Hi, folks, and welcome back. Let’s get right to it.
Chapter three begins a little after chapter two ended, making me wonder why it’s a separate chapter in the first place. Or why CC didn’t end chapter two when Clary left the apartment. Oh well.
Clary and Simon are at Java Jones, the coffee place where Simon’s friend is doing his poetry reading. As they enter, said friend is already on stage. He’s also dyed the ends of his hair pink for some reason entirely unfathomable to me. Clary appears to share my feelings, though lacks the tact to keep her opinion to herself:
“This is going to suck so hard,” Clary predicted. She grabbed Simon’s sleeve and tugged him toward the doorway. “If we make a run for it, we can still get away.”
Sadly, Clary isn’t being meta, though it is an appropriate response to finding out she’s in such a crappy book.
Instead, it shows just how big a hypocrite she is. It’s okay for her to drag Simon to a club that he hates, but if he brings her to something he wants to do it’s perfectly acceptable to leave. And let’s not forget – he asked Clary to come. She’s the one who decided to go with him. In fact, I think this deserves another spitefic:
Simon gave Clary a tired look. “I know that. I’ve read a lot more of Eric’s poetry than you. But I’m still here, because Eric is my friend. That’s what friends do for each other, Clary. How many clubs and concerts and art exhibitions have you dragged me to without even asking me?”
“Well… I just…”
“Exactly. Look, I know you only came along to get away from your mom – that’s fine. And I’m not going to make you stay. If you want to leave, leave. Go for a walk or to a movie or something. But I’m staying here, because I told Eric I’d be here. You do whatever you want.” With that, Simon headed off to the counter, leaving Clary standing by the door alone.
Of course, that doesn’t happen. However, Simon does show a little backbone and insists they stay, and offers to pay for the coffee. Clary wants hers “Black – like [her] soul.” Listen, kid, there’s only so much funny to go around in this book, and Simon’s already got the lion’s share. Quit while you’re ahead.
Simon goes off, misquoting A Tale of Two Cities along the way. Again, I haven’t read Dickens (blame public education), but even I can find the context for the “Far, far better thing” line, and make sure to get the line right. I’m hoping Simon is trying (and again failing) to be funny, because that’s a really lame thing to say, especially when you get it wrong.
Anyway, Clary goes off and picks a spot in the back in the hope that Eric won’t see them back there, and he won’t ask them about his poetry. Seriously, she’s just that petty. I’m not sure if CC intended Clary to come across that way, but the events of this chapter will make that pretty clear.
The only other person near their seats is a blonde girl who immediately asks if Simon is Clary’s boyfriend. Clary is honest and says that she and Simon are just friends. Blonde girl asks if Simon has a girlfriend, and Clary “[hesitates] a second too long before replying.” And now she’s really started going downhill.
The blonde asks if Simon is gay, which is a bit personal, but seeing the general direction of her previous questions, it makes sense. But Simon shows up before Clary can answer. He complains a bit about having to use Styrofoam cups instead of mugs, while Clary stares at him, contemplating whether she finds him attractive or not. And, were this a typical teen romance story, or just real life, this would be the part where Clary starts to wonder if there might be something more to their relationship. But it’s not, and she doesn’t.
Simon is understandably put off by Clary staring at him for no apparent reason, and Clary has to convince herself to tell Simon about the blonde girl saying he was cute. And this is the part where I have to call their whole relationship into question. Look, Clary, I get that, until about thirty seconds ago your relationship with Simon was entirely platonic, at least on your end. But you know that he’s looking for a girlfriend – he talked about it at the end of the last chapter. You know what a friend would do in this situation? Tell him about the blonde girl without any hesitation. Not cool, Fray. Not cool.
As if to reinforce the idea that Simon should at least talk to this mystery girl, the narration turns back to her, and she’s reading (or at least pretending to read) a copy of Shonen Jump.) Simon, I don’t care how much you luurrv Clary (which anyone not denser than lead would have picked up on already), you should at least talk to this girl. She’s attractive (I assume), she thinks you’re cute, and she might be into anime/manga – that’s a nerd trifecta. Damn it, get off your butt and go over there!
But of course he doesn’t, because he’s already in luurrv with Clary (stupid YA fantasy romance rules about inter-gender friendships). Eric comes on stage then, saving Clary from having to go any further with this conversation, and begins reading his first poem, which he’s given the brilliant name “Untitled”. And you have to see this to believe it:
“Come, my faux juggernaut, my nefarious loins! Slather every protuberance with arid zeal!”
