So we pick up right were we left off: Jace has been kidnapped, Hodge just handed the MacGuffin over to Valentine, and Clary is possibly trapped inside a bubble. I might have failed to mention that last time, because honestly it just comes out of nowhere, and was really just a cheap excuse to have her be present and aware of her surroundings, but not actually have to participate in any way.
Kinda like how she’s been for the whole book, really.
Clary’s kicking and screaming and generally acting like a two-year-old, even demanding Hodge release her. Hodge, not being a complete idiot (no mean feat for a character in this book) says he won’t, because, well, she’d just try to kill him. Clary then offers to promise not to try to kill him, but again, Hodge says no. His reasoning is that, as she wasn’t raised as a Shadowhunter, her promise doesn’t really mean anything.
Well, considering how the kids that have been raised as Shadowhunters behave, I don’t see what makes them any more trustworthy. And no, I don’t buy Jace’s “I wouldn’t break a promise” line from chapter fourteen. Unless there’s actually some kind of consequence for these people breaking their promises, I’m not going to accept that they never break their promises.
Clary then tries to appeal to Hodge’s feelings for Jace by saying that Valentine is clearly going to kill Jace, but Hodge points out that Valentine didn’t say that (to be more specific, Valentine said that Jace would “be with his father soon”). Clary is, of course, really confused by this, but for once the bad guy doesn’t just explain the mystery for the hero. Guess even CC realized that there needs to be at least some mystery to keep the reader’s attention.
Unfortunately, he still feels the compulsion to hang around and talk to Clary, rather than ignore her like a sensible person. Most of this consists of telling Clary that she really doesn’t know what she’s talking about (well, duh), all while writing a letter. He doesn’t tell Clary it’s contents, but he does give us this wonderful rant:
“The past is nothing to you, not even another county as it is to the old, or a nightmare as it is to the guilty. The Clave laid this curse on me because I aided Valentine. But I was hardly the only member of the Circle to serve him – were the Lightwoods not as guilty as I was? Were not the Waylands? Yet I was the only one cursed to live out my life without being able to set so much as a foot outdoors, not so much as a hand out a window.”
Once again, I’m conflicted about this rant.
On the one hand, Hodge is right – of all of Valentine’s former cronies, he’s the only one who’s actually been punished. And the only reason for this that the text supports is that the Shadowhunter government is incredibly corrupt, as the Lightwoods had connections, and we can assume that the Waylands were rich.
But on the other hand, Hodge’s punishment is really just a slap on the wrist, considering what he did. Let’s face it – he was part of a terrorist organization, which attacked probably the most important political summit that these people have, with the goal of starting a war. If he were a real person, he’d be spending the rest of his life either in a tiny cell or a cave. So, yeah, what are you whining about? At least you have a toilet that isn’t a hole in the ground.
Back to the book. Clary counters that Jace shouldn’t be punished for what happened to Hodge, and again asserts that Valentine is going to kill Jace, just like he killed Jace’s father. So then Hodge drops this little bomb:
“Valentine,” said Hodge, “did not kill Jace’s father.”
Clary’s response is, of course, to deny this fervently, following the logic that, since Hodge has been revealed as a bad guy, everything he says is a lie. Because reasons.
Hodge points out just how stupid that line of reasoning is, and then says that, in his own way, he’s trying to do the right thing. Clary’s counter to this is that doing good doesn’t cancel out bad. However, as we’ve already seen, being attractive excuses everything.
Hodge finally gets fed up, and advises Clary to leave the Institute and forget all about the whole Shadowhunter business. To be honest, this is actually some good advise. Especially given how useless she’s been so far.
But Clary refuses, and Hodge does what he should have done about five minutes ago – walk out the door, leaving Clary trapped in her bubble.
And then we get a scene break.
Random Scene Break: 1
And when we come back, about half a second has passes, because Hodge is now closing the door. Really, I don’t understand why CC felt a breather was needed, if she wasn’t actually going to have time-skip or anything.
Clary has another hissy fit, kicking and punching the invisible wall despite knowing that it won’t accomplish anything. And I can admit that this behavior is understandable. But here’s the problem – she knows the building isn’t empty. She could try shouting for help. It’s even acknowledged that Isabelle is probably still waiting for Hodge to come back to treat Alec. It’s not inconceivable that she might come looking for Hodge after a few minutes.
But no, only Jace is allowed to “rescue” Clary, so CC does what she did back at the end of chapter seventeen and pulls a solution out of her ass.
And what is this solution? Well, Clary still has Jace’s magic drawing stick in her pocket, somehow having forgotten that it was there, and uses her inexplicable knowledge of runes to free herself.
