Well, everyone, here we are – the end of the third book in this series. Things are still a bit wonky in my neck of the woods; heck, they’re wonky in a lot of places. But hey, half of surviving this mess is keeping your spirits up, and that’s exactly what I’m here to do.

By ripping into this book for your amusement.

So let’s get to this.

The epiloge’s title is “Across the Sky in Stars.” CC wastes no time in explaining where that title came from, because right underneath the title is a quote from T. E. Lawrence:

I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky in stars.”

The quote comes from Lawrence’s book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Lawrence’s memoir of his time involved with the Arab revolt against the Ottomans during the First World War. It’s the first half of the first stanza of the dedication, and is more properly rendered like this in its entirety:

I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands
And wrote my will across the sky and stars
To earn you Freedom, the seven-pillared worthy house,
That your eyes might be shining for me
When we came

Lawrence dedicated the poem, and the book, “to S.A.” It’s unclear exactly who “S.A.” might have been, but the most popular theory is that it refers to a Selim Ahmed, a companion of Lawrence who died of typhus some time before 1918. This theory is also liked to the generally accepted belief that Lawrence was homosexual, though there’s no concrete evidence of this. To be clear, I’m not questioning this idea, just presenting the information as objectively as possible.

Regardless, the line is very pretty, but I can’t help finding it mildly pretentious here. It’s another one of those “hey, look! I can quote famous people!” moments, when really, it’s just “ooh, this sounds pretty!”

Moving on to the actual epilogue, we start with Jace. He’s sitting on a hill watching Valentine’s funeral. Valentine’s body is being cremated, as per Shadowhunter tradition.

Now, I kinda question why they’re doing this. I mean, I get it in a “just killed bin Laden, and we’re preparing his body as per Muslim practices,” way, but I mean, do we really know how many followers Valentine actually had?

Anyway, there’s a fair number of people there: Jocelyn, Luke, Patrick Penhallow (no, I don’t remember who that is, nor do I really care), and maybe some other people. Clary might also be there, but it’s never established.

But Jace isn’t with the crowd. No, he decided that he’d much rather sit off atop a nearby hill, either because he’s a mopy little kid, or because CC thought it’d be more dramatic or something. Trying to push the “Jace is a tortured loner” schtick some more.

For some reason, whoever prepared Valentine’s body made sure to “[do] well by him […] for the sake of Clary and Jocelyn.” Gonna be honest, I don’t think either of them should really give a damn about showing proper respect to Valentine’s remains. And given that his ashes are going to be scattered at a crossroads – rather than used as building material – I’d guess that the folks in charge don’t care too much, either.

So again, why the funeral with full honors?

Oh, side-note: Sebastian/Jonathan’s body was never found, so CC is setting up her obvious sequel bait.

Jace tried to find Clary, but I imagine that’s a bit difficult, considering he’s standing some distance away from the crowd. He’s looking for her because,

he missed her with an almost physical sense of something lacking.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 1

Please stop, CC. It’s been almost three books, and you still haven’t managed to convince me that Jace’s feelings for Clary are anything more than the basest form of animal lust. I mean, how much does Jace actually know about Clary, beyond what’s been relevant to the plot of the previous books? How much have they actually interacted with each other as people, and not as two characters trying to suppress the urge to rip each others’ clothes off?

Anyway, we go from… that_… to a quick recap of what Jace went through after the last chapter. Short version: dying really takes it out of you. You’d think an actual angel would be able to drop something a _little bit higher than a “Revivify,”:https://5e.tools/spells.html#revivify_phb but I won’t blame Raziel for not wanting to burn the spell slot.

We get a brief paragraph of Jace looking towards the city, which appears to have been somewhat restored, and then thinking about what he would say if he were actually down there, attending the funeral.

But enough of that, time to get back to thinking about Clary, and how empathetic she is. Because you see, even after the big fight, and how tired and beaten up she was (despite not actually doing any actual fighting, and Jace literally just coming back from the dead), she still managed to totally feel Jace’s sense of loss from Valentine’s death. Despite, you know, having literally no relationship with Valentine herself.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 2

And while I’m glad to get away from the Clary praise, I’m not happy that it gets replaced with Jace’s memories of growing up with Valentine – both the good stuff, and the bad. Especially because the bad stuff basically amounts to child abuse.

Then Luke shows up to chat with Jace. So at least I won’t have to deal with more of his moping.

We get some quick details about the big battle, but not much in the way of specifics. Mostly, all the demons scarpered once Valentine went down, and some people died.

Gee, if only someone had been given the ability to make that not happen. OH WELL.

Clary was not at the funeral. I don’t care.

For some reason, Luke wants Jace to get some kind of closure with Valentine. And while I will applaud Luke’s desire to help with Jace’s mental health, maybe we should try to keep in perspective that Valentine was basically fantasy Hitler?

Jace starts talking about Hodge, and how he may not have known which of Valentine’s sons Jace was up until he died. This leads into Jace wondering if, had it been him that stayed with Valentine, and Sebastian/Jonathan that got sent to live with the Lightwoods, would he have turned out the same as Sebastian/Jonathan?

Two things:

This assumes that Jace isn’t the same as Sebastian/Jonathan, an assumption which I very much question, and
I’m glad that someone if finally bringing up the nature/nurture issue.

But of course, Luke kinda quashes that thought almost immediately. And then says that he believes Valentine sent Jace to the Lightwoods “because he knew it was the best chance for [Jace].”

Best chance for what?

No, CC, you do not get to argue that Valentine sent Jace off because he wanted to protect the pure, innocent Jace. Not after almost three books of pounding it into my head just how horrible and evil he is. You do not get to try and redeem him now.

Look, Rowling spent a good chunk of a book exploring Voldemort’s backstory, and while there were certainly moments that elicited pitty, none of them really redeemed Voldemort. And it was made clear quite early on that there was something fundamentally wrong with Tom Riddle from the beginning.

And while I’ve said I very much fall on the nurture side of the nature/nurture argument, I am willing to acknowledge that there are people who have something broken inside them that no amount of love, support, and affection can cure.

But that’s the end of the scene.

