Thursday, November 15, 2012

City of Bones chapter 6

I have an hour before Diwali party, and I currently smell like an east Indian spice rack, so I'm going to take a second to pound this chapter into the ground.

I have been astounded. Pounded into the ground, mouth open, knock-me-over-with-a-feather shocked at the first sentence of this chapter:

The weapons room looked exactly the way something called “the weapons room” sounded like it would look.


I priced print books day before yesterday, on the tiny consideration that maybe I'd want to put stuff in print, eventually. This Found Thing comes kind of close to being print-worthy, and (up until yesterday) I definately wanted to put Project: Dragon in print come next year.

And then I saw what I'd have to charge to see a dollar from the printings. For TFT? About six bucks. It's not worth six bucks. An actual book? OVER twelve bucks. For a paper back book.

My point? EVERY word in a book costs something.  And that sentence there? Could have been what pushed this book over a page or two. AND IT SAYS NOTHING. WOW, the armory looks like an armory. AMAZING. WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE? an armory. With metal walls, special pretty brackets for weapons, and...uh...

Soft leather bags filled with arrows dangled from hooks,
No. See, the point of an armory is to store weapons and armor. Putting on a pretty display I can see--kind of--as long as it's not a working armory, but rather that thing the lord of the castle keeps around to remember what life was like before pistols and cell phones. But this room is not a museum. It is not where you go to look at the shiny pointy bladey things. It's where you put swords, bows, arrows and armor so that they 1. remain in good condition and 2. are easy-ish to access. So yes. Swords would be in brackets...probably several rows of them, if not on a shelf, wrapped in some kind of cloth to keep the metal from oxidizing. Otherwise, these kids do a lot of polishing. I have no idea how to properly store armor, but the arrows? You'd want them stored somewhere where fletching, string and shafts aren't damaged by weather fluxuations and mice. Also, arrows have multiple heads, so you'd probably store the finished shafts in one (dry, protected) place and the heads in another. That's not in "bags" out in the open.

And no. These aren't quivers. If they were quivers the text would fucking say quiver. Clare obviously doesn't research ANYTHING, at all, ever, but she's read/watched both Harry Potter and LOTR, and she has to know that arrows go in a quiver when you're using them. So these are not quivers. If we are extremely lucky these are just leather backpacks stuffed full of arrows...but my first impression was that they were "filled" with arrows the way John Wayne "fills" things with bullets. And that's just fucking NO.

Clary finds Jace and Alec here, and Jace is working on something. Whatcha workin on, Jace?

...three long slim wands of a dully glowing silver. They did not look sharp or particularly dangerous. “Sanvi, Sansavi, and Semangelaf. They’re seraph blades.”
...a blade, by definition, has an edge. At this point we're leaving aside "weaponry" and going for "Shiny shit". There are a few things that get on my nerves with books. One of them is scrabble-tile names (See L. Ron Hubbard) and the other one is shiny shit for the sake of shiny shit. Sparkly glittery oh so pretty weapons especially. You know why the blades in Lord of the Rings got names? Because they were swords that their owners used. They had names the way soldier's guns had names. And if you look at the replica weapons from the movie? They are not very fancy, and are also too fancy for any reasonable human being to use. They're made to look cool first, to be used second. In the universe of TFT, and I'm sorry to be name dropping my own books so much this review, I wound up giving the "good" guys silver plated swords because it hurt the bad guys, and even that turned into a kind of sort of major flustercluck, given that silver doesn't make for a good blade edge, but (for obvious reasons) my faeries aren't going to let humans run around with solid steel swords all the time. And that's as fancy as it gets in that universe, in terms of bladed weapons. No frills, no fancy gimmicks. The pointy end goes in the other man. This is what makes the weapons awesome.

These weapons are not awesome. These are shiny shit. The fighters in this book are fucking magpies.

And then they have a conversation about magic. What is magic, Jace?

Magic is a dark and elemental force, not just a lot of sparkly wands and crystal balls and talking goldfish.”

One: J.K. Rowling called. She said as long as you're eating at her table, stop shitting in her sand box.

