So, last time we had Story Time with Luke, where we learned that all Shadowhunters are racist assholes, werewolves are morons, and Luke is bi-sexual and used to boink Valentine.
Okay, maybe CC didn’t come out and say that, but the subtext was there.
Anyway, chapter twenty-two begins with Luke asking for Clary to respond to his lengthy and out-of-place info dump. Now you’d think that Clary probably fell asleep, but no, she’s just been shocked into silence. Unfortunately, the narrator has not.
She felt as if her life had been built on a sheet of ice as thin as paper, and now the ice was beginning to crack, threatening to send her into the icy darkness below. Down into the dark water, she thought, where all her mother’s secrets drifted in the currents, the forgotten remains of a shipwrecked life.
Weird Word Choice: 1
Holy Overwrought Metaphor, Batman!
I mean, wow. Did CC or her editor think that was such a wonderful piece of writing that just so perfectly encapsulated Clary’s experience so far? Because that bounced around like a Super Ball (crap, now I’m doing it). I mean, look at that thing – it goes from thin ice to dark water to a shipwreck. What the hell was CC thinking?
I guess just saying that Clary’s life had crumbled beneath her feet wasn’t quite purple enough.
Okay, moving on. Can’t get bogged down, we’ve just started.
So, of the multitude of implications from Luke’s story, she focuses on the fact that the man she always thought was her dad was not, in fact, her actual dad. He wasn’t a complete work of fiction, though – Clary’s mom was hired by her neighbors to do a painting of the guy after he died, and Jocelyn kept the photo. So of course Jocelyn decided to use the dead guy as her fake husband.
Remarkably, it appears that Clary’s brain has cooled off, as she doesn’t quite need the fact that Valentine is her real father spelled out to her.
No Shit Sherlock: 1
However, she does have the exact same reaction that Luke Skywalker did. Which then leads to a wonderful conversation.
“That’s not possible. It’s just not possible.”
“Clary, please don’t get upset-”
“Don’t get upset? You’re telling me my dad is a guy who’s basically an evil overlord, and you want me not to get upset?”
“He wasn’t evil to begin with,” Luke said, sounding almost apologetic.
“Oh, I beg to differ. I think he was clearly evil. All that stuff he was spouting about keeping the human race pure and the importance of untainted blood – he was like one of those creepy white power guys. And you two totally fell for it.”
“I wasn’t the one talking about ‘slimy’ Downworlders just minutes ago,” Luke said quietly. “Or how they couldn’t be trusted.”
“That’s not the same thing!”
Okay, Clary? Let’s talk for a spell. Now yes, Valentine was very clearly a nasty character, and comparing him to a “creepy white power guy” is pretty apt. And yes, you have every right to be angry that Luke and your mom went along with him.
But you really don’t have any ground to stand on, as Luke pointed out. As was mentioned in the War and Democide Never Again spork, just because you’re not burning crosses and lynching people, that doesn’t make you not racist. And judging someone based solely on an entirely arbitrary trait? Yeah, that’s racist.
And all your new friends? Like, say, Jace? They’re all racist. Hell, even Luke’s racist. Because they all seem to think that mundanes (you know, like your “best friend” Simon?) are inherently inferior to both Shadowhunters and Downworlders.
But since Clary is the Sue, Luke’s point is completely dropped in order to discuss Clary’s newly discovered relatives, all of whom were dead before she was born, including lil’ Jonathan Christopher. And remarkably, she puts two and two together to figure out that the box her mom was always crying over wasn’t full of her dad’s stuff, but her brother’s.
No Shit Sherlock: 2
And that Luke’s comment about how “Clary wasn’t Johnathan” was also referring to her brother.
No Shit Sherlock: 3
Yeah, Nancy Drew she ain’t.
Suddenly Gretel comes back in with the “healing kit” and proceeds to treat Clary’s wounds.
Weird Word Choice: 2
Shouldn’t someone else be doing this? I mean, she’s Luke’s second in command. Is she the only one who knows how to treat wounds? Because if so, could someone please explain that? Otherwise it looks like you can’t fight if you have a vagina. It’s a proven scientific fact.
Also, and the “healing kit” consists of bandages, bowls containing God alone knows what, and some random herbs, and it’s all kept on a tray rather than, say, in an easy transportable box with everything pre-packed. Like, say, a First Aide Kit. That way they could focus on, you know, healing the injured person instead of wasting ten minutes boiling water and mixing potions while they lay there in agony.
Oh, wait, that wouldn’t be “magical” would it? And God knows the last thing you want in an Urban Fantasy story is for supernatural people to use the same stuff normal people do. That would be stupid.
