Hi, everybody! Bit of a long one today, so let’s get to it.
Chapter 8 picks up with Clary falling out of a tree. Through sheer luck, she does not hit every branch on the way down. And then Jace lands on top of her, somehow managing to get his hair in her mouth. Not sure how, but he does.
They play the blame game for a bit, and unfortunately I have to agree with Jace – jumping through a random portal to god-knows-where is a stupid thing to do. I wouldn’t call him “right,” just “less wrong,” because he was stupid to go after her. Egh. To quote Obi-Wan, “Who’s the greater fool – the fool, or the fool who follows him?”
Whatever. Clary looks around and recognizes where they are – Luke’s house. Remember him? Clary’s not!dad, who clearly has a thing for Clary’s mom? Yeah. Turns out he owns a bookstore, and has an apartment behind it. I’m kind of envious.
Clary, demonstrating her utter lack of a short-term memory, asks how they got there. Jace exposits a bit more about the Portal.
Weird Word Choice: 1
STOP WITH THE FRIGGIN’ RANDOM CAPITALIZATION!!
So, the Portal shudder takes you wherever your thinking of. But Clary, being so empty-headed, wasn’t thinking of anywhere. Which, by that logic, should have either
A) literally sent them nowhere, or
B) not worked at all.
Plot Hole: 1
I’m petty. Sue me.
Jace doesn’t accept this, refusing to see what the audience has already figured out. The little delinquent also decides to add “breaking and entering” to the list of crimes he’s committed, figuring that since the Portal grr dropped them here, they should investigate Luke. Clary, of course, folds like a house of cards in a strong wind.
He hops the fence and lands in the bushes, startling something out of them. This gets his blood up, and since he hasn’t killed anything for a whole half-hour, he chases after it, looking, and I quote, “murderous.”
Clary, meanwhile, finally starts climbing the fence.
Jace chases down his prey, which turns out to be Simon. Remember Simon? Clary’s best friend, who’s clearly in love with her, and who she hasn’t thought about since, what, chapter 3? Yeah. Clary is surprised, and Jace is a psycho.
Simon and Clary go off to talk, while Jace uses his wand to pick at his nails. Clearly, he is truly a great and professional hunter of monsters.
Clary’s confused (big surprise) as to why Simon’s hanging out in Luke’s back yard. He acts as the voice of reason, going over everything from a rational perspective: she disappeared a few days ago without a word, all means of communication were cut off, and then Luke gave him some lame cover story about her visiting relatives.
And then it kinda falls apart, because rather than thinking that Clary’s been kidnapped or something, like a logical person, Simon instead wondered if he’d made her mad. Because that was the only reasonable conclusion.
Clary tries to reassure him, but Simon once again acts awesome:
“You’re my best friend,” Clary said. “I wasn’t mad at you.”
“Yeah, well, you clearly also couldn’t be bothered to call me and tell me you were shacking up with some dyed-blond wanna-be goth you probably met at Pandemonium,” Simon pointed out sourly. “After I spent the past three days wondering if you were dead.”
Since Clary is a YA Paranormal Romance heroine, she of course defends her honor, rather than apologizing for not contacting her alleged best friend. And then Jace adds this:
“And my hair is naturally blond,” said Jace. “Just for the record.”
Rapier Twit: 1
Fuck you, psycho.
So, after the runaround Luke gave Simon, he took some initiative and kept a watch on Luke’s house. And what did he see? Luke filling a bag with weapons. Which would be pretty damn suspicious. Good on you, boy.
Then for some reason Clary/CC looks over at Jace and swoons over his eyes.
She glanced at Jace. The last light of sunset struck gold sparks from his eyes.
Ma’am, please keep both hands on the keyboard while typing. Thank you.
When Clary finally comes back to her senses, she decides she’s going to tell Simon all about what’s really going on. After clearing it with Jace. Who then shows just how bad at this he is at his job by letting her.
No, seriously. He gives a lame excuse about Clary not being sworn to keep this stuff a secret, which apparently makes it okay.
I’m severely tempted to count that as a Plot Hole, but I doubt the other Shadowhunters are this lax. It’s just another reason for Jace to be supervised at all times.