Whew! Can’t say this thing doesn’t start lightly, can you?

Next scene is from Clary’s POV. She’s with Isabelle, staring out the window at the smoke from Valentine’s pyre in the distance. And while I don’t blame her for not going – Valentine was literally no one to her – I have to wonder why she’s giving this more than a passing thought.

There’s going to be a big party tonight, and Isabelle is all excited about it. She’s back to being the girly-girl foil to Clary. Case in point:

For Isabelle, Clary thought, clothes would always be therapy.

Okay, first? You barely know her, Clary. You’ve known Jace, Isabelle, and all of them for maybe six weeks, tops. You don’t have the kind of relationship that would allow for a judgement like that.

Second, that is almost certainly not healthy. Isabelle’s brother died only a few days ago. And Isabelle very clearly blamed herself for that. Look, I’ve had a number of relatives pass away in my life, and while none of them were as close as a sibling, and all of them were from natural causes, I don’t really recall any of my relatives that were more closely related to the deceased being all happy-bouncy-exiced only a few days after.

Seriously, the entirety of Shadowhunter society would benefit so much from learning about the existence of therapists.

But now that Isabelle’s got her outfit picked out, she wants to help Clary pick something out. Clary thinks about a fancy dress she saw at Amatis’s place, but decides that Amatis certainly wouldn’t let her wear it, and instead decides to go casual.

CC, stop. Just… stop. There’s nothing left. You don’t need to try to wring any more tension out of this.

Isabelle thinks Clary’s idea is terrible, and asks Aline to back her up. Oh, yeah, Aline is here, too, quietly sitting in the corner with a book.

Her response is to tell Isabelle that what Clary wears is her decision.

I don’t think I’ve ever identified with any character in this entire series more than I am with Aline right now.

And then she has to go and ruin it by providing a segue to talk about Jace. Because the only reason a girl Clary’s age would dress up to go out would be to impress a particular person, and certainly not for herself.

This leads to asking how Clary feels knowing that Jace isn’t her brother.

“Thinking he was my brother was weird. This feels – right.”

Both Hands, Ma’am: 3

CC, they have known each other for maybe six weeks. Stop trying to convince me that their love is the truest true love to ever love. I’m not buying it.

But I guess CC decided she needed to try to milk this relationship for just a few more drops of drama, because Aline comments that it’s weird Jace hasn’t come to see Clary, even if he just got out of the hospital.

Clary apparently didn’t go to see him, either, but there’s no mention of that.

Aline continues to be the closest thing to my avatar in this scene, and points out that maybe the only reason Jace was interested in Clary to begin with was because their relationship would be taboo. Isabelle insists that “Jace isn’t like that.”

Bull. Fucking Shit. Jace makes Barney Stinson look like a monk. I mean early series Barney.

But now that Aline has served her purpose, she departs. And once she’s gone, Isabelle goes all catty, asking Clary if she thinks Aline is jealous, what with her apparent interest in Jace earlier on. Clary responds by being catty back, saying that Aline is “just one of those people who say whatever they’re thinking whenever they think it.”

Our “Heroes”: 1

Clary, you’ve known the girl for like, a week, tops. This is probably why you never had any friends other than Simon – you make these kind of snap judgements about people, and almost nothing will change your opinion.

Also, that sounds a hell of a lot like Jace, and you don’t seem to have a problem when he says whatever stupid-ass thing that pops into his head.

Isabelle apparently had her hair done up in one of those hair-dos that only exist in movies – the kind where removing a single pin causes all her hair to come cascading down.

Isabelle apparently wasn’t quite as confident in Jace’s fidelity as her initial response indicated, because she asks Clary if she thinks Aline was right. Clary says she isn’t sure, and then moves on to asking about what the big celebration will include. Apparently it’s going to be like a street fair in New York, with a parade, and fireworks, and music, and all that stuff.

Oh, and we end the scene with a brief reminder that Max is dead.

Gee, if only someone could have done something about that. Oh, well.

Next scene is back with Jace. And I’m sorry to say that these are the only POVs we’re getting this chapter.

So, Jace is at Amatis’s place. She answers the door, and is wearing a dress that unfortunately is not the one Clary thought of, so I won’t get the satisfaction of Clary being denied something she wants for once in this series.

Jace is, of course, looking for Clary. And we get this lovely bit of description when he’s somewhat tongue-tied:

Bq. “Where had his eloquence gone? [Jace had] always had that, even when he hadn’t had anything else, but now he felt as if he’d been ripped open and all the clever, facile words had poured out of him, leaving him empty.”

I’m sorry, what? Jace has only ever been “clever” or “eloquent” in his own mind.

Anyway, Clary isn’t there, but Amatis drags Jace inside anyway, because she has something she wants to give him.

While Jace is waiting around, he briefly thinks that maybe Clary decided she wasn’t interested in him after all, and for some reason would have Amatis be the one to tell him. Two things:

If Jace seriously believes this, he’s even more deluded than Clary, and
Why on earth would Clary have Amatis – a person she’s only known for about a week – convey that message? Why not, say, Isabelle? Or Simon? Stop trying to force drama into this situation, CC.

Amatis comes back with a box, and starts talking about Jace’s biological father. Jace is – quite reasonably – worried that Amatis might not like him, what with his biological father divorcing her to marry Jace’s mother. I imagine that might be a bit awkward.

Then Amatis says this:

“I know you probably have feelings about him that are very mixed.”

First, that is some very awkward phrasing. “You probably have some mixed feelings about him,” is much less odd. Was the editor asleep by this point?

And second, I don’t think Jace has any feelings towards his biological father, mixed or otherwise. I mean, he literally never knew the man. He died before Jace was even born.

In fact, Amatix notes that Jace doesn’t really look much like his father at all, except for his hair color. Which you’d think might indicate that the man in question – Stephen Herondale – is not Jace’s father. Kind of a reverse Robert Baratheon thing.

But no, that’s not the case. And we’ll get to that soon enough.

Anyway, Amatis gives Jace the box. It’s got a bunch of Stephen’s letters and other junk. I’m not too bothered by this, but I’ll admit I’d prefer it if it were Jace asking for this, rather than Amatis forcing it on him. But I also prefer my protagonists to be on the active side, so what do I know?

