Alright, the epilogue. Now, you’d expect this sort of thing to be short – tie up a few loose ends, maybe tease at the sequel, but overall it should be a fairly quick read.
It should not be almost as long as the preceding chapter. Seriously, CC, why didn’t you just make this chapter 24?
But enough of my griping, you’re here to find out what happens (and possibly see my suffering, you sick freaks).
Clary’s visiting the hospital where her mom is being kept. Yep, Jocelyn’s still in a coma.
(Seriously, I feel sorry for Lena Headey being cast in this role – she’s a good actress, and she probably doesn’t get more than ten minutes of screen time)
When Clary reaches her room, Luke’s already there, despite having clearly visible bandages. Guess he’s just a glutton for punishment. Oh, and Brother Jeremiah’s there too. And Clary’s upset about his presence because… reasons.
She asks if they’re going to help her mom, but Jerry gives her some faux philosophical dribble in response. To her credit, Clary calls him on it, and presses for an answer. Jerry says that, since Jocelyn left the Shadowhunters, it’s not their policy to help her out. And while that’s kind of a dick move, I can kind of understand the thinking behind it.
Brother Jerry leaves, having served his purpose and filled in that particular plot hole. Then Luke ties off a major dangling plot thread by explaining what happened to Alec – he’s fine, and Magnus Bane saved his life. No thanks to Clary, of course. Wonder how freaked out Isabelle was when she found out that she’d been abandoned by all her supposed friends?
But enough contemplating the implications of crappy writing – there’s more to spork!
Clary stares at her mom for a bit, thinking about how she just knows that Jocelyn wants to wake up. Why? Well, Luke is on hand to explain why:
“She has everything to get better for, even more than she could know.”
Clary laid her mother’s hand gently back down on the bed. “You mean Jace.”
“Of course I mean Jace,” said Luke. “She’s mourned him for seventeen years. If I could tell her that she no longer needed to mourn-” he broke off.
Yes, because she couldn’t possibly want to get better because of the life she already had. No, it has to be because of Jace. Although, given Clary’s treatment of her mother throughout this book, I can’t blame Jocelyn for not wanting to wake up. And if she knew Jace, she might just drop dead right there.
Also, I get the feeling that CC doesn’t quite grasp how mourning works. Yes, it hurts to loose a loved one, and I can’t imagine how much more so if it’s your child, but eventually you move on. I’m not saying the pain goes away, but you do come to live with it.
Finally, I’m giving it a couple of these
Weird Word Choice: 2
Read Luke’s second line out loud. It’s just awkwardly phrased. Also, the word “mourn” is used twice in as many sentences.
They pull out that bit about people in comas being able to hear what’s being said around them, which I personally kinda doubt, but I get how that can be comforting. Luke’s been telling Jocelyn about how totally awesome Clary is, even though she was pretty useless most of the time and he wasn’t present for almost all of her shenanigans. Maybe that explains why he thinks that – he heard all of it from Clary, who as has already been demonstrated, will wildly skew her recollections of events to make herself seem less pathetic (ex: the vampire indecent).
Well, now that this particular plot line has been sufficiently dealt with, Clary leaves the hospital. I mean, why would she want to spend time with her comatose mother? It’s not like Jocelyn could die at any moment, right?
Of course not. This isn’t a real coma – it’s a Convenient Coma, so we all know she’s eventually going to wake up.
Simon is of course waiting to give Clary a ride, having once again borrowed the van of his friend Eric. And I just realized something – this is almost certainly the same guy from chapter three. You remember – the guy who read the crappy poetry, and who Clary was not just willing, but eager to abandon for anything else? I gotta say, he sounds like a real stand up guy.
Of course Clary’s opinion of him will probably remain unchanged, but what else is new?
They start driving off before Clary decides she wants to go to the Institute, and I become convinced that CC has never ridden in a van, let alone driven one, because she has Simon pull a U-turn without hitting anything. CC, vans are not the same as tiny sports cars. I doubt it’s physically possible to do a U-turn in a van without at least three lanes worth of space.
Oh, wait, the van turns “on two wheels” so that totally explains it. Because that totally wouldn’t make it tip over or anything. Simon, what the hell is wrong with you? It’s not even your car.
Whatever. Turns out that Clary hasn’t been back to the Institute since Valentine escaped, and that’s how she knows about what happened with Alec. Also, now Mama and Papa Lightwood are headed home. Guess they must be taking a boat, because it doesn’t take three days to fly anywhere nowadays.
