Hail and well met, all, and welcome back. No point wasting time, so let’s get to the recap and on to the chapter.

Last time in City of Glass, Simon got a whole lot of info dumped on him while also constantly being referred to by terms other than his name. I guess it all had to be done somewhere, and it wasn’t like Simon was actually doing anything, so I guess that’s just making lemonade from lemons.

Meanwhile, after going off on Jace for keeping Simon’s presence a secret, Clary convinced Jace to come with her to the old Wayland manor where he grew up, which is – for some inexplicable reason – still unoccupied. There, they not only easily found the book of magic that Clary’s mom had conveniently hidden there many years ago and which Valentine – despite living there for probably the better part of a decade – had never found, they managed to “conveniently” trigger the secret door leading down to Valentine’s secret basement.

I swear, this is the kind of writing you’d expect from a bad episode of Scooby-Doo.

Anyway, Chapter 9 is called “This Guilty Blood.” I can practically taste the angst.

We pick up right where we left off. I’ll be fair and admit that the ending of the last chapter was a decent cliffhanger. However, I’m going to ding it because it’s literally right after the end of the last chapter.

A Word From Our Sponsors: 1

(Side-note: I am a man, and I love this commercial and it’s message. If you have a problem with that, feel free to leave. I’m not above locking the comments on this post if it gets ugly.)

And as if that’s not bad enough, we open with this brilliant observation from Jace:

“I didn’t even remember there even BEING a cellar here,”

No Shit Sherlock: 1

Gee, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be aware of the very obviously hidden secret basement, Jace. Real head-scratcher, that.

Jace shines his magic flashlight down there, giving us a decent description of the secret passage. The two briefly wonder what might be down there before Jace decides that going down into the secret basement of the Big Bad’s house, without so much as contacting any of his friends, let alone getting some backup, is a good idea.

Un-Logic: 1

That’s for sheer idiocy. Yes, I know, “the plot says so,” but could we at least pretend that we have an excuse for this?

Clary hesitates for a moment before deciding to go with Jace, because she’s a big ol’ scaredy cat.

We’re informed that the stairs spiral down, “as if they were making their way through the inside of a huge conch shell.”

You Keep Using That Word: 1

Because I guess “spiral” wasn’t descriptive enough, or something. Aside from that, though, the description is fine. There’s also a smell I neglected to mention – described as “dank, musty, with a weird metallic tinge” – that gets stronger the deeper they go.

Eventually, they reach the bottom, with pentagrams, runes, bones, and what are probably old bloodstains on the walls.

Now, again, to be fair, this isn’t terrible writing. However, I will point out that our two supposed heroes have a very muted reaction to this. Seriously, as dark as the Harry Potter books got (and they did get dark at times), if Harry, Ron, and Hermione had stumbled onto something like this, they probably would have lost their shit, and rightly so.

Clary asks about the bones, and Jace concludes that they’re the remains of experiments, then mentions that the Seelie Queen maybe said something about this in the last book (I have no desire to confirm this, so sure). Clary asks if the bones are from animals, and Jace says that they aren’t, or at least not all of them.

It’s at this point that Clary decides to say they should go back. But Jace is having none of it, instead deciding to look in the corner where something is concealed under a cloth, even pulling one of his not-lightsabers out of… somewhere. I’m not kidding about that, either – even the narration acknowledges that Clary has no idea where he pulled it from.

Jace yanks aside the cloth, and after much fluff from the narration, we find out what’s under there – a no-shit, real, in-the-flesh angel. It’s chained to the floor and looks like he’s been starved almost to death, but it – or rather, he – is an angel.

Now, under normal circumstances, this would be a big deal. But given how CC tends to drop hints like a destroyer dropping depth-charges, it was pretty obvious that Valentine had managed to get his hands on angel blood or something, which kinda takes a lot of the punch out of this “revelation.”

Also, Clary somehow confused its wings for a white rag. Don’t ask me how anyone who’s seen so much as a picture of a bird’s wings could possibly confuse them for a rag, but there we are.

Jace and Clary are amazed, because the audience sure isn’t. Clary even brings up that no one in this supernatural society believes angels exist. I mean, yeah, there’s a major power group that literally claims to be descended from people infused with angelic power, names their principle weapons after angels, and even swear by one angel in particular, but you know, it’s not like they actually believe angels exist or anything. That’d be silly.

