Hey folks, and welcome back. Hope you’ve all been having a good July. Nothing special to report on my end, so let’s get into it.

So last time, the crew went out to rescue Simon. They managed to pull him and his neighbor, Samuel, and we got a whole bunch of exposition/revelations dumped on us.

For starters, “Samuel” was really Hodge – you know, the guy who was revealed to be the traitor in CoB, but then completely disappeared in CoA, and no one seemed to care? Well, guess we found out why.

Among other things, Hodge explained that he figured out the weird lake that’s literally in all the paintings of the Shadowhunters’ angel patriarch is the mysterious MacGuffin Mirror that everyone knows exists, but has been “lost”. Because all Shadowhunters are idiots, or something.

Also, Hodge somehow knows that Valentine has agents in the Shadowhunter government. How? Who knows. How were they recruited? Not important. Hodge only knows this because he needed an excuse to not tell anyone that Mary Magdalene is Holy Grail- er, I mean that the lake is the Mirror. Yeah.

But, once Hodge served his purpose (and been threatened with torture by Jace, because reasons), Sebastian showed up and offed him. There was a brief confrontation between the crew and Sebastian, followed by an even briefer fight, in which Jace got his ass handed to him and Simon basically saved the day (not that anyone will remember this, of course).

After that, they all decided to head back to the town hall or whatever, where they found Isabelle, miraculously alive, and Max, not so much alive. But rather than offer comfort to people who are supposed to be her friends, Clary ran outside to see the sunrise, and passed out.

Chapter 13’s title is “Where There Is Sorrow.” When I first saw this, I just assumed it was CC being super-emo, but now that I’ve checked, it looks like it’s half a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.”

So not only is it kinda emo, it’s also pretentious as hell. So, par for the course, then.

We start with Clary waking up from a dream involving bleeding angels. Fortunately, we’re not subjected to said dream.

It seems some amount of time has passed since the last chapter, as Clary is back in Amatis’s place. She opens the curtains, then immediately closes them again upon seeing the smoke from all the pyres for Shadowhunter dead. This would be a bit moving, but instead of having Clary focus on just how many bodies are being burnt and how many dead there must be, Clary tries to remember her dream. Mostly because she saw some new rune in her dream, but can’t quite remember it.

This leads to a quick recap of some of her previous dreams, and wondering if all the symbolically prophetic ones were also sent by the angel Valentine had locked up in his basement.

We move on to a quick summation of what happened after the end of the last chapter. It’s not terrible. I just wish we’d gotten to see it, rather than getting the recap. There is a bit of Clary reflecting on how she’d promised to take Max to Forbidden Planet, and how that’s not going to happen now.

Which would also be good writing, if Clary didn’t follow that thought up with deciding not to think about it. And while I get not wanting to dwell on loss like this, ignoring it is also not healthy.

Clary finally gets dressed and leaves her bedroom. Simon is also staying with Amatis now, so at least there’s that.

Apparently it’s been at least a few days since the last chapter, because we establish that all the adult Shadowhunters, and Luke, have been having meetings to figure out what they’re going to do. Which sounds at least plot-relevant, so of course we’re not going to get to see it. Of course, there’s also the question of why Clary and Simon are even still here, but we’re certainly not going to address that.

Plot Hole: 1

Clary’s been trying to get in contact with Magnus, and is feeling a bit pissy with him, because in the three days (ah! A timeline begins to form!) since she gave him the magic book he wanted, he’s been incommunicado. And then there’s this bit:

She wondered why she’d ever thought trusting someone who wore that much eyeliner was a good idea.

I… what? Huh?

Clary also kinda wants Simon to go, but not really, because he’s her safety-blanket.

So he stayed, and Clary was secretly, guiltily glad.

Our “Heroes”: 1

Clary asks if Simon is still getting a regular supply of blood, but is apparently too squeamish to use the word “blood.” Seems Maia’s been delivering a bottle for him every day, though Simon has no idea of the source.

We then get a random flashback of a different werewolf bringing Simon a live cat to eat, which Simon let go. Luke saw this and thought it was funny, but also said he’d tell Maia, so the implication is that this is all being done on Luke’s orders.

And this whole bit – which I’m still not clear on why it’s here to begin with – kinda undermines the “vampires and werewolves have a genetic hatred of each other” thing from the last book.

Shoddy World Building: 1

Entirely Pointless: 1

Now that we’ve filled up a page or so with that, Clary asks about Simon’s experience with Hodge. Simon says he kinda grew to like him during his brief stint as Hodge’s neighbor, but Clary insists that Hodge was totes evil. Because moral complexity is for protagonists only.

