first?
But Jace says that’s not true, and that Clary makes Isabelle nervous, since she’s always been the only girl “in a crowd of adoring boys.”
Um, I’m sorry, “crowd of adoring boys”? You mean her gay brother and sociopathic practically-brother? Yeah, that’s a real crowd there.
Or are we talking about how Isabelle is confident enough with herself to flirt with guys, rather than sit in a corner and pine away silently? Because I doubt that the sudden addition of Clary is going to interfere with that.
And why would Isabelle even see Clary as a rival? Or is this just because, as the only other female character of the appropriate age, she and Clary have to be rivals?
But Clary doesn’t understand, saying that Isabelle’s so hot. And now we come to the real reason for Clray bringing up Isabelle. I’ll let Jace explain:
“So are you,” said Jace, “and very different from how she is, and she can’t help but notice that. She’s always wanted to be small and delicate, you know. She hates being taller than most boys.”
And there you have it, folks – the only reason Isabelle was even brought up was so the Designated Love Interest can tell the Sue how beautiful she is, and how the potential Scary Sue is just jealous.
Dear god, I hate this trope. And it only gets worse.
See, Clary is just shocked that Jace said she was beautiful, because no one’s ever said that about her, and of course she’s never thought of herself as pretty, because the Sue can’t think of herself as being pretty.
God, I fucking hate this trope.
They head downstairs and end up kissing. I just summed a whole long paragraph in seven words.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
And then we get a whole other paragraph describing them kissing.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2
Whoop-di-doo. They only stop when they hear Hodge’s bird flapping around in the room, which means that Hodge will be along soon. Seems he likes to go up to the roof to think. I can only imagine about what – if it were me and I had to spend so much time around Jace, I’d probably be thinking about jumping off the roof.
Jace walks Clary back to her room, and they do the end-of-date kiss just in time for Simon to open the door. And he’s kinda pissed.
Rather than get defensive, as she and Simon aren’t a couple and thus he doesn’t technically have a right to be upset, she instead wonders why she didn’t go to Jace’s room instead (side note – I somehow doubt that Jace would have been satisfied with being left at his own door with just a goodnight kiss, assuming Clary would have stopped there). And the answer is quite obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention, but just for posterity, I’m going to quote the text:
She had forgotten about Simon completely.
You mean like just about every other time he’s left her line of sight and there wasn’t another girl showing an interest in him? What a shock.
Clary apologizes to… someone, which pisses off Jace. His reaction is, of course, to act like a complete douche. I’d like to summarize it, but I don’t think I can quite capture it. It’s a bit long, so I apologize for that.
“In future, Clarissa,” [Jace] said, “it might be wise to mention that you already have a man in your bed, to avoid such tedious situations.”
“You invited him into bed?” Simon demanded, looking shaken.
“Ridiculous, isn’t it?” said Jace. “We would never have all fit.”
“I didn’t invite him into bed,” Clary snapped. “We were just kissing.”
“Just kissing?” Jace’s tone mocked her with its false hurt. “How swiftly you dismiss our love.”
She saw the bright malice in his eyes and trailed off. There was no point. Her stomach felt suddenly heavy. “Simon, it’s late,” she said tiredly. “I’m sorry we woke you up.”
“So am I.” He stalked back into the bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
Jace’s smile was bland as buttered toast. “Go on, go after him. Pat his head and tell him he’s still your super special little guy. Isn’t that what you want to do?”
“Stop it,” she said. “Stop being like that.”
His smile widened. “Like what?”
“If your angry, just say it. Don’t act like nothing ever touches you. It’s like you never feel anything at all.”
“Maybe you should have thought of that before you kissed me,” he said.
She looked at him incredulously. “I kissed you?”
He looked at her with glittering malice. “Don’t worry,” he said, “it wasn’t that memorable for me, either.”
Okay, first, counts.
Rapier Twit: 6
For all of Jace’s “witty” barbs.
Weird Word Choice: 9
For “tedious situations,” “mocked her with its false hurt,” “bright malice,” “bland as buttered toast,” and “glittering malice.” Especially for the descriptors attached to “malice.”
For Clary snapping at Simon for getting mad at Jace, but not snapping at Jace for being an asshole to Simon.
Sweet merciful Azathoth. Alright, if you’ve seen “Jeremy Jahns review of the movie,”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLKJQYOQkoY this would be that “middle school bullshit” he was talking about. Seriously, what the fuck is up with this crap? Why is this here?
I mean, wasn’t there something about saving Clary’s mom and the world? Stopping big bad Valentine? Where has that gone?
Well, as Jace walks away, Clary is torn between crying and running up and “kicking him in the ankle.” Not only can Clary not properly insult Jace, she can’t aim for the right spot – try a bit higher, honey, like between his legs.
She goes inside to find Simon looking at her sketchpad. Unlike Jace, he actually complements her drawing abilities. Simon acknowledges that he’s in her room, which kinda ruined him storming off, but all his stuff is in her room. He says he’s going home, siting just how welcome he’s been made to feel. But Clary doesn’t quite get it.
She sighed. “Look, I’m sorry, okay? I wasn’t intending to kiss him; it just happened. I know you don’t like him.”
“No,” Simon said more stiffly. “I don’t like flat soda. I don’t like crappy boy band pop. I don’t like being stuck in traffic. I don’t like math homework. I hate Jace. See the difference?”
“He saved your life,” Clary said, feeling like a fraud – after all, Jace had come along to the Dumort only because he’d been worried that he’d get in trouble if she got herself killed.
“Details,” said Simon dismissively. “He’s an asshole. I thought you were better than that.”
