City of Bones: Ch 8
Clary falls through white space and lands painfully on the ground. Is this how the door is supposed to work? Seems like a pretty shitty way to get around. Hm, maybe it’s just for emergencies.
She was knocked backward. A forehead banged against hers, her knees banging against someone else’s. Tangled up in arms and legs, Clary coughed hair (not her own) out of her mouth and tried to struggle out from under the weight that felt like it was crushing her flat.
Have I mentioned how lazy the writing in this is?
1) That first sentence is passive. “Someone knocked her backward” would still be vague and flaccid, but at least it would have action in it. Ideally, it should be cut out entirely. Show her getting knocked over with all the other knocking about, not as its own, very dull sentence.
2) The second sentence repeats the word ‘bang’ and is very awkward. I really hate that dependent clause up there. That gerund (banging) makes the whole clause function as an adverb. It modifies the first ‘bang’ and shows time. The forehead banged as the knees were banging. But the whole adverb phrase belongs to Clary’s knees while the main clause belongs to Jace’s forehead, so it comes off as horribly convoluted, even if it is technically grammatically correct.
3) Why are there parentheses in that last sentence? And that opening clause just really grinds me. It throws the whole sentence out of whack. Being tangled up and struggling to get out of that tangle are two visuals that fit together. Coughing and getting free can work together, if they happen at the same time. But what does being tangled up have to do with coughing? Nothing.
Well, Clary and Jace get straightened out and Clary recognizes that they are at Luke’s house.
Apparently the portal takes one to wherever they were thinking about, and Clary argues that she wasn’t thinking about anywhere. Um, yes she was. She jumped in specifically “to see where [Jocelyn] was going to escape to.”
“What do you want to do?”
“Leave, I guess,” Clary said bitterly. “Luke told me not to come here.”
Jace shook his head. “And you just accept that?”
Clary hugged her arms around herself. Despite the fading heat of the day, she felt cold. “Do I have a choice?”
Hey, what happened to that bit a few chapters ago where Jace claimed Clary had a ‘habit’ of not doing what she was told? We’re just going to ignore that? Well, okay, it’s not like it came from anything real anyway.
Jace points out what the rest of us are thinking: that Clary really should be curious here. But she’s not, so Jace is curious for her. Does Clary even have a point in the plot so far? This could all be about Jace and his friends looking into the mysterious disappearance of an apparently mundane woman named Jocelyn, and the plot wouldn’t have changed much at all.
They decide to sneak into Luke’s house, and while climbing over a fence, they land on a ‘shadow.’ Once again, Clary can’t see to figure out that a person-shaped shape is, in fact, a person. In this case, the person in Simon.
There’s a scene break to a few moments later, after Simon apparently tells them what he’s been doing. Then the conversation goes with Clary asking him what he’s been doing. So…what did he tell them during the scene break? They clearly came in after an explanation, but the text then goes on to — once again — completely ignore the concept that stuff happens during a scene break.
Seems Luke told Simon that Clary was visiting relatives, but Simon didn’t believe it, and he thought Clary was mad at him. Simon spied on Luke packing a duffle bag full of weapons. (When will fiction writers understand that if you have the right set of weapons for the job, you don’t need a ‘duffle bag’ full of them?) Clary decides to tell Simon the truth of the past few days, and we get another scene break while she does that.
Cut to, again, a few minutes later. I’m getting really sick of these brief scene cuts. Simon has questions, but his questions only cover the stuff we already know, so no new information gets imparted.
Simon compares the whole story to Dungeons and Dragons and thinks it’s awesome. Uhg, can non-gamers get over D&D already? I know it’s still a wildly popular game, but people who actually play it have at least heard of other games. Hell, I’ve only played table-top games a couple times, and even I know that the story Clary is telling is nothing like D&D. I’m not sure what it is like, but there’s lots of options.
Then Simon asks if the vampires are ‘hot.’ Does this author realize that the people who read this book voluntarily are mostly going to be geeks and nerds, a large portion of which probably enjoy RPGs and/or vampire stories? Why is she trotting out this stereotypical, inaccurate, uncomfortably insulting character trope that pokes fun at her own readers? I’d expect this out of a crime drama that can’t treat it’s Sub-Culture Freak of the Week with grace, but out of someone who supposedly likes this genre?
Jace picks the lock on Luke’s door and they all go inside. Jace continues to use magic without a hint of hesitation or displeasure. In fact, he seems to enjoy it. But…magic is dirty and humans don’t use magic. Just in case you forgot, like the author has.
Seems Luke has a pair of manacles on his wall, and they have blood on them. The group then says “that’s weird” and goes further into the apartment. The see coffee in the kitchen, so Luke hasn’t been gone long. Clary finds some of her clothes, because she often stays overnight at Luke’s house, and gets changed.
