Hey, folks. It’s been, well, a while. So, before I get going, I feel I should explain my absence.

Around the time I posted the last sporking, I got a job. And not just a regular job, but one in my chosen field, in the specific area that I specialized in. This is, in short, exactly the kind of job I wanted to get after finishing grad school.

And it’s been fun. I genuinely enjoy my work. I might not exactly like getting up in the morning, or how much I’m spending on gas, but those are some very minor complaints in the face of the, “holy crap, I’m doing that thing I wanted to do and getting paid for it, holy crap!”

(Also, I got a short story published in an anthology, which is also super exciting. If you want to support me in that whole “published author” thing, you can pick up a copy here.)

However, as wonderful as that is, the whole “gainful employment” thing is a bit of a time-sink, which isn’t helped by my general laziness. I’ve had to push myself more than once to spend time working on my own writing, so you can imagine how unmotivated I am to get back to this mess.

But I will not be deterred! I set out on this mission six years ago, and I will finish it. I will drive a stake through the heart of this trilogy, and be done with it. I will not let this thing defeat me!

Okay, maybe I overdid it a bit there. I mean, it’s just a stupid YA Urban Fantasy series.

Still, I’ve gazed into this abyss, so it’s only fair to tell you what I saw.

And, since it’s been a while, let’s have a quick re-cap.

So, the Shadowhunter government has finally decided to do something about Valentine. This, for some reason, requires all – or at least most – of the Shadowhunters in the world to gather at their capital/secret clubhouse. Don’t ask me why they all need to be there, they just do.

Also, per a random character we’ve never seen before, there’s a person living in Shadowhunter-land who can bring Jocelyn out of her coma. And Clary needs to be the one to talk to this guy because… reasons. Generation Xerox, mostly.

But oh noes! Jace doesn’t want Clary going to Shadowhunter-land. Because reasons! Reasons that he refuses to explain to Clary, because open, honest communication is the kryptonite of teen soap-opera drama, and that’s the driving force of 90% of the plot in these books. However, Mama Lightwood thinks Clary’s old enough to make her own decisions, so Jace can just deal.

Still, Clary isn’t entirely happy, so she goes to Simon to console her, because that’s what she keeps him around for. But being around Simon makes her feel awkward, because she doesn’t like being reminded that he broke up with her, rather than it being a mutual thing. And maybe Simon is hooking up with Maia, which sets off Clary’s possessive streak.

So then she goes to Luke, and he gives her a coat, and there’s a whole creepy Littlefinger/Sansa vibe and it makes me really uncomfortable, so let’s move on.

Meanwhile, Simon goes to talk to Jace for… reasons. (Yeah, that happens a lot in these books). See, turns out that Jace lied to Clary about when they were leaving, and now wants Simon to cover for him. Why Clary didn’t bother discussing the planned departure time with anyone else, I have no idea. Plot contrivance, probably.

But then, just as they’re about to hop through the magic portal to Shadowhunter-land, the group gets attacked by a bunch of the mooks from the first book. And despite how tough they were presented as being, only two people in the party get hurt – random plot-point lady (we hardly knew ye – seriously, I can’t even remember her name), and Simon (mostly so Jace can get brownie points for saving his life).

In chapter two, Clary shows up at the Institute and discovers what happened, sulks for a bit, then uses her super-sue powers to open up her own portal to Shadowhunter-land, because even though she’s nothing but a drag on the plot for about 95% of every book, CC can’t just cut her out entirely. Clary also drags Luke along, because why not.

Meanwhile, Simon wakes up in Shadowhunter-land, and we get introduced to two new characters – Aline (who will be the new ‘bad girl’ target), and Sebastian. There’s also some stuff about the goings-on with the adults, but since we don’t get to see any of that, I’m left wondering why all these kids got brought along for this trip.

Back with Clary, she and Luke crash-land in a lake in Shadowhunter-land, Clary almost drowns (so close!). Apparently the lake water is kinda toxic to Shadowhunters, but no one else, and is also called “the Mirror of Dreams” – ah, that patented CC “subtle” foreshadowing .They spend the rest of the day walking towards the only city in Shadowhunter-land. This is made marginally acceptable by the fact that Luke doesn’t hold back from criticizing Clary for her incredibly stupid actions.

And, that’s about it. Now, on to chapter 3.

We’re starting off with Luke and Clary. We get a travel montage. Luke plays tour guide. Apparently, there used to be a huge forest in Shadowhunter-land, but the Shadowhunters clear-cut it to build their city, and to deprive the werewolves and vampires that hung out there a place to hide.

I just have one question – why would werewolves and vampires choose to live in this forest? I mean, of all the places to live, you’d think they’d want to avoid the one place where everyone not only knows they exist, but also knows how to kill them.

Shoddy World Building: 1

Anyway, they crest a hill, and see a collection of houses below. Clary thinks they’ve reached the city, but Luke tells her that it’s actually a graveyard. Why is it that Shadowhunters apparently have a need to build elaborate mausoleums for their dead? I mean, it’s not like they live on a flood-plain or something.

Also, apparently all Shadowhunter graveyards are called “City of Bones.” Which just raises more questions.

So they have to walk through the necropolis, and along the way we get the names of some Shadowhunter families, including Cartwright, Merry-weather, Hightower, and Blackwell. Gotta say, for a country sandwitched between France and Germany, these are some very Anglo-sounding names. And not even Anglo-Saxon, but modern English.

It’s almost like CC didn’t put a whole lot of thought into this world at all.

Shoddy World Building: 2

They come across the family tomb of the late Inquisitor, and discover that both her son and husband died in the same year. Which leads to this wonderful bit:

Much as Clary had hated the Inquisitor, she felt something twist inside her, a pity she couldn’t help.

