Welcome back to the City of Bones sporking. Today, after much priming, the engine of the plot finally turns over. I’ll give CC this much – she knows that the plot needs to kick in sometime in the first third of the book, unlike some authors I could mention.

Unfortunately, she also decides let the plot engine idle for a while.

So, when we last saw Clary, she’d stolen some gizmo from Jace, thinking it was a cell phone, and started running for home. During the minutes that have passed, Clary has actually looked at the thing and realized that it is, in fact, not a phone. The buttons just have more “runes” on them, and the thing doesn’t have a screen.

Plot Hole: 1

How the heck do you read the thing then? Audio tones?

Also, the word “sensor” is again capitalized.

Weird Word Choice: 1

Two counts in a single sentence. We’re really rolling now.

Clary arrives back home and sees the lights in the apartment are still on and tries to convince herself that nothing’s wrong. Not an unbelievable thing to do, given the situation, but since her mom didn’t sound all that calm, you’d think she’d assume there might be someone else inside.

And it seems that all it takes to make Clary frightened again is the light bulb in the entryway to have burned out. She gets startled by Dorothea, who just can’t be bothered to give a shit about anything, complaining about the noise from upstairs and that Luke should replace the burned out light. Unfortunately, CC decides to drag this scene out by describing how Dorothea’s taken advantage of Luke in the past, which really doesn’t do anything but pad the word count and kill whatever mood CC was going for.

When Clary finally gets to the apartment, she finds all the lights are on, but there’s no sign of her mother anywhere. Also, the entire place has been torn apart (including Jocelyn’s paintings), a fact which Clary doesn’t notice until after she’s put her stuff away. You’d think that’d be the first thing she’d notice.

Clary moves to the kitchen, only to find it smashed up as well. Once again, CC doesn’t do a great job of explaining the layout of the setting – how big is this apartment that you can’t see 80% of it from the door?

Clary has an all-too-brief moment of intelligence where she considers calling the cops, but instead decides she needs to find her mom first. Even though, were she capable of responding, Jocelyn likely would have already. This apartment can’t be that big.

But Clary’s brain refuses to be shut down that easily, and points out that, if someone was going to rob the place, why did they leave everything behind? I’d give this a count, but A) it hadn’t been mentioned yet, and B) it’s actually a good point.

Clary then goes to her mom’s room, finding it untouched. She has a brief moment of concern before this happens:

Silence answered her. No, not silence – a noise sounded through the apartment, raising the short hairs along the nape of her neck. Like something being knocked over – a heavy object striking the floor with a dull thud. The thud was followed by a dragging, slithering noise – and it was coming toward the bedroom.

Weird Word Choice: 4

First: if there is any noise, it is, by definition, not silent. I can understand that Clary didn’t notice the noise, but it’s not silent.

Second: that third sentence is about twice as long as it needs to be.

Third: how, exactly, does a “dragging, slithering noise” sound?

Her spider-senses having been set off, Clary looks behind her and sees some kind of monster, which CC describes as being “like a cross between an alligator and a centipede” with a “barbed tail.”

Well, CC, points for effort, but I’m having trouble picturing this thing. And since this isn’t some Lovecraftian horror from beyond space, the incomprehensible description doesn’t get a pass.

Clary is understandably freaked, backs away, and falls over. Being a Sue, this means that the monster misses her, rather than tearing her face off. She manages to avoid it again, but gets stopped when the thing jumps and lands just over the door, because it “was too fast for her.”

Plot Hole: 3

This gets a double.
*One, because the thing is both fast enough to get in front of Clary to block her escape, but not enough to catch her when she’s laying on the ground.
*Two, because I’m confused as to the size of this thing. At first, I thought it was supposed to be really big. Then it’s jumping around like crazy. Again, CC has no sense of scale.

And then CC has this thing totally kill the mood. Because it speaks.

“Girl,” it hissed. “Flesh. Blood. To eat, oh, to eat.”

Here’s the thing: a lot monsters/killers are scary largely because they don’t talk. Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface – these guys don’t have to say a word to be frightening. If they did, they wouldn’t be nearly as scary. For a more modern example, let’s take the internet-meme monster, the Slender Man. That thing can be terrifying, but once it has a voice (as it does in LittleKuriboh’s videos) it goes from being frightening to funny, possibly even annoying.

Clary tries throwing a framed photo at the thing, with predictably no results. Meanwhile, the gator-pede keeps talking about how much it wants to eat her, which I’m sure CC meant to be frightening, but I’m finding annoying. Clary hits the wall, and we’re helpfully informed that she can no longer back away from the monster.

No Shit Sherlock: 1

CC’s lack of spatial awareness has finally come to bite her self-insert.

