Hello, my wonderful readers, and welcome to the next chapter of City of Glass. No big news from my personal life to share, so we can jump right into the chapter, after a quick recap:

Last chapter was pretty much everyone reacting to Valentine’s big speech to what remains of Shadowhunter leadership. There were really only two points of any real interest: Isabelle deciding to have sex with Simon as a way to ignore her guilt over Max’s death; and Jace snuck into Clary’s room, and they presumably spent the night chastely holding hands.

And to be honest, the later bothered me way more than the former.

But now we’re on to chapter 15 – Things Fall Apart. And only by getting through it will we discover whether that’s an apt description of what occurs, or if it’s CC making yet another pretentious literary reference.

We start out in Luke’s head, which makes for an interesting change of pace. He’s currently staring up at the moon through the glass ceiling of the big main hall. The moon is getting full, and there’s a nice bit about how that’s affecting his senses, even when not in wolf form.

However, I can’t help but wonder why he’s staring at the moon while in the middle of a strategy session. Being easily distracted isn’t a great trait in a leader.

Amatis snaps him out of it, and we get a quick rundown of who else is at the meeting. It’s mostly local families he knew back in the day – the Penhallows, the Lightwoods, and the ‘Ravenscars’

Shoddy World Building: 1

(Seriously, CC, is it really that hard to find surnames that fit the region you put your secret magic country in?)

but there’s also a few others, demonstrating that the Shadowhunters are an international organization – there’s mention of a Monteverde family from Lisbon, and one Nasreen Chaudhury from Mumbai. And this would be a nice detail, except for that whole “Shadowhunters don’t marry/interbreed with non-Shadowhunters” thing from waaay back in the first book.

Shoddy World Building: 2

I really feel like CC completely forgot she even wrote that little rule to begin with, given how she’s basically ignored it since.

Mama Lightwood then chastises Luke for zoning out, since he’s the one who called this little meeting to begin with. Again, such stellar leadership qualities Luke is demonstrating.

And then they start arguing. Seems Luke doesn’t really have a plan, because they’ve just been arguing in circles this whole time.

We get a bit of background on the Penhallows – seems Aline’s mom is Chinese. I think. She’s from Beijing, and her name is Jia. Again, we have that whole “no interbreeding with the Muggles” thing, so I can’t be sure.

Anyway, we finally get to what Luke’s “plan” was. Or rather, a vague idea. Seems he proposed the Shadowhunters and Downworlders join forces, and in exchange, each group of Downworlders gets a seat on the Council. Of course, Luke uses the super-pretentious names for each, and leaves out the vampires entirely.

You Keep Using That Word: 3 (one for each)

Of course, I have to wonder who among each of the other three gave Luke the authority to speak on their behalf. Seems a bit pretentious of him, otherwise. And as for the vampires, apparently the issue is that they don’t like werewolves, meetings, or rules, according to Luke. I think it’s more likely that they know better than to trust the Shadowhunters. Also, while they haven’t made any promises to Luke, he also hasn’t made any offer to them, either.

Such wonderful negotiating skills he has.

The other problem with this plan is that it requires Shadowhunter leadership to agree, but since Shadowhunters are supter racist, the chances of that happening are slim to none. But at least we’re acknowledging that they’re super racist.

Kinda.

Baby steps.

There’s a little argument over what chance they’d even have without the vampires, and the Portuguese lady basically outs herself as being anti-Downworlder, arguing that “Downworlders cannot be trusted.”

Which makes me wonder why she’s even here. Why didn’t she leave when Luke first explained his plan?

Plot Hole: 1

Luke points out that they all worked pretty well together back during Valentine’s Putsch. Portuguese lady points out that A) they were fighting the Circle, who were morons, and B) there’s a distinct possibility of those same people won’t just switch sides in the middle of the fight.

Why do the intelligent, reasonable people in these books always have to be assholes?

Papa Lightwood decides to speak up (possibly for the first time in this entire series, but I’m not interested in checking) and points out that Valentine literally just killed one of his kids, so there’s no way in hell that he’d work with Valentine.

And then, for no apparent reason, Portuguese lady argues that maybe they should join Valentine anyway.

Which side are you on? Make up your damn mind!

Plot Hole: 2

At least Amatis points out how crazy and stupid that stance is.

Luke, meanwhile, stands back, and we get his thoughts. Which aren’t very flattering. Namely how they’re “as bad as warring Downworlders.” Nice to see that “Uncle Tom” thing is still there. Point for consistency, if nothing else.

Our “Heroes”: 1

Also, apparently werewolves solve problems like this with violence. Not quite sure how to feel about that, though it doesn’t help with the “Werewolves/Downworlders are violent, primitive savages” thing.