Because we can’t mention the Inquisitor without noting that she was a terrible person. Even when expressing sympathy for her.

Our “Heroes”: 1

Luke gives a quick lesson in Latin that’s probably supposed to be world building, but I just read it as CC fishing for complements about how well-read she is.

They move on, and come across Clary’s mom’s family tomb. Jocelyn’s name is on the tomb. Clary feels the need to point out that her mom isn’t dead, with Luke reminding her that no one else knew that.

Then Clary has an LSD flashback and hallucinates seeing her name on a headstone. It also immediately dates the events to 2007, and apparently Clary was born in 1991. Clary tells Luke what she saw, and he immediately figures out that it’s the lake water, so they need to get moving.

Scene change, and we’re with Simon again.

Jace drags Simon off to what is apparently the library, so they can “have some privacy.” If I didn’t know any better, and didn’t have any context, I’d think they were looking for a place to bang.

But turns out they’re not alone! Max is already in there. Jace tells Max to leave, and Max counters that he’s already been kicked out of the living room. But Jace doesn’t care – I mean, why go bother finding another room in the house when you can just kick the little kid around?

Out “Heroes”: 2

Simon – not being a complete jackass – feels some sympathy for Max. Unfortunately, Max does not reciprocate.

Anyway, Jace starts going off on Simon, calling him “vampire” like he always does.

Our “Heroes”: 3

Seems Jace is a bit mad that Simon wasn’t cooperating with his plan to keep everyone else in the dark about his lies re: Clary.

But instead of pointing out that maybe some of the others – namely the Lightwood kids – might actually agree with him, Simon instead goes after Jace for flirting with Aline. Because somehow this is relevant to Clary. And then brings up the scene from the fairy court.

Dude, I’m still trying to suppress that.

Jace calls Simon “vampire” again.

Our “Heroes”: 4

And we finally get to the damn point – Simon will play along with Jace’s plan, so long as Jace does everything he can to make it clear that he has no romantic interest in Clary. Simon even goes so far as to point out that he’s doing this for Clary’s sake, not his own.

Jace says that he already has, and Simon believes him. I don’t, but then, I’m not being forced to act like an idiot to meet the demands of the plot.

Then Simon asks about the quote Valentine spat out at the end of the last book, because… reasons. Jace is somewhat astonished that Simon doesn’t know it, because it’s from the Old Testament, which he refers to as “your book.” Also, he calls Simon “vampire” yet again.

Our “Heroes”: 5

I’m also tempted to give him another one for the “your book” comment, but I won’t.

Simon points out that being Jewish doesn’t mean he’s memorized everything in Jewish scripture. Also, I doubt an actual Jew would call it the “Old Testament.”

Anyway, Jace explains the allegorical interpretation of the phrase rather than the literal meaning, then speculates as to what Valentine meant. Basically, things are changing, and the status quo will come to an end. And he caps it off with this lovely statement:

“This is our war in heaven, vampire, and only one side can with it. And my father means it to be his.”

Our “Heroes”: 6

Seriously, would it fucking kill you to use his actual name?

Back to Clary and Luke. They finally reach the city. The description is… okay, I guess.

Clary mutters something Hodge told her about the city, which causes Luke to decide that maybe they should be spending less time admiring the view and more time heading to the city.

Luke points out the North Gate, which he says is the one that Downworlders can go through, provided they have the proper documentation. How very… authoritarian of them. Also, why just the North Gate? Guess the Shadowhunters don’t want to risk mixing with Downworlders, so they get their own special entrance. How very… Jim Crow.

As the approach, we get some discussion about something obvious – the city has gates, and guards, but no actual physical walls. Because why have physical defenses and magical ones when you can just have magical ones instead?

You know, for group that’s devoted almost exclusively to fighting, the Shadowhunters kinda suck at basic tactical thinking.

And this huge, obvious, gaping flaw is exploited by our protagonists, who simply walk into the city via a random spot. Clary briefly worries that they’ll run into the wards around the city, but nothing comes of it.

Whew! Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t know if I can handle the tension!

They enter through an alley, and stumble across that rarest of rarities – an actual funny line.

Just like an alley in New York – like every alley in the world, apparently – it smelled like cat pee.

I can’t be certain whether CC “borrowed” that from another work, but I don’t care – it’s actually kinda funny.

Clary notes that the streets are empty. And Luke points out that this is a mixed blessing – they’re less likely to run into anyone, but if they do, it’ll draw more attention.

Good for you, CC. Have a cookie.

And I have to snatch said cookie away, because first, Clary takes Luke’s comment about “everyone” being at a big meeting literally, and when Luke mentions teenagers, Clary thinks of Jace, which sets her heart all aflutter.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

Now is really not the time for this, CC.

Luke breaks Clary out of her little trance by pointing out that he’s breaking the Law simply by being here, so maybe they should get moving.

You Keep Using That Word: 1

And so they start sneaking around, and we get another description of the city. Again, it’s fine.

And it seems like enough people bugged CC about this to get an explanation – why don’t Shadowhunters have or use guns? Answer: because runes stop gunpowder from working.

Well, alright. I mean, I’m 90% certain that’s basically the same explanation from the Harry Potter series for why wizards don’t use muggle tech, but at least it’s an answer. Kinda wish it had been brought up sooner, though.

But enough of that – the meeting’s come to an end, so they have to duck into an alley. And then Clary has another freaky hallucination, first of Luke going werewolf (or going through the “Change” as the incessant terminology insists)

You Keep Using That Word: 2

and when Luke drags her over a bridge, she sees stuff in the water.

Clary collapses, so Luke starts carrying her. What a nice metaphor for this whole series thus far.