Un-Logic: 2

Meanwhile, Jace is freaking out, and tries to touch the angel, only to be stopped by some invisible barrier. It’s at this point that they notice the magic circle the angel is lying in. I’ll let it slide, because angel, but the fact that the runes and whatnot are glowing makes it a borderline case.

Jace makes a comment about wanting to help, and it’s at this point that the angel seems to notice them. It’s pointed out that it’s hair is just like Jace’s, because of course it is

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

but apart from that, it looks like shit, though it very clearly used to look good. It starts making a noise. Sadly, it is not the tinnitus-like sound angels in Supernatural make that causes stuff to explode and people to bleed from the ears.

No, this does something much worse – sends us into a flashback. Or rather, a series of flashbacks. They consist of the following:

Valentine summoning the angel
Valentine and Jocelyn talking about the Accords, which Valentine obviously doesn’t like.
Valentine speaking to some demon woman whom he calls “Lady of Edom” (no ding because it might actually be her name) and getting demon blood from her. She also drops some names that are probably references to Hebrew folklore, but nothing else. But remember, “all myths are true.”

Shoddy World Building: 1

Also, the demon woman’s eyes are black. Gee, wonder if that’s somehow significant?
Jocelyn meeting with Ragnor Fell, and telling him about Valentine feeding demon blood to baby Jonathan, and how it’s just so horrible.
Valentine getting mad and stabbing the angel.
Jocelyn hiding the magic book they literally just found.
Valentine interrogating the angel (whose name is revealed to be Ithuriel, but who I will continue to refer to as the angel), and actually raising an interesting point about Shadowhunters not having any special powers – namely, that it’s not very fair, given what they were made to fight.

And before it all ends, we get two final reveals: first, that all of Clary’s weird dreams were sent by the angel. Guess that kinda explains things, if one assumes angels have foreshadowing powers. And second, Clary gets shown a fancy new rune, which will absolutely turn out to do something super important and be critical to their success, because when has this series ever made her work for anything?

I’ll give CC this much – as methods of providing a lot of exposition in a short period of time, while also maintaining some degree of secrecy, it works.

And now we’re back with Clary and Jace. They want to do something to help the angel, but are sad that they can’t. Jace activates his not-lightsaber again, because his default response to just about every situation is violence. Only the almighty hand of the author comes down and slaps him, and he points out that, oh yeah, there’s a circle of runes on the ground.

Clary draws over them a bit with her not-wand, and poof, the angel is free. Because again, why should she have to put forth actual effort.

And, now that he’s served his purpose, the angel grabs Jace’s not-lightsaber and kills himself. Burns up, too, so there’s no need to worry about cleanup afterwards.

And apparently the angels was a ꞌꞌload-bearing bossꞌꞌ:https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LoadBearingBoss, because then the whole building starts to shake. Clary even points this out in what I assume is an attempt at lampshading by CC.

They run up the stairs and I’m sure it’s all supposed to be super-tense, but we haven’t even hit the halfway point, so there’s no way that either of the two principal characters are getting killed off now. Shit’s falling over, so of course Jace picks Clary up Superman-style and jumps out the window.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 2

Clary lands and is disoriented for a second, but Jace does a cool roll-crouch thing, because of course he doesn.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 3

Jace shoves Clary into what sounds like low spot on the ground, rather than helping her up and running away from the collapsing house. Because why would someone try to run away from a collapsing building?

Reminder, CC lived in New York for at least a little while, and this book was published in 2009. Because it’s not like there were any events in that city in recent memory involving buildings collapsing.

The two idiots we’re stuck with as protagonists then cower there for a bit, ending the scene.

And the next one picks up about, oh, a minute or so later, once all the noise has stopped.

A Word From Our Sponsors: 2

Clary tells Jace that she dropped his not-wand somewhere. I can’t bring myself to care.

(Side-note: apparently she borrowed his, rather than using her mom’s. Or something. Honestly, I don’t care enough to really check.)

Jace sort-of gets up just to confirm that all he cares about is Clary being safe. He’s still basically laying on top of her, though.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 4

And buckle-up, because there’s a lot more of those incoming.