Gretel asks about Clary’s wounds, because it would have been weird to asks about them sooner I guess, so Clary explains that she got attacked by Hodge’s raven, which I still find hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, I think ravens are awesome, as well as surprisingly big (common ravens range from 22 – 30 in. long and have wingspans between 40 and 59 in.), but they’re not exactly what you might consider badasses among birds. But it turns out that the bird originally belonged to Valentine, that he used to have another, and that he trained both of them as attack birds.
I have to wonder at this. Yes, ravens are smart, but there are so many other birds that are more suited to this sort of thing. But I guess they aren’t quite creepy/evil enough or something.
(Also, fun/cool fact – a group of ravens is called a “conspiracy” or an “unkindness”. Not quite as cool as crows, though – their collective noun is a “murder”.)
Luke tries to comfort Clary, but she decides that there are more important issues to be dealt with – namely that Valentine now has her mom (wow, glad you finally remembered that), her
fuck buddy not-quite boyfriend, and, oh yeah, the MacGuffin Cup, and they don’t even know where the hell he is. But Luke’s on hand to point out that thing’s aren’t totally hopeless – they have an entire pack of werewolves at their disposal! A pack that will change loyalties to whoever kills their leader without so much as blinking an eye, but who cares! They’re just filthy slimy Downwolders, after all.
Clary then asks if maybe Valentine has some kind of hideout. Why she’s asking, I’m not sure, since if anyone here knew about it, then it wouldn’t be much of a hideout now would it? Luke says much the same, but phrased in a way that doesn’t imply Clary is dumber than a sack of hammers for asking.
Once again CC has written her characters into a corner, so she once again uses the magic of Authorial Intervention to get them out. But first, we have to have yet another moment of idiotic phrase-related comedy. In this case, the phrase in question is “wait a second”, which Luke thinks is weird for Clary to say, because he obviously wasn’t planning on leaving! Mundanes say the silliest things!
Rapier Twit: 1
It wasn’t funny when Jace did it, and it’s even less funny now, because Luke supposedly deals with normal people on a regular basis. CC, it doesn’t make you clever to make jokes like this – it just makes your characters look arrogant and/or stupid.
But back to Clary’s “revelation”, which she chooses to explain here. Valentine came through a Portal
Weird Word Choice: 3
when he entered the Institute, and we assume he’s in New York. And, as Magnus Bane mentioned way back when, there are only two places with portals in New York – Dorothea’s, and someplace called Renwick’s. Since Valentine almost certainly isn’t at Dorothea’s, he must be at the other place.
Okay, credit where credit is due, this chain of reasoning isn’t that bad. But there are some problems with the foundation it’s all built on. First, given that Valentine came through one of those magic go-anywhere doors, he could literally have come from anywhere. Second, he also left the Institute by the same means he used to enter it, and as far as we know, the magic portal-doors are a one-way trip. If that’s not how they work, then why isn’t this explained? Does the portal stay open for a few minutes after the person using it has gone through? Or is there some way to keep it open?
I guess they’re just a plot device – they work however CC needs them to. First their an untraceable means of transport, except if you go through without a destination in mind. Then they can’t be used from the exit, until the Villain needs a way to escape without being detected. Fine.
Plot Hole: 2
One for Clary’s baseless assumption of Valentine’s location, and another for CC for not being consistent with her plot devices.
Nevertheless, Clary is, of course, right on all counts. But Luke is still confused, because “Renwick” isn’t a Shadowhunter name.
Considering that these supposedly Franco-Germanic people have surnames like “Lightwood”, “Trueblood”, “Graymark”, and “Starkweather”, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Kobayashi” (Japanese), “Uzun” (Turkish), and “Patil” (Indian) were Shadowhunter names.
Plot Hole: 3
Because CC sucks as world building.
Also, isn’t it really racist to assume that only Shadowhunters would have magic portal thingies? Especially because the Downworlders would probably be using them more?
This whole world runs on Insane Troll Logic, I swear.
But then Clary has another brilliant idea – what if “Renwick’s” is referring to a place instead of a person? Well, gee, then it would still probably be named after a person, Clary. But fine, whatever. So Luke tells Gretel to get him a phone book so he can look it up. Gretel starts to point out that his wounds need to be treated, but Luke snaps at her (CC’s word, btw), so Gretel hops to it like a good little secretary.
I’m of two minds about what just happened. On the one hand, if Luke’s wounds were that bad (hey, he did take a razor-edged frisbee to the side), then why wasn’t Gretel treating that instead of Clary’s little scratches? But on the other hand, Luke did manage to talk for about twenty minutes without showing any apparent signs of discomfort, so maybe he’s not that bad off. And all he’s doing at the moment is looking something up, which isn’t exactly a very physical activity, unless you’re carrying huge stacks of books around.