Luke eventually reaches the house of his friend, while Clary continues to hallucinate. But only visual hallucinations, mind – we still get commentary from others to figure out what’s going on. Wouldn’t want to confuse the readers, or something.

So it seems this friend of Luke’s is named Amatis. Hey, a character appearing in a chapter named for them! Amazing! And she’s none too happy to see Luke, telling him to leave, and only relenting when Luke explains who Clary is – specifically, that she’s Jocelyn’s daughter. Which Luke puts a lot of emphasis on, for some reason.

The scene ends with Amatis allowing them to come inside.

Well, I’ll say this much – at least we have the impression of stuff happening.

And we’re back to Simon and Jace to finish off the chapter. They come back to the living room to find that Aline’s laid out some snacks, including wine. Question: why do we think that Aline laid out this spread? I mean, I guess it is her house, but why assume that she alone laid it all out?

Simon spots Max sitting in a corner, reading. Both Simon and I can empathize.

Aline starts flirting with Jace, and Simon’s initial reaction to this makes it really, really hard not to read certain… undertones into it. See for yourselves:

[Simon] watched Aline touch Jace’s wrist with her fingers as she reached for a piece of apple, and felt himself tense. But this is what you want him to do, he told himself, and yet somehow he couldn’t get rid of the sense that Clary was being disregarded.

Riiiiiight. ‘Clary’ is being disregarded. Sure.

Simon starts looking around the room and sees that the music (which I may have forgotten to mention) isn’t coming from a stereo, but from a “complicated-looking mechanical contraption.”

What is this devise? No idea. There’s no further description provided. I get the feeling this is CC trying to make Shadowhunters seem all different and weird and whatnot, but there’s no real reason for it. There’s no reason they couldn’t just be using a damn stereo.

Simon thinks about talking to Isabelle, but she’s busy flirting with Sebastian. Then, for no apparent reason, Isabelle decides they need more wine, and goes off to get some. Now, I don’t know how big that bottle was, but given that Max is not partaking, Alec is gone, and Simon and Jace just got back, I have to wonder just how sloshed Isabelle, Sebastian, and Aline must be at this point.

I mean, that’s like, at least 1/3 a bottle each in what, five minutes? Yeah, they’re on a direct course with a nasty hangover.

So Sebastian comes over to talk to Simon, and we get this description of the new guy:

For someone with such dark hair, Simon thought, Sebastian’s skin was very fair, as if he didn’t go out in the sun much.

So, I’m supposed to believe that Simon’s never seen a Goth kid before?

Anyway, they start talking, and Sebastian is pretty open and friendly. So, more points towards the ‘he’s going to be the bad guy’ stuff. Included in the conversation is an actual decent justification for why Shadowhunters keep themselves separate from the rest of humanity – normal folks are kinda happy thinking that all the monsters Shadowhunters confront on a regular basis don’t exist, so bringing that out would be a bad idea.

Sebastian asks Jace for his opinion, and for some reason, Jace responds in what we quickly learn is Romanian. Turns out Sebastian wasn’t lying when he said he spoke Romanian.

Now, I don’t know anyone who speaks Romanian, so I’ll have to rely on Google Translate. Here’s a loose translation:

Jace: “Why are you asking me? You think I’m eavesdropping?”
Sebastian: “Well, you haven’t stopped glaring at me since you got here. I’m just wondering if it’s because you don’t like me, or if you have a nasty case of resting bitch-face.”

Okay, I may have taken a few minor liberties with that, but it’s still pretty accurate.

After that, Sebastian goes to check on Isabelle. I can’t blame him.

Jace is suspicious that Sebastian actually speaks Romanian. For… some reason.

Then Alec comes back. He’s come to pick up Simon and take him to meet with the top Shadowhunters so they can send him back to New York.

You Keep Using That Word: 3 (“Portal”)

Isabelle is upset by this, but Alec rightly points out that Simon kinda isn’t even supposed to be here.

Sorry. Things have gotten a bit dry.

But Simon’s fine with this, and even says he might be back before his mom notices his absence. This prompts another comment from Aline

“You have a mother?” Aline looked amazed.

which everyone ignores.

Our “Heroes”: 7

CC, was Aline intended to make Clary look smart? Because that’s the only reason I can think of for why she’s here. That, and to fawn over Jace in Clary’s absence.

Jace and Alec exchange some coded looks, which really aren’t that coded if someone else picks up on them, and Alec reiterates that Simon will be going home. And once again, does not address him by his name.

Our “Heroes”: 8

And thus ends the chapter.

I’ve learned (or rather, re-learned) some things with sporking this chapter. First, if I actually sit down and just do the work, I can get one of these done fairly quickly.

And secondly, I really, really don’t like this series.

Also, if you want some more tearing down of this series and some of its spin-offs, check out the videos by YouTuber The Authentic Observer. She’s now on the fifth part of her series discussing the multitude of issues with these books, and while she does discuss CC’s works as a whole rather than individually, she’s also read more of these books than I have or ever will. She also talks about other books as well, so you might find something good to read while you’re there.

I have no connection to her at all, so I don’t feel conflicted about plugging her stuff.

And that’s it for me, for now. I’ll try to get the next one out in less than three months.

Counts

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1 (Total: 9)
Entirely Pointless: 0 (Total: 3)
Our “Heroes”: 8 (Total: 30)
Plot Hole: 0 (Total: 4)
Rapier Twit: 0 (Total: 5)
You Keep Using That Word: 3 (Total: 56)
Shoddy World Building: 2 (Total: 7)

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Comment

  1. The Smith of Lie on 1 July 2018, 03:30 said:

    So then she goes to Luke, and he gives her a coat, and there’s a whole creepy Littlefinger/Sansa vibe and it makes me really uncomfortable, so let’s move on.

