Gehayi (gehayi) wrote in canon_sues,

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Story Or Series Title: City of Bones
Fandom: Harry Potter Buffy Original fiction
Author's Name: Cassandra Claire Cassandra CLARE

Full Name (plus titles if any): Clary Fray. Aided and abetted in Suedom by just about every other character so far.
Full Species(es): A hybrid of a Self-Insert, a Puella moderna and a Puella mixta impossibilis.
Hair Color (include adjectives): Not described. (Though the hair of everyone around her is described incessantly. There's a blue-haired boy, a girl with long black hair, a boy with black hair just like the girl's and a blond boy whose hair looks like brass in dim light.)
Eye Color: Not described. However, she can see and accurately discern colors in a dim nightclub illuminated only by psychedelic lights, and see straight through concrete columns.
Unusual Markings/Colorations: None, but the Nephilim (the aforementioned blond boy, brunet boy and brunette girl have Dark Marks tattoos that are Highly Significant.
Special Possessions (if any): Attraction to a boy with octopus hair and antifreeze eyes. I'm so not kidding. The aforementioned super eyesight. The attention of three demon killers.

Annoying Origin: Downworld. No, really. She's the daughter of a Nephilim (also called a Shadowhunter) woman who is a Slayer slays demons and monsters on a regular basis. Nephilim are non-human demon slayers killers who look like humans, and they come from a supernatural realm called Downworld.
Annoying Connections To Canon Characters: Is one, regrettably. Is friends with Harry Potter Simon Lewis, a dark-haired boy with glasses. Is attracted to Draco Malfoy Jace, a blond boy with light eyes. Is the secret daughter of the villain Voldemort Darth Vader Valentine (though she doesn't know that when the story begins) and the long-lost sister of Draco Luke Skywalker Jace.
Annoying Special Abilities: Is capable of seeing supernatural beings that the people around her cannot see. (Hey, is that anything like wizards being able to see things like ghosts and Hogwarts, while ordinary humans can't?) Will go on to become a Slayer Shadowhunter and fight and kill demons.
Other Annoying Traits: Unclear prose. Purple prose. Misused words. Putting more emphasis on what characters are wearing than on their personalities. Using the word "mundie" to describe ordinary humans. Managing to snow Margaret K. McElderry (that's the publisher) into thinking that this derivative, unoriginal, poorly characterized work--which is typical of the sort of drivel from the Pit of Voles that we spork on a daily basis--is good enough for publication.


Please include a small sample of the worst of this story:

A friend of mine and I sporked this--the first chapter. Her comments are in bolded italics; mine are in bold.

"You've got to be kidding me," the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest. He stared down at the boy in the red zip-up jacket and shook his shaved head.

He shook his head? Or the boy's?

"You can't bring that thing in here."

What thing? The jacket? The shaved head? Those are the only "things" that have been mentioned so far.

The fifty or so teenagers in line outside the Pandemonium Club leaned forward to eavesdrop.

All of them at the same time, mind you. In their spare time, they also worked in chorus lines and did synchronized swimming.

It was a long wait to get into the al!-ages club, especially on a Sunday

And right away I'm confused. I Googled "all-ages club" and found that there are rather a lot of them. However, most of them have a minimum age limit--probably because of the sale of alcohol--and describe themselves as "18+ clubs." This makes no sense to me. Isn't every club an 18+ club? If someone in his eighties wanted to walk into a nightclub, I don't think that the bouncers would keep him out.

and not much generally happened in line.

Unlike most of the lines outside other New York clubs, in which children were born and raised, nations were founded and revolutions were fought.

The bouncers were fierce and would come down instantly on anyone who looked like they were going to start trouble.

All right. I know that "come down on" is a legitimate verb, as in "My mother found out I wasn't doing my homework and came down on me like a ton of bricks."

However, fanfic has taken its toll. As a result, I initially read that sentence as "The bouncers were fierce and would instantly GO down on anyone who looked like they were going to start trouble." What a difference a word makes.

Fifteen-year-old Clary Fray,

A heroine named Clary by Cassandra Clare. No, I don't consider that a bad sign at ALL.

As for "Fray," I have to state that this is the surname of Joss Whedon's Slayer of the future in the comic book series of the same name.

standing in line with her best friend, Simon, inched forward along with everyone else, hoping for some excitement.

Along with the rest of us...

"Aw, come on." The kid hoisted the thing up over his head. It looked like a wooden beam, pointed at one end. "It's part of my costume."

A wooden BEAM? Okay. I'm now picturing this kid hauling a pointed two-by-four around.

The bouncer raised an eyebrow. "Which is what?"

Gee, I don't know. A potential weapon? Hey, wouldn't that be something that a bouncer would want to keep out of the club?

The boy grinned. He was normal-enough-Iooking, Clary thought, for Pandemonium.