Also, yet another sign of corruption and incompetence from the highly vaunted Clave – you’d think that, with word of Valentine being alive and free, they might want to lock up two of his closest associates/accomplices. You’d also think that they might have tried to catch him, what with him being right on their fucking doorstep.
Seriously, these people suck at their jobs.
Simon then asks if it was weird talking to Jace, what with learning he’s her brother and all, and we get one last bit of actual humor from Simon.
“Yes?” Clary said, her voice sharply edged. “Since I found out what? That he’s a killer transvestite who molests cats?”
“No wonder that cat of his hates everyone.”
But Clary doesn’t think it’s funny, because she has no soul (remember, she is a ginger), and goes on to insist that it’s totally not weird talking to Jace, because nothing happened between them.
Simon doesn’t believe this, because he was paying attention, just like the readers presumably were. Clary, getting to first base with a guy isn’t “nothing”. Especially when that guy is related to you. Things being weird between you two would be a normal, healthy reaction. Fervently denying that anything is weird is probably not healthy, psychologically speaking.
They reach the Institute, and Simon offers to come in with her, but Clary says she needs to do this alone. Simon’s a bit upset, but he doesn’t say anything. This leads to Clary thinking about how much they’ve both grown up over the previous two weeks. Given Clary’s immature behavior over the course of this book, I can only shudder at how bad she must have been before.
Oh, wait, I don’t have to – her behavior is basically unchanged from chapter one. How exactly has she “grown up”, CC?
Clary then makes a sort-of date with Simon for the following day, and it seems that CC either got over her geek-shyness or someone told her she can’t get away with being vague, because Clary specifically mentions watching Trigun. (She also says “pop some corn” rather than “make popcorn”, but that might be a regional thing. Though it still sounds weird.)
Clary gives Simon a peck on the cheek, which is described as “light as a brown leaf.”
Weird Word Choice: 3
Why that specific color?
And then they start discussing whether Clary bumping into Jace & co at Pandemonium the night before her mom got kidnapped was fate or a coincidence. Personally, I’d go with coincidence, since stuff like this happens all the time. But this is a book, and not a very good one at that, so of course it’s fate.
Clary and Simon go with fate, or that it was at least a “fortuitous occurrence” as Simon puts it. Then Clary suggests that that would make a good band name, and of course Simon says it’s better than a lot of stuff they’ve come up with. I disagree, as naming a band The Fortuitous Occurrences is kinda pretentious. But what do I know – I think Mürder of Cröws would be an awesome name for a metal band (and yes, the umlauts are required).
On an unrelated note, we’re at the end of the book and yet CC still feels the need to shove in yet more padding.
Clary takes waaay too long to go inside and hop in the elevator, and is greeted on the other side by the cat. And then Isabelle pops up and is glad to see Clary. Neither is she mad at Hodge, despite him literally abandoning her brother at the first opportunity, even though she may or may not know that he betrayed them to Valentine (again, Clary assumes one thing and we’re just supposed to accept it as fact because she’s the Sue).
Isabelle more or less says that Alec was saved by a Deus ex Machina, because Magnus Bane showed up for literally no reason at all. Because CC is only okay with killing off random characters we’ve just met and who don’t really matter.
Oh, and Clary and Jace are now famous throughout the supernatural world because of being Valentine’s kids. Because heaven forbid that the Sue and her
fuck buddy brother remain anonymous.
CC, the word is ‘infamous’, not ‘in-famous.’ They are not the same thing.
Clary wonders why Isabelle is so happy to see her, because she thought Isabelle didn’t like her. Uh, no, Clary – you didn’t like Isabelle. For no reason. At all. And no, “she’s prettier than me” is not a reason. She, on the other hand, has been perfectly civil to you.
But rather than point this out, Isabelle confirms that she didn’t like Clary, though I don’t know why. Oh, but Isabelle came to her senses once they disappeared, because she was so worried about them. Because she shouldn’t be pissed that Clary literally abandoned her and her dying brother, no.
Also, apparently Jace is just a better person when Clary’s around. Again, I highly doubt it. And if that is true, I can’t imagine how horrible he was before meeting her.
They talk about being friends, and Clary says she prefers Isabelle act like herself, which Isabelle describes as “bitchy”.