THANK YOU, SIMON! SOMEONE FINALLY SAID IT!
Unfortunately, Clary doesn’t acknowledge this, and instead gets angry at Simon for passing judgment on her. She talks about how shallow he allegedly was with regards to getting a girlfriend, and how she’s never liked any of his girlfriends but never said anything about any of them.
Now, while we have no evidence to the contrary, I somehow doubt that Clary never once voiced her opinions of Simon’s previous girlfriends. And I have absolutely no doubt that considered each of them to be a horrible slut.
Simon talks about how he never showed the same kind of affection Clary has for Jace, and they were all just a way for him to build up his confidence, but he falters just before admitting his ultimate goal was to hook up with Clary. So Clary jumps in and assumes it was for Isabelle.
“Until Isabelle came along? I can’t believe you’re lecturing me about Jace when you made a complete fool of yourself over her.” Her voice rose to a scream.
“I was trying to make you jealous!” Simon screamed, right back. His hands were fists at his sides. “You’re so stupid, Clary. You’re so stupid, Clary, can’t you see anything?”
No, Simon, she can’t. Because again, Clary is completely oblivious to your feelings, despite you making them quite obvious. As proof of this, Clary “[stares] at him in bewilderment” when he says this and asks why he’d want to make her jealous. Because Clary needs every little thing spelled out for her.
It seems that Simon’s been in love with Clary for ten years. I’m not sure that a kid whose only six or seven years old really understands romantic love, but I guess it sounds good.
Clary is, of course, dumbstruck by this. I know, it’s so surprising and out-of-character for her. And in good Sue fashion, she’s not entirely sure how she feels about Simon. So he finally loses his patience and heads for the door. But not before telling Clary the other thing his mom said about her:
“She said you’d break my heart,” he told her, and then left.
When we come back from a commercial break
Random Scene Break: 1
Clary sinks into complete and utter despair, even curling up in the fetal position on her bed. She briefly considers going after Simon, but since she has no idea how to apologize to him, so instead she doesn’t bother. Not the smart thing to do, but I guess I kinda get it – all that drama exhausted me, so I can only imagine how tired she must be. Still, I do think she should chase after Simon, rather than wallowing in her own depression.
She then goes over the mounds of evidence that Simon was interested in her, including Jace’s comment about unrequited love, and how if she’d taken a minute to think about it, she’d have realized what Jace was saying.
Okay, I’m a little freaked, because it’s almost like the book’s become self-aware.
And then Clary thinks back to that whole bit about her “only loving three people” thing from a chapter ago, and how she’d forgotten about all three of them during her little date with Jace.
Maybe this, she though, losing Simon, maybe this is my punishment for the selfishness of being happy, even for just a moment, when my mother is still missing.
See, I just have one problem with this thought: Clary forgot her mother long before going up to the roof with Jace. She forgot her mom the minute she jumped through that magic door in Mme. D’s place. And she completely forgot about Simon the minute he was out of her line-of-sight. So while Clary has demonstrated an annoying tendency to forget people who are supposedly important to her.
It really doesn’t help that the sentence above is quickly followed by this one:
Jace might be an exceptional kisser, but he didn’t care about her. He’d said as much.
Yeah, the fact that Jace doesn’t seem to like her is just the worstest thing evarr.
And then Clary starts looking at her drawing of winged Jace, and how great a picture it is. And then she starts stroking it, and actually feels the feathers.
Apparently, the runes she doodled in the corner (wait, what runes?)
Plot Hole: 4
Clary gets all excited/freaked out, flips to a fresh page, and draws a coffee cup sitting on her end table. And when she’s done, she sets the cup on the page and draws the runes again.
And with that forced cliffhanger, the chapter ends.
Yeah, this chapter just reeks of fanfic. The date between Clary and Jace is really awkward. I can appreciate finding a moment of calm in a chaotic situation, but only after it’s been earned. So far, our heroes have accomplished little more than screwing around for about twelve chapters. They still have no idea where Clary’s mom is, and haven’t bothered to actually do any investigating. The only reason they know about Valentine’s plans is because all the villains in this book are morons who spout off exposition at the first opportunity. The heroes haven’t actually had to do anything.
And then there’s the horrible forced drama. My god, it’s like this book suddenly turned into a soap opera staring a bunch of high school kids. It’s especially out-of-place because this is, ostensibly, an urban fantasy adventure story, not a romance – the focus should be on rescuing Clary’s mom and stopping Valentine’s plan, not on the protagonist’s love life.
The only reason I can see for why this chapter didn’t get cut was because of that bit at the end, and it feels really tacked on. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that in the first draft, this chapter ended with Clary laying in bed and feeling sad for herself. But then someone (like her editor) told her that this and most of the previous chapter should get cut, so she tacked-on that bit of Clary suddenly and inexplicably figuring out the answer to where the MacGuffin cup is.
And I do mean inexplicably. I have no idea why Clary would know that particular combination of runes, and I can’t believe that she’d just randomly doodle them. This just reeks of Authorial Intervention.
Well, that’s another chapter down. There’s only six chapters and the epilogue left, so we’re heading towards the home stretch. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the end of the filler chapters.
However, I’m going to Dragon*Con this weekend, so I won’t be working on this until after Labor Day. Still, I’m going to have fun, and that’s what really matters. See you guys next time.
Weird Word Choice: 9 (Total 81)
Rapier Twit: 6 (Total 52)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 (Total 35)
Plot Hole: 4 (Total 63)
Random Scene Break: 1 (Total 11)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2 (Total 25)
Bitch: 1 (Total 21)