Clary Frey has jumped into a mystery magic portal without any idea where the fuck it goes.
But CW! you might be saying, Protagonists go into the unknown all the time! So do REAL people! Where would we be without Columbus (...drug lords would be called "Americans" same as the rest of us) or Neil Armstrong? Lewis and Clark! The great explorers who look at "Here there be Dragons" and go off to adventure with a great big stick!
Here's the thing. All of them have an idea of what exists in the unknown AND a reason to go get it. In some cases, it's quite simply that they don't know what's there and they cannot wait to find out. In other cases, it's what's not through that door...IE the giant bug aliens that are chasing them with intent to kill. Maybe they'll get a reward when they come back alive.
Clary will not get an award. Clary has no shown interest in being a "fuck danger" adventurer, and Clary isn't sure her mother is there, or anywhere. Why does she go through the door? She wants to know where her mother WOULD have gone, if Clary hadn't been a frickin' idiot and decided not to answer her phone a few days ago.
Let me repeat that. She wants to go to an unknown place via a door demon fugetives use as an escape hatch because she wants to know where her mother might have gone, if her own actions had not made that escape an imposibility.
This is not yet Strawchick level stupid, but it's getting really close.
So where does it take them? Hell? Some other demon dimension? J.K. Rowling's backyard?
Lower Manhattan. Not kidding. They land in her uncle Luke's backyard. He lives behind a backyard. Jace asks what next, and Clary says they should leave, because Luke told her not to come there. Jesus, kid. You just went through a door when you didn't know what universe it went to. Make it count. EXPLORE.
Jace, of course, doesn't respect grownups and Clary submits to peer pressure and walks up to Luke's sometimes UNLOCKED back door.
He lives in Manhattan. And he sometimes leaves his door open.
...how does he still have a house? I'd think one day he'd come home and find the doorknob with a key in it and thoughtful step-by-step instructions on how to use it, so that the next time he leaves his new house, a theif doesn't come steal everything but the foundation.
But Luke does ONE thing responsibly. He recycles. We absolutely needed to know this. Jace vaults over the bushes and lands on Clary's friend Simon.
You remember Simon, right? The Harry Potter look-alike who was head over heels in love with Clary, who is probably the only non-psychotic human being to put up with her stupid? That Simon? Yeah. So glad you remember, because obviously Clary forgot all about him. Seriously. She's gone for days, her mother is missing, her house is stolen, and Simon has to be worried.
Clary is miffed that Simon isn't happier to see her.
Once Simon vents his ire, Clary tells him what's going on. The exact truth.
Which Simon accepts immediately. Because it's this kind of book.
You know, I hated Strawchick with the passion and fire of ten thousand suns, but at least her character was fucking consistant, at least up until she got locked in the slave box and somehow got a lobotomy in the dark. Clary isn't adventurous, except when she needs to be. She can't fight, except when she needs to do something big enough to impress a nearby man. She is shitty to her friends...okay, she's consistant here. And Simon? Who isn't used to seeing things that are not there? Accepts all this immediatly without any questions whatsoever, other than "Hey, so you're a demon hunter?"
My first question would be, "What did you take on this obvious three day trip to Amsterdam and did you bring enough back to share?"
But Simon can't freak out because the plot needs Simon and Clary to be best buds from here on out. If they are not, there is no love triangle and the dynamic of this book will be ruined. Missing mothers, world-spanning plots for genocide and dominance, and the existance of magic itself are not enough to keep the reader occupied. We must have a love triangle between NOT!Draco, NOT!Ginny and NOT-AT-ALL!Harry. Otherwise our lives would not be complete.
We also get Obligatory Jace-is-not-from-here moment when Simon compares this to "Dungeons and Dragons, only real!" and Jace says "WTF is that?"
One more time: JACE WEYLAND IS LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY 24-7. THERE IS NO REASON FOR HIM TO BE SO CULTURALLY DIVORCED FROM NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS THAT HE CAN'T RECOGNISE MAJOR POP CULTURE REFERENCES. THE THINGS THAT MADE SENSE IN THE HARRY POTTER UNIVERSE WILL NOT MAKE SENSE HERE BECAUSE THIS IS NOT HARRY POTTER.
