Hey, folks, I’m back. Time to get to chapter two.

First off, I want to give credit where it’s due – “The Demon Towers of Alicante” is an awesome title. It’d be great for a sword & sorcery type story, or a metal album. Which makes its use here that much sadder.

And to start off, we’re in Clary’s head. Joy. She’s with Luke, and they’re looking for street-side parking. They’ve now circled the same block three times. While I appreciate this touch of realism, I’m once again forced to ask this question – why is this treated like a surprise? Both of these characters have lived in New York for over a decade. That New York is not a car friendly city should not be news. Why did you not expect this?

Anyway, Luke finally gives up, pulls in next to a fire hydrant, tells Clary to get going, and that he’ll be along soon with her luggage. Why he doesn’t just tell Clary to carry her own stuff, I don’t know. Given the aforementioned parking issues, I think it’d be easier. He also tries to comfort Clary by saying that the Lightwoods will take care of her. Odd statement, considering that until about a week ago, the last time he saw them, they were trying to kill him.

Clary gets out and starts walking up to the Institute’s front door.

You Keep Using That Word: 1 (“Institute”)

There’s a nice bit of description of the glamour over the facility peeling away, but then I’m once again reminded of just how shitty the security on this place is. Clary touches the doorknob and starts to mentally recite the Shadowhunter Pledge of Allegiance just like Jace in the last book, and the door swings open before she even finishes.

Oh, there’s also a noticeable odd smell, but this only elicits a frown from Clary. Given that one of descriptors is “burning”, I’d think she’d be a bit more concerned. She walks around the place for a while, and the first sign that something’s off is that all the candles in the chapel or whatever are out.

(Sidebar: who lights those, anyway? I get the feeling that the public doesn’t actually use this place as a church, so why even bother maintaining it as one? Do the Lightwoods and other Shadowhunters use it? Shadowhunters don’t seem especially religious. Is it the only way to ensure that it’s holy ground? What’s the deal?)

Clary then goes to the elevator, and that doesn’t work. Also, apparently the power’s out. Also also, the narration’s used the term “Institute” twice now, so two more dings.

You Keep Using That Word: 3

Clary actually starts to panic now, and heads back outside, where she notices the burning smell again. Then Magnus appears to inform both Clary and the reader that no, there was not a fire. What Clary’s smelling is something called “hellmist”, though Magnus also describes it as a kind of smoke, so I either he or CC doesn’t understand that there’s a difference between smoke and mist.

Magnus tells Clary about the attack on the Institute,

You Keep Using That Word: 4

(and suddenly it’s “hellsmoke,” not “hellmist,”)

You Keep Using That Word: 5

and how everyone else – except Madeleine – escaped through the Portal.

You Keep Using That Word: 6

Also, when Magnus brings up the attack, Clary’s first concern is for Jace.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

Clary gets all upset about Madeleine’s death, because Madeleine knew Clary’s mom before she went on the lamb, or as Clary thinks of it, “her real mother, the tough, fighting Shadowhunter that Clary had never known.” Yeah, as opposed to the woman who ran away from all that and raised Clary.

Our “Heroes”: 1

Then Luke shows up, and Magnus gives him the run-down, though thankfully we don’t have to sit through it again. Luke asks about the Forsaken, and Magnus says that they left the minute everyone else got through the Portal.

You Keep Using That Word: 7

And I hope you enjoyed that little cameo by the Forsaken, because they will never appear again in this book. In fact, the whole attack is completely forgotten after this. How and why Valentine sent them – assuming he sent them at all – are never addressed. There was literally one reason (well, two if you count offing Madeleine) for their attack, and it could have been easily addressed via other means. Making that whole thing,

Entirely Pointless: 1

Clary asks about the Portal, wanting to know if Magnus can send her through.

You Keep Using That Word: 9

Magnus says no, because the Portal is closed.

You Keep Using That Word: 10

So Clary tells him to open up another one, prompting Magnus to explain why that’s not a great idea:

“The Clave guards any magical entry into Alicante very carefully. Their capital is a holy place to them – it’s like their Vatican, their Forbidden City. No Downworlders can come there without permission, and not mundanes.”

Interesting analogy. Except that I’m fairly certain that the Vatican Guard doesn’t require Protestants, Muslims, Jews, or any other non-Catholics to get permission to enter. And I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t actually “forbidden” for most people to enter the Forbidden City; it’s just that it was the place where the Emperor lived.

Anyway, Clary proclaims that she’s a Shadowhunter, and Magnus forcefully reminds her that she’s only barely one. Thank you. Seriously, Clary seems to have forgotten that, until a few weeks ago, she thought she was a normal person.

Magnus goes on to explain that you can’t just open a Portal to Shadowhunter Disney – not because it’s not possible, but because he’d be breaking the Law by doing so. Or something. It’s a bit confusing. Also,

You Keep Using That Word: 13 (two for variants of Portal, one for Law)

But whatever the reason is, Magnus isn’t willing to risk his ass to help Clary with this. Which prompts me to wonder when and why he likes her in the first place. When did they ever have the opportunity to develop any kind of relationship? Does CC not realize just how much she borked her character development by crunching down her timeline?

But Clary continues to insist that she just has to go, and says that there has to be a non-Portal means of getting there.

You Keep Using That Word: 14

So now Luke points out some other problems: namely, that the nearest airport is in another country (though I’m sure both France and Germany have smaller, regional airports, but whatever), that just getting across the boarder is a problem in itself, and that even then, they’d have to go through lots of Downworlder territory.

A)That’s kinda racist. Why would they be dangerous? Because they’re Downworlders? Newsflash, Luke – so are you!

Our “Heroes”: 2

B)Why are there Downworlders living in Shadowhunter land in the first place? Why would they choose to live there?