And then, for no discernible reason, the sensor starts going off. By vibrating. It’s even compared to a cell phone.

The thing jumps Clary, and thankfully she doesn’t dodge. Unfortunately, the thing keeps on talking.

“To eat, to eat,” it moaned. “But it is not allowed, to swallow, to savor.”

Yeah, way to keep the tension up, CC.

Clary struggles a bit, but to no avail, and the monster, which has her pinned, continues to talk. Though this time there’s a point to it.

“Valentine will never know. He said nothing about a girl. Valentine will not be angry.”

Yep. This stupid thing just spilled who it was working for. How am I supposed to take Valentine seriously as a villain when even his mooks monologue?

Having finally decided to just eat Clary, the thing goes for the kill, only to have Clary shove the sensor in the thing’s mouth. This causes the monster to have a seizure, releasing Clary. How anti-climactic.

Clary makes a run for the door, but something hits the back of her head and she blacks out.

Our heroine, everybody.

After the scene break, Clary wakes up to find that she’s now outside the building. It seems Jace followed her home. And that the police have just arrived at the apartment building. At this point, a few questions occur to me:

1)If Jace followed or tracked Clary back to her home, when did he get there?

2)Assuming he got there shortly after Clary (not a poor assumption), why didn’t he try to save her? If CC wants me to think he’s such a Big Damn Hero, why not have him do the classic Big Damn Hero thing and rescue the girl?

3)Why did he take Clary out of the building and hide?

Of these questions, only one will be answered.

Plot Hole: 5

Jace exposits that the gator-pede was the eponymous Ravener, that it’s a type of demon, and that it stung Clary in it’s death throes. Because it was dying, the sting wasn’t up to full strength. How convenient.

I’m tempted to count “Ravener” as a Weird Word Choice, but this time the name makes sense: it’s capitalized because it’s a specific type of demon, and I can see the connection to the word “ravenous”, what with how the thing wouldn’t shut up about how hungry it was.

Instead of asking any of those questions mentioned above (particularly the first two), Clary instead babbles about how the Ravener could talk. Jace points out that Clary heard the demon at Pandemonium talk (and also exposits that that was an Eidolon demon, and they can change their shape). And while that’s all fine and wonderful, here’s the big difference: the later looked like a person, while the former looked like a gator-pede. It’s not odd when a person talks; it is when an animal does. But Jace, not having a normal field of reference, doesn’t think like that.

Clary tries to do the sensible thing and go to the cops, but Jace explains that there’s a good chance the cops are actually demons, here to hide any evidence of their existence. Again, credit where it’s due, that’s actually a good idea.

Clary shows some concern for her mother (don’t expect that to last much longer), and Jace tells her that, what with her being poisoned and all, he has to take her to the Institute to save her life.

Jace helps her up, and Clary briefly gets a look at one of the cops, noticing that the cop has talons. Again, nice job with keeping the supernatural subtle, CC. Too bad she can’t write this well all the time.

Jace asks if they can sneak out through the alley, but Clary says it’s bricked up. So instead, Jace pulls out something and draws a symbol on Clary’s wrist. From the description, it looks like a Venn diagram. Because that just screams “rune”. He explains that the symbol works as a temporary Somebody Else’s Problem field, so she’ll be able to sneak past the cops. And the thing he drew it with? Well, see for yourselves:

It was a long, luminous cylinder, as thick around as an index finger and tapering to a point. “My stele,” [Jace] said.

Weird Word Choice: 5

Yeah. That right there is the worst bit of original terminology CC came up with, for two reasons:

1)“A stele is a real thing.”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stele It’s a memorial/headstone. Not the king of thing you might associate with drawing anything

2)The way it’s described? Yeah, it’s a wand. It looks like a wand, it’s used like a wand, and it’s treated more or less like a wand. Hence, it is a wand, and I shall refer to them as such from now on.

Clary, unfortunately, does not make this obvious deduction, because she’s busy trying not to fall over. Jace catches her, but you have to see this.

He caught her as if he were used to catching fainting girls, as if he did it every day. Maybe he did.

I’m sure CC meant to imply that girls constantly swoon in Jace’s presence. Me? I’m imaging that he tends to chloroform them. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me.

Jace picks Clary up and carries her off all heroic-like. Too bad he didn’t actually do anything heroic. Clary faints poetically, and the chapter ends.

So, my closing thoughts. Well, this chapter wasn’t horrible, per se. Clary’s initial reaction to coming home is believable, and the Ravener itself was frightening, at least at first. Unfortunately, it gets dragged down by Jace suddenly showing up to “save the day”, despite not actually doing any actual saving beyond more or less going “we need to get you to the hospital,” which is what I’d expect from any normal person.

