Sorry once again for the long delay, folks. Again, stuff just kind of came along to eat away at my free time. So, let’s begin this sporking with a brief recapping of what’s happened so far, eh?
Our protagonist (and I use that term only because she’s the central character of the story) is Clary Fray, not to be confused with the book’s author, Cassandra Clare, despite the former probably being a younger version of the latter. Clary lives in New York with her artist mom, her father having allegedly died either when she was young or before she was born (I’ve honestly forgotten). She’s best friends with a generically nerdy (and far more interesting) guy by the name of Simon, and is completely oblivious to the fact that he’s in love with her, because Clary is a teenage girl in a YA novel.
After witnessing a murder at a local club, Clary gets dragged into the “shadow world,” an underground society populated by magical people and creatures.
Yes, this is based largely off a Harry Potter fanfic, why do you ask?
For undisclosed reasons, someone in the shadow world sent an overly-talkative demon to attack Clary and her mother, and said mother has disappeared. Clary somehow managed to both fight off said demon and get her butt kicked, but fortunately (or maybe not) she was saved by one of the murderers from the club, the incredibly-annoying-but-we’re-supposed-to-swoon-over-him-anyway Jace, who took the wounded Clary back to his secret hideout.
At said hideout, we were introduced to Jace’s friends, namely the Lightwood siblings – Isabelle (who is a slut because she’s the only other girl in the narrative), and Alec (who despite being a racist asshole is probably the second most likable character so far). We also met Hodge, the generic mentor/teacher figure, whose only other distinguishing characteristic is the fact that he has a raven nicknamed Hugo.
There was also a lot of info dumping and swooning over Jace.
Well, once more unto the breach and all that.
Chapter six begins with Clary going after Jace and Alec to the weapons room, which is essentially an armory. Why it isn’t just called “the armory” I don’t know.
Weird Word Choice: 1
Well, we’re getting off to great start, aren’t we? And yes, I’m counting it – there are specific words for what’s being described, and either CC or her editor didn’t feel like using them.
From all the equipment kept in this place, I get the distinct impression that the Shadowhunter weapons technology hasn’t advanced much beyond the High Middle Ages:
Brushed metal walls were hung with every manner of sword, dagger, spike, pike, featherstaff, bayonet, whip, mace, hook, and bow. Soft leather bags filled with arrows dangled from hooks, and there were stacks of boots, leg guards, and gauntlets for wrists and arms.
Oh my. Where to begin?
Well, first off, once again CC uses the wrong word – those “soft leather bags” holding the arrows are called “quivers”. This is not that complicated.
Weird Word Choice: 2
Also, there’s that bit about armor. First, gauntlets (to my knowledge) were designed to protect the hands, wrists, and possibly forearms. Not the arm as a whole, as CC implies. What’s being described here sounds more like vambraces.
Weird Word Choice: 3
Second, is that all the armor there? You’d think that, given the potential danger involved, they’d also want some kind of chest protection. You can survive without a limb – it’s those squishy bits in your torso that really need to be protected. There’s a reason that regular police are issued bulletproof vests but not full suits of body armor.
Plot Hole: 1
And again, why all the medieval weaponry? I know that CC is a fan of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, but there was at least an excuse for why Buffy never went hunting vampires with a shotgun – it wouldn’t do much. Are the monsters the Shadowhunters going up against similar, or do the almighty Shadowhunters just unwilling to use anything made by “mundies”?
(I’m going with the latter)
And we’re still in the first paragraph. Good god…
Alec and Jace are busy working on some new weapons (because they apparently have no lives outside killing things), three
lightsabers seraph blades, named Sanvi, Sansavi, and Semangelaf. Originally, I thought that CC had just made these names up because the names don’t follow the usual naming scheme for angels, but according to one source I found, they were the three angels sent after Lilith after she left the Garden of Eden. Learn something new every day.
I still think the names are stupid, though.
Anyway, since the “blades” don’t actually have, you know, blades, Clary assumes they work by magic, which really pisses off Alec. Jace’s response is to start spouting off to no one, a fact which even the narration acknowledges (apologies for the really long quote, but you really have to see this in it’s entirety):
“The funny thing about mundies,” Jace said, to nobody in particular, “is how obsessed with magic they are for a bunch of people who don’t even know what the word means.”