So Clary tries very, very hard not to cry about this. Luke says they can contact the Lightwoods and have them talk to Fell, but Clary once again insists that she’s the only one who can do it, for no reason other than because the Plot says so. Also, I have to wonder how they’d contact the Lightwoods – do they even have cell phone reception in Shadowhunter land?

It’s at this moment that Magnus pipes in and tells them that he knows Fell, and can totally tell him to expect Jace. Which makes all this drama feel even more forced – seriously, half the problems in this book would be solved if everyone would just talk to each other.

But instead of being happy about this, Clary runs off, all upset that she’s effectively been relegated to sitting on the side-lines. I’m sure CC intended for this to be seen as her being all determined and frustrated at her situation, but to me, it looks like a toddler throwing a tantrum. And honestly, how is this really all that different than any other situation in these books?

So Clary runs around to where the attack occurred, and apparently demon magic smells “sharp.” That’s the only descriptor, so now I think it smells like cheese. Personally, I would have gone with something traditional, like brimstone, but that’s me. Clary looks around for a bit, and finds the Portal. Or what’s left of it.

You Keep Using that Word: 15

And I’m sure you can all guess what she’s going to do, right?

Yep: she pulls out her magic not-wand

You Keep Using that Word: 16

and – with almost no effort on her part whatsoever – she opens it back up. Because should she even be mildly inconvenienced by something like this?

There’s mention of an “acidic smell of burning,” which confuses the hell out of me, and then, poof – the Portal opens up.

You Keep Using that Word: 17

And it’s only at this point that Clary (or possibly CC) remembers how these things are supposed to work – you need to be able to picture where you’re going. Then again, that didn’t stop Clary from popping up in Luke’s backyard despite having no idea where she was going, but who cares. Also, this:

You Keep Using that Word: 19 (“Portal,” twice)

But – once again – Clary has a handy work-around! See, since she’s seen Alicante in her dreams, and that’s totally the same as seeing it in real life! So she reaches for the Portal

You Keep Using that Word: 20

only for Luke and Magnus to show up and try to stop Clary from going through the Portal

You Keep Using that Word: 21

but Clary’s determined, and she steps through the Portal anyway,

You Keep Using that Word: 22

with Luke grabbing on to her as she goes through the Portal.

You Keep Using that Word: 23

(Yeah, the Random Capitalization is really, really annoying.)

Thankfully, the scene ends there and we pick up with Simon. So, that alone is somewhat of an improvement.

Simon wakes up to the sound of waves, which gives him a mini-PTSD flashback to being on Valentine’s boat. But he quickly realizes that he’s not back on the boat, and is fine. Now, it’s been a little while since I finished this book, but I’m fairly certain this never happens again. Which really makes me wonder why it’s here in the first place.

Entirely Pointless: 2

Simon takes in his surroundings. In short – he’s in a bedroom. It’s dark, but only because the curtains are drawn, not because it’s night out. There’s also someone sitting in a chair near the bed. It’s Isabelle, but for some reason, CC doesn’t just tell us that up-front, instead waiting for Simon to say her name.

Simon starts to move around, and for some reason the first thing he notices is that he’s still wearing the same clothes. I don’t know why he’d make a note of that, unless they felt like he’d been in them for a few days.

The second thing he notices is that Isabelle is asleep. She wakes up when Simon says her name, and this is literally the second sentence out of her mouth, after noting that he’s awake (I’ll skip the count, because that is the kind of thing people say in these sorts of situations):

“Jace’ll be so relieved.”

Bull. Shit. Jace has yet to show any concern for Simon save in the most fleeting and desperate of circumstances. Hell, if it weren’t for Jace, Simon wouldn’t even be in this situation in the first place.

Anyway, Isabelle says that everyone thought he was a goner, and Simon asks why, and where he is. Isabelle explains about the attack, and that after Simon tripped over Madeleine’s body, he got stabbed by a Forsaken. Oh, and Jace saved him, because of course Jace had to be the one to save him. And not only did Jace drag Simon along with them, he also took down that Forsaken single-handed and dragged Simon through the Portal. And speaking of the P-word, some quick record keeping:

You Keep Using That Word: 25 (“Portal” x 2, “Institute”)

But of course Jace is in a bit of trouble for bringing Simon along. So expect him to lord that over Simon, along with the “saved your life” thing.

Simon wonders how the hell he managed to not notice getting stabbed. As a matter of fact, so am I. I mean, I get that that kind of thing can be pretty traumatic, but come on.

So Isabelle decides to show Simon, by pulling up his shirt and stroking the scar. And CC immediately starts to set up her next love-triangle. The narration starts going on about how he’s always thought Isabelle was hot, and how she “[burns] bright” and might be able to make him forget about Clary (good luck there, buddy – you’re only allowed to forget about Clary when she wants you to). But here’s the really fun bit:

“It was right around the time she’d gotten him turned into a rat at Magnus Bane’s loft party that he’d realized maybe Isabelle burned a little too bright for an ordinary guy like him.”

Yep. Even when complementing Isabelle, it has to be done in a back-handed manner.

And then things get worse – Jace shows up. He somehow managed to come in through the presumably closed door without Simon’s super-vampire senses noticing, because of course he’s just that awesome.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

And, just to cause me further agony, he gets mouthy.

“Molesting the vampire while he’s too weak to fight back, Iz?” he asked. “I’m pretty sure that violates at least one of the Accords.”

Says the guy who in the first book ran off to have morning make-out session with a fairy waitress, and in the second book started a fight in a werewolf bar because he felt pissy. Fuck off, Jace – you have ZERO room to criticize Isabelle.

Our “Heroes”: 3

And of course, rather than tell Jace where he can stick his smart-ass comments, Isabelle gets a bit flustered and starts making excuses. Because CC won’t let me have any nice things.

Jace then explains that Maryse Lightwood went to some place called “the Guard” with someone named Patrick to talk to the Clave and someone named Malachi. And here’s the part where I remind you that this place is supposed to sandwiched between France and Germany. And while “Patrick” might work (given the correct pronunciation), somehow I can’t imagine a lot of folks in that region going by “Malachi.”