Jace shifts the conversation to the Inquisitor from the previous book. Not to ask about her as a person, oh no – he does it to bring up why she had a sudden change of heart when she saw a particular scar on Jace’s shoulder. A scar that was only mentioned for the first time in said book.

Well, turns out it’s not a scar – it’s a birthmark! And what’s more, it supposedly originates with an ancestor of the family getting touched on the shoulder by an angel. And since then, all his male descendants have had that mark.

You just… you couldn’t leave it alone, could you, CC? It’s not enough to give Jace a special birthmark to prove that he is who everyone says he is, but you have to give it an angelic origin.

I just… AAAAAAaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhh.

Whatever. These two have a little bonding moment over all this. I just summed up the last three paragraphs of the scene.

There’s only one point of any interest in there, and it’s that literally the only known person to have an actual encounter with an angel before is the idiotically named Jonathan Shadowhunter.

So not only is Jace super-special-awesome because he’s got super-angel blood, he’s also the descendant of someone who’s literally more special than any other Shadowhunter.

Christ, Jace is possibly the biggest Gary Stu ever.

End. Scene.

Back to Clary as she’s walking into Amatis’s place. But don’t go thinking that this is consolidating the POVs. No, it’s some different point in time, because we just have to keep stretching out this non-plot.

Anyway, Clary’s reflecting on how Shadowhunter City is starting to feel familiar, and how maybe it’d be nice to live there permanently. She even briefly wonders about stuff she might miss about New York.

CC, she’s been there for, like, a week. Not having trouble remembering how to get to one of the few places Clary has any reason to visit isn’t some sign of a place feeling like home – she’s just mildly more familiar with the geography.

But now we get some more drama! Clary hears raised voices, so she goes to listen in. It’s Jocelyn and Luke arguing. Seems the new council wants Luke to stay on as a member, which means he won’t be able to go back to New York. Jocelyn is, understandably, upset by this.

And that’s really all there is to it. It’s their first little lovers’ quarrel. Soon will come the make-up sex.

Though I do question exactly who it is that wants Luke on this council. The justification he gives is that he’s “the only pack leader who was once a Shadowhunter,” and while I get that that means he can serve as a kind of bridge between the two groups, he’s also consistently sided with the Shadowhunters whenever a conflict between them and the werewolves have arisen, even when it’s his own pack.

I’m not saying there aren’t reasons for Luke to be part of this, just that I feel there’s reason to question where his loyalties really lie. I wouldn’t be surprised if other werewolves – particularly those not in his pack – view him the same way that, say, African Americans view Candice Owens, or how the gay community views Milo Yiannopoulos.

Luke leaves in a huff. And this whole time, Clary’s just been standing there, listening from the other side of the door. Apparently no one told her that eavesdropping is kinda rude.

After Luke leaves, Clary compares the relationship between Luke and Jocelyn to that between herself and Simon – namely, he loves her, but the feelings aren’t mutual. Maybe.

I think it’s a terrible comparison, because I never got the impression that Jocelyn was only keeping Luke around to serve as her emotional support backup boyfriend, nor did she ever explode into fits of jealous rage at any other woman expressing an interest in him.

But then, I’ve been paying attention to how these characters actually behave, not how I think they’re behaving.

Clary starts tearing up at the thought of her mom and Luke not being able to “fix things” like she and Simon did.

Two things:

Why am I not surprised that Clary found a way to somehow connect this back to herself?
I’d hardly call what you and Simon did “fixing things,” Clary. You were never as invested in that relationship as he was, and he was the one who decided that it wasn’t going to work out, and broke things off. You didn’t really do anything, Clary.

And all of this just makes me yearn for a series where the main relationship is entirely platonic in nature.

Anyway, Clary starts to go in to comfort her mom, but then Amatis enters from the kitchen. And as we all know, only two characters can be part of a scene, so Clary’s forced to stay where she is.

Seems Amatis was also eavesdropping, and she’s glad that Luke is staying, both because he’ll be close (guess she’s feeling a bit lonely), and because maybe he’ll be able to get over Jocelyn. Jocelyn is shocked by this, but Amatis continues to give out the tough love the Fray women desperately deserve:

“If you don’t love him, you ought to let him go.”

Where the hell was this advice two books ago?

But oh, wait – Jocelyn does love Luke! So Amatis does a complete 180, and starts acting like a giddy teenager finding out about her friend’s crush. Because everyone in these books has the maturity of high schoolers when it comes to relationships.

Amatis manages to convince Jocelyn to go tell Luke how she feels, and it’s only then that they notice that Clary’s been standing in the doorway since Luke left. I’m kinda curious as to how that could happen – what possible arrangement of furniture would allow for neither of these women to see that Clary was standing there?

Clary opens the front door and tells her mom to go after Luke, which she does. And just like that, this little bit of drama is resolved.

Entirely Pointless: 1

Cool. Great. Whatever.

Now that there’s only two characters in the scene again, they can interact. Amatis tells Clary about Jace stopping by. Clary decides to ask about the dress she thought about earlier. Because, let’s face it – this “celebration” is basically prom.

End scene.

Time skip. Still with Clary. She’s heading back to the Lightwoods’ place for… some reason. Okay.

Description of various other folks on the street. Outfits are described as ranging “from the modern to what bordered on historical costumery.” That’s an… interesting choice of words. Apparently some Shadowhunter women are wearing full-on ball gowns, which strikes me as an odd choice, not only because they’re incredibly impractical, but also because there’s a lot of work that goes into wearing an outfit like that.

Clary spots Raphael with some woman. He spots Clary, and smiles at her. And Clary’s reaction is… something else.

He glanced over his shoulder and smiled at Clary, a smile that sent a little shiver over her, and she thought that it was true that there really was something alien about Downworlders sometimes, something alien and frightening.