Counts

Weird Word Choice: 5 (Total 20)
Rapier Twit: 0 (Total 3)
No Shit Sherlock: 1 (Total 4)
Plot Hole: 5 (Total 18)

RE: Chapter Five – I’m working on it, but it might take a little while. Considering the sudden rise in stuff being posted to the main site, I doubt anyone will be really bothered.

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Comment

  1. Danielle on 27 October 2012, 14:20 said:

    So, when we last saw Clary, she’d stolen some gizmo from Jace, thinking it was a cell phone, and started running for home. During the minutes that have passed, Clary has actually looked at the thing and realized that it is, in fact, not a phone. The buttons just have more “runes” on them, and the thing doesn’t have a screen.

    So Clare had never used or encountered a cell phone before writing that scene, and wasn’t shown one until her editor whipped hers out. By then Clare was too bored with her own book to rewrite the passage.

    And it seems that all it takes to make Clary frightened again is the light bulb in the entryway to have burned out.

    Don’t you see? Clary has transported to the end of time!

    “Girl,” it hissed. “Flesh. Blood. To eat, oh, to eat.”

    Anyone else get flashbacks to the basilisk scenes in Chamber of Secrets?

    Also, did anyone else get the feeling that the Ravener had to confirm Clary’s gender?

    Jace exposits that the gator-pede was the eponymous Ravener, that it’s a type of demon, and that it stung Clary in it’s death throes. Because it was dying, the sting wasn’t up to full strength. How convenient.

    Ravener? I get the name, but it’s still stupid. And I wish its sting was stronger when it was dying; then Clary would’ve been dead before Jace got there. Much better story.

    From the description, it looks like a Venn diagram.

    So Clare apparently thinks mathmeticians are wizards.

    He caught her as if he were used to catching fainting girls, as if he did it every day. Maybe he did.

    I pictured him setting his clock by when different girls are going to faint, and then racing across town to catch them before running back and finishing whatever he was doing at the time.

  2. Pryotra on 27 October 2012, 21:35 said:

    Too bad he didn’t actually do anything heroic.

    …Apep, I believe that you’ve essentially summarized the problem with Jace being treated like he is in a single sentence.

  3. Epke on 28 October 2012, 06:00 said:

    Valentine is a Saturday morning cartoon villain, you know the kind that twirls their moustache while revealing the entire plan to the captured hero/ine and that acts surprised when he or she stops him. Honestly, unless the Ravener (THE Ravener, just not some random, lowly demon) knows his employer’s identity, that’s a major security risk: as shown, it just blabbed and revealed not only that Valentine is alive but also that Valentine also knew who lived there (at least one). Couldn’t CC have copied Rowling where it made a difference, like treating Valentine like a shadowy figure that no one wanted to believe was back (Order of the Phoenix) rather than Skeletor, who everyone knows is always around, where he lives etc?

  4. Apep on 28 October 2012, 09:47 said:

    So Clare had never used or encountered a cell phone before writing that scene, and wasn’t shown one until her editor whipped hers out. By then Clare was too bored with her own book to rewrite the passage.

    I wouldn’t go that far – Clare at least seems to be writing in this century, rather than relying on her memories of being a teenager, unlike a certain other crappy YA author. Also, you’re assuming Clare or her editor would have caught something like that.

    Don’t you see? Clary has transported to the end of time!

    And now I really need to find this show.

    Also, did anyone else get the feeling that the Ravener had to confirm Clary’s gender?

    I did get the impression that the Ravener wasn’t all that smart, mostly because it wouldn’t shut up. It’s there to drop heavy-handed hints at the plot, much like Blue-hair in chapter one (because one apparrently wasn’t enough for Clare).

    And I wish its sting was stronger when it was dying; then Clary would’ve been dead before Jace got there. Much better story.

    Yeah, but it’d be better if Jace got there earlier, and he got stung instead. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with Jace.

    I pictured him setting his clock by when different girls are going to faint, and then racing across town to catch them before running back and finishing whatever he was doing at the time.

    I’d think he’d more likely get there just in time to see them fall over, so he can point and laught.

    …Apep, I believe that you’ve essentially summarized the problem with Jace being treated like he is in a single sentence.

    And I didn’t even do it on purpose.

    Couldn’t CC have copied Rowling where it made a difference, like treating Valentine like a shadowy figure that no one wanted to believe was back (Order of the Phoenix) rather than Skeletor, who everyone knows is always around, where he lives etc?

    Well, I’d guess that Clare wanted to distance herself from the HP fandom as much as possible, so she made her characters not so afraid of her villain. Except she didn’t realize that if the character’s aren’t afraid of the villain, then the readers won’t be either.