Okay, maybe it's just me, but since this kid is claiming to wear a costume...shouldn't he look different than normal?

He had electric blue dyed hair

Awkward sentence structure. "Hair that was dyed electric blue" would be better.

that stuck up around his head like the tendrils of a startled octopus,

Just to be sure, I looked that one up. This is what Merriam-Webster's says:

TENDRIL: 1 : a leaf, stipule, or stem modified into a slender spirally coiling sensitive organ serving to attach a climbing plant to its support 2 : something suggestive of a tendril , such as "creeping tendrils of fog."

Gee, I didn't know that octopi were plants, did you? I find it rather disturbing that neither CC nor her editor apparently knows the difference between tendrils and TENTACLES.

but no elaborate facial tattoos or big metal bars through his ears or lips.

"I'm a vampire slayer."

Buffy and Faith called. They want their destiny back.

He pushed down on the wooden thing. It bent as easily as a blade of grass bending sideways. "It's fake. Foam rubber. See?"

What's not explained, and what the bouncer doesn't bother asking, is why the kid is hauling around something as large and awkward as a pointed two-by-four made of foam rubber when something smaller and less likely to collide with other people in a crowded club would do just as well.

The boy's wide eyes were way too bright a green, Clary noticed: the color of antifreeze, spring grass.

Hmmm. Messy hair and bright green eyes. I don't know any other male charries like that.

Apparently antifreeze comes in different colors. One friend of mine says that the antifreeze in her car is blue, while as far as I can remember, the last time I bought antifreeze, it was clear.

Colored contact lenses, probably. The bouncer shrugged, abruptly bored.

As opposed to yours truly, who's been getting steadily more bored since this started. We're six paragraphs in, and nothing has happened except for the endless droning on about Octopus-Head's foam rubber phallic symbol.

"Whatever. Go on in."

The boy slid past him, quick as an eel.

After the octopus hair and the antifreeze eyes, I was almost relieved to see the cliché. Not that I know anything about how quickly an eel moves, never having seen one in real life.

Clary liked the lilt to his shoulders, the way he tossed his hair as he went. There was a word for him that her mother would have used - Insouciant.

Or tosser.

I can't get over the "lilt" to his shoulders. The first thing that came to mind was, "So his shoulders are singing a cheerful tune?"

"You thought he was cute." said Simon, sounding resigned. "Didn't you?"

Clary dug her elbow into his ribs, but didn't answer.


Inside, the club was full of dry-ice smoke.

Gas. Not smoke.

The people manufacture and transport dry ice call it fog, but you're right--it's a gas. Carbon dioxide, in fact. I wouldn't think that the owners of the club would want an enclosed area to be full of carbon dioxide for very long. Here's what Dry Ice Info has to say about dry ice and breathing:

"Normal air is 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and only 0.035% Carbon Dioxide. If the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air rises above 0.5%, carbon dioxide can become dangerous. Smaller concentrations can cause quicker breathing but is otherwise not harmful. If Dry Ice has been in a closed auto, van, room, or walk-in, for more than 10 minutes, open doors and allow adequate ventilation before entering. Leave area containing Dry Ice if you start to pant and breath quickly or your fingernails or lips start to turn blue. This is the sign that you have breathed in too much CO2 and not enough oxygen."

So, basically, the next sentence should be "And then they all suffocated from lack of oxygen. And there was great rejoicing. THE END."

Colored lights played over the dance floor, turning it into a multicolored fairyland of blues and acid greens, hot pinks and golds.

So how does anyone tell colours? It's pretty difficult in a night club without psychotropic lights.

The boy in the red jacket stroked the long razor-sharp blade in his hands,

Actually, he wanted to stroke something else, but public masturbation wasn't socially acceptable.

And "in his hands" is a bit redundant. What would he be stroking it with? His feet? There is no editor!

an idle smile playing over his lips. It had been so easy - a little bit of a glamour on the blade, to make it look harmless.

Which was dumb. If Octopus-Head could put a glamour on the blade and make it look like a foam rubber two-by-four, why didn't he just make it look like something completely harmless--like maybe a pencil he'd just picked up? Which, you know, wouldn't have attracted the bouncer's attention in the FIRST place.

Why didn't he just strap it to his leg? It's not as if they were being frisked. Just a plot device to get Sue to notice him. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Another glamour on his eyes,

Because he's MUCH too cool for contacts or sunglasses. Heaven forbid he use anything of human origin to blend in.

and the moment the bouncer had looked straight at him, he was in.

I don't remember the bouncer looking straight at him. Or the boy looking at the bouncer, come to think of it.

Of course, he could probably have gotten by without all that trouble. but It was part of the fun ­fooling the mundies,

Muggles, you say?

And it hardly counts as fooling if the humans don't know your species exists in the first place.

doing it all out in the open right in front of them, getting off on the blank looks on their sheeplike faces.