We get a random scene break
Random Scene Break: 1
(Yay! I finally got to break that count in!)
and Clary explains the whole deal to Simon, who takes all this surprisingly well. Then we get to the question-and-answer portion of the discussion, where we get this:
He pointed at Jace. “Now he’s a – what do you call people like him again?”
“He’s a Shadowhunter,” Clary said.
“A demon hunter,” Jace clarified. “I kill demons. It’s not that complicated, really.”
Weird Word Choice: 2
So why aren’t you called Demon Hunters? (Hey, if the prose is practically pointing out how the name doesn’t make sense, why should I show pity?)
Simon’s still a bit skeptical, though, but at least we get some decent writing out of it:
His eyes were narrowed, as if he half-expected her to tell him that none of it was true and Jace was actually a dangerous escaped lunatic she’d decided to befriend on humanitarian grounds.
Don’t discount that “dangerous lunatic” theory, Simon. Just because Clary’s telling the truth doesn’t make it wrong.
Simon probes a bit more about what being a Shadowhunter means, and then he loses most of his awesomeness. Yep, he goes fanboy:
“That is so awesome,” he said.
Jace looked as startled as Clary felt. “Awesome?”
Simon nodded enthusiastically enough to make the dark curls bounce on his forehead. “Totally. It’s like Dungeons and Dragons, but real.”
Jace was looking at Simon as if he were some bizarre species of insect. “It’s like what?”
“It’s a game,” Clary explained. She felt vaguely embarrassed. “People pretend to be wizards and elves, and they kill monsters and stuff.”
Jace looked stupified.
Oh, oh, god…
I… what the fuck? Seriously, what the actual fuck?
I mean, yeah, I get it. I get what CC was maybe trying to go for here – Simon’s a nerd who just found out that some of the stuff he’s been fantasizing about for years is actually real. And, to be honest, that’s probably how I’d react.
But it’s the way it’s handled here that gets me. Jace is confused (which, again, I get), but Clary, our heroine and main POV character, is uncomfortable. It’s like Simon’s showing off her old Disney Princess panties or something. Simon is supposed to be her best friend, and yet she’s embarrassed by the way he’s acting. I understand being a bit embarrassed your friends doing stupid, but this feels like something completely different – Clary’s with
the cool kids Shadowhunters now, and doesn’t want be reminded that she was once a nerd friends with Simon. Read into that what you will.
Plus, Jace is a complete tool. He does not deserve fanboy-ing. Or fangirl-ing, for that matter.
Luckily, things soon return to normal: our “heroes” remember that they were going to break into Luke’s house, and Jace makes a really dumb joke about not letting Simon come along, despite him being the only one who’s done anything useful so far.
Rapier Twit: 2
But shock and horror, the door’s locked! Why, what possible reason would someone have to lock their door when they’re not a home and live in a big city like New York?
Luckily for them, Jace knows
alohomora how to unlock doors with his wand. And, of course, refers to them with the semi-racial epithet “mundanes” before doing so.
All is once again right with the world.
Inside, they pass through a dark storage room before Jace’s spidy-sense starts tingling, and he
casts lumos summons a “witchlight.” And is a dick about it, laughing when the sudden bright light hurts Simon’s eyes.
They poke around a bit, and find a set of manacles attached to the wall. Clary is, of course, insistent that they couldn’t just be for kinky sex, because, and I must again quote the text, “This is Luke we’re talking about.”
Yes, because there’s no possibility that he could be into that kind of stuff but hasn’t told you. Not at all. I mean, it’s so shocking. We’ve seen him, what, once? And there was that phone conversation. Clearly that’s enough to figure out whether he might be into bondage. Because that’s totally something he’d feel comfortable discussing with his
girlfriend’s friend’s daughter. Who sorta views him as a father figure. Oh, yeah.
Sadly, all possibility of that is dashed when Jace finds blood inside one of the manacles, finds evidence that someone tried to pull the chains from the wall.
See, Clary, now would be the time to reassure Simon. Because all evidence here indicates that Luke has locked up at least one person.
They poke around some more, we get some decent description of the shop and Clary’s memories of her time spent there, namely reading the Chronicles of Prydain. See, that’s how you show someone being an avid reader.