Shoddy World Building: 1

(Also, I’m not adding “Guard” to the list of Words because there’s only the one, so I’m okay with it being capitalized)

And now it’s Simon’s turn to hold the idiot ball, because he asks what Mama Lightwood has to explain, and Jace points out the obvious – Simon. Because, as we know, bringing Downworlders into Shadowhunter City is against the Law. Which Jace also points out.

You Keep Using That Word: 26

Simon is shocked, shocked to learn that he’s in Shadowhunter City. And I have to ask why – he knew where they were heading (in general, anyway), he knew that he got dragged along with them, and he knew that he wasn’t in the wilderness somewhere. Why is he surprised by this?

Suddenly, Simon’s vampire hunger strikes. Why it’s so sudden, I don’t know. Presumably to force some drama. Of course, we aren’t told that right away. Simon just suddenly doubles over, and when Isabelle shows some concern for him, he tells her to leave. And while I can understand Isabelle being upset by this, I refuse to imagine she’d flounce out of the room. I can’t handle anyone being more petulant than Clary.

It also doesn’t help that he only tells Isabelle to leave. Not Isabelle and Jace, just Isabelle. And he doesn’t explain why. I really don’t understand that last bit – it’s not like Isabelle doesn’t know Simon’s a vampire. I’ve heard that Simon becomes a bit of a jerk in the following books – looks like she’s started the transition already.

Our “Heroes”: 4

Jace asks what’s up, and Simon explains, and here’s Jace’s response:

“The faint concern left [Jace’s] expression, to be replaced by something that looked to Simon like amused contempt.”

Which is, let’s face it, Jace’s normal expression. Dude’s got a nasty case of resting bitch face.

Simon responds accordingly. Jace gets mildly offended when Simon refers to Jace by his last name (or at least the one he was raised with, not his real one), which is funny, considering Jace has almost never referred to Simon by either his first or last name, instead addressing him by his species.

Jace starts to take his jacket off, and Simon insists that he’s not going to drink Jace’s blood again. And I feel I have to show you how he says it:

“I’m not — drinking your blood — again.”

Seriously, what is up with that punctuation? I feel like ellipses might have been more appropriate.

Jace gives a smarmy response – as if he has any other – and pulls out a flask of meat juice. Not actual blood, mind – he literally squeezed the juice from some raw meat he found in the kitchen.

Nevertheless, it does the job, and we get some actually interesting lore – fresher blood tastes better. And I have to ask how Simon knows this, given that he’s only ever had blood from one living being that we know of. And Jace has to gloat about how amazing his blood must taste, because Jace is an egotistical little shit.

This does result in at least one actual good line from Simon, though.

“There’s something very wrong with you,” he said. “Mentally, I mean.”

That’s putting it mildly, Simon.

Now that Simon’s recovered, Jace explains a bit more about where they are. They’re currently staying with a family called the Penhallows. And again, what more Franco-Germanic surname than one that’s shared by a hamlet in Cornwall?

Shoddy World Building: 2

They both go to the curtains, and we get our first look at the Shadowhunter city.

That is, after we get a description of a trip Simon once went on with his family to Tuscany. Which kinda makes me wonder just what Simon’s mom does for a living, given that she appears to be a single mother of two living in New York City. I’m just saying , that doesn’t exactly scream “vacation in Italy” to me. Also, the whole “being Jewish” think makes me think that, if they were likely to take a very rare week-long vacation overseas, there might be a few other places they’d be more likely to visit.

After that little detour, we get a description of the city. It’s fine. For all the things I complain about from CC, she does have a way of painting a good picture with her words – when she doesn’t start waxing poetic about her characters, that is.

But despite her insistence that this city is so weird, there’s only really one weird thing about it – the giant towers peppering the city made of the same material as Shadowhunter not-lightsabers. These would be the eponymous demon towers, which prevent demons from entering the city, as Jace kindly explains.

Anyway, Simon asks if bringing him here was an accident. Jace gives a sarcastic answer, because of course he does.

Rapier Twit: 1

You Keep Using That Word: 27 (“Institute”)

And given that we never learn who created those Forsaken, or why they attacked at that particular time, I feel that Jace doing it for really stupid reasons is just as probable as Valentine at this point.

Then Jace goes back to treating Simon the same way he always does – being a nasty, condescending asshole.

Our “Heroes”: 5 (“vampire”)

You Keep Using That Word: 28 (“Portal”)

Simon tries to say that he could have stayed behind, and Jace actually admits that he does have his limits. And Simon is ready to jump on that admission:

“And yet,” Simon said, “I bet it pains you to admit that.”

Which leads to Jace being bitchy:

“You’re an ass,” Jace said, without inflection, “even for a Downworlder. I saved your life and broke the Law to do it. Not for the first time, I might add. You could show a little gratitude.”

Now, before I address this, let’s get some quick counts out of the way.

Our “Heroes”: 7 (one for the racism, another demanding Simon’s gratitude, which I’ll get to in a second)

You Keep Using That Word: 30 (“hellmist” and “Law”)

Now, on to my response:

First: FUCK YOU, YOU LITTLE COCKGOBLIN.

Simon doesn’t owe you a damn thing. If it weren’t for you, he wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place! If it weren’t for you, he wouldn’t have been at the Institute to begin with! Hell, if it weren’t for you, he’d probably still be alive! If it weren’t for you, he’d still be living a normal life!

And since he got dragged into YOUR shit, you’ve been nothing but a condescending, racist asshole to him. Again, you almost never refer to Simon by his name, even when being “nice” to him. And you want him to show you “gratitude”?

And as for the “saving his life” you’ve maybe done that once. When you let him drink your blood on Valentine’s boat. But before that? Nope. When you and Clary went to rescue him from the vampires in the first book? Yeah, remember – they weren’t going to eat him. In fact, it was you who started shit by attacking the vampires’ leader.