Okay, here’s a question – how long are Shadowhunter wands? Because I’m imagining them to be a good six or more inches long, which is kinda big to shove in your pocket and forget about, especially since girls’ pants tend to have really tiny pockets. So how the hell did she forget it was there in the first place
Plot Hole: 1
Yes, Harry Potter shoved his wand in his pocket constantly, but he never seemed to forget it was there. Also, the Harry Potter books are just better all around.
Now free, Clary runs to the window to see Hodge crossing the street.
Okay, here’s the situation: Hodge is not only trained in combat, he’s also got decades more experience than Clary. So the logical thing to do would be to get Isabelle (the only Shadowhunter not out of commission) and go after Hodge. They might not have experience on their side, but they will have numbers.
So what does Clary do? Go after Hodge on her own.
Yeah, Clary’s a moron.
She chases Hodge into an alley, which for some reason reminds Clary of a poem she read once in English, and also name-drops the chapter title
I think we’re in rats’ alley/ Where the dead men lost their bones.
My google-fu informs me that this is from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, specifically lines 115-16. Now, why Clary, who we’ve been told is very well-read, can’t remember one of the more well-known works of a fairly famous writer, I can’t imagine. Also, I can’t help feeling that this is yet another reference whose sole purpose is to show how “literary” CC is.
Still, I will give CC some credit – at least it’s not the most well-known lines from the poem.
Hodge tells Clary that following him was a mistake (uh, duh), and then Clary tries to threaten him.
In all seriousness, though – CC, stop trying to tell me that Clary is even remotely threatening. Not only is she tiny, she’s also sat out most of the fights in this book. You want me to think she’s a badass, then have her do something badass. Like Simon.
Anyway, Clary offers Hodge a deal – Valentine’s location for his freedom. But Hodge turns that down, based on the reasonable assumption that, if he takes the deal, Valentine will kill him. Valentine might suck as a villain, but at least he knows not to tolerate betrayal. Clary counters that the Shadowhunters will do the same, and then gets indignant about him betraying them, especially given what they assume Valentine’s plan is.
But Hodge just laughs all that off, and gives a perfectly good reason not to care about the Shadowhunters.
“I fear Valentine more than the Clave, and so would you, if you were wise,” he said.
Let’s face it – as lame as Valentine might be, at least he’s a credible threat. We’ve seen how Shadowhunters punish their own, even when they’re the worst of the worst. What are they gonna do, send Hodge to California? Oh, yeah, Hodge should be terrified.
So then Clary tries to appeal to his conscience, reminding us that Valentine will probably kill a lot of kids with his experiments. And this maybe, briefly reaches Hodge, which is actually kind of shocking. Given how all the other Shadowhunters treat mundanes, I’m surprised that he’s even bothered by the thought of mundane children being killed.
But that ends quickly, and Hodge just asks straight-out why she cares about any of this. Clary’s response is that she “can’t just walk away.”
Huh. See, if I were writing this, I’d have had her mention that her mother’s still in danger. Remember her? The whole reason for Clary being here in the first place? No? Well, I can’t blame you – both Clary and CC more or less completely forgot about Jocelyn Frey about half-way through the book.
Thankfully, we’re spared any more chit-chat, because Hodge again does what he should have about five minutes ago – in this case, attack Clary. And his weapon of choice is the “_chakhram_”, and yes, it is italicized every time it’s mentioned.
Weird Word Choice: 1
Also, as near as I can tell, Hodge is holding and throwing the things, it’s almost like they’re just metal frisbees. Yes, they’re just as lethal this way, but it’s not the popular/traditional method of throwing a chakram. I wouldn’t be surprised if CC’s only exposure to these things was from watching episodes of Xena.
Hodge chucks one past Clary as a warning shot, and once again tells her to run. And once again, Clary is stupid and doesn’t run for some reason, so Hodge prepares to chuck another death frisbee at her.
And so Clary is once again staring death in the face, with no clear way out. So, what do you think CC will do? You have 30 seconds.
Okay, pencils down. If your answer was anything along the lines of “deus ex machina”, you’re right!
Once again a werewolf pops up out of nowhere, and leaps between Clary and Hodge. Strangely, Hodge seems to recognize the wolf, and tries to have a conversation with it. This goes about as well as expected, considering that only one of the parties is currently capable of speech at the moment, and the wolf doesn’t appear to be interested in what Hodge is selling anyway.
So of course they fight, with Hodge embedding one of his killer frisbees in the wolf’s side, only to get bit in return. And then he faints, because I guess being locked in a church for the better part of twenty years isn’t conducive to maintaining one’s stamina. Then again, this is why prisoners are allowed to exercise on a regular basis.