So instead I’ll just settle for being pissed that Luke’s supposed second is being treated like shit for showing some concern for her boss. And that the female second-in-command is doing all the work rather than, say, someone lower on the chain of command. Like Alaric.
I’d point out that looking stuff up in a phone book in the twenty-first century is kinda stupid, but apparently werewolf HQ is in an abandoned Police Station, so them having a decent internet connection is probably unlikely.
Gretel leaves, and Luke compliments Clary on her brilliant deductive capabilities. Because as the Sue, all her accomplishments must be praised, no matter how meager.
Gretel returns with a phone book as requested, and then proceeds to deal with the nice gash in Luke’s side that the idiot managed to re-open. I’m starting to think that Luke’s more of a figurehead and Gretel is the one who actually runs things in the pack.
Luke flips through and finds that, of the seven numbers for a “Renwick”, none of them are businesses of any sort, so they’re back to square one. Never mind that I’m pretty sure businesses are organized by categories first, and that the phone book might be out of date. No, all sources have been exhausted. Luke once again proclaims that none of them could possibly be Shadowhunters, because it’s not like they could be fake names or anything, that would just be silly! And of course there’s no way that Valentine would ever set up shop in a place owned by a mundane or a Downworlder, despite the fact that we already know he’s willing to hire them. Logic? What’s that?
Idiot Plot doesn’t even begin to describe this mess. At this point I’m rooting for Valentine because he’s the only one with anything resembling a properly functioning brain, rampant racism be damned.
Clary then asks to borrow a phone. Luke, of course, doesn’t have one on him, so once again Gretel is sent off to fetch whatever Clary needs, even though she hasn’t finished patching Luke up yet. Though at least she gets a bit indignant about it this time.
You know, it’s been a while since I’ve indulged myself with one of these, but I think this calls for a spite fic.
“Do you have a phone?” Clary interupted.
“Not on me.” Luke, still holding the phone book, peered under it at Gretel. “Could you get the telephone?”
Gretel stared at him. “What?”
“Go get the phone,” Luke repeated.
Gretel seemed to consider her words for a moment. “I don’t know if you realize this, sir, but your liver’s practically hanging out you side. How about you let me finish patching you back up before you send me on another little errand, alright?”
“I’m sorry,” Clary said, almost apologetic. “But this is really important…”
“Shut up,” Gretel snapped. “I don’t care how much the boss-man wants to fuck your mom or whatever, but as far as I’m concerned, you’ve been nothing but trouble for this pack. By all rights I should kill you for what you did to Alaric.”
“Don’t you talk to her like that!” Luke said.
“You too,” Gretel said, jabbing her thumb into Luke’s wound. He hissed in pain. “I’m sure you have fun playing Happy Family with Ginger’s mom, but while you’re playing hookey, I’m the one here keeping shit together. I’m the one singing the little kids to sleep when they want to go back to their moms, I’m the one stopping Alaric from running off to fight the vamps every night. So why don’t you shut the hell up and let me finish, and then I’ll go find the goddamn phone, okay?”
But that doesn’t happen, because Clary’s the only one who doesn’t have to put up with taking crap from a guy in this book, and even then only when pushed to the brink.
After Gretel leaves, Clary asks if they can kill Valentine when they find him, so that Clary can get vengeance for the family that she just learned she had. Because I guess the fact that he’s super-duper evil isn’t enough, or something.
Gretel comes back with the phone, and it’s one of those old clunky cellphones, probably from the 1980s. Clary takes it and calls up the other guy she has wrapped around her finger, Simon. After a bit of reassuring him, she has him Google the name “Renwick” for her. And what he pulls up is… interesting.
“The most famous of the lunatic asylums, debtor’s prisons, and Smallpox Hospitals built on Roosevelt Island in the 1800s,” Simon read dutifully. “Renwick Smallpox Hospital was designed by architect Jacob Renwick and intended to quarantine the poorest victims of Manhattan’s uncontrollable Smallpox epidemic. During the next century, the hospital was abandoned to disrepair. Public access to the ruin is forbidden.”
Now, I used a bit of wiki-fu and looked some of this up. For starters, while Jacob Renwick appears to be fictional, James Renwick, Jr. is not.. He was also an architect, and he did design a number of famous buildings, including the ‘Castle’ of the Smithsonian Institute and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, as well as the Smallpox Hospital of New York, which is sometimes called “Renwick’s Smallpox Hospital.” Now I can somewhat forgive CC for not getting his first name right, and am willing to assume that it was intentional.