Okay, CC? At what point during their interactions has Isabelle been anything less than nice to Clary? And no, anything regarding Simon doesn’t count, because a) Clary made it perfectly clear that she was not in a relationship with Simon, and b) she treated him far worse than Isabele did. At least Isabelle paid attention to him.
But now that it’s been established that Isabelle bears Clary no ill will (because the Author Said So), Isabelle fades into the background so we can move on to the next character on the list, Alec. He’s still in bandages and has to use crutches to walk, but even the sick and infirm must come to make obeisance before the Almighty Sue.
We’re told once again that Magnus Bane showed up for no reason, but this time Clary remembers Hodge chucking a note into the fireplace before he ran, implying that he sent a message to Bane about this. And the important questions like “why didn’t Hodge treat Alec before leaving?” and “why is no one upset that Hodge abandoned them?” are completely ignored. Because they’re inconvenient.
Her purpose served, Isabelle disappears so that Clary and Alec can have a private conversation. Clary actually apologizes for what she said to him back in chapter sixteen, but like every other time she’s done this, the recipient turns around and starts talking about how she totally shouldn’t, because as the Sue she can do no wrong.
Clary tells Alec that, despite how Jace treats and takes advantage of him, Jace does care about Alec. Not enough to be by his side when he’s in the hospital or bring him along on anything less than a life-threatening adventure, though.
And Alec says he knows he didn’t actually kill Abbadon, but the fact that Clary lied to him about it makes her nice. Such a wonderful basis for a friendship – lying to protect the other’s ego. Although, given what I’ve heard about CC during her fandom days…
Then we get this from Alec:
“I’ve got an idea,” said Alec, his mouth turning up at the corners. “Let’s not tell him. I mean, maybe Jace can behead a Du’sien demon from a distance of fifty feet with just a corkscrew and a rubber band, but sometimes I think he doesn’t know much about people.”
First, no shit, Alec. I don’t think Jace understands that other people have things like feelings and opinions, so of course he doesn’t know much about them.
Second, is it so hard to just say “smile”, CC?
Weird Word Choice: 4
Third, what the hell is a Du’sien demon? This is not how you world-build, CC.
But now Alec’s served his purpose, he too departs. Wouldn’t want juggle multiple characters in the same scene now, would we CC? I mean, that’s hard and stuff.
Before he leaves, though, Alec talks about how both Clary and Jace have “the same artistic talent.” Given that he then explains that Jace can’t draw for shit, I have no idea what the hell he’s talking about. Unless he means tacked-on traits that don’t inform them as characters – in all, we’ve seen Jace playing piano once, and we hardly ever actually saw Clary drawing anything when it didn’t “advance” the “plot”.
Clary wanders around the greenhouse for way too long before finding Jace, because apparently I’m supposed to give a damn about the frikkin’ plants. Though I do have to wonder who’s been taking care of them, since I just assumed that was Hodge’s job. Also, I’m really starting to wonder just how big this place is supposed to be.
Jace is sitting in a corner or something, still fiddling with that piece of Valentine’s magic mirror and trying to see something other than the landscape through it. I’d say this idea was stolen from the later Harry Potter books, but I can’t be entirely certain. Was that sliver of the Mirror of Erised in any books except the last one?
Clary/CC also takes this chance to mention Jace’s injuries, making a point to say that his mental/emotional ones are so much worse.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 1
CC, please stop trying to fondle your characters. It’s really creepy.
Clary tells Jace that finding the MacGuffin Cup isn’t their problem any more. I kinda doubt that both it and Valentine are just going to go away though, because A) the Clave/Shadowhunters are completely incompetent, and B) this is only the first book in a series.
And then Clary wonders at how different they look, despite being siblings. I understand the confusion, but I still don’t get it – siblings don’t always look the same, CC. Also, I know exactly why they don’t look alike – they’re just copies of their same-gender parent. Honestly, it makes me wonder why Clary’s a redhead when that’s a recessive trait.
The awkwardness continues, though, because then Clary goes on to mention certain androgenous features Jace has that she wishes she also had, namely his curly eyelashes.
Both Hands, Ma’am: 2
I don’t care that Clary’s supposed to be jealous, that’s how it comes across. And this is not the first time that a guy in this book has been mentioned as having eyelashes that girls would like to have. It’s really creepy. Maybe it’s CC’s version of Meyer’s thing about face touching.