Luke spots some movement off to the side and makes an excuse to investigate. Portuguese guy makes a racist comment to his wife, because CC is nothing if not subtle.

Turns out it’s Jace. Because we can only go so long without him popping up. And since this is presumably the same night as the last chapter, he’s of course still dressed in whits. And his outfit “[hits] Luke like a slap in the face.” Because apparently the Lightwoods – who Luke was literally just talking to – aren’t dressed the same?

I mean, it’s not like one of them literally mentioned the death of their son or anything.

Plot Hole: 3

Luke notes how serious and determined Jace looks, because Jace has totally seen some shit, man. Of course, this fails to explain why he acts like such an immature, petulant little child so often.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

There’s a bit of talk about Clary, then about Luke’s plan, but the short version is this: as much as the Shadowhunters hate the idea of giving Valentine what he wants, they’re still racist assholes, and would much rather continue being racist assholes.

Much to my surprise, Jace comes up with a semi-decent plan to address this dead-lock – give the Shadowhunters a deadline. At least then they’ll have to actively make a decision.

And apparently Luke has quite a bit of pull in the Downworlder community. Not quite sure why, though, given he’s a bit of a Quisling.

Supposedly, the Shadowhunters who spend time outside Shadowhunter Land are more open-minded in regards to Downworlders. I’m skeptical of this claim, however. As evidence, I present Exhibit A: Jace and the Lightwood family from New York, and Exhibit B: the two folks from Portugal.

Plot Hole: 4

But finally, we get to why Jace is here – he’s going to go after Sebastian and Valentine, and wants Luke to explain this to Clary. And he has to go alone, and in the middle of the night, because he needs to be the Big Damn Hero or something. And he can’t just leave a note because… reasons.

And of course Jace denies that he’s trying to be the big hero, because of course he is.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 2

Luke tries to point out how this is both stupid and reckless, but Jace insists that he has to be the one to do this, and he has to do it alone, because… reasons. Luke then claims that Jace has “fought” his upbringing, to which I say bullshit.

This is followed by much angsting from Jace, which I’m going to skip over.

Jace says goodbye in Latin, because he’s a pretentious douche like that, and Luke drops a not-at-all subtle hint that Jace isn’t really Valentine’s kid. Because that’s just how CC rolls.

And end scene.

And the next scene has us back with Clary.

I’m sure you can just feel my joy.

She wakes up, and immediately knows that Jace is gone. She is sad. I don’t care.

Turns out Jace did leave a note, and it’s just as sappy as I expected it to be. He also left his ring, because… I have no clue. Reasons.

Clary gets dressed, and of course she gets all geared-up, because I guess she’s supposed to be a badass now or something.

Amatis, Isabelle, and Simon are in the kitchen. Isabelle is making pancakes. And I’m now bracing for the hilarious joke of Isabelle – a girl – being a bad cook.

Clary very quickly realizes that Simon spent the night with Isabelle, and has a flash of jealousy. Even though we’ve already established – and even she acknowledges – that Simon’s love life is none of her damn business.

Our “Heroes”: 2

Clary says she wants to talk to Isabelle alone, and we get to the “punch line”:

“So talk,” Isabelle said, poking at a misshapen object in the bottom of the frying pan that was, Clary feared, a pancake.

My god, but Clary can be such an ungrateful little shit sometimes. The girl made you pancakes. Without any prompting. You don’t complain when someone makes you pancakes.

Once it’s just the two of them, Clary shows Isabelle the note. To her credit, Isabelle is more exasperated than surprised, or even concerned about Jace’s decision to go after not-Sebastian on his own.

Clary really wants to try to track down Jace, but once again, they don’t have any means of doing so.

The reasonably astute among you will have probably already figured out the solution to this “dilemma.” But CC needs to milk this for a few more pages of “conflict,” so we’re stuck here.

Entirely Pointless: 1

(Side-note: ideally, you want characters to figure out stuff like this around the same time as the characters. “Around the same time” in this case meaning “a page or so before them.” As you can probably guess, that won’t be the case here.)

They argue about how – and even if – they should try to track down Jace. Clary seems to think Isabelle doesn’t care that Jace has basically gone on a suicide mission, and then mentions Max.

Big mistake.

So Isabelle unloads on Clary. For starters, they’re all probably going to die pretty soon. But, having grown up in a culture that basically trains everyone to fight – and presumably die – in this eternal battle, it’s really not quite as shocking.