On to the hospital itself. Firstly, it was built in 1854, which while technically in the “1800s”, still makes my history buff cringe. “1800s” could apply to anything from Napoleon to the end of the Victorian era, so I find it hard to believe that a professional website would use terminology like that. Secondly, while it was built to help quarantine smallpox patients, it was never a “lunatic asylum” nor a “debtor’s prison.” I get the feeling CC added those to make it seem creepier, because abandoned hospitals aren’t creepy enough, I guess. Or she’s confusing it with the New York City Lunatic Asylum, commonly called the “Octagon,” which is also on Roosevelt Island, but was built in 1834, and was the focus of Nellie Bly’s book Ten Days in a Mad-House.
The real Renwick’s Smallpox Hospital eventually became a nursing school about twenty years after its construction, began to fall into disrepair in the 1920s, and was eventually closed in the 1950s. In 1972 the remains were added to the National Register of Historic Places, and declared a New York City Landmark in 1976. It is currently undergoing some repairs and is closed to the public, so at least CC got that right.
I’m hoping most of this was intentional. You do not get to play fast and loose with history, CC.
So once again we have Simon coming in to save Clary’s incompetent ass. Will he receive any gratitude for this?
What book do you think this is? Of course not.
Clary hangs up without so much as a “goodbye” and tells Luke what she learned. Luke then realizes that Valentine has set up his HQ on Blackwell’s Island, which used to be the name of Roosevelt Island. Except that the name was changed to “Welfare Island” in 1921, and then “Roosevelt Island” in 1971.
Do Shadowhunters just not pay any attention to mundane society? Do they still call Istanbul Constantinople? Should I be impressed that they call the city New York and not New Amsterdam?
Moving on. It seems that the Blackwells were a pretty powerful Shadowhunter family (who apparently did a pretty shitty job of staying in the background if they owned a damn island). But now, via reasonable deductions based on an absurd assumption, they know where Valentine’s hideout is. Luke orders Gretel to tell the pack to gear up for a fight, and the scene ends. Guess he wouldn’t want to give that order himself, what with being the leader and all.
We come back about a minute later as Clary and Luke head up to the main area of the police station.
Random Scene Break: 1
While they’re walking, Luke tells Clary a bit more about their hideout. Much like with Shadowhunter HQ, this building doesn’t look like an abandoned police station to mundanes. No, it looks like a Chinese restaurant. Because it’s in Chinatown. And while mundanes do occasionally call up the place, the werewolves almost never answer.
Once again, I have to pick this apart. First, having actually been to Chinatown (although only briefly), I can say that it’s not all Chinese restaurants. Heck, I doubt that even one out of every ten buildings was an actual restaurant. Also, while they’ve neatly avoided the issue of people calling for takeout, what about mundanes who just walk in? I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes people do actually go into Chinese restaurants to eat.
Also, I find the idea that an abandoned police station in New York City would be left unoccupied a bit hard to swallow. Space is at a premium, so I doubt that no city officials (like, say, the police) has checked up on the place. There can’t be any records of the building after it was abandoned, so why aren’t people coming by to inspect it?
Also also, as they are in Chinatown, do none of the locals notice a bunch of guizi hanging around all the time? Yeah, I know, non-Chinese folks go to Chinatown all the time, but these are the same people there every day. And in an ethnic neighborhood like Chinatown, a bunch of white folks who appear to live there are going to draw some attention.
And finally, while all this is interesting and does a nice job fleshing out the world, now is really not the time for it. There are more important stuff to focus on right now, CC, so stop padding out your word count and get to the damn point already.
They head outside where Luke’s truck is conveniently parked, and Clary hops in while Luke talks with his supposed subordinates. Oh, and there’s a crap-load of other vehicles parked behind Luke’s car, including vans, Jeeps, and motorcycles. All of which are sitting out in the open. Can you say “grand theft auto”?
Hey, Clary even thinks that most of them are borrowed or stolen, but hey, at least they don’t have to take the subway! Even though that would probably be just as fast, if not faster.
Oh, and the name of the fake Chinese restaurant is “JADE WOLF CHINESE CUISINE” because no one in this book can even spell subtlety.
Luke hops in the truck and passes Clary what he refers to as “bao buns”, which makes no sense, as “bao” is Cantonese for “bun”, so he just called them “bun buns”. (The correct term is cha sui bao which means “barbecue pork bun”)
Weird Word Choice: 4
Petty? Yes, but I’m long past giving a shit.
Clary starts snarfing the buns down, because I guess getting beaten up by a bird and then standing around while everyone explains the plot to you is exhausting. And it’s only after this that she offers one to Luke. I mean, he’s only recovering from having his side sliced open and driving, after all. It’s not like he needs the energy or anything.
