Yes! You read that right! Today you get not one, but TWO chapters of City of Bones ranting, or critiquing, or whatever this is.
These are short chapters, and the last ones before everything starts going insane, so I thought I’d be as time-efficient as possible and shorten your wait.
Colin, hurry up and read the damn book already.
SPOILER WARNINGS AHOY.
Chapter 3: SHADOWHUNTER.
We left our intrepid heroine and her puppydog best/only friend as they were on their way to see what promised to be some truly awful poetry reading, in the name of solidarity and getting away from Clary’s mother.
Maybe they shouldn’t have spent so long talking about how Clary’s mother has weird scars and seemed to pop out of nowhere into the world as soon as Clary was born, and promptly forgetting that the whole conversation ever happened, because poor Eric the poet is already onstage.
It’s the most cliché poetry slam in the world. Eric has his eyes closed and is swaying in front of the mic, and his friend is actually beating a djembe “irregularly” behind him. Like, I didn’t think people really did that. No one really does that, right? In addition, it’s kind of a clumsy set-up of a very visual gag. You don’t get any impression of the pretentiousness of the rhythm of the drum. She doesn’t linger on it for long enough to enjoy the humour. She sets it up – Eric’s onstage, Matt’s doing the drum thing that everyone knows happens at shitty poetry slams, Clary talks about how awful it’ll be (THEN WHY DID YOU COME OMG AT LEAST ENJOY THE BADNESS), done. Much like Stephenie Meyer skips all her character development and interactions to get to Bella <3 Edward 4evaaaaa, Clare whizzes through this to get to SPOILER Shadowhunters.
I imagine her thoughts went something like this.
Clare: Ugh, got to do something to build up Clary’s life before she meets the SPOILER Shadowhunters. Shitty poetry slam? Yeah, sounds quirky enough. BUT I REALLY WANT TO GET TO THE SEXY DEMONHUNTERS! I GUESS I’LL JUST HAMMER THIS OUT IN TEN MINUTES. I’LL FIX IT LATER.
Later: [Never comes]
So she finds a seat while Simon gets her a coffee, she spits out another witty one-liner, of course everyone’s smoking clove cigarettes because that’s what happens at poetry slams, AMIRITE??? and some random girl comes over like “omg do you know that guy? is he your boyyyyfrieeeeend?”
Clary’s about to be like “duh of course not, I have no friends” but it turns out the girl means Simon, her only human companion! So instead she’s like “ew no, we’re JUST FRIENDS.”
This pleases the girl, who expresses interest in Simon, should this hunk of a man be single, and WHAT CEASELESS JOY he totally is! But soft! how could this be? How could this marvellous piece of manflesh not have at least ten girlfriends? Could it be that he is interested only in other male humans?
Clary is “saved” from the TERRIBLE TRIAL of having to say “no, Simon likes the ladies” by the approach of Simon himself, and she starts to wonder if maybe he isn’t good looking after all!?
She also wonders if she should sell out girlkind by breaking the confidentiality of a confessed crush. The girl has no idea of this betrayal as she is reading Shonen Jump, because everyone in this book is an anime geek. Clary does, of course, and Simon’s like “omg you really think so?” but Clary can’t answer because of YET ANOTHER convenient interruption. Eric’s going to recite his poetry!
It’s predictably terrible, but not that really amazing terrible that good writers can pull off when they write bad poetry. We only get a couple of lines, something about loins, &c.
Simon brings up the girlfriend conversation again, and Clary’s like “just ask <insert girl here> out then.” because my god, who has not had to have this conversation and will it ever get less awkward? No it will not. If you’re not a girl, chances are you’re unfamiliar with the furious voice in your head going “DEFLECT! DEFLECT! BE AS FUCKING UNASSUMING AND OBLIVIOUS AS POSSIBLE AND HE WILL GIVE UP AND GO AWAY!” while you’re outwardly like “girlfriend? i thought you had tons of friends who were girls! brb washing my hair forever!” Incidentally, boys, if a girl reacts like this when you try to tell her you like her? Chances are she doesn’t like you back.