(Side-note: I just want to point out that this idea – the eternal war, and everyone dying a hero – kinda map very well to the twelfth trait Umberto Eco describes as part of what he calls Ur-Fascism, i.e. the philosophy underlying all fascist movements. Given that until recently Shadowhunters had some very strict ideas about gender roles – trait 13 – suddenly all the Nazi-references I’ve made regarding the Shadowhunters fell a bit less funny.)

Moving on, Isabelle describes what Jace was like before meeting Clary. Simple version – he was basically an emotionally dead sociopath. I’d argue he still is, but whatever.

Also, it’s been about a month since the beginning of the first book.

So basically, all these hormonal theatrics have been one really wild summer. And yet somehow, I suspect I’m still supposed to have a significant emotional investment in these relationships.

I don’t. Then again, I had a similar reaction to reading Romeo & Juliet in high school, so maybe I’m just not that romantic.

CC – through Isabelle – spends a good chunk of time trying to play up Jace’s actions in the first book as being driven by some deep, profound love. I, on the other hand, think it was all about getting in Clary’s pants.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 3

More author-talk about how just being around Clary is torture for Jace. Because we must focus on how tragic it is that he has man-pain.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 4

There’s a brief moment of clarity when Isabelle almost literally says that, despite Clary almost actively trying to avoid playing any role in what’s going on, she’s still somehow central to the plot of this series.

Then Simon pops in to come to Clary’s defense. God damnit, man, why? Why can’t you just let Clary – for once in this series – actually take some lumps?

But just as Clary starts to spill the beans about Jace, and all the stuff they learned on their little day-trip, Amatis bursts in to interrupt. Because we just have to drag out this drama a bit longer.

Someone’s showed up to see Clary. It’s her mom.

Cue dramatic sting. End chapter, and Part 2.

So, that’s the end of the second part of this book. Reminder – part 2 began with the attack on the city. Which honestly feels like a lifetime ago. Mostly because the last 2-3 chapters were a lot of very little happening over a very long time.

I’d say that it gets better, but “better” is a relative term. Yes, stuff happens, but… well, I think we’re all familiar with CC’s pacing by now.

See you guys next time.

Counts

Both Hands, Ma’am: 4 (Total: 64)
Entirely Pointless: 1 (Total: 12)
Our “Heroes”: 2 (Total: 74)
Plot Hole: 3 (Total: 14)
Rapier Twit: 0 (Total: 8)
You Keep Using That Word: 3 (Total: 106)
Shoddy World Building: 2 (Total: 29)
No Shit Sherlock: 0 ( Total: 2)
A Word From Our Sponsors: 0 (Total: 8)

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Comment

  1. Juracan on 22 September 2019, 21:53 said:

    Luke then claims that Jace has “fought” his upbringing, to which I say bullshit.

    When he was told that Valentine was his father, wasn’t the first thing Jace did join up with him?

    Someone’s showed up to see Clary. It’s her mom.

    Oh.

    Huh.

    I’d totally forgotten that Clary’s mom was, like, a character that still existed in the narrative. Considering her mother’s disappearance is meant to be an important part of the story in the first book of the trilogy, that’s, uh, not a good sign. She should be an important part of Clary’s character arc, and instead she’s just… not.

    Amatis, Isabelle, and Simon are in the kitchen. Isabelle is making pancakes. And I’m now bracing for the hilarious joke of Isabelle – a girl – being a bad cook.

    Like, I’d be less critical of this running joke if there was more to Isabelle as a character, instead of her being a hawt girly-girl stereotype? Or if there was more to the joke. But instead it’s just that she just keeps cooking, despite being terrible at it, for no discernible reason…?

    It’s a stupid joke that needs to die.

  2. Aikaterini on 23 September 2019, 09:52 said:

    wants Luke to explain this to Clary

    Because for someone who is supposed to be so deeply and tragically in love with Clary, he still refuses to tell her anything. Again. He instead badgers other people to tell her things that he should already be telling her, because he’s a moral coward.

    Jace insists that he has to be the one to do this, and he has to do it alone

    Becuase he’s a moronic, egotistical idiot who cares more about grandstanding and showing off than being useful. Because why should he bother taking back-up with him? No, Jace will totally be able to take down Valentine and Sebastian by himself. You know…after he got beaten by Sebastian alone…and Simon had to jump in and save him…

    And it has to be only him, because it’s not like Clary has a stake in this. It’s not like she’s Valentine’s daughter. It’s not like she’s the protagonist or anything. No, no, Jace is the protagonist of this series, remember? That’s why he has a stronger relationship with the villain and is more active in the plot and everyone bows before him. Clary? Who’s Clary?

    Luke then claims that Jace has “fought” his upbringing, to which I say bullshit.