Meanwhile, Simon continues to show that he’s at leas the second most useful person in the room by noticing that there’s still-hot coffee in the kitchenette, and concludes that Luke must be somewhere nearby. Not exactly Sherlock Holmes, but I’ll take what I can get.
Clary is still in omniscient-narrator-mode, though ,as she continues to walk through Luke’s apartment. While doing so, she finds her backpack of stuff she keeps at Luke’s place, supposedly so she doesn’t have to keep bringing her own, but also so CC doesn’t have to come up with an explanation for how Clary keeps having clean clothes that fit. We get a description of the bag itself, including a button referencing what I’d consider CC’s most successful bit of fiction yet, The Very Secret Diaries. Probably not a good idea, CC – makes me wonder what happened between writing those and writing this.
We also get a literal laundry list of the bag’s contents, and another as Clary changes into some of her own clothes. Which are also described. Because that’s the most important thing here – what Clary’s wearing.
Moving back to the
break in investigation, Jace and Simon managed to find Luke’s bag o’ weapons, and are rifling though it. One of the things they pull out is a chakram (which CC insisted on spelling ‘chakhram’),
Weird Word Choice: 3
which is treated as legitimately weird. We also get our chapter title name-dropped, as it was Hodge’s preferred weapon back in the day. And from the way Jace describes how it’s wielded, the things sound overly difficult to use properly. (Though, according to wikipedia, it is the most “iconic” method of their use.)
Clary, still in denial, tries to cover this weirdness up by saying that Luke likes to collect art, pointing to the various statues and whatnot around the room.
Clary, honey, could you answer a question for me? What’s it like to be naturally immune to radiation? Because you’re denser than lead. There’s a big difference between collecting bits of artwork, and having a bag full of knives.
Jace gives Clary a cracked photo of her, her mom, and Luke – the same one she used to fend of that demon at her apartment back in chapter 4. Clary then feels the need to state the obvious, namely that Luke must have been by the apartment.
No Shit Sherlock: 1
Not to be out-done in stating the obvious, Jace concludes that Luke was the last person to go through Dorothea’s magic door.
No Shit Sherlock: 2
Because evidently they only change destinations when someone passing through is actually thinking of a place to go.
Plot Hole: 3
Double count, because:
A) Wouldn’t that make them kinda useless as a means of escape? The authorities can just jump right through after their prey.
B) Why didn’t Jace mention this when they first showed up outside Luke’s place?
Clary’s a bit irked that Dorothea didn’t tell them Luke came by, with Jace figuring that Luke either payed Dorothea to keep quiet, or she just didn’t trust them. I personally favor the latter.
Simon interrupts the not so dynamic duo, and cements himself as the most useful person in the room by pointing out that Luke’s returned, and he isn’t alone. Why is he not the hero?
Jace takes a look, concludes that Luke’s guests are warlocks, and asks if there’s a back door they can use. Why aren’t you running for the door you came in through? Are they that close that you can’t sneak out?
Plot Hole: 4
We soon find out why they can’t just make a run for it – they need to listen in on a conversation just full of info dumping.
They hide behind a conveniently placed screen (of course) just as Luke and his buddies enter the room. Jace casts a spell to turn part of the screen into a one-way window. An explanation he somehow manages to mouth to them, despite it being a fairly complex sentence. Clary and Simon move over to look through the magic window, which gets explained again by the narration.
No Shit Sherlock: 3
That’s for CC. I think your readers can grasp the idea of a one-way window. You don’t need to explain it twice.
Luke enters the room (wait, wasn’t he was already in the room?).
Plot Hole: 5
and invites the other two guys in. You can tell they’re Evil TM because they’re wearing red robes. Because that totally wouldn’t stand out. Then again, this is New York we’re talking about, so what do I know?
We also get a brief description of the two: one of them has a beard (because the robes weren’t subtle enough, I guess), and the other has red hair. And purple skin. And before you ask, those details are given out in that precise order. No, I don’t know why. Personally, the purple skin would have been the first thing I’d notice.
Meanwhile, Jace is trembling, either with suppressed rage or arousal – it’s hard to tell sometimes. And Clary, of course, has to ask if the red robes are warlocks.
No Shit Sherlock: 6
Gee, one of them has purple skin, they’re dressed like LARPers, and Jace already said the two guys with Luke were warlocks. What do you think?
