Hey, folks. Happy Valentine’s Day, for those celebrating. Here’s what I got for you – another sporking of City of Glass.

We’ve gotten past what should be the last of the info dumps, and the needless drama, so it should just be a more or less straight-shot to the end.

There’s only two chapters and the epilogue left after this.

And I still have almost ten pages of notes. For reference, I have a total of 48 pages of notes on this book. In 12 pt, single-spaced bullet points.

Okay. Let’s go.

Chapter 18’s title is “Hail and Farewell.” No, I don’t know why. And honestly, at this point I’m wondering why CC decided to even go with named chapters. Numbers work just fine.

We’re in Jace’s POV. Feel my joy.

He’s reached the valley his magic scrying vision thing showed Sebastian/Jonathan being in. BTW, since Jace doesn’t know that Sebastian is actually Valentine’s real son, so he’s still referring to him as Sebastian. So I’ll do the same, for the sake of consistency.

Or something.

Anyway, Jace tries his vision/scrying spell again, but this time it doesn’t work.

So he tries again. No dice.

And then…

Okay, you guys need to read this bit for yourselves:

Eventually, cursing, he opened his eyes – and then, in a fit of desperate anger, his fist; the wind picked up the thread and carried it away

I mean, how does one angrily open a fist? I get clenching a fist in anger – it’s from a desire to cause harm. But opening your fist?

Un-Logic: 1

It’s been a bit since the last one of these. And it won’t be the last in this chapter. Not even this scene.

So Jace thinks about how the spell he was using works. Apparently, it can be disrupted by large bodies of water.

Which both tracks, and doesn’t track with the established facts. On the one hand, it explains why the Shadowhunters in the last book were having so much trouble finding Valentine – his boat was parked in the middle of a river. But conversely, didn’t we establish that this is the same spell the Inquisitor used to track Jace to said boat?

Am I missing something?

Or is this just really poor design?

Whatever, I’m still calling it.

Plot Hole: 1

Jace is getting a bit mad, because for perhaps the first time in his life, things really aren’t going his way. But then he has the brilliant idea to head inside the nearby house – that he already knew was there – to search for clues.

Gosh, what an astonishing idea.

No Shit, Sherlock: 1

Not sure if that technically meets my previous definition, but I’m going with it for now.

But before that, he decides to slap on a few pre-combat temporary tats.

You Keep Using That Word: 2 (“Mark”)

If nothing else, though, he leaves the horse behind, and he heads into the valley.

There’s a quick description of how Jace switches between carefully climbing down, and sliding down, and ends up scraping his hands on loose gravel. If nothing else, I get some small joy out of his discomfort.

He cleans up, and then…

Sorry, you have to see this, too:

When he straightened up and looked around, he realized he was now regarding the valley from a different angle than he’d had in the tracking vision.

Uh, duh?

No Shit, Sherlock: 2

I mean, the spell gave him a birds-eye view, and now he’s seeing it from the ground. The map is not the territory.

But the big point here is that, from this angle, he can now see a house, hidden by some trees.

Wait, didn’t he come down here to check out a house? I thought we already knew about this house.

[flips back]

Yep. The narration definately says that Jace saw a house from his previous position.

So, is this an editing mistake? What?

Plot Hole: 2

Anyway, the house is old and in disrepair. It’s also empty. Jace looks through the window and sees a bunch of warlock stuff, including a pentagram that looks similar to the one Valentine used to trap that angel.

Jace hops off the window sill “just as a shadow [passes] across the fact of the moon.”

He somehow knows that it isn’t just a regular bird, though. How? Reasons.

Un-Logic: 2

But of course, he’s right, because Jace is always right. The bird is Hugo. And Jace also knows… somehow… that Hugo used to belong to Valentine. Don’t ask me when he learned this, because I can’t for the life of me remember.

Jace hides, while the bird looks through the window. After a minute, the bird flies off, and Jace follows.

Honestly, I don’t understand why the bird was needed. Hell, why is this scene here? Could we not have cut this and just jumped to what happens next, covering this bit with a quick bit of narration? Why is this here?

Entirely Pointless: 1

Anyway, that’s the end of the scene.

Next scene has us in Clary’s POV.

It starts with Simon noting that, even though she and Jace aren’t siblings, she still made out with her brother.

I’m a bit torn over this. On the one hand, this really isn’t the time for this stuff; but on the other, I’m generally in favor of giving Clary shit. So we’ll call it a wash.

They’re inside the Shadowhunter HQ/town hall/civic center now, and Clary’s sitting on some fancy throne thing. Because why wouldn’t she get the special chair?

Anyway, the Downworlders have arrived, including the New York werewolf pack. Don’t ask me how they got here, though.

Apparently Clary gave Simon a short version of what her mom told her, but given CC’s writing style, I somehow doubt it was all that short. But I will give her credit for not including that scene.