Clary’s hind-brain finally kicks in, and she tries to run, only for the wolf to nab her before she gets back to the street. She starts falling, screams a bit, and then hits her head and passes out. I guess it’s good that it was her head that potentially got injured. It’s mostly just storage space anyway.
We skip ahead to when Clary finally wakes up. She’s in a small room that smells like wet dog. Gee, I wonder why. She sits up, causing her head to hurt. Yeah, hitting your head will do that. She then loks in the mirror, noticing scratches along one side of her face, as well as a lot of dried blood. She panics for a minute, and relaxes when she finds that she still has Jace’s magic stick.
And it’s only now that she realizes that one of the walls consists of bars.
She was in a jail cell.
No Shit Sherlock: 1
My god, Clary really is completely oblivious to her surroundings. And just to clarify, she realized that something was “off” about the room when she woke up. And it was only after sitting up, getting a headache, checking her appearance, has a bit of a panic attack, and then notices the bars.
Ugh. Moving on.
And then Luke comes in and opens the door to he cell. The shock of this causes Clary to almost pass out again.
Luke of course rushes to her side and starts fretting over her, but Clary is having none of it. She berates him for abandoning her and lying to her. And, since Clary is the Sue, Luke has to lie back and take it. And then she notices that the side of his shirt is soaked with blood.
No Shit Sherlock: 2
When she asks about this, he makes a comment about opening the wound while carrying her, leading Clary to ask how he got wounded. Luke then says that Hodge’s arm might kinda suck, but he can still throw a mean razor frizbee. And then Clary puts it together:
“You’re a werewolf.”
No Shit Sherlock: 3
I mean, really. The last thing you remember was getting grabbed by a werewolf, then you wake up in a room smelling like dog, and then Luke shows up. For most people, that might be enough, but not for our Clary! No, she needs to be walked through every little mystery.
I’m calling it. Clary Frey is the dumbest YA protagonist this side of Bella Swan.
Luke confirms it, and then they briefly discuss the fight with Hodge. Unfortunately, Luke didn’t kill him, though why I can’t imagine. Clary then tells him that Valentine kidnapped Jace, and Luke is surprised by this, and reveals that he’d been listening to Clary and Hodge’s entire conversation and did not, in fact, just pop up out of nowhere. I’m actually impressed that Clary managed to put that together on her own without Luke flat out telling her. However, I’m disappointed that she hadn’t figured that out already.
Two of Luke’s werewolf buddies show up at this point. Their names are Gretel and Alaric. I’m picking up on a theme here. Also, Luke is apparently the leader of the werewolves, since he refers to them as his “second and third.”
Now, I understand the reasoning behind the werewolves having a pack hierarchy, but why not just stick with Greek terminology to keep the wolf connection (alpha, beta, gamma, etc.)? Whatever.
Alaric mentions that he and Clary have already met. Remember the werewolf that Clary somehow managed to hit with her borrowed knife? Yep – that was Alaric. Oh, and he’s not angry at this. Quite the contrary – he complements Clary on her awesome (and still inexplicable) knife throwing skills, and even returns the knife!
Thanks, CC. I’d almost forgotten how totally awesome Clary’s supposed to be, what with her being completely useless and idiotic most of the time.
Alaric (or maybe Luke, the phrasing is a bit confusing) then says that their attack on the vampire nest was a bad idea, and seems about to say that the only reason the wolves went in was to protect Clary, which gets this reaction from our protagonist:
“Jace and I could have handled it.”
Really, Clary? How exactly were you going to “handle” it? Jace openly antagonized the vamps, while you sat back and cowered. Let’s face it – if it weren’t for the werewolves sudden appearance (and Simon’s brilliant leadership), the two of you would have been vampire chow.
Of course, no one actually points this out to Clary, because she’s the Sue. Instead, Gretel asks why Luke sent for them. I guess in this universe, werewolves are telepathic. Great.
Luke mentions his wound, and that Clary’s a bit bruised as well, so of course Gretel goes to get the first aid kit. Oh, I’m sorry, “healing kit.” Because magic and shit.
Weird Word Choice: 2
Also, once again we have the only girl playing nurse. The way they were introduced, I assumed that Gretel was second-in-command. I guess chromosomes trump rank.
It seems that Clary’s brain overheated, because now Luke has to explain that he’s the head of the local werewolves, because him referring to Gretel and Alaric as his “second and third” and Gretel calling him “sir” didn’t make that obvious enough.
Oh, and apparently Gretel used to call Luke “master”.
Okay, sidebar. Again, I get the werewolves having a pack hierarchy, really I do. But the idea of it being a rigid one just rubs me the wrong way.