“I know what it means,” Clary snapped.
“No, you don’t, you just think you do. Magic is a dark and elemental force, not just a lot of sparkly wands and crystal balls and talking goldfish.”
“Just because you cal an electric eel a rubber duck doesn’t make it a rubber duck, does it? And God help the poor bastard who decides they want to take a bath with a duckie.”
“You’re driveling,” Clary observed.
“I’m not,” said Jace, with great dignity.
“Yes, you are,” said Alec, rather unexpectedly. “Look, we don’t do magic, okay?” he added, not looking at Clary. “That’s all you need to know about it.”
Oi. This bit really pushes my buttons.
The whole argument is really stupid. Jace isn’t doing a very good job of making his point. You say you don’t use magic, but you do use special sticks to draw funky patterns that do amazing things. Clarke’s Third Law is not in effect here – magic is a real, established thing. If those “runes” aren’t magic, then what are they? When the fluff for the Dwarf Runepriest says “runes aren’t magic,” it’s sort of a “wink-wink” justification, because they are the magic class for the Dwarfs.
If there is a real difference between whatever it is Shadowhunters use and magic, what is it? Does it have to do with the source? The results? The methods? Is there a price involved? What?
So, to respond to Jace’s “electric eel/rubber duck” argument: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, don’t try to tell me it’s a St. Bernard.
Also, this whole thing reeks of CC trying to distance herself from Harry Potter yet again. “No, no, see, my characters don’t use ‘magic’, they use ‘runes’, which are totally different.”
Clary finally tells them that Hodge has given her permission to go back to her apartment, but only if Jace will go with her. And yes, she specifically addresses this to Jace, because, “Alec already didn’t seem to like her.”
Alright, A) Jace hasn’t exactly been an exemplar of gentlemanly behavior thus far, and B) You’re not looking for a date, Clary – you’re looking for a bodyguard.
She manages to convince Jace by pointing out that there might be evidence that one of her parents was a Shadowhunter at the apartment, and Jace thinks it’s a good idea. He also responds by quipping, “Down the rabbit hole.”
Rapier Twit: 1
First: that reference is stupid because it’s so obviously wrong. The rabbit hole is how Alice got to Wonderland in the first place, so if anything, Clary’s already down it. I know this and I haven’t even read the book. I’m pretty certain a twelve-year-old could have told you that. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if CC only included that because The Matrix referenced Alice in Wonderland so much. It’s not like she seems to have learned to stop stealing things like that.
Second: could we please decide how much interaction there is between the mundane and shadow worlds? The Shadowhunters are still mostly using weapons seven centuries old, but are reading books from the mid-19th century? This stinks of glaring inconsistency.
Plot Hole: 2
Still, Jace is pretty enthusiastic about going, and suggests they leave right away. Alec, possibly knowing just how dangerous it is to allow Jace to wander around New York un-escorted, offers to come along, but Jace insists that he and Clary will be fine.
Yeah, sure. Last time you and she were out she almost got killed and you recklessly endangered her. ‘Fine’ is not a word to describe your interactions thus far.
On their way out, Alec shifts into Queen Bitch-mode (you have no idea how accurate a description that is) and gives Clary his best death glare, which is described as “as sour as poison.”
Weird Word Choice: 4
Damn it, CC, would you please stop with the similes and metaphors? Most of the time they don’t work or don’t make sense, so why include them? “Sour as poison”? I don’t associate “sour” with “poison”. Why not describe his look as “poisonous” instead? It still gets the message across – arguably better, because the reader isn’t stuck wondering what the hell you’re talking about.
So Jace and Clary make their way to the elevator, making semi-idle chit-chat along the way, and Clary finally asks how he knew she was related to a Shadowhunter. His answer?
I’ll let that sink in for a minute.
Okay, are we back?
Well, Clary – in one of her few moments of clarity around Jace – is almost as disturbed by this as a normal person would be, and says he must have been really certain. Jace (being an idiot) tells her that he was 90% sure. And in perhaps one last dying effort, the rational part of Clary’s brain takes over.
There must have been something in her voice, because he turned to look at her. Her hand cracked across his face, a slap that rocked him back on his heels. He put his hand to his cheek, more in surprise than pain. “What the hell was that for?”