Then the narration gives us this lovely tid-bit:

It was weird being up here, looking down on the room as if [Clary] were the queen of all she surveyed.

Yep. Definitely on a throne.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

Clary also insists that Sebastian/Jonathan was a terrible kisser, which gets her more weedling from Simon. I’m still not complaining.

Jocelyn shows up and starts going all mother-hen on Clary. Didn’t we make some point about her suddenly acting like a huge badass? Which is it? Or is the problem that Jocelyn’s personality was so poorly developed to begin with?

And again, I’m a bit torn on this. On the one hand, I don’t like that we’ve got “super badass” Jocelyn acting like this; but on the other, she’s embarrassing the hell out of Clary.

Jocelyn waves for Luke to come over, and there’s a bit about Clary being weirded out that her mom is apparently famous among Shadowhunters. CC, it’s too late for you to try introducing the “MC is/is related to some famous person but didn’t know it” element. Just keep things moving.

Luke comes over to explain what’s up. Malachi is still being a pain, apparently. Luke also made an analogy to playing cricket in regards to being “sporting”, which is just… what? Why? Of all the possible sports to pick, why cricket?

Did CC forget that her fantasy country isn’t in England?

Magnus and some random fairy dude show up, and ask to see the fancy new rune-spell thing. Clary says she needs some paper, and Simon obliges, pulling a flyer for a gig his band played in July.

And once again, I’m reminded of just how much I’d rather be reading about what Simon and his band are up to. I mean, they played at a place called “the Knitting Factory.” What’s the Knitting Factory? How did it go? Were they paid, or did they get “exposure”?

Oh well. They explain how it works, and then start passing it around to the crowd.

Fairy guy asks a pertinent question: since Shadowhunter magic doesn’t play well with non-Shadowhunters, how will Downworlders react to this?

Clary’s answer is to pull an answer out of her ass.

Magnus offers himself up as a test subject for Clary, but evidently that’s not how this one works – it binds the Shadowhunter who draws it to the Downworlder they draw it on. Also, Clary’s not going to be fighting. Which is probably a good thing, because she’d only be a liability.

So instead, Magnus suggests Luke and Jocelyn do it. He even points out that they’re practically married at this point. Jocelyn hesitates, but Clary facilitates.

Nothing bad happens, and fairy guy is satisfied.

Also, there’s been at least four uses or variations of the word “Mark” in this little bit, but I didn’t feel like breaking up the flow.

You Keep Using That Word: 6 (“Mark”)

And it’s at this point that we learn that fairy dude is the same guy that Isabelle was dating in the last book. I’m sure CC was trying to go for “it’s the big finale, so we bring back all the bit-players from earlier in the series”, but honestly, it feels more like she couldn’t/didn’t want to come up with another character, even for such a small part.

After Simon brings up Isabelle dumping him, fairy dude asks if Simon is here representing the vampires. It seems that they’ve decided to sit this whole thing out. This concerns fairy dude, because vampires are crafty or tricksy or whatever, so them avoiding this makes him nervous.

Also, this whole time they’ve been using the term “Night Children” instead of vampire, because I guess we have to be pretentious.

You Keep Using That Word: 9 (“Night Children”)

And now I kinda want someone to write UF vignette or something about politically correct language for non-humans. Something including stuff like “v-word privileges” and “you can’t use that, that’s our word.”

(Note to self: write that fic if it doesn’t exist)

Moving on, Simon spots something near the door, and Clary spots Isabelle. She asks Simon to tell Isabelle and Alec about Sebastian/Jonathan. Because they need to know for… reasons.

And Clary can’t tell them, because… reasons.

Magnus has apparently been listening in on their chat. Way to be a creeper, dude. But he’s also talking to Luke about the battle plans, and has set up a portal in town square.

You Keep Using That Word: 10 (“Portal”)

However, he doesn’t know how long it’ll stay, so everyone needs to get through quick once they’ve got the new rune-spell thing.

You Keep Using That Word: 11 (“Mark”)

Sounds to me like you should have waited until after everyone got it, but that’s just my take.

After that, Clary thanks Magnus for helping her mom. We get a brief glimpse of book 1 Magnus, in that he’s amused that Clary thought he’d go back on his promise.

An accusation which Clary confirms, and points out that he didn’t mention that Simon got dragged along with everyone else to Shadowhunter land.

You Keep Using That Word: 12 (“Portal”)

Magnus counters by pointing out that, had he done that, Clary would have gone tearing out to rescue Simon. I think he seriously overestimates just how much she cares about him.

Also, Magnus needed Clary to get the magic book.

Clary calls him ruthless for that. Magnus says he wouldn’t have blamed Clary for doing that, and admits that he would have done the same. He also points out that him being able to manipulate her that easily isn’t because she’s “weak” (though I’d say she is), but because he’s been around a long time, and he’s kinda got people figured out.

