Friday, December 7, 2012

City of Bones Chapter 21

Planet Bob is eating my lunch, I swear to God. I hope you guys will like it, and I also hope you will consider it as part two of a four part thing. I know where I'm going with it, I LIKE where I am going with it, but I am SO FUCKING NERVY about this.

Also, guys? I don't recommend books often. I'm recommending this one. I know nothing about the dude that writes it, I stumbled across it trying to promote my own shitty writing, and it is FREAKING AMAZING. Buy it. Buy it and love it. Buy it and tell me what you think of it so we can both gush together.

And finally: My finger is doing well. I have shucked the sock-like bandage they mummified me in, I am taking the goddamned antibiotic they gave me. I hate antibiotics. I always forget to take them. But I am on this one. There will be no delay in publishing schedule.

And now, back to the suck.

It occurs to me that I may have ended yesterday's blog prematurely. Luke ends his life story with "And the rest you know." So I have one important question.

How does he know what she knows?

Seriously. For all he knows the Murder Trio kept Clary in freaking gauze between when mom got nabbed and now. There's lots of things he should be trying to explain, and a lot more things he should be trying to spin, given that he's a Downworlder and all.

So after Luke tells his story Clary FINALLY does the math and figures out that Valentine's her daddy. Big. Fucking. Whoop. The good news is, we  will not have to play catchup with this anymore. The bad news? Is about two chapters away. And I'm saving it. Sorry.

So Clary is all like WHY WOULD YOU NOT TELL ME MY DAD IS MAGICAL HITLER?  And Luke is like, "Uh, Magical Hitler." And then...well, allow me to let the book speak for itself.

“Don’t get upset? You’re telling me that my dad is a guy who’s basically an evil overlord, and you want me not to get upset?”

 “He wasn’t evil to begin with,” Luke said, sounding almost apologetic.
 “Oh, I beg to differ. I think he was clearly evil. All that stuff he was spouting about keeping the human race pure and the importance of untainted blood— he was like one of those creepy white power guys. And you two totally fell for it.”


Thank you for pointing out the freaking obvious.

Seriously. Take away the magic and this book is fan fiction ABOUT HITLER. This is EXACTLY why I hate this series, I think. The author wrote it because she wanted to redeem her favorite character, Draco, from being a whiny little shit, and so she did...while either neglecting the implications of her source material or choosing to ignore them.

Now, if you're still having trouble understanding why this is such a terrible book, allow me to translate this into Godwins' territory, okay?

IRL, this story would be about Eva Braum's daughter by Adolph discovering who her daddy is, while being aided in her quest to save her mother by the children of Gobbles and Mengele and mentored by Himmler.

The author OBVIOUSLY did not intend this. NO SANE HUMAN BEING WOULD DO THIS TERRIBLE THING. But because the author did not give two shits about her source material and never has, that's what we've got. THANK YOU GOD this woman included the quoted paragraph. Otherwise I'd be totally disgusted with every single thing about this book, rather than most of it.

And in case you'd like to do the same thing? Meaning file the serial numbers off your fan fic and publish it? Do it, by all means. But take three seconds to research what the original author's using as a source, so you don't accidentally have your main character be Hitler's offspring.

Back to the suck.

Luke calls Clary on her hypocritsy, pointing out that she was spouting the "ALL DOWNWORLDERS ARE EVIL" hardline she'd been fed by the Murder Trio. WHO ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE SS.

Sorry. It's just...SO FUCKING OBVIOUS.

So Luke asks Clary what happened, and she tells him, and then points out that her Daddy now has everything and she has nothing, and Luke points out no, he's got a whole wolf pack he'd love to shove up Valentine's unmentionables, if only he knew where Valentine was and... No, you're not. You are SERIOUSLY not going to have Clary pull Valentine's hideout OUT OF HER ASS at the eleventh hour. PLEASE TELL ME YOU'RE NOT--

“What if Renwick isn’t a person, though?” said Clary. “What if it’s a place? Renwick’s. Like a restaurant, or . . . or a hotel or something.” 
Luke’s eyes went suddenly wide. He turned to Gretel, who was advancing on him with the medical kit. “Get me a phone book,” he said.