This leads to Simon basically laying out that Hodge is basically this series’s Snape. I don’t quite agree – we don’t get nearly the same amount of details about Hodge’s childhood, and Simon says he thinks Hodge ended up the way he was because he never “had anyone else in his life to challenge him or make him a better person,” – but I kinda see what CC is going for with this.

Clary briefly considers telling Simon about what she and Jace found on their little day-trip, but is saved from having to deal with having to confront her own hypocrisy by Aline showing up. Seems she wants to apologize to Jace, Alec, and Isabelle, but doesn’t know where to find them. Clary reveals that they somehow managed to wrangle a house for themselves, as the owner’s decided to leave the city.

Two things:

First, given that the Lightwoods already lost one child, I can’t imagine that they’d be willing to let their other two biological children and their adopted child get their own place. If anything, I’d expect them to insist that the kids stay with them.

Second, there’s mention that a lot of folks have been leaving the city in the aftermath of the attack. Which again leads me to wonder why Clary and Simon are still here.

Plot Hole: 2

There’s some sniping between Clary/Simon and Aline, because again, she’s the new Designated Female Target, but eventually we get to the point – Sebastian’s aunt (you know, the woman who is supposed to have raised him) sent them some photos. And the kid in the photos looks nothing like the person they’ve been dealing with this whole time.

The three of them manage to rub their brains together and actually get a spark – if Valentine could replace one person coming to Shadowhunter Land with one of his people, he could have done it to other people as well.

Aline suggests that they should tell somebody, and Simon says they should all just go to together. But Aline feels guilty about running from Isabelle, and doesn’t feel up to facing her or her parents. Which brings me back to what happened to her, and how utterly fucked up it is that CC seems to have made her the new punching bag.

Clary kinda comforts her, and this leads into another bit of Teen Soap-Opera, with Aline talking about her making out with Jace. Seems it was an “experiment,” and she initiated. And she assumed that Clary got so upset because their families were friends, and that it would lead to Jace getting in trouble. Because that makes sense. Maybe.

Anyway, we get an acknowledgement that Jace is kind of a man-whore, and that he’s not Aline’s type. Which leads to this unfortunate line from Simon, of all people:

“I thought Jace was the kind of guy who was everyone’s type.”

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

No, CC. Just because you have a thing for unrepentant, unreconstructed “bad boys” doesn’t mean that everyone else does.

Meanwhile, Clary is too busy thinking about how she shouldn’t have gotten mad at Jace that she misses this line from Aline:

“I was trying to figure out if any guy is my type.”

That’s right, folks – Aline might be a lesbian. Which I suppose is worthy of at least some credit.

But with one reason for Clary to be mad at Jace gone, we end the scene.

The next scene picks up at the current Shadowhunter HQ, i.e. the town hall. There’s quite a bit of gossip going on, and some of the rumors even contradict each other, which isn’t really that surprising. And while I can’t see it at the moment, I did make a note of this particular bit on my initial pass:

The wards were back up, but weaker than before. The wards were back up, but stronger than before.

Those are two different rumors, as made obvious by the “contradictory rumors” bit literally two sentences earlier in the same paragraph. Yet for some reason, over 400 people felt the need to highlight that. Now, maybe it’s because they didn’t realize the context of the statement, and assumed that it was an error – I certainly made that assumption just now, before checking the context.

So I can only conclude that CC’s readers (or at least 400 of them) either have/had problems understanding context, or were simply skimming through the book. Not that I’d blame them if they were.

The Consul and bunch of other leader-types are all hanging around in the middle of the room in a sort of make-shift war room, with maps and everything. Luke’s not there, though – he’s off to the side, getting bandaged up or something.

Amatis asks Clary what she’s doing here, because apparently we’re still going with the “no kids allowed” rule. As for Simon, she points out that Aldertree is also there, and he’s still pretty pissed with Simon and whatnot, so Simon’s presence might cause some tensions between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders.

That’s a very good point, Amatis. Why the hell is Simon still here, anyway?

Plot Hole: 3

Anyway, Simon is snarky towards Aldertree, which gets a snap from Clary, and she passes the photos of real-Sebastian over. Clary explains that Aline wants Luke to show the photos to the Lightwoods in the hope of mending bridges. We also get some background on Aline’s family – seems they too were cozy with Valentine back in the day. My god, was Hodge the only one actually punished for what he was involved in?

Luke points out that Max’s funeral is today, so they’re out in the cemetery. Also, the ceremony is family-only, so Clary won’t exactly be welcome. And of course, upon hearing this, Clary immediately thinks about Jace and his man-pain, because why would anyone consider the feelings of, say, the parents at the funeral for their child.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 2

Regardless, Clary hopes the Lighwoods will be happy to learn that the guy who killed the youngest member of their family isn’t related to anyone they knew, because somehow that will make things better. Luke points out that they still don’t know who not-Sebastian really is, and that Valentine apparently has other agents out there. This quickly turns to the question of how the big fancy wards got shut down in the first place – seems somebody climbed up one of the towers and painted some magic graffiti on it in demon blood. Luke criticizes the Clave’s reliance on the wards. Simon compares it to a game that I’m certain CC just made up, because I refuse to believe any game involving multiple players and constructing a fortress would include something with a name as stupid as a “Spell of Total Invincibility.”