Clary basically drops the subject, asking why Magnus hasn’t asked Alec to be his date for prom be his partner. Magnus says that he wouldn’t do that with Alec’s parents around.

Which prompts this response from Clary:

“Doing the right thing because you love someone sucks sometimes.”

I just… what?

I mean, I guess I get the sentiment – Magnus doesn’t want to out Alec as gay by accident, especially now. But that just… feels like such an odd way to make that point.

Whatever. End scene.

Next scene has us back with Jace. He’s following the bird.

And given how we know that this bird definitely belongs to Valentine, is probably smarter than the average bird, and is very clearly moving slowly towards whatever its destination is, I might come to the conclusion that it both knows Jace is following it, and wants him to continue to do so.

So of course this does not occur to Jace.

I swear, if he wasn’t the Designated Protagonist, or this series were slightly more gritty, Jace would be dead by now.

So the bird leads Jace to stream. Jace follows up the stream, and briefly loses sight of the bird, only to see it fly into a cave.

Seriously. Dude. The bird knows you’re there. It wants you to follow it. This is very clearly a trap.

But again, this doesn’t occur to Jace, and he walks into the cave.

And just to prove how much of an idiot Jace is, he somehow confuses light from his magic glowy rock reflecting off of the cave walls and ceiling for being stars.

Oh, and we also get this bit of description:

The stars never shone anywhere else the way they shone in Idris – and they weren’t shining now.

Like, what?

I mean, I can grasp that there’s probably not nearly as much light pollution in Shadowhunter land as in most other places, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to general air pollution as well.

I can pretty much guarantee that you’d get just as spectacular a view if you went camping out in the desert.

Moving on, Jace sees the tunnel branch off ahead of him, and thinks about the story of Theseus and the Minotar.

Except that he doesn’t mention it by name, instead deciding to describe an unnamed hero entering a maze, using twine to find his way out. And either Jace or CC isn’t aware that there’s only the one story with that particular element in it, at least as far as I’m aware.

Regardless, Jace stops to listen, and hears some voices coming from the tunnel to his left. He actually does a somewhat smart thing and turns the light on his magic glowy-rock down before heading in that direction.

End scene.

Next scene is from Simon’s POV. That alone makes it a big step up.

Simon’s telling Alec and Isabelle all the stuff Clary told him to. Thankfully, we get to skip the actual reveal, and jump straight to Isabelle and Alec’s response. And judging by this, he only got to the “Jace isn’t Valentine’s son” bit.

And honestly, both Alec and Isabelle are far too interested in Jace’s parentage, at least at this juncture. I mean, does this really change their feelings towards him? Because in every way that actually matters, Valentine was Jace’s father. He couldn’t donate Valentine a kidney, but he still had a lot of lessons and values instilled in him by Valentine.

But again, now really isn’t the time to be discussing this.

There’s some speculation as to who Jace’s father is, before Simon blurts out the answer. Alec starts to say something about it explaining something the Inquisitor did in the last book, but drops off because we need to maintain some tension or something. But the in-book explanation is that Alec – for no apparent reason – started thinking about Magnus and how he’s been meaning to ask him to be his partner.

Simon tells Alec where he saw Magnus, but Magnus has disappered.

And then we get this line from Isabelle:

“It’s like a cotillion, this partners business, except with killing.”

Like… why? Why would you make that comparison?

Okay, I gotta do a quick side-bar with this.

So, I’m from the South, so I’m aware of what cotillion is, though neither I nor anyone I know ever took part in it to my knowledge. But as far as I’m aware, cotillion isn’t really a “thing” outside the South, at least not by that name.

So having a character like Isabelle, who has presumably spent much of her life in New York City – not to mention being part of a secret magical society – feels weird.

I mean, I’d buy something like a debutante ball, which is essentially the same thing, given that Shadowhunter land is in Europe.

Or, better yet, why not just say “prom”? That’s something I’d expect is universal – or at least a big enough part of the cultural zeitgeist – to get the same point across.

So for all that, I’m giving it one of these.

Shoddy World Building: 1

Simon tries valiantly to rescue this line and give it some kind of purpose, but it just doesn’t work.

“So, exactly like a cotillion,” said Simon.

Nice try, but it’s not going to work.

Isabelle insinuates that she’ll partner up with Simon. Alec is none too pleased by this, and tries to put his foot down by saying that she’s not going. Then he gets distracted by someone he thinks is Magnus, but whom Isabelle clarifies as being Maia (though she gets her name wrong, which I feel is just petty).

Also, I feel there’s a “Shadowhunters are racist” point in there. And not just racist against Downworlders, but racist in general. Like, how do you confuse a Latinx girl with an Asian guy?

I’m not going to ding it, though, because there’s at least a semblance of it being accidental.