Beardy starts talking to Luke (referring to him as “Graymalk”, btw), and Luke identifies him as Pangborn. The purple guy’s name is revealed to be Blackwell.
Thanks. Now at least they have names.
Pangborn repeats that whole “all myths are true” line that CC utterly fails to deliver on. Luke asks if Valentine sent them, which Pangborn confirms. Valentine wants to know if Luke’s “changed his mind.” Luke says no, and asks about the cloaks. Apparently they’re “official Accord robes,” from Valentine’s failed coup. One might assume they’d have changed the uniform since then, but whatever.
Also, turns out Luke’s real first name is Lucian. Subtle. (Just for elucidation, Underworld came out in 2003, and this book was published in 2007).
Pangborn tries to reminisce about the Uprising, but Luke refuses to cooperate. Pangborn pushes him a bit, claiming that Jocelyn hid the MacGuffin Cup, confirming that the disappearance of Clary’s mom had something to do with Valentine. Also, she’s been unconscious since they captured her. Call me crazy, but I’d be a bit concerned about that. Oh, and Pangborn implies that Luke used to have a thing for her.
And despite them referring to Clary’s mom by name, Clary actually wonders if they might be talking about her mom.
I… just… moving on.
Luke denies any feelings towards Jocelyn (what are you, a fifth grader?), and we get to the real point of their visit – they’re looking for Clary. Also, Luke used to be a Shadowhunter. He denies any knowledge of Clary’s whereabouts, and says he doesn’t plan on getting involved with Valentine’s plans. Pangborn says they’d be willing to offer Jocelyn in exchange for the MacGuffin Cup, and Luke again turns them down.
There’s a bit more of threatening, blah blah blah, and the red cloaks leave. Once Luke leaves, our insipid intrepid heroes come out of hiding. Clary’s either in shock, or her brain went into overload from the info dump. Jace feels the need to explain what the red cloaks already explained about her mom having the MacGuffin Cup
No Shit Sherlock: 7
And Clary again denies the possibility of this, because she’s an idiot. Jace says the red cloaks seemed kinda friendly with Luke, Simon points out how blindingly wrong that statement is, and Jace counters by noting they didn’t kill him. Because I guess in his mind that’s just what you do with people you don’t like.
Clary argues that maybe they didn’t kill Luke because he is/was a Shadowhunter, but Jace doubts that, because they killed his father.
And with that, the chapter ends.
So, what have we learned?
Well, for one, Clary is an idiot. There’s denial, and then there’s this. We’re past skepticism at this point – now she’s just being obtuse.
The plot has more or less been explained: at some point in the past, Jocelyn stole the Mortal Cup, presumably to protect it from Valentine, and hid it away somewhere. Now (like a certain other villain) he’s back and looking for it, presumably to pick up where he left off.
We learned a bit about Luke and Jocelyn’s pasts – both of them used to be Shadowhunters, but were banished for reasons unknown. Luke had something to do with Valentine’s uprising. And he was/is in love with her.
Valentine was responsible for Jocelyn’s disappearance, and is holding her captive. He knows about and is looking for Clary. Exactly why has not been made clear.
And that’s about it. For being such a long chapter (about 21 pages, according to my Kindle), not a lot happened. Yes, there’s quite a bit of info dumping and plot explaining, but there’s still plenty that could have been cut – Clary wandering around Luke’s apartment, Clary & Jace’s post-teleportation kerfuffle, Simon’s fanboy moment. These things don’t serve much purpose beyond padding out the word count.
For example, despite his little lapse, Simon is back to
his senses disliking Jace in a matter of paragraphs. So what was the point of his little nerd-gasm? Is CC just that insistent that everyone must fawn over Jace at least once?
Then there’s the weird inconsistencies, and things that feel like CC made them up on the spot – how does that magic door work, exactly? When do Luke, Pangborn, and Blackwell enter the room?
So, that’s another chapter done. Next one will be out whenever it’s out. Hopefully soon, though.
Weird Word Choice: 3 (Total 46)
Rapier Twit: 2 (Total 11)
No Shit Sherlock: 7 (Total 15)
Plot Hole: 5 (Total 35)
Random Scene Break: 1 (Total 1)