And I can only assume this is here to remind us all that Simon is a Nerd.

And perhaps in this one instance, I actually share Clary’s sentiment:

“Simon,” Clary sad. “Shut up.”

Moving on, the Shadowhunters continue to be incredibly racist. Because despite Luke’s people saving so many of them, and them voting to appoint him as an advisor, they’d still rather he go away, and are basically ignoring his advice.

I wish I could feign even the slightest surprise at this.

And then Valentine shows up.

Not like, in person or anything. He shows up as a hologram, mostly so he can get in some villainous moustache-twirling. Of course, he walks in as a hologram, because CC desperately needed to force in some amount of tension, because it’s only revealed that he’s not really there two paragraphs after Valentine shows up.

Entirely Pointless: 1

Personally, if I were in his place, I’d pop up right in the middle of the room. Hell, I’d show up as a giant floating head like the bad guy in The Last Starfighter just to fuck with these guys.

Anyway, Valentine gets right down to showing that he’s the bad guy, because he’s openly racist, referring to Luke as a “half-breed degenerate,” and Simon as Clarys’ “pet.”

You know, all this would work just a little better if I didn’t know that all Valentine is doing is saying loudly and in public what apparently most Shadowhunters only say quietly and in private. As the saying goes, “character is what you are in the dark.”: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhatYouAreInTheDark

There’s a bit of posturing from several people, and eventually Valentine gets down to giving his Big Villain Speech – I’m sure he’s been working very hard on it, and he’s not going to be interrupted.

He complains about the Clave’s rules, and that he only acted to get them to listen. He mentions having predicted that, if they didn’t secure the future of their race keep the Downworlders in line, the Downworlders would ruin everything. As evidence, he notes all the destruction his horde of demons have wreaked on the city.

Of course, none of that would have happened if he hadn’t summed up a horde of demons and unleashed them on the city either, but since when have racist quasi-fascists cared about facts?

But rather than point that out, Luke instead points out that the Shadowhunters still treating Downworlders like shit, and that the only thing that’s really changed is that now both groups have a common enemy – namely, Valentine.

Valentine scoffs at the idea of Downworlders actually fighting, and drops the term “Night Children” just to be extra pretentious.

You Keep Using That Word: 1

Simon and Clary try to get in some barbs, but they’re half-assed at best.

But then Amatis jumps in, bringing up how Valentine more or less wrecked her entire life – lying to her about Luke, convincing her husband to leave her, tearing families apart without a second thought. She also points out that, for all his claims of how corrupt and petty the Clave’s members might be, he’s kinda responsible for making them like that. And she caps it all off by pointing out that, while all the adults there were sympathetic to Valentine at one time or another – and that they’ll all have to carry that with them for the rest of their lives – they’ve all moved on, and realized what a mistake that was.

And not a single person has a response to this.

I’ve always strived to be fair to CC. As much as I’m willing, even eager to rip into her writing, perhaps even going a bit over the line in some instances, I have also tried to acknowledge when she does write something good.

This bit right here? Having it be Amatis, a side-character who’s never been mentioned, let alone appeared on-page before this book, a character who’s entire role thus far has been to be a supporting character in the lives of other characters, that rips into the Big Bad and manages to give him a verbal beating, especially right after he shrugged off similar attempts by three of the main characters?

That is good writing. Amatis makes solid points. There’s a real sense (at least in my reading) of personal aggrievement on her part. She’s suffered the consequences of Valentine’s actions multiple times, and even the narration acknowledges that Valentine hasn’t thought about her in years. Amatis is the embodiment of every character on the receiving end of a villain’s “casual cruelty.”: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ButForMeItWasTuesday

And damn if it isn’t good to read.

Let’s get back to the book.

After a moment’s stunned silence, Valentine presents his demands: complete and utter surrender, ending with him being appointed supreme ruler of all Shadowhunters, and obedience enforced via magic. I can only assume that he wants them to refuse, because I can’t see how anyone would be stupid enough to actually accept them.

Not that it doesn’t stop Clary from freaking out and thinking that they might just do that.

And then, Aldertree of all people speaks up. He seems to grasp just how crazy these demands are, even if his indignation is coming from a desire to maintain his own position of authority.