And on top of that, Simon literally saved not just your life, but the lives of Clary, Alec, and Isabelle. You remember that, right? When that demon kicked all your asses, and Simon came in at the last minute and one-shot the thing? Yeah, how much “gratitude” have you shown to Simon after that? Not a damn bit.

Fuck off, you little shit.

Simon does point out that first bit about Simon being at the Institute,

You Keep Using That Word: 31

and Jace tries – and utterly fails – to argue that him being here somehow falls under the category of “do anything to protect Clary.” Because even someone with as much shit for brains as Jace should be able to figure out that Simon’s presence here will in no way whatsoever protect Clary. Simon’s involvement in your little scheme was entirely unnecessary.

Plot Hole: 1

But before Simon can really start ripping into Jace, Isabelle knocks at the door, and doesn’t do anything to ingratiate herself with me.

“Hello?” Isabelle called from the other side. “Simon, is your diva moment over? I need to talk to Jace.”

Our “Heroes”: 8

“Diva moment”? Really? I mean, yeah, I get that Simon was an ass for not telling you what was up, but that doesn’t mean you get to down-play what he was going through.

I swear, CC just wants me to hate every character in this book.

Jace – not Simon – tells Isabelle to come in. He also gives Simon a look that makes Simon want to hit him with a pickup truck. I sympathize.

Isabelle comes in, and we have to point out that her arms and shoulders are bare, and covered in runes. Because apparently she has to hide this stuff in New York. Somehow, I don’t think that a girl – or boy, for that matter – with full-sleeve tattoos on both arms would draw all that much attention in New York.

You Keep Using That Word: 32 (“Marks”)

Isabelle tells them that Alec’s going to the Guard, and wants to speak to Jace about Simon before he goes. Jace starts to head out, and Simon follows. Jace tells Simon to stay.

Our “Heroes”: 9

Simon once again responds the way a real person would:

“If you’re going to be discussing me, I want to be there for it.”

Damn right, Simon.

This display of actual spine really pisses Jace off, but like a true sociopath, he turns that off the second he realizes that it won’t make him look good, and agrees to acknowledge Simon’s basic autonomy, while also failing to give him the basic respect of using his name.

Our “Heroes”: 10

Scene break, and we’re back with Clary. I honestly don’t know whether I should be happy about that or not.

There’s a description of the previous time Clary went through a Portal,

You Keep Using That Word: 33

and how this time feels different. Maybe it has something to do with the distance being traveled, which would be an interesting bit of world building. If it were ever addressed.

Anyway, Clary comes out over a lake, and predictably lands in the water, nearly drowning, but Luke manages to drag her out and give her CPR until she finally tells him to stop. Also, he’s really, really pissed.

Luke asks Clary a few questions: first, if she coughed up all the water; and second, does she still have her mom’s not-wand. Interesting priorities there.

You Keep Using That Word: 34

Clary’s answers are that she believes she coughed up all the lake water, but see seems to have dropped her mother’s not-wand in the lake, which makes her feel really upset.

You Keep Using That Word: 35

I don’t understand why. I mean, if her mother were dead, and it was something very important to her mother, sure. But her mom’s not dead, and it’s clearly not that important to her. CC, stop trying to convince me that Clary really cares that much about her mom. I’m not buying it.

Luke asks if Clary’s really all right. She says she is, and then actually asks a good question – why would she need her not-wand?

You Keep Using That Word: 36

Instead of answering, Luke stares of at the backdrop. Clary does the same, giving us a description of the area. Again, it’s fine. They’re sitting next to a lake. Clary wonders if she saw the light reflecting off the lake while still in the Portal.

You Keep Using That Word: 37

Clary asks if Luke went wolf in the water (the description of what saved her sounded about right), and he confirms that he did. Because his wolf form can swim better, and is stronger. I question the former, but I’ll grant the second.

Clary says that Luke wasn’t supposed to come with her, and he rightly points out that she’d be dead if he hadn’t. He then goes on the chastise her for her recklessly trying to Portal into the city, when Magnus told her not to.

You Keep Using That Word: 38

Clary tries to counter that Magnus only said it was against the Law, not that something would stop her.

You Keep Using That Word: 39

And Luke gives such a wonderful response I have to show it to you:

“He told you there were wards up around the city that prevent Portaling into it. It’s not his fault you decided to play around with magic you just barely understand. Just because you have power doesn’t mean you know how to use it.”

Oh, it’s so beautiful to see someone finally take Clary to task. Now, if only she had to deal with these kinds of consequences more often.

Clary asks where they are, and Luke answers – Lake Lyn. Evidently, the Portal dropped them off a few miles from the city.

You Keep Using That Word: 40

Clary doesn’t quite believe him, so Luke points towards some hills and explains that the city’s on the other side, and gets to walking. I do have to question just how far it is, though – Luke says they could be in the city in an hour with a car, but walking will take the entire afternoon. So, how far is it? I can’t believe it’s still early, because of the time difference.

Whatever. Clary’s none too happy about this, but Luke ain’t having it. The geography kind of makes any other direction too dangerous, especially given their current condition. Clary tries to apologize, but once again Luke rips into her, and I have another perfect quote:

“You were just upset about being left behind, like a child, and you had a tantrum. And now we’re here.”

I only wish this Luke would stick around longer. It’s nice having someone around to rip into the characters without being painted as being the bad guy for it.

So they get to walking. Clary’s coat doesn’t dry, so she gets the added fun of walking in a heavy, wet coat, while also trying to keep up with Luke. She’s also amazed that her apologizing didn’t make Luke stop being mad at her. Yeah, well, you decided to put both him and yourself in danger because you didn’t want to get left behind on the trip, so I think his anger is justified.