Two: Dark and elemental. Okay. What the fuck are you talking about? Dark=evil, that part I get, but elemental, to me, implies basic building block. Kind of like the four elements, or the periodic table of elements. It's a basic part of life, in other words, but it's evil and you shouldn't touch it.

The point of this conversation is that the Shadowhunters don't do magic, okay? They are totally not wizards.

This could be one of two things, or both of them:

Clare is trying to distance her book from Harry Potter (...try not naming the series after your RON/GINNY INCEST FIC, if that's your goal)


Clare is a Christian of some flavor (entirely possible, given the angel/demon/theology in a blender the book is filled with) and she wants to make it very clear that MAGIC IS BAD and MURDERING DEMON HUNTERS ARE GOOD. Because...uh, Harry Potter.

So Clary tells Jace that she can go home now. And after he freaks out, she adds just to look through her mother's things, to prove that Mom totally wasn't a Shadowhunter, even though she totally is.

...Once. JUST. FUCKING. ONCE. I want the main characters of one of these books to be normal human beings who survive the magical onslaught because normal human powers rock. You know. Just saying.

Okay, we've had exposition after exposition, so it's time to cue the romantic tension. On the way, Clary asks Jace how he knew she had Shadowhunter blood. Jace says he guessed, but he was pretty sure anyway because how else could she see the Murder Trio while they did thier murdering?

This is pretty important. I glossed over it in the last review but the likelyhood of Clary's lineage is revealed when Jace tells everybody he drew a rune on her (AKA magic) and it hid her from the bad guys while she was unconsious. (MAGIC) and because she's human, it should have killed her. It didn't, so obviously she's a Shadowhunter!

So our romantic lead, who is introduced to us and Clary via MURDER, decided to test a THEORY by drawing a potentially fatal diagram on Clary's arm...without asking her consent or telling her what it could do, because he had to be right.

...this is going to be a movie. And unless it's an Eragon level fail, it's going to influience a lot of girls. We have Edward Cullen, we have Christian Gray, and now we have Jace...whatever the fuck his name is. Informed consent? Who needs that.

How does Clary react?

She bitchslaps the everloving shit out of him. No bullshit.

 He put his hand to his cheek, more in surprise than pain. “What the hell was that for?”

We won't see a lot of standing up for ourselves out of these characters, so I'll take what I can get.
Moving on.

Okay, so we're on the way to Clary's house after a demon tried to kill her. What exciting thing is going to happen next?

A train ride.

So that we can have every girl in the world flirt with Jace. Not kidding.

Jace assumed an air of mellow gratification. “Of course they are,” he said. “I am stunningly attractive.”

“Haven’t you ever heard that modesty is an attractive trait?”

“Only from ugly people,” Jace confided. “The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me.” He winked at the girls, who giggled and hid behind their hair.

Clary sighed. “How come they can see you?”

“Glamours are a pain to use. Sometimes we don’t bother.”
One: reguarding that "only from ugly people" comment: FUCK YOU CASSANDRA CLARE. Fuck you for thinking that I would find a stuck up ASS like that attractive. Yep, the outside probably would have gotten me to talk to him, but once he opened his mouth I'd be on the other side of fucking town.



So they get to Clary's house and he scans it with his Sensor. This is, I shit you not, a demonic shortwave radio signal detector. They don't have electricity, they can't update their houses to the fucking twenty first century, but they have plastic devices that detect demons.

They get into her apartment and discover that someone has taken everything. EVERYTHING. Right down to the tabasco stains on the floor and the last can of Who Hash.

Even the Grinch read this book.
Deciding that she wants to see her room--because, you know, finding your PS3 missing is so much worse than your missing mother--she discovers yet another demon in her house!

Jace, flat against the wall, was fumbling in his pocket, his face a mask of surprise. Looming over him like a giant in a fairy tale was an enormous man, big around as an oak tree, a broad-bladed axe clutched in one gigantic dead-white hand. Tattered filthy rags hung off his grimy skin, and his hair was a single matted tangle, thick with dirt. He stank of poisonous sweat and rotting flesh. Clary was glad she couldn’t see his face— the back of him was bad enough.