    Oh, right, that’s why he went over to Valentine TWICE. Once in the first book (and tried to get Clary to go with him, I might add) and again in the second book when he flounced off to him after his argument with Maryse. And why he’s a disgusting racist who refuses to call Simon by his name. HOW has Jace fought his upbringing? Just because he’s not on Valentine’s side right now? The only reason is because the plot says so, not because of any character development or moral growth on Jace’s part.

    Jace says goodbye in Latin, because he’s a pretentious douche like that

    Does Luke speak Latin? Does Jace know that Luke can speak Latin? Because if the answer is no for either or both of these questions, then congrats. A potentially poignant farewell is now just an excuse for Jace to be pretentious and, once again, show off.

    That’s all Jace really is, an excuse to show off. “Oh, look at how many languages the author – er, I mean, Jace knows!” “Look at how stoic and manly he is, striking down monsters!” “Look at how witty the author – er, I mean, Jace is!” “Look at how hot he is!”

    Jace did leave a note

    Oh. Okay, that’s some slight improvement. But does it actually tell Clary what’s going on (rendering his request to Luke pointless) or is it just emotional fluff?

    it’s just as sappy as I expected it to be

    Because the guy who callously made a joke about his dead adoptive brother less than a week after said brother was killed is really the sort of person who’d write sappy love notes.

    Again, the narrative just can’t decide what type of person Jace is supposed to be.

    has a flash of jealousy

    Because the narrative inexplicably keeps deciding to beat this dead horse into the ground and has no idea how much of an unlikeable hypocrite it makes our protagonist look.

    Clary can be such an ungrateful little shit

    As can Jace. I guess that’s why they’re supposed to be meant for each other.

    all these hormonal theatrics have been one really wild summer.

    Wait…what?

    Okay, I knew that the events in the first book all took place around the same summer, but…you mean, this entire trilogy has only been taking place in a MONTH?

    Holy cow. That just makes all of the melodrama and histrionics even more ridiculous.

    spends a good chunk of time trying to play up Jace’s actions in the first book as being driven by some deep, profound love

    Oh, right, that’s why he:

    1) constantly insulted Clary’s best friend in front of her
    2) whined and threw a fit about having to rescue said friend
    3) constantly insulted CLARY
    4) patronizingly called her “little girl” when she clearly didn’t like it
    5) grabbed her by the wrist to take her somewhere without her permission and only let go when she slapped him
    6) nearly killed her/turned her into a Forsaken by putting a rune on her and never apologized for it
    7) tried to get her to go over to Valentine with him
    8) thought about how he wanted to hurt Clary “more than any other girl”

    And those are only the things that I can think of off the top of my head. But sure, Sock Puppet, those things were totally driven by love. Uh-huh.

    You know, if Clare wants us to think of Isabelle as this shallow Barbie girl, why is she using her as her mouthpiece? She did the same thing in the first book when Isabelle stupidly droned on about how killing things made someone sexy. If I’m supposed to think of Isabelle as stupid, then guess what, I’m going to think that she’s stupid for saying that Jace is in love with Clary or that there’s anything attractive about him. Because he’s not and there isn’t. SHOW, DON’T TELL.

    More author-talk about how just being around Clary is torture for Jace

    Good. Because reading Jace’s dialogue is torture for me and if Clary was the slightest bit sensible, being around Jace would be torture for her. So, as far as I’m concerned, turnabout is fair play.

  3. Apep on 26 September 2019, 19:40 said:

    I’d totally forgotten that Clary’s mom was, like, a character that still existed in the narrative.

    Yeah, Clary’s mom is more of a plot device than a character.

    Like, I’d be less critical of this running joke if there was more to Isabelle as a character, instead of her being a hawt girly-girl stereotype? Or if there was more to the joke.

    To be fair, the only other time it came up was in the first book. And all it was there was essentially, “Isabelle is a really bad cook. This is funny. For some reason.”

    I’m pretty sure I even made a point of this back then – if she’s such a bad cook, why did none of the guys step up to do the cooking?

    Does Luke speak Latin? Does Jace know that Luke can speak Latin?

    Luke does apparently speak Latin, since he replies, though in English. Still don’t get why Jace did it in the first place, though. Other than to be a pretentious douche, that is.

    That just makes all of the melodrama and histrionics even more ridiculous.

    It really does. And really undermines the relationships these characters have. I mean, each Harry Potter book covered a whole school year; this entire series is basically summer camp.

  4. Apep on 27 September 2019, 15:45 said:

    Also, apropos of nothing, I have a story (“Riznax the Reader”) published in an anthology that was released back in August. So if you want to see an example of my own writing, you can pick up a copy here.