“The other ten percent,” she said.
Goodbye, rational Clary. You will be missed.
There’s a scene cut (though not a random one, unfortunately), and they’re suddenly on the train to Brooklyn. Jace is being uncharacteristically silent, thank the deity of your choice (personally, I go with Yog-Sothoth), and Clary is going over her talk with Luke in her head.
Only she’s not, because rather than discussing how she feels about being abandoned by the only father figure she’s ever had, the narration instead chooses to focus on the pair of teenage girls further down the car. They’re obviously preppy popular bitches, because they’re just like the girls from Clary’s school that she doesn’t like.
Never mind that all they’ve done so far is share a subway car with Clary and giggle.
At first Clary thinks they’re laughing at her (remember, they’re obviously bitches), but then she realizes they’re looking at Jace and obviously think he’s cute. The narration tries to justify this with a claim along the lines of “all girls act the same way when they think someone’s cute,” but I’m not buying it. I think it’s more likely that this is authorial intervention, like what SMeyer did in the Twilight books – the
author insert protagonist finds the male character attractive, therefore all girls must find him attractive.
And of course this brings the topic back to Jace, and we’re told that Clary, “had nearly forgotten that Jace was cute.” (emphasis not mine). Because the fact that he’s a complete and utter tool only almost makes him unattractive. There’s an annoying description of Jace’s eyes – they’re yellow, though the narration describes them as being “the color of golden syrup” before Clary realizes that Jace is staring right at her.
I’d like to make a digression here, if you’ll allow me. When did characters having yellow eyes become the ideal? Was it with Twilight? Because in the real world, having yellow eyes is not a good thing. Even in fiction, it’s usually) a sign that there’s at least something odd about the character. Having yellow eyes is not normal.
Also, why has this not been mentioned before now? You’d think the fact that Jace has yellow eyes would have been brought up by this point.
Moving along, Jace asks why Clary’s staring at him, and she for whatever reason tells him about the girls staring at him. And here we get what might be the best piece of evidence for why Jace is an asshole:
Jace assumed an air of mellow gratification. “Of course they are,” he said. “I am stunningly attractive.”
“Haven’t you ever heard that modesty is an attractive trait?”
“Only from ugly people,” Jace confided. “The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me.” He winked at the girls, who giggled and hid behind their hair.
Rapier Twit: 6
Good god, that statement alone could out-smug George Clooney’s Academy Awards acceptance speech.! And it’s not that I have a problem with characters who know that they’re attractive and are comfortable with that. Jace, in that one statement, went past that point and straight into “I’m pretty, and therefore better than you.”
Characters who believe that are usually the villains, CC. You have yet to give me a reason to feel anything regarding Jace other than whit-hot fury.
And if it’s supposed to be funny, it utterly fails, because he acts like this all the time.
On an unrelated note, how many other people are on this particular car? I know that it’s probably a weekday, and it’s late-afternoon or early-evening, and the actual number of subway passengers can vary at times; but having now actually been to New York, I can be reasonably certain that no subway car, regardless of the time or date, has only four occupants.
Also, when you say these girls “hid behind their hair”, which I’m picturing picturing as them pulling their hair over their eyes like curtains. Wut?
Getting back to whatever-this-is-because-it-sure-isn’t-plot, Clary does not give Jace another slap to match the one from the elevator like she should, but instead asks how the aforementioned girls can see him, and he waves it away by saying that, since glamours are annoying, he just didn’t bother.
That’s a real professional attitude, there Jace. It’s mildly inconvenient, so why bother? It’s not like you’re supposed to be concealing your existence or anything.
And what’s the difference between glamour and magic, smartass?
They get off the train and, just to further prove that Jace belongs in some kind of Shadowhunter remedial program, he then pulls out his lightsaber seraph blade and starts playing with it and humming.
Yeah, because that’s how someone who’s been trained for combat would treat a dangerous weapon.
And to top it all off, when Clary tells him to stop, he starts humming louder.
Dear god, he’s like a four-year-old. Our ‘hero’, everybody.
Rather than telling him to act his age, or giving him another smack, Clary apologizes for slapping him the first time. Jace says that she should be glad she hit him and not Alec, because would have hit her back.