Clary runs her hands through Jace’s hair, because there’s grass in it. Because that’s what’s important right now. Also, yeah, right.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 5

Then they start talking about how Jace is totally part demon. And personally, I can’t help but think this was intended in part to help build up Jace’s “bad boy” cred.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 6

The focus of the conversation is on how it somehow explains everything that’s wrong with Jace. Oh, not any of the actual stuff that’s wrong, no, no – just that he wants to bone his sister.

Our “Heroes”: 1

Both Hands, Ma’am: 7

Clary is confused by this, because she’s stupid. She brings up Jace making-out with Aline, and his excuse is that, well, demons lie. Boy, is he going to have egg on his face later.

Then they start making out. I just saved you guys several paragraphs of build-up. And maybe in any other book, in any other situation, this would be pretty good.

Unfortunately, this scene is between two people who are absolutely certain that they’re siblings. And they’re Clary and Jace.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 8

Our “Heroes”: 2

The second one was because they’re deciding to do this now, completely ignoring that whole “fate of the world” thing that’s going on.

Thankfully, they stop before getting into NSFW territory – gotta keep it below an R for the kids! – for some more talking. Joy.

And the conversation quickly becomes about how awesome Clary is, with Clary trying to argue that she’s really not that great. Great.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 9

Reasons for why Clary isn’t so great? She does little bad things like illegally download music of the internet (wow, that really dates this book) and lies to her mom. She also mentions not returning library books, and as a librarian, I think I can say that that actually is evil.

But Jace don’t care, so Clary actually forcefully turns him down. Of course, she also says that he’s just using her as an excuse to hate himself, which is probably intended to feed into the “fix him” narrative.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 10

Thankfully, though, we’ve avoided the boning. So Jace points out that, because they don’t have a not-wand anymore, they’re going to have to hoof it.

You Keep Using That Word: 2 (“Portal”)

End scene.

Thankfully, the scene break skips over most of the walk back. It gets dark, especially because there’s not much light pollution, and cold. Also, Jace hasn’t said a word since they started walking, because his feelings are hurt or whatever.

I don’t care.

Finally, they see the lights of the city over a hill or something. Jace somehow knows that something is wrong. Not sure what’s wrong, or how he knows, so I’m just going with ‘authorial fiat.’

They finally round a corner and see the city. And it’s on fire. End chapter, and part.

Now I’ll admit, that is a powerful image to end on. The only way CC could possibly screw it up is by not showing how these events came about.

But she wouldn’t do that, right?

Right?

See you guys next time.

Counts

Both Hands, Ma’am: 10 (Total: 41)
Entirely Pointless: 0 (Total: 8)
Our “Heroes”: 2 (Total: 52)
Plot Hole: 0 (Total: 8)
Rapier Twit: 0 (Total: 2)
You Keep Using That Word: 1(Total: 95)
Shoddy World Building: 1 (Total: 19)
No Shit Sherlock: 1( Total: 2)
A Word From Our Sponsors: 2 (Total: 7) (apologies for missing this one for so long)

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Comment

  1. The Smith of Lie on 21 February 2019, 05:25 said:

    I swear, this is the kind of writing you’d expect from a bad episode of Scooby-Doo.

    I understand your harsh feelings, but this time you’ve gone too far. This comparison is utterly and obviously unfair. I’d expect much better from a bad episode of Scooby-Doo.

    Eventually, they reach the bottom, with pentagrams, runes, bones, and what are probably old bloodstains on the walls.

    Making it all secret is a waste of time if it ends up being your average cellar. I’m disappointed in Valentine to go out of his way to hide such a mundane thing…

    Clary asks if the bones are from animals, and Jace says that they aren’t, or at least not all of them.

    Well, one could answer “Yes.” and still be correct, even if there were human bones. At least technically correct, which is the best kind.

    even pulling one of his not-lightsabers out of… somewhere. I’m not kidding about that, either – even the narration acknowledges that Clary has no idea where he pulled it from.

    And the answer is really simple. He pulled it ex culo.

    Jace yanks aside the cloth, and after much fluff from the narration, we find out what’s under there – a no-shit, real, in-the-flesh angel.

    Amateur. He should have built a giant prison complex for the angels somwhere in Siberia and then put a known traitor to his cause in charge of it.

    But remember, “all myths are true.”

    As long as they can be somehow traced back to Judeo-Christian mythos and/or widely accepted pop-culture.