Anyway, Jace goes on about how tempted he was to go with Valentine back to Idris, which gets Clary asking what’s so damn special about the place. Which then sends Jace into this whole bit about how he was so happy back when he lived there, which somehow leads to Clary concluding that he felt sorry for Hodge, hence not telling Isabelle and Alec about what Hodge did. I really don’t follow the logic here, but I haven’t for most of the book, so why should things start making sense now?
Clary goes on to list all the reasons why Valentine was a horrible father, which Jace responds to with a snarky comment.
Rapier Twit: 1
CC, I get concealing pain with humor, but you have to actually show the pain once in a while. Jace never does. He snarks at everyone and everything. He’s not emotionally damaged, he’s just an asshole.
Then Jace goes into this whole speech about how back then he understood his place in the world, and since he left he’s just been lost and confused. My response to this is the same I had during the fifth Harry Potter movie – you’re a teenager. Am I supposed to be surprised by this?
And at least Harry had the excuse of being a hormonal fifteen-year-old. What’s Jace’s excuse?
Blah blah, Jace feels like he belongs with Clary (eww), hence why he stayed. Because now he has a real family, not just those fakes who took him in and raised him and whatnot. I mean, family’s all about blood, right?
Clary then suggests they go visit her mom, because maybe hearing Jace’s voice will cause Jocelyn to wake up. Never mind that they’ve literally never met before, she’ll just instinctively know that he’s her son, because motherhood or some shit.
Jace agrees, but decides that they aren’t going to get a cab, and then CC decides to end the scene there because she knew it’d be a great place for a cut.
Random Scene Break: 1
Well, for some reason, Jace now has one of those magic flying motorcycles, because the first scene with one wasn’t aggravating enough. How did Jace get it? Magnus ex Machina, of course. I guess he’s CC’s favorite plot device.
Jace and Clary snark at each other a bit and then take off in a cloud of purple prose while Clary cops a feel on the guy she has every reason to believe is her brother. The end.
Weird Word Choice: 110
Rapier Twit: 71
No Shit Sherlock: 48
Plot Hole: 89
Random Scene Break: 24
Both Hands, Ma’am: 32
As I’m sure has been made abundantly clear, this book sucks. The world-building seems to consist entirely of stuff that CC thinks would be “cool” without any time spent considering how it all fits together let alone make sense, the characters (including the central protagonist) are barely developed beyond one-note stereotypes at best, and the writing itself is often just passable and occasionally needlessly pretentious.
Heck, just look back up at the counts. Remember, three of those were introduced during the sporking, so there are almost certainly more instances of all of those, and even then I didn’t catch everything.
And all those lead me to one conclusion – CC never moved beyond writing fanfiction. Now she obviously has some talent, and if she’d worked on developing that a bit more, she might actually have become a pretty good author. But instead, she found a niche, developed a surprising level of fame (and infamy), and bartered that into a publication deal. CC reached a skill level she was happy with and decided to settle there, rather than push herself to see what she could really do.
Which I suppose is the real problem with this book – it feels like fanfiction. Not to say that CC actually stole anything in particular, but everything in this book feels vaguely familiar, in much the same way Christopher Paolini did in Eragon did. I’m fine with being influenced by other works, but there’s not enough real original content to justify this being published. And what is unique or interesting is ignored or brushed aside.
As a piece of fanfiction, City of Bones is quite good. The problem is that I have a higher standard for published fiction than I do for fiction published on sites like ff.net. The authors there have excuses – lack of a professional editor, posting as they write, etc. CC (and other professional authors) don’t have those excuses. And yet I wouldn’t be surprised to find stuff online that’s more cohesive, more creative, and just better written than this.
So after over a year spent slogging though this mess, I come out the other side less angry and more depressed. There’s a lot of “could” coming off of this book – the world could have been interesting, the story could have been good, CC could have been a good writer.
But “could” is just another way of saying “isn’t”. And the fact that CC has managed to make something of a career writing in this same setting means that in all likelihood she’ll never feel the need to improve. Add the fact that these books are so popular really says something about the expectations people have.
Personally, I’m going to try to view this as a cautionary tale – regardless of how successful I might get, I should never get too comfortable. Because comfort leads to stagnation.
I’m going to take a break from sporking for a while. I’ve been thinking about writing some reviews instead. That should be easier in a lot of ways. I’ll actually get to talk about stuff that I like, for one.
See you around, guys.