…Wow. I have no idea where CC got that from, but it is brilliantly hilarious. But it also makes me wonder why so many of the “jokes” in this book suck so much.
And no, that doesn’t get a Weird Word count because, unlike every other time CC writes something like that, this time it’s on purpose.
Meanwhile, Clary and Simon get back to their conversation re: Simon’s love life, which consists of Simon being unable to express his obvious feelings for Clary, and Clary being entirely oblivious to said feelings. Honestly, Simon, Clary’s a lost cause. Just go over and talk to the blonde already. Everyone, or at least everyone who counts, will be much happier if you do.
Here’s the blow-by-blow: Clary suggests some girl she knows (named Jaida Jones, a reference to another Potter fanfic-writer-turned-author, and presumably friend of CC, and who will also never be mentioned again); Simon puts down that idea because it “wouldn’t be fair to her”, which is decent of him; Clary asks why; Simon says it’s because he’s interested in someone else; Clary asks if he’s gay (a weird jump to make considering how long she’s known him); Simon basically says he’s not; Clary pushes him to tell her who he likes, thinking it might be Eric’s girlfriend, because again, she’s completely oblivious. The conversation ends when someone behind her coughs.
It was a derisive sort of cough, the kind of noise someone might make who was trying not to laugh out loud.
I’ll give you three guesses as to who it is, and the first two don’t count.
If you guessed it was Jace, congratulations! You win absolutely nothing.
That’s right, Jace, who has already become the bane of my existence, is back, and just as big an ass as ever. And being the designated love interest, he gets a full paragraph dedicated to describing his appearance, including the fact that he’s wearing metal cuffs. Cuffs, mind, not bracelets or anything else that would be more appropriate.
Weird Word Choice: 1
Worse yet, he’s got a smug look on his face, which I just want to wipe right off it.
Of course, no one else can see him, which just makes the whole situation more annoying. It also introduces a problem.
Invisibility is a bit dangerous, if you really think about it – no one can see you, so you have to be careful not to get hit anything or touch anyone, because people tend to notice when stuff gets bumped by something that isn’t there. This is why some writers have their characters use a Perception Filter instead of actual invisibility.
But which one is Jace using? We don’t get told.
Plot Hole: 1
Hey, this is an important question.
Jace, being an ass, decides to leave right then. And Clary, being an idiot, decides to follow him, leaving Simon in the lurch. Isn’t Clary a good friend? Oh well, maybe the blonde girl will come over and comfort him.
There’s a scene break cutting to Clary heading out and finding Jace fiddling with some gadget. After the narrator briefly describes his hair (?), Jace tells Clary that Eric’s poetry sucks. A sentiment I’m certain most people, including myself, would agree with.
Agreeing with Jace makes me feel dirty.
Moving on, Clary (her brain still functioning properly) calls Jace out on following her. He tries to weasel out of it, but she doesn’t buy it. Clary threatens to tell the police, though only as a threat to get more information out of him. I’d think that would have been her first response. It should also have been a genuine threat rather than a ploy for more info.
Jace points out that, since he’s pretty much invisible, the cops can’t really do anything. That fact really doesn’t help dispel the sociopath vibes he’s giving off.
But during his little tirade, Jace called Clary ‘little girl’, which he did previously in chapter one (I didn’t mention it because it’s kind of pointless). This distracts Clary, and it is super effective – she’s now completely forgotten about the fact that Jace may or may not have been stalking her. Jace continues to distract her by talking about how her name reminds him of clary sage, and how eating the seeds supposedly let you see fairies.
Clary’s reaction, much like the reader’s, is to basically “Wtf?”
How does Jace respond?
“You don’t know much, do you? […] You seem to be a mundane like any other mundane, yet you can see me. It’s a conundrum.”
No Shit Sherlock: 1
Weird Word Choice: 2
I know ‘conundrum’ isn’t that weird, but it feels out of place coming from a teenager.
Also, remember that Jace criticized Clary for not knowing some obscure bit of folklore that CC may or may not have made up.
Clary, of course, ignores the insult, instead latching on to the word ‘mundane’, asking Jace for clarification. Again, she’s a high school student. She should be able to figure it out. Maybe it’s because of the way Jace is saying it – like a racial epithet. You might not see it here, but after a while it becomes pretty obvious.
