City of Bones: Ch 3
They arrive at the coffee shop and make some cruel jokes about how bad the poetry reading is going to be. I’m willing to give a pass on this one, because they are 15 years-old, and poetry readings are painful. Simon proves he is the nicest person in this book so far by refusing to ‘make a run for it,’ because Eric is his friend and he promised to attend.
Clary goes to stake out a seat for them while Simon gets coffee. Some random blond girl asks her if Simon is single, because he’s cute. Man, could they get any more ham-fisted about trying to set up this love triangle? We all know it’s going to happen. We could tell that just because of the genre it’s in. These ‘hints’ are just getting painful.
Clary tells Simon about the blond girl, and Simon shrugs it off, then tells her he likes someone else. He’s about to say that it’s her, when Jace spontaneously breaks the scene by laughing really loudly behind them. Naturally, we have to get a full description of what he’s wearing, because he’s just so cool and edgy for carrying around a knife in an obvious manner, and for ‘metal cuffs’ on his wrists. Incidentally, it’s amazing how little description she gets across while describing things. Are those ‘cuffs’ like handcuffs without the chain, or cuff bracelets? Are the large, small, patterned, plain, decorated with filigree? What we’ve got has so little actual information that we’d be better off if she said nothing.
The only part of his description that bears any relevance so far is that fact that he’s got short sleeves, so Clary can see that he has ‘faint white lines like old scars’ on his arms. Let’s see how long it will take her to connect those to her mother’s scars. Considering the fact that after 15 years she didn’t even know her mother had scars, I’m going to guess most of the book. (Also, why does she notice then on Jace right away, but never on her own mother? What the hell us up with this mother/daughter relationship, and why is it so fucked?)
Only Clary can see Jace, and once he has her attention, he gets up and walks out. Clary makes some excuses to Simon and follows him.
Jace waits for her outside, and Clary demands to know why he’s following her. She threatens to call the police if he doesn’t tell, but Jace doesn’t care, because he’s fucking invisible. Jace then goes on about how ‘clary sage’ is an herb that people used to think could make them see fairies. Normally I hate super-prophetic-names, but since both of Clary’s parents were involved in this Invisible People Thing, I can see them naming her that. (Or nicknaming her that, more accurately. Her full name is Clarissa.) And I can even forgive Jace for bringing it up, because it seems his modus operandi is ‘tease the fuck out of people before giving them any actual information.’ He knows her name is symbolic and why. Therefore, it’s not totally at random for him to bring this up.
I do like it when books take a bad idea (random info dump) and turn it good, or at least okay. It’s worth pointing out and giving kudos where they’re due.
Then again, Jace is a bit of an ass for going about things this way. He keeps taunting her, calling her a ‘mundane,’ and then specifically says that he laughed in the coffee shop because Simon was about to admit his feelings. Apparently he finds the awkwardness and humiliation of others to be amusing.
This is also really fucking annoying, because it’s just a lazy way to tease us. This book clearly realizes that info-dumping is bad, and that things should be teased out in a story. However, it seems to think that an acceptable way to do this is just to intentionally and obviously withhold information, rather than have a contextual reason for it. Rather than using the plot or the worldbuilding to pique our interest, it’s just making one character an asshole instead.
Jace asks to see her hand, then becomes disappointed when there’s nothing there. Then he gives an info-dump about how Shadowhunters have ‘Marks’ on their hands that give poorly-defined special powers, and those marks are one-use-only. Apparently Jace has no problem being straight about things that the author is self-congratulatory over inventing, but not about the actually-plot-important shit. Like what the fuck a Shadowhunter is.
After that bit of authorial back-slapping, Jace says she has to come with him to the Institute to meet his mentor named Hodge. Then he throws out a bunch of random names that have no meaning. Long story short…fairies. It’s a book about fairies. They use a gajillion other names, but fuck it, they’re fairies. And every other magical creature you can think of is also present, except for mummies, because only sissies believe in mummies. Or something like that.
Although, why aren’t there any mummies? There’s witches and zombies and vampires and fairies. None of those things are really from the same legend, or operate by the same rules. So why not mummies? What are the rules of this magical world, and why do they preclude mummies?
Clary crossed her arms over her chest. “What if I don’t want to see him?”
“That’s your problem. You can come either willingly or unwillingly.”
Clary couldn’t believe her ears. “Are you threatening to kidnap me?”
“If you want to look at it that way,” Jace said, “yes.”
Why is there an ‘if’ in there? Forcing someone to go somewhere they don’t want to is the definition of ‘kidnap.’ The way Jace phrases things here, it’s like he’s saying, “Well, that’s one way of looking at things, but it’s such an annoying way, and only over-sensitive people would think that.” It’s like the book is trying to look down on anyone who might dare to think that Jace would do anything bad, ever. Like Clary should just know that it’s a good idea to go with Jace, and being suspicious or looking out for her own interest is just a silly waste of time that we shouldn’t agree with.
Clary’s mom calls, and there’s some bad ju-ju going down at home, because Jocelyn tells Clary not to come home, no matter what. Then there’s some suspicious noises in the background, then the line goes dead.
For some reason, there’s a scene break indicator between the line going dead and Clary yelling ‘are you okay?’ into the phone. So the author wanted a Dramatic Cliffhanger, but also wanted to continue the scene. Cake: have it or eat it.
Well, Clary is freaked out by her mother’s phone call, enough that she drops her cell phone and breaks it. She asks for Jace’s phone so she can call the police, but he doesn’t have one. Desperate to do something, she runs for home, and when Jace tries to stop her, she scratches him in the face to make him let go.