And don’t get me started on the fact that Luke’s leading this little charge. He should be laid up and resting, not barreling headfirst into another fight. Further proof that he’s a crappy leader – good ones know how to delegate.
But then we wouldn’t have the chance for Clary and Luke to talk about the only important character in danger – Jace. And how sad his past is, what with Valentine having his dad killed and all.
Does anyone else smell rotting fish?
And then, apropos of nothing, Clary asks how the moon affects Luke. He explains that, since he’s an older werewolf, only a full moon can force him to change, but newer werewolves are more susceptible to lunar influence. This leads into a joke about Luke sticking his head out the window, which was probably the whole point of this little conversational tangent.
Rapier Twit: 2
And then we bounce to another random topic, this time how long Luke’s been the pack leader. Turns out he’s only been in charge for a week, and only known about this particular pack for a day or so longer.
Okay, what the fuck is this bullshit? Not two chapters ago we had Luke saying how long it took for him to get Gretel to stop calling him “my lord” or some shit, which implies that he’s been in charge for a while. But no, it’s only been a week. I guess a few days now qualifies as “a long time”.
Plot Hole: 4
CC can’t even keep stuff straight between chapters. Well, we already know that she can’t keep stuff straight in a single chapter, so why should this be surprising?
Also, this is further proof of how stupid these werewolves are. Luke been in charge for only a few days, and these people are following his orders without question. Did no one see how a guy like Valentine could easily turn this to his advantage? All he’d have to do is find a werewolf who’d follow his orders, have said werewolf kill a pack leader, and suddenly Valentine has a whole pack of unthinkingly loyal werewolves at his disposal.
Gods I hate this book.
And the worst part is that Luke flat-out admits that, since Jocelyn had disappeared and Clary now hated him, he was perfectly willing to die. Because without the Sue, life was just not worth living.
And then we get another scene break.
This time the cut actually makes sense, as we get to skip the whole rest of the trip. Luke pulls over and parks the truck a little ways away from the hospital’s remains, but don’t think this is a demonstration of basic tactical sense – the narration implies he’s only doing this because the road is too rough.
Luke doesn’t even bother telling Clary to stay in the car, not because she won’t listen, but because Valentine might have nasties patrolling the area. Oh, and he acts a little impressed that she used the word “perimeter” because only military-types use words like that. Well, them and geometry teachers.
They wander up to the ruins of the hospital, which Clary describes as “a wreck”, and she can’t grasp how Valentine could be hiding out there.
Now, I want to show you guys something.
That’s the eponymous hospital. The photo (according to Wikipedia) was uploaded in early June of 2007, only a few months after this book was released, so the building is probably supposed to look like this. Now, while it might not be in great shape, but I wouldn’t call it a wreck – I mean, most of the walls still seem to be standing.
So Luke tells Clary that Valentine’s just using a really heavy glamour, so she just needs to focus a bit to see through it. But then for some reason, Clary’s focus shifts to the rest of the pack, who are just now arriving. Amazing how they managed to follow at just the right distance for Luke and Clary to have a nice conversation before they show up. How considerate of them.
Also, I’m assuming that Luke’s truck was a probably a pickup, so why wasn’t anyone riding in the bed? I mean, you could probably fit three, maybe four people in the truck’s bed, so that’s one less vehicle they wouldn’t need to borrow/steal. Oh, wait, then Luke and Clary couldn’t have their private conversation, which is far more important.
Clary does her little Magic Eye trick, and suddenly sees the Hospital completely restored. And she says it looks like a castle.
Okay, wait. To my understanding, glamours only conceal stuff. Things under glamours are still there, they still occupy space. If you bump into something glamoured, you still feel it. It’s not like they’re in another dimension or something.
So how is it that none of the no doubt numerous guys working to make the place safe enough for the public haven’t noticed this?
Moving on. Luke tells Clary to stick with him, probably for the same reason parents tell their three-year-old child to do the same. They all head up to the fence, which Clary is surprised to find isn’t part of the illusion, and Alaric grows some claws and cuts through it. Because why bother just hopping over the thing when you can leave evidence instead?
I’m not even going to delve into how little sense it makes for werewolf claws to be able to cut through steel, even if it’s thin.
The rest of the pack follows, and this happens:
Alaric held his head up, sniffing the wind. “The stench of death lies heavy on the air.”
Luke’s breath left his lungs in a hissing rush. “Forsaken.”
Could that language be more flowery? Is Alaric supposed to be from the 19th century or something? Because if not, why not just say “This place reeks of death”? That’s about half as many words, manages to convey the same sentiment, and doesn’t sound really awkward to boot.
Next, why is Luke’s exhalation described like that? Again, it’s needlessly flowery, which only hurts any tension CC might be trying to build.