  5. Epke on 28 October 2012, 11:06 said:

    I’d think he’d more likely get there just in time to see them fall over, so he can point and laught.

    And call them “filthy Mundies!” because if you’re physically attractive, racism is cool.

    Well, I’d guess that Clare wanted to distance herself from the HP fandom as much as possible, so she made her characters not so afraid of her villain. Except she didn’t realize that if the character’s aren’t afraid of the villain, then the readers won’t be either.

    Ah, didn’t think about that, though it makes sense. In her rush to prove her originality, she lost all interesting aspects of her characters. I could actually stomach this book, even with Jace in them, if Valentine’s existence was debated and not so obvious, and it was revealed that… I don’t know, he’s really dead and the Shadowhunter’s top brass have secretly been using his name for a while to commit some ethnic cleansing of their own? Anything other than “Mwahaha, ‘twas I all along, which you knew from chapter one and had confirmed in chapter four!”

  6. Danielle on 28 October 2012, 11:32 said:

    Also, you’re assuming Clare or her editor would have caught something like that.

    Whoops. I assumed her editor is competent. My bad.

    And now I really need to find this show.

    You should! It’s AWESOME. It airs on Disney, but you can also get some episodes on YouTube. Don’t think they’re out on Netflix yet…..

    Yeah, but it’d be better if Jace got there earlier, and he got stung instead. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with Jace.

    Apep, you’re thinking too small. Who said the Ravener can’t sting both of them? Heck, who said it can’t sting them both without sustaining a single injury and go on to sting everyone in the book except Simon and that cute blonde girl from the coffee shop?

    Well, I’d guess that Clare wanted to distance herself from the HP fandom as much as possible, so she made her characters not so afraid of her villain. Except she didn’t realize that if the character’s aren’t afraid of the villain, then the readers won’t be either.

    That’s only true in most cases. A villain that doesn’t frighten the characters can still be frightening to the audience if done well. coughGravityFallscough

    And call them “filthy Mundies!” because if you’re physically attractive, racism is cool.

    And sooooo romantic….. /sarcasm

    Ah, didn’t think about that, though it makes sense. In her rush to prove her originality, she lost all interesting aspects of her characters.

    Not to mention what fans actually liked about fanon Draco in the first place. I can’t think of a single reader who said “Yeah, I love Draco Malfoy because he’s a total asshole!” Most of the readers I know liked him (or at least developed a grudging respect for him) because he became, in the sixth book, something of a Woobie. Here’s this guy who the reader is invited to hate—and he’s stuck in a terrible, impossible situation that, if he’s given a nudge in the right direction, can make him switch from evil to good. Now, whether they liked examining the things that kept him on Voldemort’s side or whether they preferred AU Draco-turns-traitor stories was up to the reader, but my point is, no reader I can think of loved Draco because he was a horrible racist jerk.

  7. HimochiIsAwesome on 30 October 2012, 10:48 said:

    Most of the readers I know liked him (or at least developed a grudging respect for him) because he became, in the sixth book, something of a Woobie.

    Or because they made him Draco in Leather Pants
    (TV Tropes, not sorry)

    Ravener

    Whenever I look at that, I see ‘Raven’ LONG before ‘Ravenous’. Whoops.

  8. Apep on 30 October 2012, 11:07 said:

    Or because they made him Draco in Leather Pants

    True, but that usually employs downplaying/ignoring/removing his bad traits. Here it’s the exact opposite – Clare’s emphasizing those points and still trying to claim that not!Draco is somehow the pinnacle of attractiveness.

    Also, considering the author, that trope is surprisingly appropriate.

  9. Nate Winchester on 8 February 2013, 12:16 said:

    How the heck do you read the thing then? Audio tones?

    It could just speak. It’s a magical device, an author could run with some interesting outputs. Tactile feedback. Smell-o-vision. Heck, maybe it just projects a magical holographic image.

    Yep. This stupid thing just spilled who it was working for. How am I supposed to take Valentine seriously as a villain when even his mooks monologue?

    Another reason to have silent monsters working for you.

  10. Jade on 9 July 2016, 20:49 said:

    With symbols suggesting it’s magical, there’s tons of ways the sensor thing could be used without a screen. depends on what it does. projections, sounds, just magical ‘feelings’. It’s not explained though how magic really works here, so it could be anything.

    I’m sure CC meant to imply that girls constantly swoon in Jace’s presence. Me? I’m imaging that he tends to chloroform them. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me.

    I actually instantly thought that too. Also, I’m worried about how Clary thinks other girls work since she imagines them swooning so much in everyday life.