Anyway, Maia spots Simon and smiles at him. Simon smiles back. And Isabelle goes all mean-girl, because CC insists on shoving high school drama bullshit into every possible nook and cranny of these books.

Alec spots Magnus and runs off, giving Isabelle a chance to talk about him behind his back. Mostly she notes how it’s unlikely that Magnus will take their relationship seriously, since Alec hasn’t even come out to his parents, let alone told them about his boyfriend.

And then Maia shows up, because what this scene really needs is more high school drama bullshit.

Maia asks how the partner thing is supposed to work. Simon points to Alec, who is drawing the magic rune on Magnus’s hand. Maia asks if they all have to get that done to them. Isabelle snipes at her, commenting on how she doesn’t look old enough.

Maia explains that lycanthropes are considered adults at sixteen, rather than eighteen like Shadowhunterrs. And while age of majority in magical societies could be considered an interesting topic to dig into, I’m sure this is mostly here to cause more drama.

Isabelle snipes a bit more at Maia, but before Maia can respond, everyone in the room freaks out. Why? Because Alec just started making out with Magnus in the middle of the room.

And Maia brings the scene to a close with an actually funny line.

Maia looked perplexed. “Wait a second,” she said. “Do we all have to do that, too?”

End scene.

Next scene switches to Clary’s POV. She’s looking for Simon, because it’s been five minutes and she needs her emotional support vampire/back-up boyfriend. But she can’t find him.

A lot of people have shown up, and there’s a lot of pairing off going on.

You Keep Using That Word: 15 (“Mark” x 2, “Portal”)

Luke’s there, and he’s all excited about how well everything seems to be going. But Clary isn’t happy, because Jace isn’t there.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 2

In fact, Clary’s so preoccupied thinking/worrying about Jace that she doesn’t hear what her mom says. So she tries to fake it, agreeing with what Luke said.

But uh-oh, that’s not what Jocelyn said. No, she was telling Clary that, while she and Luke will be in the fight, Clary’s staying back. Part of this is because she’s too young, and part of it’s because she has no training.

In response, Clary acts like a sullen teenager, so Jocelyn heaps praise on Clary to mollify her.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 3

Clary is still upset, but before she can whine some more, Raphael shows up in hologram form.

You Keep Using That Word: 17 (“Night Children”, “Projection”)

Quick question: why is Raphael the representative of the vampires? Why is the guy from New York apparently in charge? Did CC just not want to come up with another vampire character?

Shoddy World Building: 2

Raphael acknowledges Luke, as well as Jocelyn, saying that he heard about her from other vampires that fought in Valentine’s Putsch. Jocelyn is diplomatic, acknowledging the vampires’ sacrifices.

You Keep Using That Word: 18 (“Night Children”)

More to the point, though, everyone is taking Raphael’s presence (or tele-presence, at least) as an indication that the vampires might actually join the fight against Valentine.

And Raphael says they will, but they have one condition.

You Keep Using That Word: 19 (“Night Children”)

Luke assumes they also want a seat at the post-Valentine tabel. Not sure I mentioned that, but they’re basically arranging a sort of Urban Fantasy UN Security Council to be established once Valentine is dealt with.

And given that analogy, I’m really wondering who’s playing which role. I’m sure CC thinks the Shadowhunters are like the United States, but I think they’re more like the Soviet Union.

But Raphael says they want something else. What might that be? Well, they want Simon.

End scene.

Next, we’re back with Jace. He’s moving down the tunnel. The smell reminds him of the Shadowhunter graveyard/prison that got destroyed in the last book.

Eventually, he comes to a large chamber. In the middle is a big stalagmite that appears to be made of solid quartz, with some red stuff swirling around inside it.

So, definitely magic, and probably evil.

There’s also a hole in the ceiling, because there’s light coming down from it. Can’t help but feel that should have been mentioned a bit earlier. And Jace figures that this space clearly didn’t form naturally, and wonders why anyone would make a space like this.

But before too much time is spent wondering about that, Jace hears a noise. So he ducks behind another stalagmite and sees two figures enter the room.

As I’m sure you probably guessed, it’s Valentine and Sebastian.

And, end scene.

I’ll give it points for being short. And then take them away, because there’s no reason to have this bit shoved in where it is.

Entirely Pointless: 2

And next scene is back with Simon. He’s totally lost in his own thoughts while making his way back to Clary, and thus is very much surprised to see Raphael having a conversation with the very angry Luke and Jocelyn.

Simon very smartly decides to duck behind a pillar to do some eavesdropping.

There’s much back and forth. The “good guys” (namely Luke, Clary, and Jocelyn) don’t want to turn Simon over to the vampires. The vampires don’t see what the big deal is – Simon’s one of their own. Clary points out that the vampires didn’t care about Simon until they found out he could walk around in sunlight. And Raphael agrees, and we actually get an interesting twist.