Also, this place used to be a hospital. A smallpox hospital. People died there. Yes, it’s been abandoned for over fifty years, but I imagine something like that would stick around. Why do we immediately assume it must be Forsaken? On top of that, was it ever established that they were undead? Am I just forgetting something?
Weird Word Choice: 7
For needlessly convoluted language, and capitalization of a common noun. And keep in mind, CC worked as a journalist before being published.
Plot Hole: 5
For the maybe-undead Forsaken.
It seems that Luke follows the Edward Cullen school of protecting females, as his first response is to shove Clary behind him, potentially causing her to fall on her ass and be even more vulnerable than she already is.
Meanwhile, the rest of the pack forms a ring around Clary and Luke. Under different circumstances, I’d appreciate that their first response is to form a defensive circle, but given that Luke is at the circle’s center, rather than part of it leads me to further question his leadership abilities.
Several of the werewolves start wolfing out, showing that some of them have basic sense, and they start heading towards the hospital, taking down Forsaken along the way. I approve of this, as it makes Jace getting his ass handed to him by one of these things back in chapter six hilarious.
Still, the wolves are outnumbered, and the non-zombies eventually break through. Clary, of course, is completely useless, but Luke saves her ass yet again. He then pretty much gives up on Clary reaching the building under her own power and has Alaric carry her lazy ass.
Our heroine, ladies and gentlemen.
Alaric is a champ, though, and manages to get Clary up to the front doors. She apologizes for throwing a knife at him again, but of course he just praises her awesome knife-throwing skillz again. I didn’t like it the first time, CC, and I like it even less now.
And it appears that, like with all escort quests, it’s a hell of a lot easier without having to protect the NPC’s lazy ass, as Luke shows up right behind them. Sheathing a sword. Even though he, like Alec, put his points into bows.
Sure, why not.
But the fight wasn’t as one-sided as expected – Gretel, the werewolf who probably did the most actual work, got taken down. And Clary is inexplicably upset by this. She’s even crying. Which leads to this:
Luke looked at her curiously. “She was only a Downworlder,” he said.
Clary’s eyes burned. “Don’t say that.”
Fuck you, Clary. And fuck you too, CC. I refuse to accept that Clary has, in the past hour or so, suddenly come to the realization that “Downworlders are people, too”. Because this chapter started with her saying that her not trusting Downworlders was totally reasonable, and not racist at all. I have no doubt that she still believes that the werewolves are inherently inferior to the Almighty Shadowhunters.
Let’s face facts – the only reason Clary’s showing any emotion is because Gretel did something for Clary. I don’t see the little bint showing any concern for the other werewolves who are putting their lives on the line to help her lazy ass.
But her crocodile tears are enough to satisfy Luke, and he starts to give instructions to Alaric while he and Clary head inside. Alaric interrupts though, pointing out that, since he’s now second-in-command, he should stick with Luke.
Okay, do werewolves just not understand delegating responsibilities? Or does CC just not realize that there are more important parts to any battle than taking out the enemy leadership.
But Luke gives him a direct order, so Alaric has to do it. Because no subordinate ever questions the orders of a superior, especially in loosely organized groups like this pack.
They go inside, and all the stuff going on outside might as well not be happening. Then for no discernible reason Luke decides that this is the perfect time to talk about how great what Clary said about Gretel is. Because everything ultimately comes back to the Sue and how awesome she is. And now I really don’t buy that she was being sincere.
And for some reason, CC has decided that the hospital doesn’t just look like a castle, it is a castle, because the only light source is a torch. Again, the facility was closed down in the 1950s. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had gas lighting when it was first built.
Luke tries to pull the torch out, but for once CC defies convention and has it remain stuck. Oh, wait, this is just so Clary can awesome (read: not utterly useless) by pulling out the magic glow-rock Jace gave her. This prompts a brief conversation about the rock (read: further padding) before they actually get to progressing the plot.
But we haven’t escaped the padding yet. Because Clary asks about the architecture, and if the hospital looked like this “hundreds of years ago.” The hospital was built in 1854, you stupid bint. Luke explains that various Shadowhunters, including Valentine and Blackwell, probably made some changes over time. I’d like to know how, because New York City bought the island in 1828, over a decade before construction began on the hospital.
At this point, CC has lost all goodwill for lapses in research.
As proof of the changes made to the building, Luke points out a carving of a circle with the phrase “In Hoc Signo Vinces” on one of the walls. Clary of course asks what it means, so Luke has to explain that it translates as “By this sign we will conquer”, and that it was the motto of the Circle.
Okay, more history. That particular phrase actually dates back to Emperor Constantine I, and his supposed vision of the chi rho sign, leading to his conversion to Christianity. And it has been used by numerous parties over the centuries.