    That would actually be pretty awesome. I mean if Luke was more like Littlefinger and actually arranged for all that happened in the books for his own benefit. I don’t know, lets say that now he’s a werewolf weakening of Shadowhunters control and complete annihilation of the Valentine’s genocidal clique would benefit him and his pack so he stirs the conflict beteween the two from the shadows.

    There’s also some stuff about the goings-on with the adults, but since we don’t get to see any of that, I’m left wondering why all these kids got brought along for this trip.

    I’d like to say it’s to keep eye on them and prevent them from starting trouble. Like say antagonizing a whole werewolf pack or dragging a vanilla mortal somewhere he could become a target for vampires… But the only character who could have such reasonable motivations sadly died last book. Oh Inquisitor, we hardly knew ye.

    Anyway, Jace starts going off on Simon, calling him “vampire” like he always does.

    I’d so want for Simon to reciprocate and start reffering to Jace only per “bigoted arsewipe”. But I’m afraid that in Shadohunter Funland that wouldn’t be quite enough to identify a specific individual.

    Luke points out the North Gate, which he says is the one that Downworlders can go through, provided they have the proper documentation. How very… authoritarian of them. Also, why just the North Gate? Guess the Shadowhunters don’t want to risk mixing with Downworlders, so they get their own special entrance. How very… Jim Crow.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this could have been sort of justifiable. While I’m all about pointing how racist the “mundane” thing is, with many of supernatural creatures using hightened security makes sense. I mean at least vampires traditionally pray on humans, this makes certain amount of bias against them understandable.

    On the other hand however we have seen no evidence of such approach in populations outside, where vanilla mortals are potential victims for Downworlders and where it’d be more useful than in capital of guys who are trained to fight all those supposed predators…

    So even when it could make some small amount of sense it still doesn’t.

    As the approach, we get some discussion about something obvious – the city has gates, and guards, but no actual physical walls. Because why have physical defenses and magical ones when you can just have magical ones instead?

    So they could fail at the exact moment the Big Bad du’jour attacks so there could be a climactic battle in the streets?

    And this huge, obvious, gaping flaw is exploited by our protagonists, who simply walk into the city via a random spot. Clary briefly worries that they’ll run into the wards around the city, but nothing comes of it.

    Wow, that are some terrible, terrible wards. I could imagine that they’d be set to ignore Shadowhunters entering. Still terrible flaw, given that Voldentine is still around and the last time we heard from him he wanted to set an army of demons upon the Shadowhunters Capital, but potentially understandable. But the fact that a werewolf can just get in and not set off any alarms/get vapurized by defensive spells? Why do they even bother with any wards in that case?

    Clary thinks of Jace, which sets her heart all aflutter.

    For what it’s worth my own head canon is that this wasn’t her heart going all aflutter due to Jace but arythmia from the poisoning setting in.

    bq, Answer: because runes stop gunpowder from working.

    Well that is convenient. What is the range of that effect? Why does it only affect gunpowder but not electronics or internal combustion engines? Why not use flamethrowers, those don’t use gunpowder? Why not use other kinds of explisoves, which could be potnetially set to explode outside that weird dampening field range?

    I so want to see a scene in which Shadowhunters get overwhelemed by vanilla mortals abusing their thechnological advantage.

    Simon starts looking around the room and sees that the music (which I may have forgotten to mention) isn’t coming from a stereo, but from a “complicated-looking mechanical contraption.”

    I wonder if CC knows that there actually exist “mechanical contraption” that has been used to produce sound and it’s called gramophone and isn’t all that complex.

    There’s no reason they couldn’t just be using a damn stereo.

    Maybe setereos are gunpowder powered, so the runes interrupt them?

    Sebastian asks Jace for his opinion, and for some reason, Jace responds in what we quickly learn is Romanian.

    Why? Just… Why? Is there any reason given for suddenly switching the language mid conversation?

  2. Aikaterini on 2 July 2018, 14:21 said:

    Glad to see you back. :) Congratulations on your story’s publication!

    Gotta say, for a country sandwitched between France and Germany, these are some very Anglo-sounding names.

    Seriously, is Valentine the only Shadowhunter with a Germanic surname?

    Because we can’t mention the Inquisitor without noting that she was a terrible person

    A terrible person for daring to not bow down to King Jace and to try to punish him for his horrible actions. What a monster.

    But Jace doesn’t care – I mean, why go bother finding another room in the house when you can just kick the little kid around?

    Yeah, so much for the ‘protective, fierce caring’ that Jace was supposed to show to Max in one scene. Good to know what that really was: a transparent attempt to make it seem like Jace has redeeming qualities when he really doesn’t.

    Jace starts going off on Simon, calling him “vampire” like he always does.

    Yep, so much for Simon’s transformation gaining him cred in the supernatural community. Oh, you’re not a measly little mundane anymore? That’s okay, Jace will instead call you ‘vampire.’ Anything to avoid calling you by your actual name. Because Jace is a waste of space.

    Jace is somewhat astonished that Simon doesn’t know it, because it’s from the Old Testament, which he refers to as “your book.”

    Isn’t Cassandra Clare herself Jewish? I wonder if she heard something like this from someone in real life or if this is supposed to be self-deprecating humor.

    Seriously, would it fucking kill you to use his actual name?

    Yes. Because by calling him by his name, Jace would be acknowledging that Simon is an actual person, instead of a worthless specimen that he has the right to ridicule and trample underfoot.

    Sebastian is pretty open and friendly. So, more points towards the ‘he’s going to be the bad guy’ stuff

    Because that’s how you know who the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ are. The ‘good guys’ are upfront about how nasty and horrible they are. That makes them so much better than the ‘bad guys’ who pretend to be nice and friendly. Because the only way that a character could be nice and friendly is if they were secretly a villain. Yeah, I don’t really like this trope.