See, you’d expect that the vampires would be going for the Blade thing – that they want Simon so they can figure out why he can walk around in sunlight, and thus share it. But no, they actually think it’s unnatural, and implicitly intend to kill Simon because of it.

Good for you, CC. Have a cookie.

Luke remains unmoved, so Raphael points out their hypocrisy – they’re willing to let all the Shadowhunters and their allies make their own decision as to whether they fight or not, but they won’t let Simon make his own decision. And if Simon isn’t handed over, the vampires will sit this fight out.

You Keep Using That Word: 20 (“Night Children”)

Luke tells Raphael to fuck off. Raphael tries to play on Jocelyn, but she also tells him to fuck off. And he promptly does.

And end scene.

I guess I should give them some kudos for not sacrificing their values for the sake of winning, even if it does also involve turning the vampires into Designated Villains.

And back to Jace. He’s looking at Valentine, who’s all kitted out for killing stuff. Jace feels a brief pang of affection for… some reason. Seriously, from what we’ve heard, Jace’s relationship with Valentine was legitimately abusive, “honeymoon” periods and all. Kid needs some serious therapy.

Jace also notices that Sebastian looks “different”. How so? Well, for starters, his hair is a completely different color – it’s now blond.

You know, there’s a standard joke about how men don’t notice things like when their wife/girlfriend gets a haircut, but honestly, I’d expect even the densest guy would notice if someone’s hair went from being dark to “white gold” blond.

I just… why are we being coy about this? It’s pretty obvious.

Also, Jace feels a sudden, violent surge of anger towards Sebastian, again, for no discernible reason.

Then the bird shows up and lands on Valentine’s shoulder, prompting another pang of emotion from Jace, recalling how said bird did the same thing with Hodge.

You know, CC, it’s nice that you’re trying to give some depth to Jace’s character. Unfortunately, it’s a bit late in the series.

Anyway, conversation between Sebastian and Valentine. Sebastian asks if there’s any updates from their mole in Shadowhunter HQ. Valentine gives a quick recap of what’s going on there, ensuring that all the main characters are on the same page.

Also, Malachi was working for Valentine the whole time.

You guys remember Malachi, right? He was the other designated baddie in the Shadowhunter government – not the guy who tried to get Simon to turn state’s evidence, but the guy who didn’t want the Shadowhunters to join up with the Downworlders. He hasn’t really done much, to be honest.

But is it really all that surprising that another of the few characters that just got introduced in this book turns out to be a bad guy?

Valentine’s upset by this news, and Sebastian shows some physical sign of affection toward him (resting a hand on his arm, so get your minds out of the gutters). Jace feels sick – or possibly jealous – at seeing this, because no one got to touch Valentine like that, not even Jace as a kid!

Again, are we entirely certain that Jace is supposed to be the good one?

Valentine is upset by the news of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders joining forces, because he feels it shows just how corrupt they all are.

And this is where I remind you that Valentine has made use of literal demons in this fight. And yet not one person has pointed out this hypocrisy.

More to the point, Valentine isn’t super happy with this turn of events, since it means he’ll have to go forward with the whole “unleash an army of demons to kill all the Shadowhunters” plan.

But not Sebastian. He goes all Ramsay Bolton, thinking about how funny it’ll be.

Well, his whole “I’m not a psychopath” act didn’t last long, did it?

It’s so bad that even Valentine calls it out, calling Sebastian “Jonathan” in the process.

This confuses Jace, because of course it does. I guess there are no two Shadowhunters with the same first name, even a common name like “Jonathan.”

So Sebastian/Jonathan goes on to discuss all the stuff he did while undercover, and how much he enjoyed lying and generally being evil. Because as has been amply proven, CC does not do subtlety.

Also, when Sebastian/Jonathan mentions Clary, Jace’s heart goes all aflutter, because of course it does.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 4

Sebastian/Jonathan goes on to talk about how Clary “won’t admit what she really wants” but that “she’ll come around.” Reminder that he, unlike Jace, probably knows that Clary is his sister. So the incest vibes here are pretty gross.

At least, I assume that’s the case. It’s a bit hard, given how much time this book and the previous one spent angsting over how much Clary and Jace want to boink, but can’t, because incest.

CC, there are places to explore your kinks. You can even publish them. But if so, you should probably make them clear, and probably not market them to a YA audience.

There’s more back and forth between Sebastian/Jonathan and Valentine. Valentine berates the kid for failing at his mission re: Clary. But Sebastian/Jonathan isn’t concerned, because Clary has no idea how her abilities work.

Which, while technically true, doesn’t mean much, because Clary has Author Fiat on her side.

Valentine explains what’s currently going on at Shadowhunter HQ, because his bird saw some of it. Again, Shadowhunter security really, really sucks.

Then we get this from Jace:

of course [Clary] was at the center of things. That was his Clary.