Jace explains that ‘mundane’ is this world’s version of ‘muggle’, i.e. non-magical people, only he uses the phrase “human world” instead of non-magical world. Clary points out that Jace is human too, and Jace tells her that while he is human (if only technically, in the way that a sea sponge is technically alive), he’s not like Clary. Clary, being oddly perceptive, says that Jace thinks he’s better than normal people, hence why he was laughing at them. This is entirely true, though again I doubt CC or the fans would agree.
Jace tells her that he was laughing at Simon’s obvious infatuation with Clary, especially the fact that she’s completely oblivious to it, once again giving off major sociopath vibes. He also mentions that Simon is “one of the most mundane mundanes” he’s ever seen, just to grind home the fact that Simon is totally completely absolutely unremarkable in every way possible and that Clary (and vicariously the readers) should drop him completely and jump on Jace as soon as possible, because he’s just that amazing.
In reality, it comes across more like this scene.
Moving on from the muggle-bashing, Jace finally gets around to explaining why he was following Clary – Hodge, his ‘tutor’ (the actual word he uses) thought she might be dangerous, and wants to learn more about her.
Weird Word Choice: 3
‘Tutor’? Why not ‘teacher’? It’s more accurate, and doesn’t make me think Hodge is helping Jace with his math homework.
Clary points out the hypocrisy of Jace calling her dangerous, he comes back with this:
“I may be a killer,” Jace said, “but I know what I am. Can you say the same?”
I’m sure that’s supposed to sound foreboding and whatnot, but I’m too busy wondering if this qualifies as a confession.
Jace then asks to see her right hand for reasons he won’t explain. Clary asks if he’ll leave her alone if she does, and Jace says he will. There’s a long description of Clary’s hand, and the experience is compared to her showing him her boobs. Because that’s an image I really needed in my head.
Jace examines her hand, but finds nothing, then asks if Clary’s left handed. She’s not. Then she asks why, and Jace explains that Shadowhunter kids usually get a permanent rune put on their dominant hand to make them better fighters. And I must mention this again – Jace seems completely unaware of the fact that the Shadowhunters are supposed to be a secret organization, what with the amount of stuff he’s willing to blather on about. Why was he the one sent after Clary again? Heck, why is he allowed to walk the streets alone? It’s a good thing he’s invisible or he’d probably start going on about hunting demons and whatnot to the first person who spoke to him.
Just to complete the idiocy, Jace shows Clary his hand, and after a moment she sees it. She asks if it’s a tattoo. Jace, oh master of pointless exposition, explains:
“[It’s] not a tattoo – it’s a Mark. They’re runes burned into our skin.”
“They make you handle weapons better?” Clary found this hard to believe, though perhaps no more hard to believe than the existence of zombies.
Alright, I have a few issues with this:
- First, the term ‘mark’. It’s design that’s burned onto their skin. So why are they called ‘Marks’? Wouldn’t ‘brand’ be a more appropriate term? But oh, wait, we later learn that they draw the things on. And if it’s permanent, how is that different from a tattoo? Because it’s magic?
- Second, the use of the word ‘rune’. I get that the word as mystical connotations, but it also brings to mind a certain aesthetic, namely that of old “Germanic alphabets.”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runes The letters consist mostly of straight lines, because they were being carved into things. And how is the design on Jace’s hand described? Like an eye. Not a shape I’d describe as runic. Why not call them something else, like “sigils?”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigil_(magic) It makes just as much sense, and doesn’t come with a set aesthetic.
- Third, the zombie comment. I’m not sure what CC was going for with that, since to my knowledge, most people don’t believe in zombies. Can I accept their presence in a movie/TV show/comic/book without question? Yes. Do I believe that there are actual dead people walking around out there in the real world? No.
Weird Word Choice: 4
Yes, I’m counting special in-world terminology. Believe me, “Marks” is one of the more sensible ones.
Anyway, Jace continues the exposition dump by saying that different runes do different things, and most of them aren’t permanent. He then says that he and Clary should be going, since it’s getting dark. Clary is not happy with that and points out that he said he’d leave her alone. Jace’s response?
“I lied,” Jace said without a shred of embarrassment.
Rapier Twit: 1
Because I’m sure CC intended that to be funny. Also, the evidence just keeps piling up.
As it turns out, Hodge sent Jace to get Clary because he wants to talk to her, though the logic here is a bit circular. It goes like this: Hodge wants to see Clary because she knows about the magical world; but the only reason she knows is because Jace just explained it to her. I guess that’s why Hodge sent Jace out without a handler – so there’d be a (stupid) reason to drag Clary along. Or maybe this is in reference to his info dumping in chapter one? Either way, why isn’t Jace being punished for this kind of behavior?