    Jace is suspicious that Sebastian actually speaks Romanian. For… some reason.

    Because heaven forbid that Saint Jace be wrong about anything.

    Seriously, why is there even a plot? Jace magically knows everything, so if everybody just listened to what he said, the story would be over. According to the narrative, at least.

    CC, was Aline intended to make Clary look smart? Because that’s the only reason I can think of for why she’s here. That, and to fawn over Jace in Clary’s absence.

    Actually, now I’m wondering if Aline was indeed supposed to be a foil to Clary. Which makes it even funnier that she’s introduced along with Sebastian, because both characters are prime examples of the narrative’s ridiculous lack of awareness of how Clary and Jace really are.

    Is there any reason given for suddenly switching the language mid conversation?

    To show off that Clare knows Romanian. That’s really it.

  3. The Smith of Lie on 2 July 2018, 15:29 said:

    To show off that Clare knows Romanian. That’s really it.

    That is reasonably impressive, but not a good reason to have conversation switch to that language without any rhyme or reason.

    What bothers me the most is that, from what I gather through the spork, it is as if Jace switched to Romanian on the whim and then was actually surprised that the guy he did that to, also speaks Romanian…

    So, was Jace just trying to be an ass? I’d understand it if he in his usually charmful manner switched to language both he and Sebastian know with a handwave “vampire is listeneing”. It’d be a dick move, but at least a kind of dick move we all expect from Jace anyways. Speaking Romanian is just so random.

  4. Juracan on 2 July 2018, 15:53 said:

    So they have to walk through the necropolis, and along the way we get the names of some Shadowhunter families, including Cartwright, Merry-weather, Hightower, and Blackwell. Gotta say, for a country sandwitched between France and Germany, these are some very Anglo-sounding names. And not even Anglo-Saxon, but modern English.

    I know we’ve talked about this before, but…yeaaaaah. These are really English names. Like, you might as well have a Shadowhunter named T.N. Crumpets. They’re all English words. I’d have given this more slack if Shadowhunters were meant to be from all over, but as you’ve pointed out in these sporks, they’re a very insular culture, and apparently all come from this one spot where neither the language nor the culture is English.

    These aren’t even really ancient-sounding names. They sound, if anything to be names I’d expect to find in a British rural drama, not in an ancient secret society based in mainland Europe.

    “This is our war in heaven, vampire, and only one side can with it. And my father means it to be his.”

    But…the War in Heaven isn’t in the Old Testament? And looking back at your sporking, the quote they’re discussing in question is from Daniel…

    Like, I know CC wants to sound all epic by bringing in references to the Bible and mythology, but this is a really weird turn for this conversation to take. Nevermind that it’s a really stupid sentence too: “We’re having a war and only one of us can win it, and the bad guy wants it to be him.” No duh, Jace!

    Sebastian asks Jace for his opinion, and for some reason, Jace responds in what we quickly learn is Romanian. Turns out Sebastian wasn’t lying when he said he spoke Romanian.

    Smith already asked, but…why? Would would these people in Western Europe know Romanian? Out of languages that these guys would have to know at a young age, English, French, Spanish, German, and maybe something like Chinese would be good to cover your bases in large chunks of the world. But I can’t imagine why Romanian would be a widely-used language with Shadowhunters, unless they’re like stationed in Romania or something.

    Well that is convenient. What is the range of that effect? Why does it only affect gunpowder but not electronics or internal combustion engines? Why not use flamethrowers, those don’t use gunpowder? Why not use other kinds of explisoves, which could be potnetially set to explode outside that weird dampening field range?

    Basically, yes. As you said Apep, it’s an answer, but it’s not a very good one. Do runes stop anything from igniting? Or specifically gunpowder? Because if it’s just gunpowder, that’s a weirdly specific side effect. It also means that Shadowhunters, by all rights, should have just come up with firearms or other guns that don’t use gunpowder. Paintball guns work with air pressure, for instance, and for people who hunt demons they could easily fill those with something like Holy Water.

    Man, CC gets really lazy sometimes, huh?

  5. Lunafreya on 7 July 2018, 22:36 said:

    For all those wondering about the Romanian thing, I have a theory.

    SPOILERS AHOY!

    …You’ve been warned.

    I’ve only read the first half of City of Bones before DNFing, so most of my knowledge of this series comes from watching the TV show (which was cancelled), Wikia, Goodreads reviews, and these sporkings. And I know the show deviates from the books a lot, so I apologise in advance if I get something wrong.

    Onto the actual theory.

    I think Sebastian knowing Romanian and Jace’s suspicious attitude towards it is CC’s way of “subtly” hinting that Sebastian is Valentine’s real son/Clary’s real brother.
    Jace is suspicious because the only other person he’s met who knows Romanian is Valentine, and he’s jumping to the conclusion that Sebastian must’ve learned the language from Valentine.
    But as foreshadowing, it fails, because Romanian isn’t really that obscure of a language. So it makes Jace’s leap in logic look ridiculous.

    Jace knows a bunch of demon languages, right? It would’ve been far more effective for CC to come up with a name for a demon language, Google it to make sure it hasn’t been used before, and have Jace say Valentine taught it to him. Then, later on when Sebastian mentions knowing the same language, readers can make the connection instead of going “Why the hell is Jace fixated on Sebastian knowing Romanian???”

  6. The Smith of Lie on 8 July 2018, 18:07 said:

    @Lunafreya

    Now this idea sort of makes sense. But from what we can get in sporks, the execution fails terribly.

    Romanian is not incredibly obscure, but it is obscure enough for someone not having any direct connections with Romania to know it (family, living there, majoring in philology/linguistics of the region, et caetera). Lets be honest, most people chooses to learn a secondary language based on which languages are most commonly spoken. Which means that right after English the most popular are probably something like Spanish, German and French.