Well, yeah. Black Hole Sue. Don’t congratulate her for forcing her way into stuff.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 5

More talking. Valentine is somewhat cautious, but Sebastian/Jonathan thinks he’s overestimating Clary’s abilities. Then they move on to Hodge, and why Sebastian/Jonathan killed him. Sebastian/Jonathan says he had to, while Valentine thinks he wanted to. He also drops that Hodge knew that Valentine was raising more than one kid, though he’s not quite that clear.

Jace is confused by this. Because of course he is.

Sebastian/Jonathan wants to move on with their plan. Valentine asks if he knows what he’s supposed to do. How convenient that the villains go back to being cryptic and whatnot right around the point where doing otherwise might spoil things for the reader.

Sebastian/Jonathan then starts “whining” about having to wait to put the plan into motion. Because that’s the descriptor that comes to mind when I think of a big, intimidating villain. This book came out years after Attack of the Clones. And I doubt anyone thought Anakin being whiny added anything to how frightening or intimidating Darth Vader is. If anything, it undermined it.

Valentine says no, because he’s a man of his word. See, he’s Lawful Evil, while Sebastian/Jonathan is Chaotic Evil.

Valentine shows some affection for Sebastian/Jonathan, establishes that Sebastian/Jonathan will be his heir, then leaves.

But once Valentine is gone, Sebastian/Jonathan reveals just how truly evil he is!

Also, he knew Jace was there the whole time.

Jace tries to run, but turns out Sebastian/Jonathan is faster than he is. Jace tries being snarky, but Sebastian/Jonathan is all cold and psychotic.

At least until Jace makes a crack about him and Valentine being a couple, which throws him. Because ewww, gay. Or something.

Sebastian/Jonathan recovers somewhat, and kinda complements Jace. Because of course he does.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 6

It’s at least somewhat mitigated because he’s A) insulting the Lightwoods, and B) says that he’s figured all that “intelligence” he attributed to Jace were really just Jace being a pompous ass. Or something along those lines.

Sebastian/Jonathan taunts Jace about Valentine abandoning Jace as a kid, but not himself, which finally gets Jace to put two and two together. Well, sort of. He probably still thinks that Valentine is his biological father, but whatever.

And then we get a chapter title drop from Sebastian/Jonathan as he chokes Jace into unconsciousness, ending the scene.

My one complaint here is that Sebastian/Jonathan decided to taunt Jace instead of just killing him. Rookie mistake, kid.

And we’re back to Clary for the last scene of the chapter. At least we’re almost done.

Clary’s tired from drawing the new fancy rune. Except that we already established that only the Shadowhunter member of the pair would draw the rune, and Clary isn’t partnered with anyone.

So, Clary’s tired out from… sitting on her butt for a few hours.

Luckily for her, Jocelyn’s there to treat Clary like the spoiled little baby she is. Clary notices all the runes now on her mom, and is keeping her response to the realization that her mom will be going off to fight and possibly die in a few hours under control by… suppressing her response.

That can’t be healthy.

So Clary decides she needs her safety blanket Simon, but Jocelyn is concerned about Clary going off to look for him.

You Keep Using That Word: 21 (“Mark”)

And look, I get it, Jocelyn – you’re concerned about your kid. You were in a self-induced coma for a few weeks, and Clary’s acting (somewhat) different. But maybe if you didn’t treat Clary like a little baby, she’d stop acting like a baby.

Clary doesn’t care. And once among the crowd, everyone’s attention focuses on her as if she’s a celebrity or something. Because of course.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 7

She moves to a slightly less crowded area, and finds Simon, who for no apparent reason grabs her and drags her off to a slightly more private spot.

Why?

And for once, Clary and I are on the same page – she too wants to know what the deal is.

Simon reveals that he overheard the conversation with Raphael, and volunteers to hand himself over to the vampires.

See, this is what heroism looks like.

Clary doesn’t like this, obviously, and tries to argue that he’s not a part of all this. But Simon points out that, a vampire, he is part of this, whatever Clary and the others might think. He even brings up Clary kind of ignoring or forgetting that he’s a vampire.

Simon also points out that the vampires do kind of deserve a seat at the table for the post-Valentine world, and that they’re denied that, it will lead to hostilities between the vampires and everyone else. He then gives Clary an ultimatum – either she helps him, or he’ll get help from someone else.

You Keep Using That Word: 22 (“Night Children”)

Damnit, Simon. Not you too.

Clary agrees, and Simon explains his plan. We don’t get to hear what it is, though, because that would ruin the drama or something. But it clearly bothers Clary.

It takes a bit more convincing from Simon, but Clary eventually draws a rune on him. What rune? Well, the only reference we get is that Magnus described it as “the first Mark,” some stuff about how it’s so old, Clary insisting it’s a punishment, and Simon pointing out that, given all the stuff about him that kinda makes him an outcast, he’s already being punished.