Sorry, CC, but giving Jace a veneer of chivalry doesn’t make him likeable.
But mentioning Alec brings up the whole ‘parabatai’ thing, which Jace explains as “a pair of warriors who fight together – who are closer than brothers.”
Yes, I explained this last time – they’re lovers. Keep this in mind for later – it really informs some character relationships.
Jace also says that his dad and Alec’s dad were parabatai, and that’s why he lives with them now. I’m not going to say anything here, because the jokes practically write themselves. It’s not even like shooting fish in a barrel – it’s shooting fish taped to the end of the gun.
They finally reach Clary’s apartment building, and are surprised to find no signs of property damage or police tape cordoning off the area. Well, considering that it’s been three days, there was no mention of property damage on the outside of the building, and at least one other person lives in said building and any evidence of a crime was in one apartment, why would there be? Also, wasn’t it established that the “cops” who did show up were actually demons in disguise?
Plot Hole: 3
Clary points out that nothing looks different, Jace tries to sound ominous (and fails), and produces another sensor. Clary actually asks what it does (because the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, evidently), and Jace explains, again doing so in a very poor manner (though whether I should blame him or CC is up for debate).
The sensor picks up “demonic frequencies,” because apparently demons fall somewhere on the EM spectrum. Don’t ask me how that works. Jace starts waving it around like the tricorder it basically is and says it’s all clear.
Thank you, Mr. Chekov. (Jace isn’t cool enough to be Spock. He barely qualifies to be a Redshirt)
Clary heads entrance, but stops when she notices some scratches on the front door that might, might be claw marks. Considering she couldn’t see them from the sidewalk, I’m not sure why she’s freaking out about it, but Jace volunteers to go in first anyway. Clary doesn’t respond because she’s too busy having a quasi-PTSD moment and flashing back to the other night, and the narrations says that she could “taste the terror” and that it “was sharp and coppery on her tongue like old pennies.”
Weird Word Choice: 5
Because we need to be told what copper tastes like. Also, I didn’t know fear had a taste.
They finally go inside, and lo and behold, there is something wrong – fresh blood on the banister. Still, they decide to continue on, rather than going back to get some backup like sensible people.
Our not-so-dynamic duo manage to get to the actual apartment, and while CC might be trying to build tension, the fact that nothing’s really happening isn’t helping to maintain the atmosphere.
The apartment looks like it’s been ransacked – everything that wasn’t nailed down and/or on fire is gone. Clary seems confused by this, rather than concluding that who-or-what ever was after her mom might have done this to make it look like a burglary. There’s also the fact that the place has been empty for three days, so some of the stuff might actually have been stolen.
Or at least that would be my assumption, but I’m rational like that.
Meanwhile, Jace has been busy playing Landing Party again, and proclaims the apartment safe. It looks like those sensor things only have a range of about ten feet. How useful. Jace doesn’t pick up anything and not-so-subtly asks if they can leave, but Clary wants to check out her room. Since as near as I can tell they’ve only walked about five feet into the apartment, I’m going to go with the girl on this one.
They walk down the hallway to Clary’s room, and I still have no idea how big this place is. When they reach the door, the doorknob is freezing cold. Rather than mention this to Jace, Clary plows right on ahead and tries to open the door, but the knob is hard to turn, “as if the other side of it were embedded in something glutinous and syrupy.”
Weird Word Choice: 6
I understand that ‘glutinous’ is a synonym for sticky, but my first thought is to wonder how being inside bread would make a doorknob stick.
But we’re not given much time to ponder why CC won’t put away her word-a-day calendar, because the door suddenly bursts open and Clary is flung across the hallway. Turns out there was a giant guy with an equally giant axe hiding in Clary’s room. He’s also described as smelling of “poisonous sweat and rotting flesh.”
Weird Word Choice: 7
How exactly is ‘poisonous sweat’ different from normal sweat?
Plot Hole: 4
How do you not notice something that smells like decomposing flesh? I imagine a smell like that would be hard to miss. CC, while I appreciate the inclusion of multi-sensory descriptions, just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean you can’t smell something. This is why natural gas is mixed with other chemicals – so that, if you have a leak, you can smell it.