    Now given the supposed location of Shadowhunterland knowledge of French and German should be pretty common, as should be knowledge of English, given its status as a de facto lingua franca of our times. Romanian doesn’t seem inherently tied to Shadowhunters so I can see how knowing it is enough to raise some eyebrows.

    What is lacking in making the whole thing a viable foreshadowing is set up of connection between Voldentine and Romania. At no point has Apep mentioned there being any particular reason for Voldentine and/or his allies to speak Romanian. If I were of a less generous sort, I’d speculate how this is a switch up from Bulgaria in Harry Potter, where Voldemort spent his time as disembodied shadow.

    So, with only the flimsy occurance of Voldentine having taught Jace Romanian, there is not enough connection to make Sebastian knowing it suspicious work. It might not be a very common language but the fact that Voldentine happens to know it as well is just coincidence as far as anyone in the audience know.

    Maybe if at some point in the past, during one of the exposition dumps, it has been established that Voldentine spent his youth there (possibly eradicating vampires Târgoviște or some other such excuse) or that hish Death Eaters were operating from Romania during their uprising, then there’d be a shred of credibility to Jace suspicion.

    And even then it’d work better if he was just sort of surprised, but not outright suspicious. Let the reader join the dots. But from what I’ve read about her books, CC doesn’t do foreshadowing in any other way than hamfisted proclamations of what’s to happen.

  7. TMary on 19 July 2018, 07:48 said:

    Last long-butt comment, I promise. At least till you post the next sporking. Take your time responding, or don’t respond at all, heaven knows I take eons myself.

    But serious congratulations to you on the job and the published story! Sounds like things are going well, I’m happy for you. :)

    Also, I like the inspirational speeches video XD

    only two people in the party get hurt – random plot-point lady (we hardly knew ye – seriously, I can’t even remember her name)

    Madeleine/Madeline. Not that it really matters.

    she and Luke crash-land in a lake in Shadowhunter-land, Clary almost drowns

    I think you mean “and Clary almost drowns”.

    ah, that patented CC “subtle” foreshadowing .

    Swap that space around, it needs to be after the full stop and before the “They”.

    and to deprive the werewolves and vampires that hung out there a place to hide.

    Every time I think the Shadowhunters can’t be any bigger berks, they prove me wrong.

    Also, “of a place to hide”.

    Why is it that Shadowhunters apparently have a need to build elaborate mausoleums for their dead?

    I mean, this is a story set in a world where vampires and werewolves and demons exist; if you wanted a supernatural justification for elaborate mausoleums, you could definitely have one. But no!

    along the way we get the names of some Shadowhunter families, including Cartwright, Merry-weather, Hightower, and Blackwell.

    Well, if you’re going to use “Merryweather”, CC, there’s only one GIF I can pull out in response to these names.

    Don’t you touch that precious little grumpy fairy’s name, CC. She’ll turn you into a fat ol’ hoptoad.

    for a country sandwitched between France and Germany,

    “Sandwiched”.

    Because we can’t mention the Inquisitor without noting that she was a terrible person. Even when expressing sympathy for her.

    Remind me again, what did the Inquisitor do that was so, so bad? I remember her chaining Jace to the wall when she thought he was a criminal, but that’s about it.

    but I just read it as CC fishing for complements

    Compliments. You compliment a person’s shirt by telling them that it complements their eyes. nodnod

    I’m with you on the fishing thing, though.

    Then Clary has an LSD flashback

    Minor quibble, but is it really a flashback when she’s never seen this before?

    But Jace doesn’t care – I mean, why go bother finding another room in the house when you can just kick the little kid around?

    I mean, it’s not like Jace hasn’t always been a monumental git, and it’s not like this is even the worst thing he’s done, but there is something particularly unattractive to me about a man who’s mean to little kids. Nope, sorry. That’s a deal-breaker there. It’s a deal-breaker about any kind of relationship, to be honest. Don’t be mean to little kids.

    Out “Heroes”: 2

    “Our” Heroes.

    And we finally get to the damn point – Simon will play along with Jace’s plan, so long as Jace does everything he can to make it clear that he has no romantic interest in Clary. Simon even goes so far as to point out that he’s doing this for Clary’s sake, not his own.

    Nah, see, I don’t buy that, Simon. If this was for Clary’s sake, you wouldn’t be letting Jace lie to her and manipulate her instead of just talking things out; after all, even if he’s not her boyfriend, siblings should communicate too. This is purely because you’re jealous.

    It’s okay, though, dude, I still like you better than anyone else in these books.

    I’m also tempted to give him another one for the “your book” comment, but I won’t.

    Do. He’s being a real-life offensive bigot instead of just a fantasy one.

    CC is Jewish, right?

    This is our war in heaven, vampire, and only one side can with it.

    Can “win” it. Although the idea that Jace is saying “Only one side can get with it” is pretty funny XD

    Seriously, would it fucking kill you to use his actual name?

    I mean, either way, I’m not complaining.

    And this huge, obvious, gaping flaw is exploited by our protagonists, who simply walk into the city via a random spot. Clary briefly worries that they’ll run into the wards around the city, but nothing comes of it.

    You friggin’ didn’t, CC. drops her head into her hands I was even about to ask, does Luke have the Proper Documentation, but then I decided to keep reading to see if that was answered and OH LOOK, IT DOESN’T MATTER drops head and hands onto desk

    Answer: because runes stop gunpowder from working.

    Dae they, aye?

    I mean, I’m 90% certain that’s basically the same explanation from the Harry Potter series for why wizards don’t use muggle tech, but at least it’s an answer.