And then we get a travel montage. There’s mention of cliffs, which I find odd, as Luke said they’d pass through some hills. How tall are these hills? At what point do they become mountains?

After a while, they get to more open territory, but the city is nowhere in sight. Luke figures that they must be further from the city than he thought. Or, as I prefer to think, they got lost. Because geography doesn’t tend to change that much. Clary suggests they find a bigger road, and maybe try to hitchhike into the city. Luke explains that there aren’t any cars in Shadowhunter-land, because the wards around the place mess with machines. In fact, most modern tech doesn’t work in Shadowhunter-land. Which I guess kind of explains some things, but not others. It explains why they don’t have things like cell-phones in Shadowhunter-land, but not why no one uses guns. Yes, I still think that doesn’t make sense.

So now, for no apparent reason, Luke decides to explain what’s up with Lake Lyn. There’s no docks or boats or anything on the lake, not because it’s so out of the way (though I think a several mile cross-country hike might qualify as “out of the way”), but rather because it’s cursed. Or rather, poisonous, at least to Shadowhunters. Perfectly fine for Downworlders, though. In fact, fairies drink the water to have visions, which I’m choosing to interpret as crazy drug trips. But apparently for Shadowhunters, it causes hallucinations, fever, and insanity.

Oh, there’s also some world building and heavy-handed foreshadowing. See, Lake Lyn is where Raziel first appeared to the first Shadowhunter, Jonathan Shadowhunter, and gave him the magical MacGuffins. My, what a very Franco-German name that is!

Shoddy World Building: 3

Also, didn’t we establish that a warlock summoned Raziel? What’s up with this “appeared” nonsense?

Plot Hole: 2

Moving on, apparently the fairies call the lake “the Mirror of Dreams.” If you’re making certain connections between this, and that the last MacGuffin is a mirror, congratulations – you’re smarter than pretty much everyone in this book’s cast.

So, this is why Luke wanted to be sure Clary didn’t have any of the water in her system. Oh, and also why he asked about her not-wand.

You Keep Using That Word: 41

See, basic healing spells can keep the water’s effects under control for a while, but without one, they need to get to the city quick, because Luke knows someone who can help save Clary. And then we get this bit of dialogue that I’m sure sounded great in CC’s head, but just makes me cringe:

“But I thought you said it was against the Law for Downworlders to come into Alicante without permission.”
His answering smile was a reminder of the Luke who had caughte her when she’d fallen off the jungle gym as a child, the Luke who had always protected her. “Some Laws were meant to be broken.”

God, I can practically hear CC’s thoughts after writing that. It’s the kind of cheesy line that gets used in movie trailers. Well, CC, I’ll let Gandalf say it for me:

Also, you get two of these.

You Keep Using That Word: 43

Scene break, and we’re back to Simon again. We get a description of the “Penhallow’s [sic]” house,

You Keep Using That Word: 44

(I honestly missed that one the first time), and how it’s somehow like the Institute,

You Keep Using That Word: 45

except that there’s really not that much similarity, other than maybe use of an older general architectural style. Also, it’s decorated with a bunch of Asian stuff. Why? Because Mrs. Penhallow ran the Beijing Institute. Also, her first name is Jia. This – along with the East-Asian style artwork depicting Shadowhunters – leads me to assume she’s of at least partial Asian descent. But that can’t be, because we established in the first book that Shadowhunters don’t interbreed with non-Shadowhunters. And since Shadowhunters originated in Alsace-Lorraine or wherever, that kind of gives the impression that they’re all – or at least mostly – White.

Shoddy World Building: 4

CC, if you’re going to have a rule be a critical part of your first book, you can’t just toss it aside because you got bored with it.

Jace tries to hurry Simon and Isabelle along, and does so by being rude. Simon considers being rude back, but doesn’t, because again, no one’s allowed to be mean to Jace. They head downstairs. The living room is described as “an odd mixture of the old and the new.” However, since there’s no TV, DVDs, or CDs, and Simon can’t actually see the stereo playing music, apparently CC considers couches to be as “new.”

Alec’s down there, along with two new characters, because that’s what this series really needed; I mean, we can barely develop the ones we have, so why not toss in a few more? They are Aline Penhallow and Sebastian Verlac.

Aline quickly demonstrates both how CC only knows how to write two types of non-Clary girls, and that she apparently has trouble keeping her characterizations straight, even between a few paragraphs. How? Well, first Aline looks at Simon and declares him, “cute, for a Downworlder,” and then, not two paragraphs later, won’t shake hands with Downworlders, and declares that vampires don’t have souls, which is why they don’t have reflections and can’t go out in the sun.

Our “Heroes”: 11

Meanwhile, Sebastian is the reasonable one, trying to get Aline to not be, well, quite so openly racist. Remind me again – why is Valentine considered a bad guy by these people?

In response to Aline’s comments, Simon steps directly into a beam of sunlight. Aline and Sebastian are both surprised that Simon doesn’t, I don’t know, burst into flames, and express their amazement, Jace gets a bit snippy with them.

Then, apropos of nothing, Isabelle mentions that she kissed Simon once. Your guess is as good as mine.

And apparently the New York branch as a reputation for being pretty freewheeling. I’m surprised by this, because somehow I don’t see former not-Death Eaters going on to be the ultra-liberal, tolerant ones.

Alec tells Jace that, since he brought Simon along, he’s in charge of Simon. Of course, he doesn’t use Simon’s name, instead calling him “the vampire.”

Our “Heroes”: 12

To his credit, Simon does get upset by this. However, all that credit is lost, because Simon doesn’t feel any similar need when Jace does the same thing.

Jace bristles and, in response to being treated like a child… acts like a petulant little child. So much for that “good soldier” crap from last book, and the “super-best, closer-than-brothers friends” thing from the first book.

Alec, unlike Jace, acts mature, and leaves, headed for someplace called “the Gard.” I’m not giving that a ding, because unlike almost every other use of the Random Capitals of Importance, there is only the one.