As a counter example, let’s take the lycans from the Underworld franchise. While Lucian is unquestionably the leader, and he does clearly have a second-in-command, there’s never any titles or honorifics used. I mean, look at Lucian’s first appearance. Yes, he’s in charge, but he has to threaten the other lycans to keep them in line (in this case, with a shotgun).
Clary asks if her mom knows about Luke being a werewolf, and he says she does. Then Clary asks why he didn’t tell her, and Luke’s answer is exactly what anyone who’s been paying attention would guess – Jocelyn didn’t want to expose Clary to the supernatural, and Luke revealing he’s a werewolf would have inevitably led to Clary finding out about other supernatural stuff. Clary should have been able to figure this out.
Then again, she can’t seem to remember that her mother or best friend even exist half the time, so I guess her not putting this together really shouldn’t surprise me.
Clary then tells Luke everything she’s learned since her mom’s kidnapping, and tops it all off with the conversation she overheard between Luke and Valentine’s cronies, specifically mentioning how he claimed not to care about Jocelyn. Luke points out that he had no idea where the MacGuffin Cup was. Clary says that he could have tried bargaining with Valentine, but Luke explains that Valentine isn’t exactly the bargaining type. This, of course, sets Clary off.
(Apologies in advance for several big quotes. But at least the chapter’s almost over.)
“So you decided to abandon her?” Clary demanded ferociously. “You’re the leader of a whole pack of werewolves and you decided she didn’t even really need your help? You know, it was bad enough when I thought you were another Shadowhunter and you’d turned your back on her because of some stupid Shadowhunter vow or something, but now I know you’re just another slimy Downworlder who didn’t even care that all those years she treated you like a friend – like an equal – and this is how you paid her back?”
Wow. Clary’s been hanging out with Jace and the other Shadowhunters for maybe a week, and she’s already picked up their racism. “Slimy Downworlder”? Really?
And we’ve seen how Jace, Alec, and Isabelle treat Downworlders who they supposedly like, and I wouldn’t say that they treat them as “equals”.
Also, has Clary completely forgotten her little chat with Hodge about her treatment of Simon? And about how their relationship is a lot like the one between Jocelyn and Luke? And how Luke might just resent Jocelyn, and feel that she’s been taking advantage of him for years? Yeah, that doesn’t sound like they’re “equals” either.
Seriously, fuck you, Clary.
But it seems that this is too much for Luke, and he calls Clary on her shit. But he still doesn’t snap at her.
“Listen to you,” Luke said quietly. “You sound like a Lightwood.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Don’t talk about Alec and Isabelle like you know them.”
“I meant their parents,” Luke said. “Whom I did know, very well in fact, when we were all Shadowhunters together.”
It’s nice that at least someone in this book remembers that most of the main characters are the children of former Nazi terrorists.
This of course overloads Clary’s brain again, because she can’t quite fathom how Luke managed to keep the fact that he was a “slimy Downworlder” from the other members of Valentine’s little group. So of course Luke has to explain that like most victims of lycanthropy, he wasn’t born with it. And then he preps to tell Clary his life’s story, bringing the chapter to a close.
If I had to describe this chapter with a single word, it would be “fail”. If I got another, it would be “stupid”. At no point in this chapter does Clary actually put any thought into anything. At all. I get that she might not have been thinking clearly after Hodge ran out, but what’s he excuse for her conversation with Luke? Head injury? Or was CC afraid that her audience might not understand all this unless it’s explained in excruciating detail? And the only thing Clary actually manages to do something on her own is accomplished via authorial intervention.
But it’s not as if the few other characters in this chapter act all that intelligently either. How much time does Hodge waste talking to Clary when he should be running? If his only goal is to escape the reach of the Clave, then shouldn’t he be trying to put as much distance between himself and the Institute as possible? Oh, wait, then he wouldn’t have been able to emphasize that whole bit about how Valentine didn’t kill Jace’s father.
And given that that plot point was dropped like a ton of bricks, I can’t believe that most of the readers didn’t figure it out. And if they didn’t, then that doesn’t say much for their cultural awareness or intelligence.
So part two has come to a close. There’s only three chapters and an epilogue left, which somehow manages to take up a whole fifth of the total text. And brace yourselves for next time, because it’s just one long exposition dump. See you then.
Weird Word Choice: 2 (Total 94)
Rapier Twit: 0 (Total 65)
No Shit Sherlock: 3 (Total 41)
Plot Hole: 1 (Total 73)
Random Scene Break: 1 (Total 20)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 0 (Total 28)
Bitch: 1 (Total 24)