They fight it off with the magic wands, which can apparently produce swords.Yo, Jace? Why didn't you just bring swords?

I don't remember if Clare ever addresses what the FUCK the Shadowhunters are doing if it's not magic. If magic IS a thing in this world, then "magic" is what you're doing. There's a bad metaphore several pages about how calling an electric eel a rubber ducky doesn't make it a ducky. Well, Clare, calling an electric eel a ducky doesn't make it not an electric eel, either. If it involves wands, chanted words, runes and flashy FX, guess what? It's magic.

The giant chases them around the house, and Jace kills it dramatically with the magic sword-wands.

And then he reveals that no, people marked with runes don't die. They go insane, and become the Forsaken. Ravenous, hunter-killer monsters like the one they just killed.

Which is what Jace would have done to Clary.


Then the nutzo psychic lady, dismissed earlier as a nutzo psychic lady, reveals that she knows everything about the Shadowhunters, mostly by dropping lots of important words we haven't heard yet, as well as some that we have. Jace freaks. Madame Dorothea invites them in, Jace is grumpy that Dorothea knows his last name (Weyland. Not far from Whatthefuck, now is it?) and Clary just pumps him for more expositional conversation that amounts to de nada. The chapter ends.

NEXT UP: Clary and Jace talk, a lot, and Cassandra Clare not only fucks up tarot, she shoots her whole universe in the face.


  1. ...three long slim wands of a dully glowing silver. They did not look sharp or particularly dangerous. “Sanvi, Sansavi, and Semangelaf. They’re seraph blades.”

    ...a blade, by definition, has an edge. At this point we're leaving aside "weaponry" and going for "Shiny shit". There are a few things that get on my nerves with books. One of them is scrabble-tile names (See L. Ron Hubbard) and the other one is shiny shit for the sake of shiny shit.

    It's Crunchy, uh, again.

    I'm unclear if the reference to to 'scrabble-tile' names applies solely to L. Ron Hubbard or also to those blade names but, in the interest of fairness, those three names are the names of the three angels that ancient (Jewish, I think?) people called on to protect their children from Lilith. (Traditionally, those three angels were sent to drag Lilith's butt back to Adam but, when that didn't work out, they made it their job to keep her from doing too much damage to humanity.) The three names were written on stones/pendants and buried under homes.

    HOWEVER, Cassandra Clare has (deliberately?) misspelled them. Or, since they're non-English originally, chosen not to use the spellings normally given in translations. Either way, the first syllables looked familiar so I put them into Google which came up with the other, more common spellings of the names.

    ...this is just in case you're keeping a list somewhere of 'borrowed & somewhat mangled stuffs.'

    1. "Scrabble tile"=naming things by pulling random tiles out of the bag. I did not know that re: angels. Mostly because I am not Jewish, and I didn't even know that Lilith was something other than an FFIV villain until I got old enough to find wikipedia.

      Which makes this book even more frustrating. Not bothering to identify the source material. It would have been easy, given how the characters in this damn book spend ALL their time talking to info dump something that could actually be interesting.

      The angel thing is the biggest sore point for me. WHY are these angels good? WHY are the other angels bad? WHAT DEFINES GOODNESS AND BADNESS IN THIS SERIES? You can have absolute good and evil divorced from the concept of God/gods in a book that has no religion in it (Harry Potter. Terry Brook's novels. Anne McCaffrey's work, ect) But once you bring up the concept of deity the definition of good and evil has to be addressed. It doesn't have to be the Christian God, it doesn't even have to be one god (See CURSE OF CHALION for kickass polythestic religion) but deity has to be defined SOMEHOW.

      You cannot borrow angels from two major (related) religions and ignore the baggage they come with. It'd be like me writing an entire sci-fi series around a galactic warlord named Xenu.

      And I have already ranted about this. Twice. Several months ago. Obviously, I am still pissed about it. I will stop now.