I’m bothered by this because, as someone living in the American South, I’m keenly aware of how stuff like this (i.e. “the scary minority man smiled at/nodded at/spoke to me, a White woman”) can lead to some “very bad things.”:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsa_race_massacre I’m not saying that CC did this on purpose, but the fact that Raphael is not only a vampire, but also Latino, makes me a bit wary of stuff like this.

And no, the tagged-on “everything that was frighening wasn’t necessarily also bad,” doesn’t really help much.

Because I really can’t help but notice that it seems that the vast majority of Shadowhunters – including the entirety of the main group – are all white, while all the POC characters are Downworlders. And that’s one of probably the very few things I’ll complement the show on: making Luke black.

But enough of that. We’re two paragraphs into this scene, with plenty more to go.

Clary reaches the Lightwoods’ place, where the parents are standing outside, talking to some other adults. We’re told that Maryse looks a lot like Isabelle, and reminded once again that Max is dead.

Isabelle spots Clary and “bounces” out of the house. Seriously, this girl probably needs therapy. She is wearing neither of the outfits from before, because reasons. The dress she is wearing “[hugs] her body like the closed petals of a flower,” which I can only conclude is a nice way of saying it’s very tight, leaving little to the imagination.

Because Isabelle is the sexy one. That’s probably half her character.

Isabelle complements Clary’s outfit. It’s the dress she was thinking about earlier. Why was her getting to borrow this dress treated as something even remotely resembling a plot again?

Entirely Pointless: 2

Isabelle tells Clary that Jace isn’t there, because even she knows what Clary’s priorities are.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 4

Alec and Aline show up. Aline is in a dress; Alec is in regular clothes. Good for him – don’t give in to pressure to conform.

Aline is nervous about partying with Downworlders, because I guess CC felt the need to distract from Clary’s internal quasi-racism with someone else expressing more overt quasi-racism.

As opposed to, you know, just not including it in the first place.

Isabelle assures Aline that it’ll be fine, though. I’m glad it’s her doing that, because I think I’d have an aneurysm if it came from Clary.

The group heads down the street, and runs into Simon and Maia. No description of Simon’s outfit, but Maia’s is: camo pants and a D&D t-shirt (black, text reading “Choose Your Weapon” above several dice). Clary, unsurprisingly, thinks of this as a “gamer tee,” presumably because she’s not cool enough to play D&D.

[preens in DM]

No, I don’t care if this was back in the days of late-3.5/4e. Clary isn’t cool enough for D&D.

Also, she wonders whether Maia is really a gamer, or is just trying to impress Simon. Three things:

One: GTFO with that “fake gamer/geek girl” shit, Clary

Two: are you seriously trying to imply that Maia went all the way back to New York (reminder – we’re in Alsace-Lorraine or wherever), bought that shirt, and then came back, all just to impress a boy? I get that Clary would probably do something like that, Maia isn’t Clary. And given the unlikelihood of all that, it means that Maia already had the shirt, so even if she is trying to impress Simon, she’s trying to impress him with who she is.

Three: Simon, you should immediately abandon all attempts to get with either Clary or Isabelle, and hook up with Maia ASAP. No, I don’t care how hot Isabelle is, you probably have a lot more in common with Maia, which is much more important.

Clary asks Simon about the Mark of Cain, namely whether it worked, and regrets that she can’t get rid of it. Wow! Showing actual concern for a non-Jace character! I am legitimately shocked.

But, I have to do this.

You Keep Using That Word: 2 (“Mark”)

They then move on to politics, specifically who the vampires picked as their representative on the new council. Simon says a pretentious name, “Nightshade or something.”

Given how so many Shadowhunter names are similar, let alone that their founder was apparently literally named Shadowhunter, is it really all that pretentious?

Oh, and Clary’s been tapped to design the logo for the council. Because why bring on, say, an actual artist, or set up some kind of committee, when you can just let the 16-year-old do it?

And she’s planning on incorporating symbols representing each of the four types of Downworlder. Symbols that she herself has chosen. I mean, if it were me, I’d probably ask each group if they have a particular symbol they like, but what do I know?

And of course Simon congratulates Clary. Oh, wait, correction: he says she “deserves the honor.” And then goes on to praise her for basically accomplishing all of this. And not just the new alliance, but saving everyone as well. Because none of this would have been possible without Clary’s help.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 5

Oh, sure. I mean, why give any credit to, say, Luke? I mean, he only busted his ass trying to get this whole alliance and council thing set up. Most of that happened off-screen, so it doesn’t really count. Meanwhile, Clary used her bullshit no-rules powers to solve the whole mess with almost no effort. Clearly, she deserves all the credit.

And no, I’m not buying Clary getting all choked up about this. You can’t fool me, CC.

Seriously – Simon claims that somehow, given everything that happened, there’s no way the relationship between the Shadowhunters and Downworlders would have changed without Clary’s fancy new rune. Because disparate groups coming together to fight a common enemy never develops into a more long-term, positive relationship.

Un-Logic: 1

Both Hands, Ma’am: 6

After all of that’s done, Clary mentions something that I’ve been harping on for a while now – they’re supposed to be in school. Apparently they’ve missed some, though exactly how much is a bit vague.

Looks like someone reminded CC that this whole thing began two weeks before Clary was supposed to start school. This is why you should probably work out some kind of timeline when writing a YA Urban Fantasy series – school is a thing, and it’s kind of important.

Also, Magus apparently did some magic shit to Simon’s mom to stop her from freaking out about his sudden disappearance. Feel like this would have been nice to establish earlier. Like, say, having Clary get a call from Simon’s mom asking if she knows where he is. As is, this feels like a last-minute attempt to cover over a pretty obvious oversight.

Anyway, Simon shows a certain degree of medium awareness here, saying that Clary won’t go back to school, because she’s basically embraced the whole Shadowhunter thing. And Clary doesn’t even bother faking a refutation of this.

Gee, it’s almost like she’s been gung-ho to abandon her normal life from the get-go.

Meanwhile, Simon says he’s going to keep going to school, and try to lead as normal a life as possible. Clary then says that everyone’s going to freak out when he does show up, because he’s suddenly hotter now, due to the whole vampire thing. As proof, she points to Isabelle and Maia, who are acting like stereotypical teenage girls talking about a cute guy.