NO. NO. NO. NO, Clary DOES NOT GET TO DO THIS. If she had been a more active, intelligant character--namely IF SHE DID NOT HAVE TO HAVE HER PARENTAGE SPELLED OUT FOR HER IN TRIPLICATE--she'd get a pass. But this chick has the intuition of grass seed. She does not get to do this. I will grant no passes on this.

And then...this happens.

She didn’t reply. There was a hard knot at the center of her stomach. She found herself trying to breathe around it. The beginning of a thought tickled at the edge of her mind, wanting to resolve itself into a full-blown realization. But she pushed it firmly down and away. She couldn’t afford to give her resources, her energy, to anything but the issue immediately at hand.
The average reader might give this a pass. But guys? I write. I might not be very good at it, but I do write. And I do produce paragraphs like this. Editing has helped me understand what these paragraphs mean. This is an attempt at the writer's subconsious to point something out, or else allow for some moderate character development that the writer feels uncomfortable with. How do I know she's uncomfortable with whatever was behind this paragraph? It's that phrase, "She found herself". There are two sets of words that I edit out whenever I find them. There is probably some fancy name for them in real editing, but I call them waffle words and filter words. Waffle words are the words a writer uses when they feel uncomfortable committing to an absolute. "Seemed, almost, probably" are the big offenders here. When a writer says "she seemed to be going" they either mean, "She is going, but I don't feel comfortable committing to the action" or "She's going to fake you out in ten minutes and I'm spoiling it by cheating at narration." Filter words are a slightly different animal. Filter words are "She saw" or "She felt" or "She heard/remembered/dreamed" ect. These are words the writer puts in front of a sentence they feel uncomfortable with. I do this a lot with action scenes, and you guys do not see half of when it happens because I edit it out every fucking time I remember to do it. Filter words are horrible creatures that sap a scene of energy simply because I don't feel comfortable letting my heroine have the crap beat out of her.

This paragraph was kept because of the abomination that's going to happen in the next couple of chapters. It was written in the first place, IMHO, because there was about to be character development that the author didn't want to deal with. My judgement, take it with a grain of salt, but given the shitstorm that is about to befall us, I do not think Clare would have filtered that paragraph if she intended it to be ham-fisted foreshadowing. Our minds, blog readers, are smarter than we are, and that goes double for writer's minds.

Anyhoo, back to the suck.

So the werewolves go through the yellow pages to find Renwick's, and fail to find it. So then Clary asks Simon to Google it.

Several years ago, I blogged about a book called Bone Magic, where the main characters found the bad guy VIA GOOGLE EARTH. Kids, it looks like we have come full circle at last.

Also? If the only way to find Magic!Hitler's hideout is to GOOGLE THE GODDAMNED ADDRESS, it looks like mundanes have a leg up on Shadowhunters. Just sayin.

And Renwick's is in a smallpox hospital.

Okay. I have to ask this now, given that Cassandra Clare is the one that shoehorned it in there: Are Shadowhunter's vaccinated against disease? It's a good question. I had the same problem with Harry Potter. See, the goal of vaccination is not to protect EVERY person from the disease. It's to create a thing called "herd immunity", where, if a single individual is infected with a disease--say, smallpox--the other people near them--the herd--will have been vaccinated, and the disease will go no further than that individual. The stupidity propagated by Jenny McCarthy has broken herd immunity for several diseases, one of which I believe is Polio. And I'm willing to argue that even Chicken pox is worth vaccinating against (Chicken Pox=shingles, and possibly ongoing nerve issues and herpes simplex. It. NEVER. Goes. Away.). Shadowhungers, like the Wizards they're based on, would comprise a "herd." Is this herd immunized?

This is a serious question. The Modern World has, so far, avoided a pandemic. I have to call this a miracle worked by both modern science and the hand of God. All we need, boys and girls, is for one person with an air-transmitted disease with a lethality rate of over 70% to take ONE plane ride, and the entire world will be fucked. And Valentine is now camped out in a place that harbored people with one of the worst diseases in the history of everything. Smallpox wiped out the Natives LONG before the White Man decided to camp out here. One infected Shadowhunter could wipe out most of them while the mundanes watched in horror.

So they go off to murder Valentine, and it is revealed that the Werewolves are running a takeout Chinese restaurant in their spare time.

This is where I'd normally say "WHY ARE WE NOT READING THAT BOOK" but the fact is, that book already exists. If you have not read Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series, or better yet, the Alpha/Omega series, go fix that. NOW.