You Keep Using That Word: 23 (“Mark”)

So yeah, it’s the Mark of Cain. Clary even slaps it on Simon’s forehead, because of course she did. Also, she didn’t need to try and figure out what it looked like, because she can just think about what she wants and just go on instinct.

Clary’s powers are far too vague and too powerful for how much they’re relied on. She can – in every practical sense – pull a solution out of her ass.

And that’s the end of the chapter. Thank god.

I’ll be honest – that last bit? I really, really got my goat. As someone who is actively working towards building a career as an author, seeing something this lazy and blatant – especially from a book published by a major publishing house and written by such a “successful” author? It just…

GAAAAAHHHHH!

But that’s all for now. Only two chapters and the epilogue left.

I’d say there’s no way CC could include any more filler, but this chapter proved otherwise.

See you then.

Counts

Both Hands Ma’am: 7 (Total: 84)
Entirely Pointless: 2 (Total: 16)
Our “Heroes”: 0 (Total: 78)
Plot Hole: 0 (Total: 14)
Rapier Twit: 0 (Total: 8)
You Keep Using That Word: 23 (Total: 132)
Shoddy World Building: 2 (Total: 31)
No Shit Sherlock: 2 ( Total: 4)
A Word From Our Sponsors: 0 (Total: 10)

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Comment

  1. Spork on 14 February 2020, 06:06 said:

    Oh boy, look how cool this guy is, whining about the Star Wars prequels!

    No one gives a crap about your sad circlejerk hate-boner that has nothing to do with the spork, just because you think it makes you clever and cute.

  2. Juracan on 14 February 2020, 09:06 said:

    …that’s the one thing you got from this?

    Anyhoodle.

    And then Maia shows up, because what this scene really needs is more high school drama bullshit.

    “High school drama bullshit” pretty much describes this series in a nutshell.

    because Clary has Author Fiat on her side.

    Also that.

    Also, this whole time they’ve been using the term “Night Children” instead of vampire, because I guess we have to be pretentious.

    Why is this a thing in-series? Other than that it sounds pretentious. Unless they’re like, descended from Nyx or something, there’s not really a reason to call them Night’s Children other than… they come out at night. So do owls. It doesn’t mean anything!

    So yeah, it’s the Mark of Cain.

    HWAET

    The protagonist can just slap the Mark of Cain on someone? With no foreshadowing? Like I know she’s been pulling runes out of her armpit for a while now, but there’s a difference between just doing that and slapping the Mark of Cain on someone in order to avoid consequences. It’s not the most egregious Butt Pull I’ve ever seen, but it’s not great either.

  3. Apep on 14 February 2020, 15:04 said:

    @Sporking:

    1) I wasn’t “whining” about the Star Wars prequels. I was making a comparison. Describing a villain as “whining” doesn’t make them look intimidating. It makes them look sad and kind of pathetic.

    2) That was a single short paragraph out of an 18 page document. Why would you choose to focus on that?

    3) As for people complaining about Star Wars movies, maybe focus on the ones complaining about the sequel trilogy. Especially the man-babies who got all in a tizzy over TLJ.

    Why is this a thing in-series?

    I honestly don’t know. At best, I think it’s to fit with the pretentious naming scheme for Downworlders, i.e. werewolves are “Children of the Moon” and warlocks are “Children of Lilith.”

    So yeah, it’s just there to be pretentious.

    Also, fun fact – classical mythology has a vampire-like creature called a “strix” that’s generally assumed to be an owl. The even appeared as enemies in the Vampire: the Requiem setting in classical Rome.

    The protagonist can just slap the Mark of Cain on someone? With no foreshadowing?

    To be honest, the only way I know for sure what it is is because I read it somewhere. Apparently CC can be very coy when she wants to.

    And no, there’s no explanation provided. This is just how Clary’s powers work. You can understand my frustration.

  4. Aikaterini on 15 February 2020, 15:09 said:

    Clary also insists that Sebastian/Jonathan was a terrible kisser

    Oh, of course he was. It’s not like she broke away from him because it randomly ‘felt wrong’ (i.e. the Plot Said So). No, now that the reader knows that he’s the villain, he must be inferior to Jace in every way. He can’t be a good kisser, because if he was…then what? Jace would have competition, even though Clary has been obsessed with him since Day One for no reason? Being a good kisser means that you’re no longer a villain?

    Or is the problem that Jocelyn’s personality was so poorly developed to begin with?

    Jocelyn is nothing more than a plot device. That’s what she’s been for this entire trilogy. The only time that she was a fierce warrior or whatnot was in the backstory (and even then, there were moments where she was wringing her hands) because if she was proactive or anything more than a MacGuffin in the actual main plot, then the story would change.

    Did CC forget that her fantasy country isn’t in England?

    Maybe she should’ve just been honest and made everyone English wizards. I mean, readers who were familiar with her fandom exploits already pointed out the similarities between this and Harry Potter, so it’s not like she was fooling anybody anyway.