Aline clearly wants to get in Jace’s pants, because every female in this series does at one time or another. Jace makes a joke about Alec being an old cat lady in a previous life, because that whole “Shadowhunters don’t interact with mundane society” thing only applies when CC can be bothered to remember it.

Shoddy World Building: 5

But Aline thinks this is hilarious, because again, she wants Jace’s hot beef injection.

Rapier Twit: 2

Simon asks about the Guard, and Jace makes a joke about him “[hovering] in the corner like a bat.”

Rapier Twit: 3

See, it’s funny because vampire! Dur, hur.

Also, bats don’t hover.

So, what is the Guard? It’s the place where the Clave meets. Only adults – in this case, Shadowhunters age eighteen and up, because for some reason the uber-conservative Shadowhunters have very modern, very American ideas about when adulthood beings – are allowed inside when the Clave is meeting. It’s also where the Law is made.

You Keep Using That Word: 46

Now, you may be wondering, “why is it called ‘the Guard’?” That’s a very good question.

Anyway, the Clave’s meeting because Valentine has two of the MacGuffins, and that’s a Big Deal. Simon points out the obvious – Valentine’s going to go for the third MacGuffin, the Mirror. But apparently no one knows what it is, or really anything about it, including what it does.

(If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably got a guess as to where it is. And if not, trust me – the answer is so stupid and obvious it might make you wonder if Shadowhunters haven’t been feeding their children lead paint for generations)

They bring up the Bone City, and how it exists in an extra-dimensional space or whatever. Apparently, this is supposed to be a secret, though I can’t imagine why; I mean, it was fairly obvious, given how old it was, that it couldn’t have been under New York.

And now, I present to you, one of the most awkward exchanges I’ve ever read:

Aline: “So – what’s it like, being a vampire?”
Isabelle: “Aline! You can’t just go around asking people what it’s like to be a vampire.”

I mean… what? Was this supposed to be funny? I feel like it’s a reference to something, which just makes it that much more awkward, because it stands out like a sore thumb.

Aline asks what blood tastes like to Simon, and he says it tastes like chicken, “just to shut her up.” At least someone shares my contempt for this character.

Then we get Simon’s Tragic Backstory ™. His parents were killed near Calais some years ago, and his aunt raised him at the Paris Institute.

Isabelle is amazed that he speaks French, which I wouldn’t be that impressed with, given the whole “lived in Paris” thing. She also complains that she never learned any other languages, which makes me wonder why English appears to be the Shadowhunter native language, given that:

A) they’re between France and Germany, and

B) Shadowhunter land has existed in a Wakanda-style isolation for about a thousand years. And even Wakanda actually interacts with the outside world.

Sebastian gloats some more, mentioning that he also speaks Russian, Italian, and Romanian. Jace is impressed by that last one, noting that “not many people speak it.”

Right. Not many people. Except for, you know, people in Romania. And Moldova. And Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, Ukraine. You know, those places. 24-26 million native speakers as of 2016, and another 4 million as a secondary language. But sure – not a lot of people.

So Jace talks about the little Romanian he knows, including phrases like, “are these snakes poisonous?” and “but you look much too young to be a police officer.”

Rapier Twit: 4

I really want to read a story where Jace tries that line on a Romanian police officer, and gets sent to one of those nasty Eastern European prisons.

Sebastian shares my lack of finding Jace’s humor, well, humorous. Instead, he goes on that usual spiel about how Shadowhunter-land fells so special, and how it’s “home” and whatnot. Honestly, now it just reminds me of the song “No Place Like London” from Sweeny Todd.

Then there’s this line from Isabelle:

“Jace likes to pretend that everyone isn’t talking about him, even when he knows they are.”

I somehow doubt that. Honestly, I think the reverse is more likely true – he assumes that everyone is always talking about him. The frustrating part is that, as far as this series goes, he’s right.

Jace really doesn’t like Sebastian. I wouldn’t care, except that this is the most obvious hint that Sebastian is a bad guy. Because Jace is never allowed to be wrong about anyone.

Aline asks about where Clary is. Jace lies about her deciding to stay in New York. Isabelle says that that’s weird, and Simon almost spills the beans, only for Jace to drag him off. Also, just to piss me off, he calls Simon “vampire” again.

Our “Heroes”: 13

And thankfully, that brings this chapter to an end.

Counts

Both Hands, Ma’am: 2 (Total: 8)
Entirely Pointless: 2 (Total: 3)
Our “Heroes”: 13 (Total: 22)
Plot Hole: 2 (Total: 4)
Rapier Twit: 4 (Total: 5)
You Keep Using That Word: 46 (Total: 53)

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Comment

  1. The Smith of Lie on 12 April 2018, 02:22 said:

    Clary actually starts to panic now, and heads back outside, where she notices the burning smell again. Then Magnus appears to inform both Clary and the reader that no, there was not a fire. What Clary’s smelling is something called “hellmist”, though Magnus also describes it as a kind of smoke, so I either he or CC doesn’t understand that there’s a difference between smoke and mist.

    Given the presence of a portal, would it be too much to hope that the hellmist thing is actually a neurotoxin dumped in there by a vengful AI? One can dream…

    And I hope you enjoyed that little cameo by the Forsaken, because they will never appear again in this book. In fact, the whole attack is completely forgotten after this. How and why Valentine sent them – assuming he sent them at all – are never addressed. There was literally one reason (well, two if you count offing Madeleine) for their attack, and it could have been easily addressed via other means. Making that whole thing,

    The Forsaken got summoned by the Narrative Imperative to kill Madeline and seperate the party.

    B)Why are there Downworlders living in Shadowhunter land in the first place? Why would they choose to live there?

    I choose to believe that it is sort of a ghetto situation – they don’t choose to live there, they are forced by Shadowhunters in a kind of Apartheid system, so that Shadowhunter are close at hand if there is ever a need to exterminate some opressed minorities.