    Jocelyn meeting with Ragnor Fell, and telling him about Valentine feeding demon blood to baby Jonathan, and how it’s just so horrible.

    At least it’s organic. And probably won’t give him autism. Maybe.

    Then they start talking about how Jace is totally part demon. And personally, I can’t help but think this was intended in part to help build up Jace’s “bad boy” cred.

    Honestly? Jace being part demon is insulting to demons. I know, I know, I made that joke already. But the idea that Jace is such a petty ass because of demonic blood diminishes the threat that demons should be.

    As far as demons go I’d say there are two main schools of writing them. Either we allow them to be a characters in their own right, with their own motivations and so on, which makes it possible to have Noble Demon characters or even demons that are not necessarily evil. Or we make them fully antagonistic, fully reprehensible, always chaotic evil.

    Using them to add to “I’m and asshole because of my sad backstory” schtick diminishes their narrative role.

    Thankfully, though, we’ve avoided the boning. So Jace points out that, because they don’t have a not-wand anymore, they’re going to have to hoof it.

    I know those two facts (no boning and loss of not-wand) are mentioned together by coincidence, but being a petty asshole that I am, I chose to interpret the loss of not-wand as metaphore for Jace’s emasculation.

    Now I’ll admit, that is a powerful image to end on. The only way CC could possibly screw it up is by not showing how these events came about.

    Well she could also show up how it came to be and make it terribly boring. Like someone smoking a ciggarate and falling asleep, letting it fall and ignite the carpet.

    And then Smokey Bear shows up and explains how bad architectural design and lack of real fireservice caused a small fire to grow and engulf entire city within hours, with death toll in thousands. Remember kids, only you can stop city-wide fires!

  2. Aikaterini on 21 February 2019, 11:13 said:

    Clary even brings up that no one in this supernatural society believes angels exist.

    Wait a minute, why is Clary the one saying this? How does she know? Shouldn’t Jace, who’s grown up in Shadowhunter society, be the one to confirm this?

    I mean, yeah, there’s a major power group that literally claims to be descended from people infused with angelic power, names their principle weapons after angels, and even swear by one angel in particular, but you know, it’s not like they actually believe angels exist or anything.

    Is this like how Valentine’s entire motivation is supposed to be that he hates demons and yet everything that we see him do is connected with him using demons?

    Jace makes a comment about wanting to help

    Wow, Jace actually wants to help someone in peril? Took him long enough.

    Jocelyn meeting with Ragnor Fell, and telling him about Valentine feeding demon blood to baby Jonathan

    Which makes no sense. Again, his entire campaign is based on hating demons and Downworlders, who are part-demon. If he wanted to do experiments with demon blood, why didn’t he make one of his followers sacrifice one of their children? Feed that child demon blood instead?

    And personally, I can’t help but think this was intended in part to help build up Jace’s “bad boy” cred.

    Which then proves to be completely pointless when it’s negated and used to explain why another character is really, really evil, guys. Because these books love their double standards.

    Reasons for why Clary isn’t so great? She does little bad things like illegally download music of the internet

    Uh, no, Clary. You aren’t so great because you’re a shallow, two-faced hypocrite who cares more about looks than the welfare of your so-called best friend. You aren’t so great because you’re a sexist idiot who pathetically hates other girls for being prettier than you while giving hot boys a free pass because, again, all that matters to you are looks. You aren’t so great because you’re supposed to be the protagonist of this series and yet all you’ve done in three books so far is tag along for the ride, be involved in the tiresome love triangle/quadrangle/pentagon, and help out every once in a while, but not enough to actually leave an impact.

  3. Lunafreya on 21 February 2019, 22:12 said:

    (Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!)

    @Aikaterini

    “Jocelyn meeting with Ragnor Fell, and telling him about Valentine feeding demon blood to baby Jonathan”

    Which makes no sense. Again, his entire campaign is based on hating demons and Downworlders, who are part-demon. If he wanted to do experiments with demon blood, why didn’t he make one of his followers sacrifice one of their children? Feed that child demon blood instead?

    I’ve also wondered why Valentine, who supposedly despises demons, gave his own son the demon blood and Stephen and Celine’s son the angel blood. Shouldn’t it have been the other way around?

    This simple switch could’ve had a lot of potential, if CC had pulled off the ‘jerk with a heart of gold’ with Jace instead of making him a narcissistic, psychopathic sack of shit.