This is the part where I’d like to remind CC that both of those girls expressed an interest in Simon before he became a vampire. So maybe it’s not that Simon’s suddenly more attractive, but that Clary suddenly sees him as a viable romantic interest. Too bad she didn’t realize this sooner; it might have saved Simon a lot of pain in the long run.

This is followed by a pretty poor attempt at witty banter.

“Look, you can date whoever you want and I will totally support you. I am all about support. Support is my middle name.”
“So that’s why you never told me your middle name. I figured it was something embarrassing.”

Rapier Twit: 1

No, CC. Just… no.

But despite claiming that she’ll totally support Simon’s choice of girlfriend, Clary still has one demand: that he not cut her out of his life if said girlfriend is super jealous of their friendship.

Clary, you’re the one who’s been constantly having fits of jealous rage whenever another girl showed an interest in Simon. Stop projecting your own insecurities onto everyone around you.

But Simon assures Clary that that would never happen, because him being friends with Clary is non-negotiable. Personally, if I were in a situation like that, I’d find that a bit concerning, especially given the “Simon spent years carrying a torch for Clary.” Given that, I think every girl Simon might date has a right to be suspicious of his relationship with Clary. If it were me, I’d be worried Simon was like David from the movie Shaun of the Dead – dating someone else while not-so-secretly waiting for the opportunity to make a move on the actual target of his affections.

Doesn’t really help that that’s kinda what Simon was apparently doing before the series began.

Simon decides to cap off this declaration of how he and Clary are a package deal like this:

“I wouldn’t cut you out of my life, Clary, any more than I would cut off my right hand and give it to someone as a Valentine’s Day gift.”
“Gross,” said Clary. “Must you?”
He grinned. “I must.”

Rapier Twit: 2

Stop it, CC. Just… stop.

Mercifully, that’s where the scene ends.

Time skip. Now we’re at the town square. Someone has apparently dropped a bunch of fully-grown trees into the square. I can’t help but wonder if anyone’s miffed about this. Clary briefly wonders if they’re magic, then remembers how Magnus just poofed stuff into his apartment all the time.

Thanks, Clary. I really needed to be reminded that Magnus has no problem stealing shit for his own use.

Anyway, people are mingling. And there’s no real displays of racism, or at least nothing overt. It’s almost like that whole plot point has served its purpose, and has been completely jettisoned.

Simon spots a kelpie walking around with a glass of blue liquid, and understandably is concerned. But Isabelle reassures him that “everything here ought to be safe to drink.”

Which does not help to reassure Aline, but who cares about her?

Alec spots Magnus, who comes over to join them. Magnus is dressed in a fancy Victorian-style suit. There’s some flirting between the two, which includes Magnus offering to probably steal a fancy suit for Alec. This is supposed to be funny.

Rapier Twit: 3

While Alec is all flustered and Isabelle is laughing at her brother, Magnus tells Clary to head to town hall. Clary, rather than asking why, decides to go, because asking would be rude or something. Whatever the reason, she decides to ditch the people she came with, like so many “good girls” do at prom.

Big surprise, Jace is waiting for her. And all it takes is seeing his outline against one of the pillars to get her all hot-and-bothered.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 6

Jace is wearing normal clothes, so of course Clary feels overdressed. He’s also busy staring at the box he got earlier. When he does notice Clary, he compliments her, which of course gets her even more hot-and-bothered.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 7

But of course, the fact that he doesn’t immediately start ravishing her right then and there has Clary all worried that maybe he really was only interested in her because it was taboo.

This is the closest thing we have to a plot now, isn’t it?

Clary asks about the box.

I apologize for nothing.

Anyway, Jace explains. It’s full of letters and pages from his biological father’s journal. Strangely, Jace feels no connection at all to Stephen Herondale. Well, no shit – he died before you were born. You never knew the man. He is, for all intents and purposes, a complete stranger to you.

No Shit Sherlock: 1

Then we get the origins of why he’s called “Jace” – some time after he first came to New York, he told Maryse that his middle name was Christopher, so she started calling him “Jace.” Not “J.C.,” which would have actually made sense, no.

Although, given everything else we’ve learned about him, calling him “J.C.” would have been a bit too on-the-nose.

There’s also much projecting from both of them about Maryse’s motives. Here’s a thought – why don’t you just ask her? I mean, it’s not like she’d have any reason to keep it a secret or whatever.

So now I guess we get around to the real point – answering the question of why Jace really is. And they decide he’s a Lightwood. And I continue to ask: did the Lighwoods ever officially adopt Jace? I thought they were just his legal guardians.

Also, nice way to shit on the whole Herondale legacy. Guess we’re willing to let that family just die out. Cool.

We get a quick reminder of just how much of a shit Valentine was as a father. So, why did we have all that attempted redemption earlier? Make up your damn mind, CC.

Also, Clary is incapable of grasping social cues, because she ends her whole speech about family with a comment about Jace possibly wanting to be alone, he agrees, and she takes that as a request to leave, rather than him, you know, agreeing with all the stuff she said.

Clary turns back to look at Jace, so we get a lengthy catalog of how he looks.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 8

Also, mention that when she first saw him, she thought he looked, “beautiful and deadly.” For some reason, Clary continues to fail to grasp that something looking deadly is nature’s way of saying “stay away.”

They start talking about their relationship. It goes on for several pages. I’m skipping most of it, but there are a few bits I would like to point out.

Like when Jace admits that, for a long time, he believed that having affection for another person made you weak. So, basically, admitting he was kind of a sociopath.

Strangely, this does not repulse Clary. Probably because she thinks she’s “fixed” him. Except this isn’t the kind of thing that can be “fixed” with the “love of a good woman.”

Secondly, when Jace brings up his killing of Sebastian/Jonathan, he attributes his victory to his feelings of Clary giving him the necessary motivation or whatever to win.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 9

And of course, he makes no mention of Isabelle, or how she literally cut off one of Sebastian/Jonathan’s hands. Pretty sure being outnumbered and bleeding severely is the kind of thing that shifts the odds in a fight like that.