But Simon’s like “NO. I WILL NOT ASK THIS GIRL OUT.”
Clary’s like yeah? why? do you only like ROCKIN’ BODS? don’t you like NICE girls or SMART girls?
This is a stupid move. My only visual reference for her (courtesy of her own inner thoughts) is Raggedy Ann, who does not fall into “rockin’ bod” territory. Might not want to tempt this one, Clary.
But alas, the damage has been done.
Simon’s like “It wouldn’t be fair on her, Clary!”
The blonde girl (not “blond”, Clare, “blond/e” is the only adjective we have that inflects according to gender, so please do try to remember it) is listening in, I guess hoping that Simon will confess that he’s loved her all along, and Simon turns green? Apparently like the time he had to limp home on a broken ankle after football, which, I can’t imagine a single scenario which doesn’t end in “HOLY SHIT CALL AN AMBULANCE” rather than “WALK IT OFF, KID. WALK OFF THAT BROKEN ANKLE. YEAH.” Anyway, she puts his green face down to anxiety, even though I doubt it was the anxiety of walking on a broken ankle that turned him green last time, but whatever.
So she’s like “Who do you like then?” even though omfg it’s HER IT’S HER, CLARY, IT’S YOU, HE LIKES YOU.
She knows, right? Please tell me she knows.
And then omg someone is laughing! BUT WHO?
Mr Obnoxious Sexy Demon Hunter! How have we gone a whole chapter without your sparkling wit?
Blah blah he’s so pretty omg sexy mysterious scars (HEY CLARY REMEMBER THAT CONVERSATION YOU HAD TEN WHOLE MINUTES AGO ABOUT WEIRD LITTLE SCARS? NO? OK THEN) weapons because rabid poets might attack him, and Simon’s like WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?
Mr Obnoxious gets up and leaves, anyway, and bear in mind that he totally doesn’t want her to follow him around because she’s just a mortal, yeah right. So Simon’s talking and Clary “can hardly hear him” (sounds like an actual problem if you ask me, the girl can’t even think and hear at the same time) and she leaves without a word. Those are some good manners you got there, Clary. I bet your mam is proud.
She catches up to Obnoxious, and instead of explaining anything like a normal person, he’s like “YOUR FRIEND’S POETRY IS TERRIBLE.”
Wow, what INSIGHT.
Also, he’s not her friend. He’s Simon’s. Take that, Mr “look how better than mortals we are”. You don’t know everything! So Clary’s like “Why were you following me” and Jace is like “I WASN’T OMG” and she’s like “whatevs.” and he’s like “you can’t even call the police because they won’t arrest me hahaha”
Is… is that meant to make you seem more trustworthy? Believable? Nice? It’s a threat. Any supernatural piece of shit pulled that on me, I would be out of there. They can tease me about their secret club when they can engage like a civilised person.
So Clary tells him her name for some stupid contrived reason, just so he can say “yeah like clary sage” and Cassandra Clare can wave her Wikipedia research in our faces, and Jace is like “stupid mundane” and Clary’s like “WHAT’S A MUNDANE?” like the stupidest person ever, because isn’t it obvious? Argh! So it turns out Jace is a human but specialer, and he insults Simon, and claims he was laughing at the unrequited declaration of love – AND CLARY STILL DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT SIMON WAS ON ABOUT. EVEN THIS SELF-OBSESSED IDIOT WORKED IT OUT, AND DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS FOR HIM TO STOP THINKING ABOUT HIS OWN PERFECT FACE FOR MORE THAN FIVE SECONDS?
Jace, like every character in this book, says that someone called “Hodge” says Clary might be dangerous, and oh my god, stop dragging out your stupid exposition dumps with inane question-and-answers. “Hodge said this.” “Who’s Hodge?” “My mentor.” Blah blah blah. All it does is make Clary look stupid – not what you want in your ~kickass heroine~ – and Jace look like he doesn’t know how to speak to other human beings.