    But…but…but no! Hermione explains that magic stops Muggle technology that runs on electricity from working, but she explains that it’s magic, itself, and it only happens in places like Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, where there’s so much magic in the air that it screws up the technology. Things like watches still seem to work, because they don’t run on electricity (or don’t have to).

    That’s not how runes work. Runes are very specifically tuned to one thing each, and you have to draw them on something for them to have any effect. So, unless you drew runes on gunpowder, somehow, for whatever bizarre reason, this explanation doesn’t work! It’s just STUPID!

    pants Sorry, Apep, but if you weren’t going to get angry, I was going to have to.

    But only visual hallucinations, mind – we still get commentary from others to figure out what’s going on. Wouldn’t want to confuse the readers, or something.

    THAT’S NOT HOW HALLUCINATIONS WORK, CC. thinks back to Fever 1793, a good book with a good description of hallucinations She could have just had Clary hallucinate for a little while and then wake up and ask what happened, if she didn’t want to confuse anyone, but nooo…

    Hey, a character appearing in a chapter named for them! Amazing!

    Hooray! I mean, she’s still not exactly the focus of the chapter, but hooray!

    I mean, I guess it is her house, but why assume that she alone laid it all out?

    She’s the girl? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Simon spots Max sitting in a corner, reading. Both Simon and I can empathize.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I end up doing at parties, too.

    Simon starts looking around the room and sees that the music (which I may have forgotten to mention) isn’t coming from a stereo, but from a “complicated-looking mechanical contraption.”

    Well, huh. I mean, if she’s running with “electricity doesn’t work around magic” (even though she’s clearly not cough), that might be interesting. Like, what is this thing? How does it work? What’s it look like? How does it power itself? This might be a cool tidbit to add to her—

    What is this devise? No idea. There’s no further description provided. I get the feeling this is CC trying to make Shadowhunters seem all different and weird and whatnot, but there’s no real reason for it. There’s no reason they couldn’t just be using a damn stereo.

    Of course.

    Also, it’s “device”. Devise is the verb.

    Now, I don’t know how big that bottle was, but given that Max is not partaking, Alec is gone, and Simon and Jace just got back, I have to wonder just how sloshed Isabelle, Sebastian, and Aline must be at this point.

    That might explain why everyone’s devolved into flirting with each other.

    So, I’m supposed to believe that Simon’s never seen a Goth kid before?

    Or, shoot, someone like me? My hair’s so dark brown it’s almost black, but I’m a fair-skinned, blue-eyed, quick-burning Anglo-Celtic American (with some Italian, but that’s not important).

    Sebastian asks Jace for his opinion, and for some reason, Jace responds in what we quickly learn is Romanian.

    So…why does Jace speak Romanian all of a sudden?

    Jace is suspicious that Sebastian actually speaks Romanian.

    The phrasing here is a bit confusing; did you mean he’s suspicious because Sebastian speaks Romanian, or suspicious that he actually doesn’t and is faking it? Either way, his suspicion doesn’t make sense.

    “You have a mother?” Aline looked amazed.

    throws third-nearest object at Aline I don’t care how sloshed you are, there’s no excuse for that kind of remark.

    Smith of Lie: I’d so want for Simon to reciprocate and start reffering to Jace only per “bigoted arsewipe”. But I’m afraid that in Shadohunter Funland that wouldn’t be quite enough to identify a specific individual.

    Ooh, burn. XD

    Smith of Lie: I wonder if CC knows that there actually exist “mechanical contraption” that has been used to produce sound and it’s called gramophone and isn’t all that complex.

    Yes! I thought of that too. Come on, didn’t she ever watch The Aristocats as a kid?

    Lunafreya: Jace knows a bunch of demon languages, right? It would’ve been far more effective for CC to come up with a name for a demon language, Google it to make sure it hasn’t been used before, and have Jace say Valentine taught it to him. Then, later on when Sebastian mentions knowing the same language, readers can make the connection instead of going “Why the hell is Jace fixated on Sebastian knowing Romanian???”

    Ooh! That does make sense, and I like it. :)

  8. The Smith of Lie on 19 July 2018, 13:02 said:

    Last long-butt comment, I promise. At least till you post the next sporking. Take your time responding, or don’t respond at all, heaven knows I take eons myself.

    Can’t talk for Apep or any other Sporkers, but as someone who misses long-ass discussions that happened under the sporks in the time of yore I welcome your short essay masquerading as a comment.

    Madeleine/Madeline. Not that it really matters.

    Little known fact – Madeline in Enochian means “random plot-point lady”.

    Remind me again, what did the Inquisitor do that was so, so bad? I remember her chaining Jace to the wall when she thought he was a criminal, but that’s about it.

    She commited the worst possible crime of all. She did not uncoditionally accept Jace as her lord and saviour and refused to bend over backwards to satisfy his every whim. This makes her a villain much worse that Voldentine.

    Minor quibble, but is it really a flashback when she’s never seen this before?

    I’m not certain if this is what Apep had in mind, but in psychiatry Flashback can mean a recurring perception disturbance that is similar to effect of imbibing hallucinogenic drugs. It is often considered to be connected to abuse of LSD, which makes me think this is what Apep meant.

    That’s not how runes work. Runes are very specifically tuned to one thing each, and you have to draw them on something for them to have any effect. So, unless you drew runes on gunpowder, somehow, for whatever bizarre reason, this explanation doesn’t work! It’s just STUPID!

    Of course it is. Because it is not an honest part of world building but a hand wave to make a recurring question “Why don’t Shadowhunters use guns?” go away. While the real reason is something along the lines “because CC wanted to have her heroes run with assortment of cool looking, but impractical weapons such as daggers and whips but couldn’t be bothered to have an actual reason for it beyond authorial fiat”.