Our “Heroes”: 2

And this whole time, Clary is basically a statue, because the real point is to have her just stand there and receive all this praise. Because it’s her due, or something.

Anyway, blah blah, Jace is still attracted to her.

They kiss, and it’s all amazing and whatnot. The description goes on for two paragraphs. In the movie version, this would no doubt have included fireworks going off in the background.

Both Hands, Ma’am: 10

If there’s one small mercy here, it’s that there’s no audience to “ooh” and “aah” over all this.

And the scene ends with a pan-to-the-fireplace.

Ugh.

And somehow, there’s still more.

We mercifully skip over the sex. Or whatever. Gotta keep things relatively tame, after all.

Clary and Jace meet up with everyone else. The rest of the gang has managed to grab a table. Isabelle continues to be far too bubbly for my tastes. She passes Clary a glass containing something the narration describes as being “fuchsia” in color. When she asks if Jace wants any, he responds thusly:

“I am a man,” he told her, “and men do not consume pink beverages. Get thee gone, woman, and bring me something brown.”

Is… is this supposed to be a reference to something? Because if so, it’s very stupid and awkward. Like most of these lines are.

Rapier Twit: 4

Also, after looking at some photos of the plant fuschia, they’re more of a red-purple, not pink.

And for some reason, this leads to a bit. Isabelle asks why brown, and Jace responds that it’s a “manly color,” then notes that Alec’s shirt is brown. Alec replies that his shirt was black, but it’s now faded.

Now, I’ve owned a number of black shirts and other articles of clothing over the years. Black does not fade to brown. It fades to gray. Has CC never owned any black clothes?

Magus suggests he try accessorizing with a sequined headband. Simon suggests he not, because he’ll “look like Olivia Newton-John in _Xanadu._”

On the one hand, that’s much more amusing than what Jace said. But this is also probably the biggest indicator of CC not quite being able to separate her own experience from her characters. Because she’s probably about 20 years older than most of these characters, and I have my doubts that Simon would have ever seen Xanadu.

Simon “detaches” from the wall to talk to Clary. Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that particular verb usage.

You Keep Using That Word: 3

Man, this chapter’s just got everything, doesn’t it?

Simon tries to go for the “big brother being protective of his sister” thing, and it just does not work. Mostly because of this bit:

Jace raised an eyebrow. “Is this the part where you tell me that if I hurt her, you’ll kill me?”
“No,” said Simon. “If you hurt Clary, she’s quite capable of killing you herself. Possibly with a variety of weapons.”

I mean, when has Clary ever demonstrated even the slightest capability of using any kind of weapon? The closest she came was waaaay back in the first book, where she threw a dagger at that one werewolf. And even then, she had a magical assist.

I mean, I feel like Clary’s more the kind of person you don’t let handle sharp objects because she’ll end up hurting herself.

Anyway, Simon acts like the bigger man, saying that he doesn’t care whether Jace likes him or not, because he makes Clary happy.

Interesting that Clary is allowed to have a boyfriend who doesn’t like Simon, but any girlfriend of Simon has to be okay with Clary.

Jace says that he doesn’t dislike Simon.

Well, fuck, you could’ve fooled me! I mean, what with constantly insulting him, rarely ever referring to Simon by his name, basically calling him your culture’s version of the n-word for a one and a half books…

I mean, what other conclusion is Simon supposed to draw from all that?

Oh, but Jace goes on. He wants to give Simon some advice. He – just like Clary – implies that the only reason Isabelle and Maia are interested in Simon is because he’s a vampire. Also, Simon should drop the whole “being in a band” thing. And he also implies that Simon must be a crap musician, despite never having seen him

Okay, first? Fuck you, Jace. I’ve already pointed out that both Isabelle and Maia expressed an interest in Simon before he became a vampire.

And second, when has being in a band not helped a guy get a girl? Shit, Jace plays fucking piano. So Jace, as far as I’m concerned, you can take your “advice” and shove it up your ass.

By all rights, Simon should say all that, flip off both Jace and Clary, and go see if he can work out a threesome with Isabelle and Maia.

But Jace is one half of the series’ OTP, so he can’t be wrong. So Simon just sighs and takes it.

Clary chastises them both for being jerks to each other. Hey, Clary, I’ve seen all their interactions, and only one of them has ever been the jerk. And it ain’t Simon.

Simon manages to get in a good quip, and that little scene-let comes to a close.

Clary walks off, and spots the fairy queen from the last book. She wants a word with Clary. Seems she wants a favor from Clary.

Clary responds that the fairy queen doesn’t like her, to which the queen doesn’t really give a shit. Anyway, she wants Clary to use her relationship with Luke to push her preferred candidate for the new council. And of course, it’s the guy Isabelle was dating. Because heaven forbid CC be forced to come up with another character.

Clary points out that she doesn’t think Luke likes said guy much. The queen again makes it clear that she’s not really concerned about what Luke “likes”.

And I want to stop here for a second, because I have two issues.

First, why is the queen trying to get help from Clary? Surely there are other people with far more influence she could be talking to.

Second, why does Luke have any say on who the fairy representative is? It’s a representative body, not a club. The members of the UN don’t get to vote on who gets to serve as an ambassador.

Also, I really wish the queen would just say, “this is politics; ‘like’ doesn’t enter into it.”

For some reason, Clary switches over to what happened in the last book, and kinda tries to claim that the fairy queen lied to her. But I mean, this is a fairy queen, so she’s well-versed in twisting the truth to get her way. She also insinuates that Jocelyn might not have told her the whole truth regarding her past.

This causes Clary to freeze up for a moment and think about a whole bunch of stuff, before finally coming out of it. She wisely decides not to take the queen’s offer, and leaves.

End scene.

And apparently that scene break is there for purely dramatic purposes, because we pick up with Clary rejoining her friends.

A Word From Our Sponsors: 1

(Fun fact: the Old Spice guy in this commercial – Isaia Mustafa – played Luke in the Shadowhunters tv series.)

The Lightwood parents have shown up, and are being very friendly with Magnus. It’s almost like the whole “Shadowhunters are super homophobic” thing was only there to cause unnecessary drama.