    “Doing the right thing because you love someone sucks sometimes.”

    Oh, yes, because there are so many times where Clary has done the right thing out of love. I mean, look at all of the people that she loves! Simon – oh, wait, she forgets that he exists half the time and says nothing when other people bully him. Her mother – oh, wait, she also forgot that her mother existed half the time when she was comatose and threw a tantrum upon meeting her mother right after she awoke from her coma. Isabelle – oh, wait, Clary hates her for being prettier than her and blames her whenever something goes wrong. Alec – oh, wait, they don’t like each other because of petty romantic drama. Luke – oh, wait, she’s dating a boy who thinks that Luke and his people are garbage and she freely adopts slurs towards them. Jace – oh, yeah, she certainly loves him. She loves his looks, his eagerness to kill things, his ‘witty’ insults, and…uh…

    he still had a lot of lessons and values instilled in him by Valentine

    But none of that matters, because Jace is arbitrarily on the Good Guys’ Side and he arbitrarily has angel blood. If Sebastian didn’t exist, Jace would be Sebastian. He’d be the villain’s right hand henchman. But he has to be Clary’s Designated Love Interest, so even though he agrees with most of Valentine’s beliefs, he’s not on his side.

    Isabelle goes all mean-girl

    Ah, I see that she’s learning from Clary.

    Because Alec just started making out with Magnus in the middle of the room.

    …Are you serious? Dear Lord, this really is a high school drama wrapped up in fantasy tropes.

    Sebastian shows some physical sign of affection toward him

    I’m pretty sure that Jocelyn did more than put her hand on his shoulder, Jace. But of course, he doesn’t care a whit about Jocelyn, so out of sight, out of mind.

    yet not one person has pointed out this hypocrisy.

    But for them to do that, the narrative would have to be aware of it. And then the narrative would have to decide what exactly Valentine wants, instead of just making him a generic villain.

    thinking about how funny it’ll be

    Yeah, just like Jace thought that it would be funny to attack a whole bunch of werewolves who were mourning a dead kid and only stopped because the Plot Said So. Oh, wait, we’re supposed to forget about that, aren’t we?

    Sebastian/Jonathan goes on to discuss all the stuff he did while undercover, and how much he enjoyed lying and generally being evil. Because as has been amply proven, CC does not do subtlety.

    No, it’s because the narrative has no sense of its own hypocrisy. Yes, pile on more and more evil traits onto Jonathan, just so that we can forget how despicable Jace and Valentine are. Oh, Valentine’s all aghast at Jonathan being amused by slaughter? Remind me again who taught Jace to be psychotic? Who abused him and trained him to be gung-ho about killing things? Remind me how much remorse Jace has had about killing or attacking things?

    Sebastian/Jonathan then starts “whining” about having to wait to put the plan into motion

    (starts laughing)

    Oh, boy, the projection here is off the charts! Yes, yes, Sebastian is the one who whines. Not Jace! Not precious Prince Jace who whines whenever he can’t be with Clary, whines when he has to get off his rear to save Simon, whines when he doesn’t get his way, whines about Valentine, whines about everything under the sun when he’s not being insufferably smug.

    Again, this just shows the astounding lack of awareness that the narrative has about Jace. Everything that the narrative is currently griping about when it comes to Sebastian applies to Jace. There is no difference between them. Sebastian is not the evil version of Jace.

    He’s the HONEST version.

    He’s Jace if you strip away every single flattering description of him, if you take away all the nonsense about his looks or his ‘wit’. It’s like CC took every criticism of Jace and DT!Draco and stuffed it into this character to deflect from her Designated Love Interest. No, no, Jace isn’t psychotic or whiny! It’s this other boy, the villain, who’s all those things! Yes, pay no attention to how the narrative romanticized and glorified all these traits in Jace and now we’re expected to hate these things in Sebastian.

    anyone thought Anakin being whiny added anything to how frightening or intimidating Darth Vader is. If anything, it undermined it

    Anakin’s characterization was a complete disaster in the prequels and it’s one of the biggest problems that I have with those films. To this day, I still don’t buy that that character could’ve become Vader because the two of them don’t match up in personality and Prequel!Anakin doesn’t match Obi-Wan’s description of him in the Original Trilogy at all. As far as I’m concerned, he’s Anakin In Name Only.

    Jace makes a crack about him and Valentine being a couple, which throws him

    Really? This ‘cold, psychotic’ killer is really thrown off by a lame and stupid quip that he knows isn’t true?

    that he’s figured all that “intelligence” he attributed to Jace were really just Jace being a pompous ass

    Which is completely true. 

    Sebastian/Jonathan as he chokes Jace into unconsciousness

    Yay! Oh, wait, no, I’m sorry, I’m supposed to be upset by this. Umm…boo?