(I visited PB's amazon page for the first time ever looking up that link, and I am now totally pissed. There is BOTH a A/O book AND a Mercy Thompson book upcoming AND NEITHER ARE AVALIABLE NOW. The universe, my beloved friends, the universe is not fair.)

And oh, hey, STORY TIME!

When I was a kid, I visited one of my parent's old foster kids. I was at that age where I thought EVERYONE lived the way I did. Poor people lived in Afganistan. When we visited this guy, I saw some toys in the backyard. They were terribly broken, missing wheels and heads and so forth. Among these items was a rocking horse. I did not like rocking horses, per se, but I had recently gotten a book on carosel horses, and I badly wanted one. I wanted the ribbons and the bows and the pretty roses. So when I saw the broken rocking horse I did everything but demand my father ask the old foster kid if I could go dumpster diving through his trash and take the broken rocking horse home.

The thing I did not realize was, that "trash?" That was the family's toys. My head was shoved so far up my own little privelaged butt that I could not imagine anyone settling for broken dump trucks and rocking horses when there were Barbies and Tonkas aplenty. I remember this with distaste and embarisment. I am ashamed that I was ever that great an idiot.

Why do I bring this up?

The vehicles stretched in a line down the block and around the corner. A convoy of were-wolves. Clary wondered how they’d begged, borrowed, stolen, or commandeered so many vehicles on such short notice.

MAYBE THESE ARE THEIR OWN CARS, YOU BIGOTED BITCH. Nowhere in this book does it say Werewolves can't hold a job. In fact, given that Mercy has spoiled me for wolves forever, I'm assuming that they're paying Luke dues to be a member of the pack.

More hamfisted foreshadowing occurs while Clary explains about Jace.

Also, we find out that Luke has been Alpha for this pack...oh, I'm sorry, "Clan Leader" for less than a week. He saw Joycelyn vanish, and decided the best thing he could do was go committ murder.

There are six zillion better reasons for him to be pack Alpha. I blame the writer for this one.

And, no shit? Clare needs to stop making me think of Mercy Thompson. Otherwise I'm abandoning this book in favor of someting chock-full of werecoyote awesome.

They get to Roosevelt Island, the smallpox center. The paragraphs in this section are nearly impossible to read, and I'm getting pissed trying to make sense of Cassandra Clare's disorganized thoughts. This is the first book she ever got published. The very first one. I do not see how this is possible.

The long and short of it is, they sneak inside. The wolves clash with the Forsaken--which, remember, are normal humans inscribed with runes--and the murdering that then occurs is pretty graphically described. There is some pack-related posturing--I am now strongly craving Adam Hauptman and Warren, not to mention Mercy and Bran and Charles--and they make it into the building with Clary and Luke in one piece.

We then get a pointless tour of the luxurious facility. You know, the consentration camps were pretty cozy for the SS. I remember a couple stories about how the soldiers used to get so drunk, they wouldn't bother turning out the lights. they'd just shoot the bulbs out.

Then they find Clary's Mom. Clary makes no effort to rescue her, in part because the bed where Mom is kept drugged is probably booby trapped, and in part because two of Valentine's lackeys show up. Blackwell and Pangborn.

 I am 90% certain that Pangborn was a Harry Potter character that I've blocked out to save memory space.

Also, I very, VERY badly want this chapter to end, but there's no sign of that anytime soon.

Luke kills Blackwell, and then tells Clary to run. She does. She can't get any weapons because they are all spelled to the walls. I am sure they are. She keeps running. Why is this chapter still going on? Clary keeps running. She hits a room where she finds Jace standing at a window. She tells Jace they have to run, and Jace says no, everything's a huge misunderstanding, Luke should call the wolves off and everyone should have a nice, big long talk.

Then Valentine comes in the room, sees Clary, and says, basically, "WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT."

And Jace says the most beautiful thing a bad book bitch could ever hear:

Jace caught at her wrist. “No.”
 She could not contain her disbelief. “But, Jace—” 
“Clary,” he said firmly. “This is my father.”

It can only be what it is, folks.

NEXT CHAPTER: Did I mention yet? That the Mortal Instruments was Cassandra Clare's Ron/Ginny incest fic? Do you need brain bleach yet? Do you? do you?

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