In the office, they find Luke’s duffle bag full of weapons, including some super-special-fancy weapons that we’re told take a lot of practice and skill to master. Again, all I can think of is “you have not-phones that can make demons vomit to death. Why the hell are you relying on weapons that take years to master, might rip your finger off, and don’t appear to work any better than anything else.”
Yeah, I know that the world has some pretty bizarre weapons that are highly specialized. But I hate those things. They’re pointless and do nothing but show off. They rarely have any sort of concrete advantage over conventional weapons. If you could have a super-special blade that takes years to learn to use, or a bow and arrow with a few months of training, go for the bow. Ranged weapons beat bladed weapons, hands down, every time. Hell, find out what rune made the demon vomit to death, etch it on a rock, and use a slingshot. There’s no need for a duffle bag full of weapons. This whole image is so ridiculous that I’m probably going to keep harping on it, because good lord, it’s fucking ridiculous.
Luke also has a picture from Clary’s apartment, showing that he went there after the demon attack.
“He must have been the last person to come through the Portal,” said Jace. “That’s why it took us here. You weren’t thinking of anything, so it sent us to the last place it had been.”
“Nice of Dorothea to tell us he was there,” said Clary.
“He probably paid her off to be quiet. Either that or she trusts him more than she trusts us.”
Or he didn’t use the portal at all, and Luke’s house is the place her mother would have escaped to, so Clary really was thinking about it. After all, we’re not given a real clear explanation of how the portal works. If this ‘stuck on the last place’ thing is the default, then why didn’t Jace bring it up sooner? And why assumed Dorthea was paid off? Doesn’t she run a sanctuary? Doesn’t her entire job consist of not telling people who’s been in her house? Maybe she just figured it’s none of your business, or maybe she didn’t tell out of habit, or maybe she would have told you, but you kind of jumped out of her apartment in a moment of randomness.
Simon notices Luke and two other guys coming into the place, so Jace tells Clary to hide. All three of them duck being a screen, and Jace does more magic to let them see what’s going on. Luke tells the two guys that they can poke around the office. The two men seem to be some sort of officials. They have robes on, and Luke treats them sort of like police officers with a search warrant.
Jace didn’t answer. He had gone rigid all over, stiff as a bar of iron. He’s afraid I’ll make a run for it, try to get to Luke, Clary thought.
Really, Clary? You can tell all of that just from Jace going stiff? Amazing how she’s developed mind-reading powers all of a sudden. I mean, it’s not like there’s anything else in the world that reaction could signify.
Luke and the dudes banter a bit, showing that they know each other, and talk about a statue of Kali. By the way, ‘all myths are true.’ They’ve said that twice so far in this book, so I guess it’s supposed to be taken at face value. Considering the vast number of creation myths in this world, I find that highly suspect. Also, what about the myths that claim at all other faiths are false? (Not strictly speaking in Judeo-Christian sense here. Plenty of religions do that.) Does that mean that all myths are simultaneously true and false, since some other myth contradicts it?
Damnit, fantasy writers. When will you understand that mythology is a vast, complex field and cannot be co-oped into your half-thought-through worlds with little more than five minutes on wikipedia?
The two guys in robes are looking for the Mortal Cup (aka, Thing They Drank Angel Blood Out Of), and Jocelyn hid it. Luke claims ignorance. The robed guys work for Valentine, and Valentine has Jocelyn, but she’s unconscious and can’t tell them where the cup is.
A trembling had started in Clary’s fingers, so pronounced that she knitted her hands together tightly to try to stop them from shaking. Jocelyn? Can they be talking about my mother?
…are you really that fucking stupid?
The two ask about Clary, and Luke lies and says he only knew of Clary, implying he wasn’t close to the family. He hints that Clary is probably dead.
He picked the duffel bag up off the desk and knotted the top.
What? Duffels don’t close with a drawstring. They zip up. Or they do this thing. I don’t know what you’d use for that other than ‘close,’ but I certainly wouldn’t use ‘knot.’
Luke says he plans on staying out of Valentine’s way, that he doesn’t like Valentine but he’s not interested in messing with him, and he’s running off to the country to lie low. The other guys leave, then Luke pauses to look around the office before leaving as well. For some reason, Clary does not give Luke a sign that she is in there, even though she has a chance since the bad guys left first. Instead, she just lets Luke walk out. He’s possibly the most informed person so far in this plot, and he just walks off.
After they’re alone, the three talk a little about what they just witnessed. Jace is pissy about look being ‘friendly’ with the two guys, then admits that he knows them because they killed his father. Dun, dun, dun.