Entirely Pointless: 3

I don’t know if I counted that before, and I don’t care. You dragged this thing out over three books, CC; you don’t get to just toss it aside now.

And now Jocelyn and Luke are there. Seems they’ve made up. Also, Luke decided to stay in New York. I mean, why was this even an issue to begin with? Can’t he just zip between there and Shadowhunter City in an instant? It’s not like he has to take a plane or anything.

Plot Hole: 1

Jocelyn hops off, letting Luke and Clary talk. Seems Luke never really intended to leave New York; he just said that to get Jocelyn to commit. Which is pretty manipulative, and I can’t help but wonder how she’ll feel if/when she finds out.

Our “Heroes”: 3

Was that petty? Probably, but I’m two pages from finishing this mess, so I don’t care.

Luke asks if Clary’s alright with all the changes that’ll be coming, in particular him asking Jocelyn to move in with him. Clary shrugs it off, given everything else that’s changed in her life recently.

That done, Isabelle shouts for Clary to join them to watch the fireworks. Clary does so, and is a bit miffed when there aren’t any fireworks going off.

I mean, fireworks aren’t exactly subtle. You’d probably know if they were going off.

But we do get a semi-decent line from Maia:

“Patience, grasshopper,” said Maia. “Good things come to those who wait.”

Simon, I’ll say it again: forget every other girl you might be interested in, and hook up with Maia now.

Unfortunately, he instead elects to make a dumb joke, which is made worse by Jace.

“I always thought that was ‘Good things come to those who do the wave,’” said Simon. “No wonder I’ve been so confused all my life.”
“‘Confused’ is a nice word for it,” said Jace.

Rapier Twit: 6

Our “Heroes”: 4

Yes, both of those deserve a point.

Jace asks Clary where she disappeared to, and she tells him about the fairy queen’s offer. He’s shocked that she turned it down, but it gives Clary another chance to brag about how wonderful everything is now.

For some reason, Jace starts playing with the chain around Clary’s neck – the same chain with the family ring Jace left with her before the climax.

Thanks for reminding me about that, CC. That would have made a nice plot token to help them track Jace down. Shame you didn’t actually use it.

Entirely Pointless: 4

Clary takes a minute to think about all the people who have died over the course of this series, and thinks how the memories of all of them are valuable in their own way. Shame how some of them died so tragically. If only someone could have brought them back from the dead or something.

Our “Heroes”: 4

Blah, blah, change is necessary. Blah, blah, Downworlders are people, too.

Jace draws Clary’s attention to the sky, and the fireworks. The final line of the book is a description of the fireworks, describing them as “like angels falling from the sky.”

Because of course that’s the description CC decided to go with.

And that’s the end of the book.

To quote from the end of my notes:

Thank Christ, it’s finally fucking over.

And I still agree with that sentiment.

So that’s the end of City of Glass. I’m going to save my final thought on this book, the series, and possibly my plans for the future for later. Because right now, this one sporking is a whopping 26 pages long. I don’t feel like going back and checking, but I’m willing to bet that’s probably the longest single sporking for this book.

I’ll see you all next time, when I can just discuss this book, rather than dissect it.

See you then.

Counts

Both Hands Ma’am: 10 (Total: 84)
Entirely Pointless: 4 (Total: 21)
Our “Heroes”: 3 (Total: 84)
Plot Hole: 1 (Total: 17)
Rapier Twit: 4 (Total: 11)
You Keep Using That Word: 3 (Total: 157)
Shoddy World Building: 0 (Total: 33)
No Shit Sherlock: 1 ( Total: 6)
A Word From Our Sponsors: 1 (Total: 11)

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Comment

  1. Juracan on 13 April 2020, 21:54 said:

    So again, why the funeral with full honors?

    Considering that a surprising amount of his former followers are still considered model Shadowhunters, and have an alarming amount of freedom, that they’re giving him a traditional funeral seems to me to reflect that the Shadowhunters, or a large number of them, didn’t really dislike him that much. Which, considering he was a massive dickbag is disconcerting.

    Maybe it’s an attempt to portray the Shadowhunters as honorable people? Like yeah, they’re racist, but they give their enemy a proper burial, because deep down they’re Good. Or something. It falls flat because of everything we’ve seen if that was the intent.

    Because everyone in these books has the maturity of high schoolers when it comes to relationships.

    Including the author!

    And she’s planning on incorporating symbols representing each of the four types of Downworlder. Symbols that she herself has chosen. I mean, if it were me, I’d probably ask each group if they have a particular symbol they like, but what do I know?

    This seems… unwise. The groups that have long been denied representation at this governing body having their own symbols made… by someone from the group that has been crushing them under their boots for centuries.

    This is followed by a pretty poor attempt at witty banter.

    We could just put this after the first few lines of the first book and it’d be an honest summary of a lot of this trilogy.

    Fuck you, Jace.

    Could be the tagline for the sporking.

  2. Aikaterini on 16 April 2020, 17:54 said:

    Congratulations on finishing the book!

    how much does Jace actually know about Clary, beyond what’s been relevant to the plot of the previous books?

    What does he even like about her? He doesn’t share her interest in drawing, he doesn’t like her friends, he frequently runs roughshod over her opinions, he constantly leaves her in the dark, etc. What exactly makes Clary better in his eyes than Isabelle or any other girl that he’s been with, other than the fact that she’s the nominal protagonist of this series? It’s not even like Jace thinks that she’s drop-dead gorgeous when the narrative switches to his POV. What do he and Clary even have in common, other than being terrible people?

    she still managed to totally feel Jace’s sense of loss from Valentine’s death. Despite, you know, having literally no relationship with Valentine herself.

    Honestly, maybe Clare should’ve just switched their roles around from the start. She might as well have made Jace the son of Valentine and Clary the outsider instead. It’s like a criticism that I saw of “Battle of the Five Armies” in which the writer argued that Thranduil and Tauriel behaved far more like they were father and child than Thranduil and Legolas did and suggested that maybe the writers forgot that Legolas was supposed to be Thranduil’s child instead of Tauriel.