They wander around in the bookstore for a little while, bumping into things because it's too dark to see. Then Jace produces...*sigh* "Witchlight" (MAGIC!) and shows Clary Uncle Luke's BDSM dungeon. There are chains and "loops of iron" around the room. Chains that have been used because someone has tried to pull them out from the wall, more than once.
They go into Luke's apartment. There's hot coffee on the table, so obviously he hasn't left the apartment yet. Then Clary goes into her room and pulls out a backpack. It is full of her things and...*sigh again* this:
Kneeling down, she tugged it out from under the bed by its olive green strap. It was covered with buttons, most of which Simon had given her. GAMERS DO IT BETTER. OTAKU WENCH. STILL NOT KING.The thing that made Clare e-famous were a set of fan fiction entries, and I use that term very loosely, called The Very Secret Diaries. They looked like this:
Ringwraiths killed: 4. V. good.
Met up with Hobbits. Walked forty miles. Skinned a squirrel and ate it.
Still not King.
Stuck on mountain with Hobbits. Boromir really annoying.
Not King yet.
Orcs killed: none. Disappointing. Stubble update: I look rugged and manly. Yes!
Keep wanting to drop-kick Gimli. Holding myself back.
Still not King.
There is one of these for every major character in the movies, with very few exceptions. So we've wasted room in this book that could be spent adventuring on a shout out to everybody who supported Clare way back in the beginning. Hey look, I still remember where I came from.
That's great, Clare. Can you stop waving at your mom and get back to the fucking story already?
(Also, if one of the fucking buttons becomes merch for the movie, I will...will...I don't know. But I'll do something. Because the stupid burns, my loyal blog-readers. It burns so very much)
Jace finds Luke's bag of weapons, and a picture of Clary and her mom that Clary broke when she fought off the first demon in her apartment. Luke went back there and salvaged what he could, and instead of this being "thoughtful, worried friend" it translates into "Nefarious action". Then Luke shows up with two friends, and everybody runs and hides in the closet, the better to hear this conversation with, my dear.
So they all hide behind a screen. One of those old fashioned things that you change clothes behind. I have a big problem with this, but it's a major spoiler for later in the book. Suffice to say that if Clary were to tell Luke he had a big nose, Luke would reply, "the better to smell you with", and since "Shower" has not been mentioned in the last couple of chapters I'm willing to bet all three of them smell like they just ran the Boston Marathon. Luke does magic so they can see through the screen, but still cannot be seen. *coughcloakofinvisibilitycough*
The two men are Pangborn and Blackwell, and they're warlocks. Only not warlocks. It's not real clear. They are with Valentine, though! And they want to recruit Luke. And they're looking for something called the Mortal Cup, which Clary's mother hid. And Clary's mother is still unconsious, and Valentine is so dissapointed because he was "looking forward to their reunion", and given the amount of exposition in this book it should just be renamed "City of Let's Talk About It". Also, let's do some math:
Clary's father died sixteen years ago, before she was born.
Valentine died sixteen years ago...only not. AND!
He and Clary's Mom had a reunion she missed because she's comatose.
HEY, I THINK THIS BOOK WILL HAVE A TWIST ENDING!
There are also many dropped hints about Luke being a monster. You know what? Let's just call him NOT!Lupin and get it over with, shall we?
Then all three men leave at the same time, even though this is Luke's fucking apartment. The kids, you see, have to talk about what they just heard the grown ups talking about. And after repeating what we already know--the bad guys think Clary's mom has the Mortal Cup, and they're looking for Clary--Jace adds something new.
THOSE TWO BAD GUYS ARE THE GUYS THAT KILLED HIS FATHER! GASP!
End of chapter.
Next chapter: THEY GO TO THE INSTITUE AND TALK ABOUT THINGS SOME MORE.