Well, this whole time Jace has been fighting the whatever-it-is. He whips out his seraph blade, and now you get to see why I called it a lightsaber:
A blade shot from the tube. Clary thought of old movies where bayonets were hidden inside walking sticks, released at the flick of a switch. But she’d never seen a blade like this before: clear as glass, with a glowing hilt, wickedly sharp and nearly as long as Jace’s forearm.
Yep. The blade both glows and the only ‘real’ part is the hilt. Also, how can Clary tell the thing is sharp just by looking at it?
And while we’re here,
Weird Word Choice: 8
I’m not entirely sure what movies CC is referring to, but I’m damn sure that the weapon she’s thinking of was not, in fact, a bayonet. Maybe, maybe she’s thinking of a swordstick, but that would be a ‘sword’ concealed in a stick, not a ‘bayonet’. They are not the same thing. One is designed to go on the end of a musket/rifle, effectively making it function as a spear, while the other is not.
Getting back to the action, Jace cuts the neither-jolly-nor-green giant, slips past him, grabs Clary, and they make a run for it. They manage to get out of the apartment, and Jace slams the door shut behind them. And for some reason roid-rage guy can’t just bash this door down too, because it’s actually stopping him.
Clary’s been spacing out this whole time, so Jace, in a rare moment of clarity, tells her to run, but again it is all for naught, because even a locked door can’t stand up to axe-wielding hobo-Hulk, and the door flies off its hinges. Jace nevertheless manages to dodge out of the way at super speed, even though as near as I could tell he was standing right in front of it.
Why? Because he’s a Stu, that’s why.
Meanwhile, Clary is still completely brain-dead, because she’s still just standing there. Move it, you ditz! I’ve seen girls killed in the first five minutes of slasher flicks with better survival instincts than you!
But evidently our muscle-bound monstrosity has a taste for Stu flesh, and having caught the scent of Jace, completely ignores him. He makes the mistake of chucking his axe at our blond ‘hero’, and Jace dodges because, again, he’s a Stu. In return, Jace stabs the monster, embedding his weapon in its shoulder.
Reality manages to break in at this point, because roid-man get a hold of Jace and proceeds to beat on him.
Yeah, I wish. Instead, the thing falls down the stairs, dead, but manages to drag Jace along for the ride.
Plot Hole: 5
Jace stabbed the thing in the shoulder. Now, I know that I might have been exaggerating this thing’s size, and depending on the angle the blade struck at Jace might have been able to puncture one of its lungs, but come on! The thing gets stabbed once and just dies?!? What the crap, CC?
With the monster almost dead, Clary shifts out of “damsel in distress” mode and into “damsel concerned for hero” mode. Jace is at the bottom of the stairs, with the roid-monster’s corpse on his legs. Despite all this, Jace’s only injury is a broken arm. Still, being a budding psycho, Jace’s principle concern is making sure to get the kill, and even has Clary give him another of his not-lightsabers to do it.
Now, you may all be wondering why Jace didn’t pick up the recently departed muscle monster on his little doohickey, or more likely assuming that he has no clue how to operate the damn thing. But CC manages to cut us off at the pass – that monster? Not a demon. Why the sensor thingy couldn’t pick this thing up isn’t explained, though. Maybe it’s in the FM band.
Moving back to Jace’s improbable lack of injuries, CC realizes that there might be consequences to her beloved Draco-expy not being able to use an arm, and neatly covers this up with him using a
spell rune to fix it, leaving behind only a thin pale scar-like mark where the rune was.
This leads to Clary having a flash of her mom with similar scars all over her back, but of course she must just be imagining it, because her mom doesn’t have any scars on her back.
And if you believe that and can’t see the obvious twist coming, then congratulations – you’re the ideal audience for this book.
So, having cast Cure Inconvenient Wounds, Jace says that they need to tell Hodge about this, and that, “He’ll freak out.” This thought seems to please him inordinately, a fact Clary attributes to Jace liking “when things were happening, even things that were bad,” but I’m going with my theory – because it gives Jace a chance to gloat about his latest kill. Only when he tells it, there will be three monsters and he’ll have taken them out without getting scratched.
But before we can do that, we get, you guessed it, another info dump!