    So…why does Jace speak Romanian all of a sudden?

    Nobody knows! Including Jace and CC I bet!

  9. TMary on 20 July 2018, 04:59 said:

    Can’t talk for Apep or any other Sporkers, but as someone who misses long-ass discussions that happened under the sporks in the time of yore I welcome your short essay masquerading as a comment.

    Haha! Yeah, I’ve seen some of those discussions under the old sporkings. It makes me sad to see how quiet ImpishIdea has gotten recently :(

    And oh ho, this one was actually the shortest one I left, I think. The one under Chapter Two was almost as long as the sporking itself; I got carried away. :S

    Little known fact – Madeline in Enochian means “random plot-point lady”.

    giggles

    She commited the worst possible crime of all. She did not uncoditionally accept Jace as her lord and saviour and refused to bend over backwards to satisfy his every whim. This makes her a villain much worse that Voldentine.

    I remember that, and it was deeply, deeply satisfying, but I was trying to remember if there was anything else she did, like anything outright cruel, and all I remember was that she wouldn’t let him just wander around while he was under investigation. Which of course seemed perfectly reasonable to perfectly reasonable people, but I know CC wanted us to go “What a monster!” when we saw that.

    I’m not certain if this is what Apep had in mind, but in psychiatry Flashback can mean a recurring perception disturbance that is similar to effect of imbibing hallucinogenic drugs. It is often considered to be connected to abuse of LSD, which makes me think this is what Apep meant.

    Ahhh, OK. Thanks :)

    Of course it is. Because it is not an honest part of world building but a hand wave to make a recurring question “Why don’t Shadowhunters use guns?” go away. While the real reason is something along the lines “because CC wanted to have her heroes run with assortment of cool looking, but impractical weapons such as daggers and whips but couldn’t be bothered to have an actual reason for it beyond authorial fiat”.

    I’m just so ticked off by this because there are better ways she could have done it, if she wanted to go that route. Like, she could have had it that demons and whatnot can only be killed by blades made of some kind of special metal, some kind of special metal which is really hard to get your hands on, say, so it’s easier to take what you have and form it into a blade rather than keep making bullets, because with a bullet you only have one shot. This is just off the top of my head stuff.

    I just…I don’t understand why authors get so lazy, especially fantasy authors. Isn’t the fun part of writing a fantasy story getting as deep into the world and characters as you possibly can, and making up all the rules and figuring out how everything works and interacts? Why would you not want to do that? Why would you want to skip over making your world as rich and magical as it could possibly be?

    But whatever explanation she used, she could at least have brought it up at the very beginning of the story! I mean, in Harry Potter guns are never even brought up, as far as I remember, but that’s because the UK doesn’t have guns the way the US does, so J. K. Rowling never really thought about it (and I’ve heard that, when questioned, she said a Muggle with a gun could definitely beat a wizard with a wand, if the Muggle had the element of surprise). There’s really no excuse for a novel set in New York, though.

    Nobody knows! Including Jace and CC I bet!

    snort Now I’ve got the mental image of Jace responding to Sebastian in Romanian and being just as confused by it as everyone else.

  10. The Smith of Lie on 20 July 2018, 06:25 said:

    I’m just so ticked off by this because there are better ways she could have done it, if she wanted to go that route. Like, she could have had it that demons and whatnot can only be killed by blades made of some kind of special metal, some kind of special metal which is really hard to get your hands on, say, so it’s easier to take what you have and form it into a blade rather than keep making bullets, because with a bullet you only have one shot. This is just off the top of my head stuff.

    Oh, this have been recurring part of discussion since the spork of the first book. CC seemingly didn’t put any kind of thought into Shadowhunters combat doctrine. One of the best contrasts are the Witcher books, because there is certain similarity in the role of Witchers and Shadowhunters in their respective worlds.

    Sapkowski did some things that were impractical and silly, like wearing the swords slung on the back, for the sake of coolnes. But it is obvious he gave the way Witchers actually fight monsters a lot of thought. Simple things – two swords, because some creatures are vulnerable to silver. Cat-like eyes because external light source is liability when fighting in confined space and can be easily lost. Fighting style based mostly on mobility, because many monsters are too strong to try and match them.

    CC meanwhile seems to have a large table full of random stuff and d100 to roll for it. “And Maryse fought with [sound of rolling] with naginata.”

    I just…I don’t understand why authors get so lazy, especially fantasy authors. Isn’t the fun part of writing a fantasy story getting as deep into the world and characters as you possibly can, and making up all the rules and figuring out how everything works and interacts? Why would you not want to do that? Why would you want to skip over making your world as rich and magical as it could possibly be?

    Don’t understand it either. I don’t have work ethic to ever write it down, but I just keep coming up with different fantasy worlds in my head and if I get an idea that I like, then finding a reason for it to be that way is fun in and of itself. Hell, even under Apep’s very sporks I had on an occasion came with an idea or two, that could have been worked into the books to have them make more sense. Just as a thought experiment. Which bares the laziness behind the world building even more.

  11. Apep on 20 July 2018, 11:20 said:

    RE: guns – Okay, I guess I need to provide some more information.

    From what I recall, demons and such can only really be hurt by rune-enhanced weapons, and maybe gold/electrum (not great materials for making bullets). So, given that runes don’t work well with gunpowder, it does make sense. And Luke does mention that some Shadowhunters do use guns when facing werewolves (silver bullets).

    Again, I’m not saying it’s a good explanation, or even an original one. But it is an explanation, and it makes sense. And yeah, it wouldn’t surprise me if the real reason was so CC could have Shadowhunters using all kinds of weird, random weapons.

    My big issue is why this is only being explained now. This is something that’s been bothering me since the first book. There’s no reason for why CC didn’t address this there, or in the second.