So he looks at her right hand and is like “OH MOST SHADOWHUNTERS ARE MARKED WITH A RUNE TO MAKE THEM GOOD AT WEAPONS WHEN THEY’RE YOUNG” and shows her his, and why is he doing this? Why is he telling her all this? Ugh.
Oh, because whoops, he lied, and he’s going to take her back to the ~Institute~ (of what? Nothing, it’s just a cool name) regardless of her life/friends/family/personal wishes and the conversation is bloated with yet more “WHAT ARE DOWNWORLDERS?” “THEY’RE WITCHES AND WARLOCKS AND THE NIGHT CHILDREN AND THE MAGICAL BEINGS OF THIS DIMENSION”. These conversations are so horribly structured. Because Jace talks like a socially-stunted imbecile, so many arcane terms need explaining between every question and answer that it’s hard to follow what’s actually supposed to be happening.
Anyway, we have yet another convenient interruption in the form of yet another phone call from Clary’s mother, and finally feels like enough of a dick to pick it up. Her mam sounds worried, and Clary’s all SPIDEY-SENSES! even though this is a normal reaction from someone’s mother when they storm off in a rage and refuse to pick up their phone for hours.
has read the script and is right to be worried because her mam’s like “GO TO SIMON’S, DON’T COME HOME, CALL LUKE” and Clary’s like NO TELL ME MORE! and her mam’s like [dead calm] I LOVE YOU, CLARY. and hangs up.
Clary freaks out, grabs Jace’s phone which he’s like DUDE THAT”S NOT A PHONE and she’s like I DON’T CARE I NEED TO CALL THE POLICE (???) and runs off.
Guess where she goes.
Chapter 4: RAVENER. Don’t worry, Clary will ask what it is for you at some point.
She runs home, YOU WERE RIGHT, HAVE A PRIZE, and is stopped by Madame Dorothea asking if her mam’s moving furniture and the hall light needs fixing and that nice young man Luke should come and do it and oh my god there is such a thing as raising the tension but this is not it, this is absolutely ridiculous.
So she goes into the apartment and omg everything’s been torn apart and the windows are open, who saw that coming? All the paintings are torn up, and Clary remembers she should call the police – hey, might want to have done that before you went home to confront burglars at best and demons from the demon dimension lololol at worst, but whatever, this is why I’m not a ~kickass heroine~. She shouts for her mommy, and Clare notes on its own little line,
She hadn’t called Jocelyn “Mommy” since she was eight.
like this is some huge revelation or a twist or something, I don’t even.
Anyway, of course it’s a demon from the demon dimension, an alligator-centipede thing that jumps at her, and she dodges in the nick of time. It can speak in broken English, which I suppose we should admire, because it has an alligator face and damn, that must not be easy. Clary throws a photo at it. Clare describes the photo, as if it’s important. Then oh no she backs up against the wall! So it knocks her over, and she throws Jace’s not-phone (it’s a Sensor. Don’t ask me what it does!) at the alligatorpede, and it has acidic saliva because of course it does, and then omg! when it eats the Sensor it basically explodes or something. Something hits her in the head and Jace appears at last (for a supernatural thing he’s pretty slow) and magics her into the garden or something, it’s not clear.
The police are here, but Jace is invisible and doesn’t give a damn, and he’s like “THE RAVENER DEMON STUNG YOU BUT IT WASN’T THAT BAD BUT YOU SHOULD GET TO THE INSTITUTE OF NOTHING AT ALL STAT” and while Clary’s being all poisoned and shit, Jace is explaining the different kinds of demons and implies that the police are also demons.
Well, looks like Jace got to take her to the Institute of Sexy Demon Hunters after all, and Clare didn’t even have to deal with overriding Clary’s consent in the matter! Why, how convenient!
So Jace gets out a thing and carves a rune into her arm to hide her and he’s like “THIS IS MY STELE BY THE WAY, JUST SO YOU KNOW HOW COOL I AM” – just so you know, this is apparently a stele*? – and then she faints and he carries her.
Next week, we get to meet the Sexy Demon Hunter family! I hope you’re as excited as I am!
*FUN FACT: This isn’t the last time Clare takes a real word and gives it some arbitrary meaning.