    Jace wondering if, had it been him that stayed with Valentine, and Sebastian/Jonathan that got sent to live with the Lightwoods, would he have turned out the same as Sebastian/Jonathan?

    Yes. Because there is no fundamental difference between the two of them. One is the Designated Hero and the other is the Designated Villain. That’s the only explanation for why the narrative favors one over the other.

    Aline comments that it’s weird Jace hasn’t come to see Clary, even if he just got out of the hospital.

    He didn’t come to see Clary after he saved her from the Ravener in the first book. He just dumped her off on his friends while he ran to go play piano. This is nothing new.

    you don’t seem to have a problem when he says whatever stupid-ass thing that pops into his head.

    Oh, no, because when Prince Jace says it, it’s supposed to be ‘witty’.

    Gee, if only someone could have done something about that.

    Again, I really wonder if the Lightwoods will ever find out about that. Odds are that they won’t.

    Jace has only ever been “clever” or “eloquent” in his own mind

    Snide insults are not eloquent. Racial epithets are not clever. What is this book talking about?

    Why on earth would Clary have Amatis – a person she’s only known for about a week – convey that message?

    Because he’s projecting. For all of his swagger, Jace is an emotional coward, so he frequently gets other people to tell Clary things for him. He did it with Alec and he did it with Simon.

    Because everyone in these books has the maturity of high schoolers when it comes to relationships.

    Because that’s really what this entire series is about.

    she wonders whether Maia is really a gamer, or is just trying to impress Simon.

    Yes, well, I wonder whether you’re really Simon’s friend or you’re just a jealous nitwit who wants a lapdog to boss around, Clary. I think that being a fake friend is a more serious issue than being a ‘fake gamer.’

    Clary still has one demand: that he not cut her out of his life if said girlfriend is super jealous of their friendship.

    Or if said girlfriend has a brain and realizes that their ‘friendship’ is really unhealthy and one-sided. I don’t think that you’ll need to worry about Simon’s girlfriend being jealous, Clary. I think you need to worry about his girlfriend realizing what an awful person you are and helping Simon stand up for himself and get away from you.

    And they decide he’s a Lightwood.

    Even though he treats his adopted siblings like they’re his underlings. Even though he’s repeatedly shown that he respected Valentine a lot more than he did his adoptive parents. Oh, yeah, Jace totally thinks of the Lightwoods as his real family.

    So, why did we have all that attempted redemption earlier?

    So that he could shill Jace at Jonathan’s expense.

    she thought he looked, “beautiful and deadly.”

    But wait a minute, book, I thought that Jace ‘smelled like sunlight’! I thought that he was the sweet little bunny next to Jonathan’s rabid dog, which is supposedly why Valentine liked him better. Well, I guess that now that Jonathan’s temporarily out of the picture, the book can stop pretending.

    he believed that having affection for another person made you weak.

    But no, it’s only Jonathan who’s the emotionless psycho. Totally.

    Strangely, this does not repulse Clary.

    So, why was she randomly repulsed by Jonathan? Seriously, what is the difference here? There’s no reason why she wouldn’t want a threesome with the two of them, they’re the same. They’re both everything that she’s attracted to.

    is this supposed to be a reference to something?

    I don’t care if it is. It’s sexist and stupid, and I want Jace to shut up.

    Clary is allowed to have a boyfriend who doesn’t like Simon, but any girlfriend of Simon has to be okay with Clary.

    Because this series thrives on double standards.

    Fuck you, Jace.

    I agree with Juracan that that should be a tagline. And here is a reminder that Jace has not changed an iota throughout this series. In the first book, he gave a ‘friendly’ warning to Simon that Isabelle would chew him up and spit him out because he was only a mundane. Now he’s warning Simon away from Isabelle again, because he’s a vampire.

    He just doesn’t want Simon around. He doesn’t want him near Clary, he doesn’t want him near Isabelle, he doesn’t want him near anyone. And I’m supposed to believe him when he says that he doesn’t dislike Simon? Please.

    Jocelyn hops off, letting Luke and Clary talk.

    Why does she even exist? Seriously, would anything really change if Valentine had killed her?

  3. Apep on 20 April 2020, 12:26 said:

    Maybe it’s an attempt to portray the Shadowhunters as honorable people?

    Maybe. I mean, I kinda get it as something like how Osama bin Laden’s remains were treated – do it respectfully, so as not to provide fodder for any followers. I guess what I don’t get is why anyone would be attending the funeral. I mean, Jocelyn? Luke? They have every reason to want nothing to do with Valentine.

    And yet, here they are.

    This seems… unwise.

    To say the least. It’d be like former colonial powers going, “yes, we’ll grant you your independence, but you have to let us design your flag and currency.”

    We could just put this after the first few lines of the first book and it’d be an honest summary of a lot of this trilogy.

    Mostly where Jace is involved.

    Could be the tagline for the sporking.

    Also accurate.

    Congratulations on finishing the book!

    Thanks. It’s been a long, crazy ride.

    What does he even like about her? […] What do he and Clary even have in common, other than being terrible people?

    They both think the other is hot.

    That’s about it, as near as I can tell. A big part of the problem is that there’s little indication that the characters have any life outside what happens on the page. There’s little to no mention of them doing stuff that we don’t see, and what there is, is minimal at best. It’s like whenever the focus is off them, they’re just sitting around, waiting for their next scene.

    Or if said girlfriend has a brain and realizes that their ‘friendship’ is really unhealthy and one-sided.

    I hadn’t even considered that. Their relationship is just so very toxic.

    Now he’s warning Simon away from Isabelle again, because he’s a vampire.

    Okay, I will correct this: Jace isn’t telling Simon to stay away from Isabelle; he’s giving what he thinks is good advice. It also happens to be complete bullshit, because again, there’s no indication that Simon should change anything about who he is to draw attention from girls.

    Seriously, would anything really change if Valentine had killed her?

    Probably not. I mean, sure, Jocelyn being in a coma provides some motivation for Clary. And to a point, it kinda works, but ultimately it just serves the greater plot.

    I having a lot of thoughts about this now, but this isn’t the place for them. I’ll save it for my conclusion. Which I really should get to writing.

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