    If Jonathan/Sebastian had the angel blood instead and Jace the demon blood, it could’ve been a commentary on nature/nurture – even though Jonathan had angelic blood, he was raised by Valentine; years of abuse took its toll and made him cynical, misanthropic and full of rage. Whereas Jace might’ve had inclinations towards conflict, self-destruction, and violence because of his demon blood, the loving environment Lightwood family provided taught him to regulate his negative emotions, clamp down on his impulses, put himself in other people’s shoes, think before he opened his mouth, etc. Jace would’ve been an actual interesting character!

  4. The Smith of Lie on 22 February 2019, 08:18 said:

    It occurs to me, that I missed the “twist” that it wasn’t Jace who was being fed demon blood. Shows how much mental energy I use to keep up with the so called plot of the books.

    What I said in my previous comment still holds up for the insinuation that this is the case, even if it ends up not being true in the end.

    I must also say that I admire @Lunafreya for giving spoiler warnings. I somehow doubt that anyone prone to visiting Impish Ideas is much bothered by possibility of having Mortal Instruments spoiled though. I guess someone might stumble in here by accident…

    [Lunafreya] If Jonathan/Sebastian had the angel blood instead and Jace the demon blood, it could’ve been a commentary on nature/nurture – even though Jonathan had angelic blood, he was raised by Valentine; years of abuse took its toll and made him cynical, misanthropic and full of rage. Whereas Jace might’ve had inclinations towards conflict, self-destruction, and violence because of his demon blood, the loving environment Lightwood family provided taught him to regulate his negative emotions, clamp down on his impulses, put himself in other people’s shoes, think before he opened his mouth, etc. Jace would’ve been an actual interesting character!

    But then the book would actually have a theme and some kind of question about human condition would have been asked. And that might have distracted readers from the teenage drama and that is a big no no!

  5. Aikaterini on 22 February 2019, 13:37 said:

    @Lunafreya

    if CC had pulled off the ‘jerk with a heart of gold’ with Jace instead of making him a narcissistic, psychopathic sack of shit

    Maybe that’s what she was trying to do, but at the same time…all of her male leads are like that. Will from “The Infernal Devices” is exactly like Jace, who is exactly like Clare’s version of Draco from “The Draco Trilogy.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if the other male leads from her other books are like them too (apparently Magnus also becomes more and more like Jace/DT!Draco as his books go on).

    She just really, really seems to like this type of male character who’s horrible to everyone and has a bloated ego the size of Jupiter, but who’s hot and has a badly-written tragic backstory and ‘witty’ quips that are really stupid and insulting (but are supposed to be clever), and somehow that makes everything that they do excusable.

    If Jonathan/Sebastian had the angel blood instead and Jace the demon blood, it could’ve been a commentary on nature/nurture – even though Jonathan had angelic blood, he was raised by Valentine; years of abuse took its toll and made him cynical, misanthropic and full of rage. Whereas Jace might’ve had inclinations towards conflict, self-destruction, and violence because of his demon blood, the loving environment Lightwood family provided taught him to regulate his negative emotions, clamp down on his impulses, put himself in other people’s shoes

    Yes, that sounds like a great idea. Especially if Valentine was a proper villain and Jonathan ended up becoming a fanatic like his father who set out to eliminate demons and Downworlders because he genuinely believed that it was for the good of humanity. Then the demon-blooded Jace would’ve proved him wrong by being more compassionate.

    In fact, since the Shadowhunters’ weapons have Hebrew names because they’re named after angels, one could even do an idea about the changing roles of Satan (since he curiously never shows up in this series). Demons could thematically represent the role that Satan has adopted in Christianity, that of the tempter who causes chaos, while Jonathan, with his angel blood, could represent Ha-Satan, the Satan from the Old Testament (particularly from the Book of Job), who was basically God’s prosecuting attorney and wasn’t any nicer than his current incarnation. It could lead to the question of which is worse: evil through chaos or evil through extremism?

    But as The Smith of Lie said, none of what you suggested would happen in this series because all that really matters is the love triangle. Jonathan is evil, no matter what he does, because he has demon blood and Jace is morally superior, no matter what he does, because he has angel blood, and that’s why Clary should pick him instead of Jonathan. That’s really all that it means in the end.

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