Plot Hole: 2
Clary/the audience also learns that the Shadowhunters are the group that Jace belongs to, and that ‘Shadowhunters’ is what they call themselves (much like the Kindred from World of Darkness). Also, there are other supernatural peoples out there, and they “have less complimentary names” for the Shadowhunters.
Well, they might be less flattering, but they’re probably more accurate if Jace is a typical Shadowhunter.
There are a lot of supernatural creatures out there, including vampires, werewolves, fairies, and apparently zombies, but not mummies, because that would be, in Jace’s words, “ridiculous”.
This whole exchange reminds me of something from the TV series Supernatural – there’re all kinds of crazy things out there, from vampires, werewolves, and ghosts to witches, skin-changers, demons, and even old pagan gods. But the one thing that’s constantly repeated is that Bigfoot is a myth. The difference between the two situations is that, in Supernatural, this is mentioned a ways into the series, where it’s a bit funny considering everything we’ve seen so far. Here it’s just a pointless aside.
Also, since mummies (as in mummified corpses) are the only absolutely certain for-real thing mentioned, I find it a bit weird that it’s “ridiculous” to think there might be something to the idea that they might get up and attack people. Just a thought.
Finally out of info in need of dumping, Jace just straight-up admits he’s willing to kidnap Clary if he has to. And Clary, rather than doing a sensible thing like kicking him in the balls and making a run for it, just stands there basically going “Buwha?” Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen: one’s a sociopathic man-child; the other has all the survival instincts of a sponge. Together, they don’t fight crime.
And then her phone rings.
And Jace allows Clary to answer it, and this is described as “generous.” Now I want him to get kicked in the balls just on general principle.
Clary finally answers her phone (again, what a loving daughter she is). It’s her mom, no surprise, but with a bit of a twist – Jocelyn’s terrified, and repeatedly tells Clary that she shouldn’t come home, and that Clary needs to tell Luke that “he” found her. There’re some weird noises from the other end, and the phone goes dead.
And again, this is actually some decent writing. Too bad it had to be right after huge info-dump, not to mention having to deal with Jace in general. And the fact that, until just now, Clary showed absolutely no concern for her mother. We’ll see how long that lasts.
There’s another scene break, and I’m getting that CC only does these breaks in the cinematically appropriate places, rather than logical ones.
Anyway, Clary is understandably freaked by this, and Jace shows an actual human emotion by being concerned. Clary tries to call home, but gets a busy signal. She then drops the phone, and it must be a pretty crappy one, because that’s all it takes for the screen to crack, which also makes the phone unusable for some reason.
Jace tries to get an explanation, but all Clary cares about is getting his phone, that thing he was messing with when she first came out of the coffee house. But apparently it isn’t a phone:
“It’s not a phone,” Jace said, making no move to get back. “It’s a Sensor. You won’t be able to use it.”
Alright, two things occur to me:
- Why is the word ‘Sensor’ capitalized? It’s pretty much this world’s equivalent to a “tricorder,”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricorder and that doesn’t get capitalized. These Pointless Capitalizations are getting Really Annoying.
*Also, why wouldn’t Clary be able to use it? Is it just that complicated, or is it like a wand in the Potter-verse? Jace seems just oh-so-willing to explain literally everything up to this point, why not this?
Weird Word Choice: 5
Clary says she needs to call the cops, which is the first (and last) sensible thing she’s done. Jace is both concerned and an ass, because while he says he can help, he also demands to know what’s going on.
Here’s an idea, Clary – go back into the coffee house and use a phone there. There has to be someone willing to help you, even in New York.
Plot Hole: 3
But that would be the sensible thing to do, so of course Clary does the exact opposite: she hits Jace (about damn time) and runs for home, bringing this chapter to a close.
Well, we’re now three chapters and 10% of the way through, at least according to my Kindle (though it certainly feels a lot longer), and the plot engine is just now revving up. On the upside, this means most of the book should focus on moving the plot (the important word here being ‘should’). On the downside, this means that the plot is going to move like molasses on a cold day with plenty of stops along the way for pointless side-plots.
I’ll see you guys next time, when the plot actually begins moving.
Weird Word Choice: 5 (Total 15)
Rapier Twit: 1 (Total 3)
No Shit Sherlock: 1 (Total 3)
Plot Hole: 3 (Total 13)