Clary, finally catching on to the fact that Jace hasn’t yet explained exactly what it is he’s just killed, and wants to know what the heck it is. I’ll sum up – remember those ‘Forsaken’ mentioned by blue-hair anime-demon back in chapter one? That’s what that thing was. Where do they come from? Well, they’re the result of too many runes being used on a non-Shadowhunter. So, had Jace’s theory about Clary being part Shadowhunter been wrong, this would have probably been the result.
And no, Clary does not, in fact, hit him again for risking her life.
I have one quick question though – why are they called ‘Forsaken’? In all her desire to use special words to prove how smart she is, CC doesn’t appear to have consulted a dictionary at all. For the curious, ‘forsaken’ is the past participle form of the verb ‘forsake’, which dictionary.com defines as:
1. to quit or leave entirely; abandon; desert
2. to give up or renounce
How have these poor people done either? Or have they been forsaken?
The first were all good guys, but chose to join up with the series’ equivalent of the Devil. They’re ‘the Forsaken’ because they switched sides, abandoning their allies.
The second is a group of the Undead who have managed to break away from the Lich King’s control. These guys are “forsaken” because they’ve renounced their forced allegiance.
But if these Forsaken are called that because they’ve been forsaken, who or what have they been forsaken by? God, the Powers-that-Be, Fate, what?
Weird Word Choice: 9
Also, these Forsaken are crazy loyal to whoever marked them, but are also pretty stupid, as demonstrated before. Oh, and Jace flat out says that they’re evil. Not that they’re tragic victims of evil people, but that they’re monsters that need to be put down.
Are we entirely sure that Jace is supposed to be the good guy?
Whatever. Jace decides to go back and check for more (because he handled that first one so well and all), but gets interrupted when Madame Dorothea shows up and tells him that there’s probably a lot more Forsaken out there.
I’m not going to lie, this is one of my favorite parts of this book. Why? Because Madame Dorothea is just so utterly unimpressed with Jace, unlike pretty much every other character we’ve met so far. And when Jace gives her his special brand of snark, she dishes it right back at him, only ten times wittier.
Here’s a sample:
Jace was still staring “But…”
“More what?” Clary said.
“More Forsaken,” replied Dorothea with a cheerfulness that, Clary felt, didn’t really fit the circumstances. She glanced around the entryway. “You have made a mess, haven’t you? I’m sure you weren’t planning on cleaning up either. Typical.”
“But you’re a mundane,” Jace said, finally finishing his sentence.
“So observant,” said Dorothea, her eyes gleaming. “The Clave really broke the mold with you.”
And she’s like this all. The. Time. With that one line, she has skyrocketed to rivaling Simon for being my favorite character in this book.
Jace tries to go all bad cop on Dorothea, saying that not telling the Clave about the Forsaken is against the law, but Mme. D just goes “The Clave ain’t done nothin’ for me” and waves him off.
For once, Clary doesn’t back Jace, instead asking if Mme. Dorothea knows anything about her mom’s disappearance. D tells her to give up the search, because her mom’s gone. Not dead, mind – just gone. But Clary’s insistent, but Dorothea doesn’t want to get involved with Shadowhunters (not that I blame her), so Jace steps up and basically threatens to get a warrant, so Mme. D decides to cooperate. But not before we get this little gem as they’re entering Dorothea’s apartment:
“But if you tell anyone I helped you, Shadowhunter, you’ll wake up tomorrow with snakes for hair and an extra pair of arms.”
“That might be nice, and extra pair of arms,” Jace said. “Handy in a fight.”
“Not if they’re growing out of your… “Dorothea paused and smiled at him, not without malice. “Neck.”
Neck. That’s totally what she meant to say.
There’s a little bit about Mme. D knowing Jace’s last name, and CC tries to be ominous, and the chapter ends.
Bit of a mix this chapter – on the one hand, there was some real action, and we finally get to meet another good character. On the other, the action mostly consisted of Jace showing off, and there was still quite a bit of info dumping.
Next chapter, the “plot” finally gets moving again.
Weird Word Choice: 9 (Total 43)
Rapier Twit: 6 (Total 9)
No Shit Sherlock: 4 (Total 8)
Plot Hole: 5 (Total 30)