However, there is one critical fact that CC gets wrong. “In hoc signo vinces” doesn’t mean “by this sign we will conquer.” It means “by this sign you will conquer.”
Weird Word Choice: 8
CC, ‘Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.’ might be true (“Anything said in Latin seems profound”), but only if you get the Latin right. Otherwise it just makes you look like an idiot. Again.
They wander around some more, because CC doesn’t understand how tension works, and she really needs to fill out that word count. Eventually they find Valentine’s armory, which is exactly like the one at the Institute, and finding it serves literally no purpose.
But then we finally get to something that might be important – they find Clary’s mom. And she’s in a coma. And chained to the bed (I guess she’s kinky like that). And once again CC shows her ignorance, because she describes jars set on the bedside table hooked up to Jocelyn’s arm, presumably like an IV. Except that IVs only work because they’re above who they’re plugged into, so the liquid flows down the tube and into the patient. So those jars are doing… nothing. I’m so concerned.
Clary tries to run to her mom’s side, Luke tries to stop her, but she goes anyway. Because she doesn’t grasp the concept of traps.
But it’s not trapped, so she gets there just fine. And here’s her response, which I will need to dissect:
A week ago Clary would have cried as she had that first terrible night she discovered her mother missing, cried and called out.
What the hell are you talking about? Clary passed out from being poisoned that night. And she hasn’t shed a single tear over her mom since waking up. Again, CC can’t keep her own canon straight.
Plot Hole: 6
But, hey, at least we have a time line – it’s been about a week since the book started. Sure feels longer, though.
But no tears came now, as she let her mother go and straightened up.
Again, she hasn’t cried once yet, so why should I be surprised by this?
There was no terror in her now, and no self-pity;
Bullshit. All Clary’s done so far is whine and pant over Jace.
only a bitter rage and a need to find the man who’d done this, the one responsible for it all.
Aww, that’s so cute. CC still thinks she can make Clary intimidating. Please, keep trying; your complete and utter ineptitude is far too amusing.
They briefly discuss how to free Mama Frey, but get interrupted by one of Valentine’s henchmen. And it’s only now that I’m remembering that one of those guys was named Blackwell, because he’s such a nonentity. He’s the purple one, in case you forgot, like I did.
So of course he and Luke have to banter a bit, because reasons.
“Graymark,” he said. “What a nice surprise.”
Luke stood up. “If you’re surprised, you’re an idiot,” he said. “I didn’t exactly arrive quietly.”
Rapier Twit: 3
CC, why do you insist on trying to make your characters “witty”? Unlike your attempts to make me think Clary’s threatening, this is just painful. Especially when the people being snarked at are just flabbergasted by this crap.
Second, given that Blackwell almost certainly had no idea that you were leading the werewolves, how was he supposed to know you’d be here? Or do the werewolves send out a newsletter?
Finally, Luke, you’re doing that “I’m taking what you said literally” thing again that makes you and every other Shadowhunter look like an idiot.
Thankfully, Blackwell isn’t flatfooted for long, and his comeback is way better. First, he says that Luke’s once again using Downworlders to do his dirty work, that he’s completely abandoned his people to be slaughtered, and then not-so-vaguely implies that Luke’s a pedophile.
Luke doesn’t even deny that he’s just using the werewolves, instead focusing on the fact that making Forsaken is illegal, and the Shadowhunters wouldn’t be happy if they found out. Dude, given what they’ve already done, I doubt Valentine or his buddies give a shit about them.
Blackwell confirms my hypothesis. And apparently is a Shadowhunter. I’d like to know why he has purple skin, then, because that’s just not a skin tone that exists naturally in the real world.
But just when I think I’ve got someone new to root for, Blackwell falls into that trap that all the villains have been falling into, and starts monologing.
CC, why do you hate your heroes not knowing everything? Do you actually think that having the villain’s whole scheme explained in excruciating detail at the first opportunity is anything other than incredibly annoying and stupid?
[Hold it together, man. It’s only a little further.]
Okay, so it turns out that Valentine plans to use the MacGuffin Cup to turn his army of Forsaken into an army of Shadowhunters. So I guess they aren’t dead then? Then why did Luke conclude that the dead smell was coming from Forsaken?
Plot Hole: 7
So. For once, one of the heroes actually asks an obvious question. In this case, it’s why Valentine hasn’t started going though with his plan already. And the freshly-lobotomized Blackwell starts to answer, only to be interrupted by Valentine’s other henchman, Pangborn, who immediately earns my respect by chastising Blackwell for talking too much.