And then Valentine kills him. And the description is really weird, too, because despite Clary knowing that he’s a hologram, and having seen Aldertree himself pass through Valentine only a few minutes ago, Clary is nevertheless surprised when Valentine’s hand goes through Aldertree’s chest. And what’s even weirder is that everyone else is also surprised by this.

And no, there’s no indication that Valentine’s hand is having any physical contact with Aldertree, at least not from the text.

Anyway, Valentine presumably does something to Aldertree’s heart, and his hand comes out covered in blood. He then says they have a day or so to think over his offer, and then winks out.

So that’s it for chapter 13. If nothing else at least there was an actual good bit of writing in there. And the plot is actually moving along, instead of stalling around to focus on the characters’ personal lives.

I’ll see you guys when I crank out another one of these. Which, if I can actually apply a bit of discipline to myself, should be a bit more frequent. You have no idea how much I want to just be done with this book.


Both Hands, Ma’am: 2 (Total: 52)
Entirely Pointless: 1 (Total: 11)
Our “Heroes”: 0 (Total: 67)
Plot Hole: 3 (Total: 11)
Rapier Twit: 0 (Total: 6)
You Keep Using That Word: 1 (Total: 103)
Shoddy World Building: 0 (Total: 27)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 ( Total: 2)
A Word From Our Sponsors: 0 (Total: 8)

Tagged as: ,


  1. Aikaterini on 5 August 2019, 10:58 said:

    She wondered why she’d ever thought trusting someone who wore that much eyeliner was a good idea.

    So, a funeral service for numerous people is currently happening and the narrative thought that now was a good time to crack a joke? Did any of Clare’s editors ever say anything about her ill-fitting attempts at humor? Because this is a problem that happens over and over in her writing: awful thing happens, let’s crack a completely irrelevant and insensitive joke!

    And this whole bit – which I’m still not clear on why it’s here to begin with – kinda undermines the “vampires and werewolves have a genetic hatred of each other” thing from the last book.

    Maybe, but it also shows that these so-called inferior Downworlders are morally superior to the insufferable Shadowhunters who keep mocking them, since they’re able to let go of their petty prejudices.

    Clary insists that Hodge was totes evil

    Never mind that Clary was growing to like him before Hodge revealed himself to be working for Valentine in the first book.

    Because moral complexity is for protagonists only.

    What moral complexity? Jace is as deep as a shallow puddle. Clary is as flat as a pancake. There is no moral complexity anywhere except for the brief flashes that enter by accident.

    Which brings me back to what happened to her, and how utterly fucked up it is that CC seems to have made her the new punching bag.

    If anything, this could’ve been foreshadowing for what happens later in the series. Except that Clare doesn’t care about Aline, so she saw no need to try to justify or backpedal on Aline’s assault, unlike what she tried to do later.

    Jace is kind of a man-whore

    But don’t worry, readers, Isabelle is the one that you should hate! She’s the stupid pretty girl who dates all these boys, unlike modest, demure Clary who’s obsessed with one boy for absolutely no reason, so you should totally hate her and cheer Clary on for hating her! But if Jace dates around? Oh, well, uh, he’s Perfect Prince Jace. He deserves to have his pickings. No hypocrisy and double standards here.

    Just because you have a thing for unrepentant, unreconstructed “bad boys” doesn’t mean that everyone else does.

    Amen. And just speaking for myself personally, not only would Jace’s personality turn me off, but also his habit of discarding girls. I remember that ‘lovely’ little insight into Jace’s brain in the first book when he revealed that “he just wanted [girls], and then wanted them to leave him.” In other words, he’s supposed to be a player.

    I don’t find players attractive. I know that they’re a staple in romance novels: the whole trope of “Playboy finally falls in love and settles down with the right woman” is very common. But the trope doesn’t appeal to me at all. So, no, even if Jace were a romance novel hero, he wouldn’t be my type. FAIL.

    My god, was Hodge the only one actually punished for what he was involved in?

    Is there any Shadowhunter that Clary will run into who wasn’t involved with Valentine? Talk about a small world.

    Clary immediately thinks about Jace and his man-pain, because why would anyone consider the feelings of, say, the parents at the funeral for their child.

    Because even when a child is dead, the whole world has to revolve around Jace.

    So, on that note, why should I care that Sebastian killed Max? He’s supposed to be so evil for killing a child and yet our supposed protagonist doesn’t even care that Max is dead.

    I actually share Clary’s sentiment

    I don’t, because she’s a monstrous hypocrite who will never tell Jace to shut up, even when he really, really should. So, shut up, Clary.

    all this would work just a little better if I didn’t know that all Valentine is doing is saying loudly and in public what apparently most Shadowhunters only say quietly and in private

    And if our supposed heroes weren’t a pack of racists who said these same things to Simon every day. And yet we’re supposed to think badly of Valentine for saying this.