    But instead of being happy about this, Clary runs off, all upset that she’s effectively been relegated to sitting on the side-lines. I’m sure CC intended for this to be seen as her being all determined and frustrated at her situation, but to me, it looks like a toddler throwing a tantrum. And honestly, how is this really all that different than any other situation in these books?

    I guess I’d upset too if I got cheated out of a foreign trip to an exotic locale.

    And I’m sure you can all guess what she’s going to do, right?
    Yep: she pulls out her magic not-wand

    Oooh. Before reading further – I bet she will now pull an ability to re-open a portal ex culo and go in on her own, because that is responsible and reasonable thing to do.

    But – once again – Clary has a handy work-around! See, since she’s seen Alicante in her dreams, and that’s totally the same as seeing it in real life! So she reaches for the Portal

    In a just world it would take her to some sort of hellish dream realm dimension or something of a sort. With eldritch abominations.

    Simon takes in his surroundings. In short – he’s in a bedroom. It’s dark, but only because the curtains are drawn, not because it’s night out. There’s also someone sitting in a chair near the bed. It’s Isabelle, but for some reason, CC doesn’t just tell us that up-front, instead waiting for Simon to say her name.

    So… Now we have Bella sitting there uninvited and watching a vampire sleeping? I knew both books were paranormal romances but I didn’t expect Immoral Instruments to turn into a bizzaro version of Twilight.

    Anyway, Isabelle says that everyone thought he was a goner, and Simon asks why, and where he is. Isabelle explains about the attack, and that after Simon tripped over Madeleine’s body, he got stabbed by a Forsaken. Oh, and Jace saved him, because of course Jace had to be the one to save him. And not only did Jace drag Simon along with them, he also took down that Forsaken single-handed and dragged Simon through the Portal.

    My head canon is that Simon would have disposed of Forsaken on his own, but Jayce could not stand for that so he stabbed Simon himself, then got the Forsaken and pretended to have saved Simon to get some “hero points” and to prove he’s the better of the two.

    Suddenly, Simon’s vampire hunger strikes. Why it’s so sudden, I don’t know.

    Narrative Imperative.

    It also doesn’t help that he only tells Isabelle to leave. Not Isabelle and Jace, just Isabelle.

    Why, isn’t it obvious? Because he cares about putting Isabelle in dange but Jayce is fair game.

    He also gives Simon a look that makes Simon want to hit him with a pickup truck.

    I’d personally go with a steamroller.

    I don’t understand why. I mean, if her mother were dead, and it was something very important to her mother, sure. But her mom’s not dead, and it’s clearly not that important to her. CC, stop trying to convince me that Clary really cares that much about her mom. I’m not buying it.

    Eh, from where I sit, reading only sporkings and no the books, whenever the thing is mentioned it seems to me like Clary actually cares more about not-wand than her mother. Here she isn’t annoyed that she lost mother’s memento but because she lost a powerful not-magic tool.

    It explains why they don’t have things like cell-phones in Shadowhunter-land, but not why no one uses guns.

    Hell, even if the wards messed up with more complex mechanisms of modern fire arms (which aren’t all that complex anyway) there are still revolvers. Or at least flint locks!

    Oh, there’s also some world building and heavy-handed foreshadowing. See, Lake Lyn is where Raziel first appeared to the first Shadowhunter, Jonathan Shadowhunter, and gave him the magical MacGuffins. My, what a very Franco-German name that is!

    Wait a second. Guy’s name was literally Shadowhunter?! Screw Franco-Geramn part, I refuse to believe anyone with such a name.

    declares that vampires don’t have souls, which is why they don’t have reflections and can’t go out in the sun.

    I think she got them mixed up with gingers.

    (If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably got a guess as to where it is. And if not, trust me – the answer is so stupid and obvious it might make you wonder if Shadowhunters haven’t been feeding their children lead paint for generations)

    For a moment I hoped that the lake as a whole will turn out to be the McGuffin. But that’d be actually pretty clever and somewhat interesting. So it’ll probably turn out the mirror just lies at the bottom. Probably right next to Clary’s notwand because wouldn’t that be convenient…

    Jace really doesn’t like Sebastian. I wouldn’t care, except that this is the most obvious hint that Sebastian is a bad guy. Because Jace is never allowed to be wrong about anyone.

    And more of headcanon. Jayce is actually always wrong about who the bad guy is, he just ends up framing people he doesn’t like to make himself look like one of those Evil-sniffing dogs… errr, I meant great judge of character.

    On the general note – I do so hope that Simon gets a red overcoat, some sunglasses, maybe a wide rimmed hat and guns. High caliber guns, with which to mete out sweet, sweet revange…

  2. Miss_Morgan on 12 April 2018, 09:17 said:

    Aline: “So – what’s it like, being a vampire?”
    Isabelle: “Aline! You can’t just go around asking people what it’s like to be a vampire.”

    I mean… what? Was this supposed to be funny? I feel like it’s a reference to something, which just makes it that much more awkward, because it stands out like a sore thumb.

    Probably this. Except in Mean Girls, it was actually funny.

  3. Aikaterini on 12 April 2018, 10:16 said:

    “her real mother, the tough, fighting Shadowhunter that Clary had never known.” Yeah, as opposed to the woman who ran away from all that and raised Clary.

    And a woman who crumbled when her teenage daughter yelled at her.

    Clary proclaims that she’s a Shadowhunter, and Magnus forcefully reminds her that she’s only barely one. Thank you. Seriously, Clary seems to have forgotten that, until a few weeks ago, she thought she was a normal person.

    And yet she didn’t give a toss when Jace, Alec, and Isabelle all insulted Simon for being a normal person.

    Jace has yet to show any concern for Simon save in the most fleeting and desperate of circumstances.