It appears that Luke’s learned the bad guys’ real weakness and asks Pangborn what Valentine wants with Jocelyn now that he has the Cup. Unfortunately for him, Pangborn actually has a functioning brain, and says that he neither knows nor cares what Valentine plans to do with his ex. Luke offers them a deal – release Jocelyn, and he and Clary will leave, and he’ll owe them both a favor.
But Clary isn’t having any of that, because Jace
the only one who really matters is still there. Such a loving daughter, isn’t she? Blackwell says he doesn’t know anything about a Jace, but he won’t take Luke’s deal, because Jocelyn was a bitch to him and only got together with Valentine to lord it over the rest of them. Luke demonstrates his maturity by implying that Blackwell’s gay for Valentine. What are you, a twelve-year-old on X-Box Live?
He then tops that by grabbing a scalpel and throwing it into Blackwell’s throat. I’ll admit, that’s a better retort than calling someone gay. You should lead with that next time.
Pangborn, unlike all the werewolves, isn’t very impressed by this. I’d like to think it’s because he’s glad that there’s one less idiot in the world.
Luke whispers something to Clary and then tries to threaten Pangborn into letting Jocelyn go. But Pangborn is aware of the fact that Luke’s unarmed (wait, what happened to his sword?)
Plot Hole: 8
and he never much liked Luke to begin with, so he pulls a sword.
Luke starts transforming, and only then does Clary realize that he told her to run. Luke and Pangborn start going at it, and Clary runs for it and heads to the weapons room. What she expects to accomplish by this I don’t know, because she has no weapons training whatsoever. Maybe she’s realized that she’s a Sue and will just automatically know how to wield any weapon she picks up.
Thankfully for what remains of my sanity, this doesn’t work. Not that Clary’s lack of training finally bites her in the ass, no. Instead, she just can’t pick any of the weapons up, because they’re magically stuck to the racks.
Eh. I’ll take what I can get.
But Clary shows her true colors, because instead of going back to help her father substitute, she goes in search of her would-be fuck-buddy. Priorities, people.
So she starts wandering around the building. And she does this for a while. Like, four lengthy paragraphs that I’m going to skip because I literally could not give less of a shit about this crap. And then she finally finds Jace. Whoop-di-fuck.
But it seems that Jace is in a bit of shock or something, because he’s surprised that Clary’s here. They have a bit of a talk about her coming to rescue him, and I feel this particular bit needs to be shared.
“Why don’t you ever think?” he whispered.
“I was thinking,” she said. “I was thinking about you.”
That pretty much sums up this whole book, doesn’t it? The only time Clary’s though about anything except Jace was when Isabelle was showing an interest in Simon.
Clary tells Jace that she’s here to rescue him, but he says that he doesn’t need to be rescued. She finally notices that he’s in remarkably good shape for being kidnapped, and asks where he got his new clothes. His answer is that he got them from his father.
Now, anyone with even a reasonably functioning brain should have figured out the big twist by now, and if not, that line would have done it. Sadly, Clary lacks the intelligence that God gave to a sea sponge, and doesn’t get it. No, she insists that Jace’s dad is dead.
They go back and forth like this for a bit, with Jace being idiotically cryptic and Clary just being an idiot. It’s neither tense nor interesting. It’s just sad.
The whole damn show finally ends when Valentine shows up. Clary tries to attack him, but all it takes to stop her is for Jace to grab her wrist. And then he finally spits it out:
“Clary,” he said firmly. “This is my father.”
Wait, no, that’s not it.
No Shit Sherlock: 4
There we go.
And that brings the chapter to a close.
Seriously, did CC honestly believe that this would be some kind of dramatic reveal? You’ve only been blatantly foreshadowing this fact since Hodge’s sudden reveal. In a way, they’re the exact opposite – Hodge being evil literally came out of nowhere, and this was obvious from Hodge’s comment about Jace being taken to his father. Hell, the photo of the
Order of the Deathea Circle was just the right amount of foreshadowing – obvious in hindsight, but not in the moment.
But no, she had to have Hodge foreshadow it, and then have Clary stubbornly insist that Jace’s dad is dead. Maybe CC was so accustomed to writing fanfic, where all her
minions fans would tell her how totally unexpected these twists were, and didn’t realize that she was laying it on thick enough to wade through.
Okay, we’re almost done. Just one more chapter and the epilogue left. With any luck, I’ll be able to finish sporking by the end of the month as planned.
Weird Word Choice: 8 (Total 102)
Rapier Twit: 3 (Total 68)
No Shit Sherlock: 4 (Total 45)
Plot Hole: 8 (Total 85)
Random Scene Break: 1 (Total 21)
Both Hands, Ma’am: 0 (Total 28)
Bitch: 2 (Total 26)