    Seriously, I feel like Isabelle is meant to be Clare’s mouthpiece when it comes to Jace, otherwise it makes no sense that a girl who was raised with him would be so clueless about what he’s like, especially when he makes no effort to hide it. First she told Clary that Jace killing lots of things was sexy, then she said that Jace is supposedly ‘softer’ around Clary (when we’ve seen absolutely no evidence for that), and now she’s blathering on about how Jace will be relieved about Simon, as if he hasn’t treated him like garbage for this entire series so far. SHOW, DON’T TELL.

    But of course Jace is in a bit of trouble for bringing Simon along.

    Just like he was supposedly in trouble for bringing Clary to the Institute in the first book after he saved her life, which means that we should totally disregard how he could’ve turned her into a Forsaken while doing it? And didn’t Clary also run through a Portal in the first book, despite being told not to?

    And CC immediately starts to set up her next love-triangle.

    Because apparently Clare is a fan of love octagons. This is the same thing that happened in “The Draco Trilogy.” It wasn’t enough that there was a love triangle between Harry, Hermione, and Draco in the first fanfic, “Draco Dormiens.” Nope, then Ginny had to be tossed into the mix, and then Ron had to still be pining over Hermione, and then Pansy had to be in love with Ron, and then Seamus had to start dating Ginny, then Tom Riddle had to start stalking Ginny, and then Draco had to start dating Blaise (who was a girl because this was written before JKR revealed that Blaise was a boy) for absolutely no reason other than to make Ginny jealous, and on and on and on until the whole thing just became one migraine-inducing soap opera.

    And of course, rather than tell Jace where he can stick his smart-ass comments, Isabelle gets a bit flustered and starts making excuses.

    Because heaven forbid that anybody point out Saint Jace’s hypocrisy.

    You’re an ass,” Jace said

    Why, hello there, kettle! You’re looking awfully black today!

    even for a Downworlder.

    I cannot believe the lack of self-awareness that Clare has. Jace calls Simon a jerk, and then, before he even finishes his sentence, spouts out a racist statement. Just…wow. Yeah, Simon’s the jerk. Not the person who won’t stop taunting him about his species because his author has no idea what a gigantic racist he is.

    I mean, good Lord, does someone have to send Cassandra Clare revised versions of her books where someone has gone through every part of Jace’s dialogue with a ‘search and replace’ edit that switches every single mention of ‘Downworlder’ and ‘mundane’ with ‘Jew’, so that she can finally realize what a loathsome racist Jace is? If this was a villain saying these lines, I could see fans arguing that the racism was too over-the-top, for crying out loud.

    “Diva moment”? Really?

    Yep, that’s settles it. Isabelle is Clare’s sockpuppet.

    I only wish this Luke would stick around longer.

    And I wish that this Luke would give the same treatment to Jace.

    I feel like it’s a reference to something

    I agree with Miss_Morgan, I think that it’s “Mean Girls.” Which is fitting because, for all intents and purposes, these ‘tough’ and ‘hardcore’ Shadowhunter girls are Mean Girls. And the ‘tough’ and ‘hardcore’ Shadowhunter boys are nothing more than brainless jocks. And this whole series is really one bad high school soap opera drama with werewolves and vampires thrown in for the heck of it.

    Then we get Simon’s Tragic Backstory ™.

    Do you mean Sebastian? ;)

    Jace really doesn’t like Sebastian.

    Hmm, let’s see. Has a tragic backstory? Check. Knows a bunch of languages? Check. Doesn’t find Jace funny? Check. Actually tries to correct one of his fellow Shadowhunters when she’s being rude and racist to a Downworlder? Check.

    Of course Jace doesn’t like him. He’s competition and he’s a better version of him (for now). He’s proof that Jace isn’t special.

    So, no, Clare’s attempt at ‘foreshadowing’ and proving the rightness of Saint Jace backfired. This boy threatens Jace’s massively bloated ego? Sign me up for Team Sebastian.

  4. Princesselwen on 12 April 2018, 20:03 said:

    The only way I could buy a German guy having the last name ‘Shadowhunter,’ was if that was just the English translation of his German name. Same with the other English-sounding names.
    Some hasty Googling has come up with ‘Schattenjager’ as the German for ‘Shadowhunter.’ (But I can’t do umlaunts in this format.) So that would make their founder’s name ‘Jonathan Schattenjager.’ Still weird.

  5. Zero on 16 April 2018, 09:18 said:

    I’d like to think that Shadowhunter was a nickname and not a last name

  6. The Smith of Lie on 16 April 2018, 16:26 said:

    The only way I could buy a German guy having the last name ‘Shadowhunter,’ was if that was just the English translation of his German name. Same with the other English-sounding names.
    Some hasty Googling has come up with ‘Schattenjager’ as the German for ‘Shadowhunter.’ (But I can’t do umlaunts in this format.) So that would make their founder’s name ‘Jonathan Schattenjager.’ Still weird.

    I’d like to think that Shadowhunter was a nickname and not a last name

    Shadowhunter, or even Schattenjäger [side note – if you ever find yourself unable to add umlauts ‘ae’, ‘oe’ and ‘ue’ are considered viable replacements for ‘ä’, ‘ö’ and ‘ü’ respectively] does not sound like a real name. It’s more like a nickname chosen by an edgy 15 year old playing an assasin in an MMO.

    And it makes even less sense in historical context. I am not an expert or even a well informed amateur, but the most probable naming convention used by German or French knight around Xth or XIth century would use the name of their demense. For example wikipedia’s, admittedly short, list of notable German knights is full of “von This Place” and “von That Place”. It is however bereft of silly, made up professions.

  7. Princesselwen on 19 April 2018, 08:14 said:

    So in that case, what would have made sense would be a place name that had a meaning related to darkness/shadows etc. and the Shadowhunters’ founder as ‘Jonathan von [placename].’ Definitely makes more sense.

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