Doing it. Getting off. Between this and the knife masturbation, Clare might as well have a neon sign over his head saying, "This guy is dangerous but sexy."

Not that the humans didn't have their uses. The boy's green eyes scanned the dance floor, where slender limbs clad in scraps of silk and black leather appeared and disappeared inside the revolving columns of smoke as the mundies danced.

"Revolving columns of smoke"? You know, even in this club, I think that someone might notice that the dry ice fog had resolved itself into pillars, and that the pillars were rotating.

Girls tossed their long hair,

It is impossible, of course, for girls in cliched fantasy to have anything but long hair. It's practically a secondary sex characteristic.

boys swung their Ieather-clad hips, and bare skin glittered with sweat. Vitality just poured off them, waves of energy that filled him with a drunken dizziness. His lip curled. They didn't know how lucky they were. They didn't know what it was like to eke out life in a dead world where the sun hung limp in the sky like a burned cinder.

And everyone froze to death.

I feel like saying, "Cheer up, emo kid." Honestly, it's impossible to take Octopus-Head seriously. I expect him to start cutting to Evanescence any minute.

You'd think he'd be happy to stay in our world and just fit in, rather than kill people.

Impossible. That would make sense.

SNIP for more blithering about the briefness of mortal lives and for a girl walking toward Octopus-Head.

He stared at her. She was beautiful, for a human

What's that comma doing after "beautiful"? It's not necessary.

- long hair nearly the precise color of black ink, charcoaled eyes.

I'm pretty sure that "charcoal" and "kohl" are NOT the same thing.

And see my point about the lighting. How is he seeing this?

Floor-length white gown, the kind women used to wear when this world was younger.

"The kind that women used to wear when this world was younger"? So that covers, what? Pre-history to the early 1900s?

Lace sleeves belled out around her slim arms.

If the sleeves are belled out, how can he tell her arms are slim? Wouldn't the amount of fabric conceal that?

Around her neck was a thick silver chain, on which hung a dark red pendant the size of a baby's fist.

And it's the Necklace of Mary Sue-ness™!

He only had to narrow his eyes to know that it was real - real and precious.

Paging Gollum...

SNIP as Octopus-Head starts to drool as the girl comes near--very attractive trait, that--and her "vital energy" is compared to blood. Just in case we still thought he was a nice normal guy, in other words. Anyway, the girl walks by.

He turned to follow her, tasting the phantom sizzle of her death on his lips.

"Phantom sizzle of her death"? Could this be any more purple?

I have to ask – if SHE knows what HE is, and Clary can see them all, why can't HE tell what SHE is??

Good question. Because despite all the fuss that's made about this girl--who is not Clary, by the way--being mortal, it's revealed later that she's not.

It was always easy. He could already feel the power of her evaporating life coursing through his veins like fire.

Evaporated Life--new from Carnation Instant Breakfast!

SNIP for more whinging about how stupid humans are and how they don't appreciate life.

The girl was a pale ghost retreating through the colored smoke.

Uh-huh. So the psychedelic lights aren't touching her?

She reached the wall and turned, bunching her skirt up in her hands, lifting it as she grinned at him. Under the skirt, she was wearing thigh-high boots.

Did she lift the skirt up to her waist then?

Actually, I'm more interested in the fact that once she lifts her skirt in sexual invitation, the first thing Octopus-Head focuses on isn't her genital area. It's her boots.

He sauntered up to her, his skin prickling with her nearness.

I think I've seen that description in every bad romance my grandmother ever owned.

Up close she wasn't so perfect. He could see the mascara smudged under her eyes, the sweat sticking her hair to her neck. He could smell her mortality, the sweet rot of corruption.

But she's not mortal...

SNIP as the be-gowned girl leads Octopus-Head into a storage room.

He slipped into the room after her, unaware that he was being followed.

I think this is supposed to be a "dun dun DUN!" moment.


"So," Simon said, "pretty good music, eh?"

Clary didn't reply. They were dancing, or what passed for it - a lot of swaying back and forth with occasional lunges toward the floor as if one of them had dropped a contact lens

WTF? They are all crawling around on the floor?

in a space between a group of teenage boys in metallic corsets, and a young Asian couple who were making out passionately, their coloured hair extensions tangled together like vines.

Octopus tendrils and hair extensions like vines. Clare really likes plant-human hybrids, doesn't she?

A boy with a lip piercing and a teddy bear backpack was handing out free tablets of herbal ecstasy, his parachute pants flapping in the breeze from the wind machine.

Parachute pants. Now described as "vintage 1980s style."

Also, I can't think of anything that a teenaged boy would be less likely to wear to a club than a teddy bear backpack. A teenaged girl might wear it, yes, especially a young teen. A teenaged boy might wear a backpack. It's the combination of teenaged boy and middle school fashion sense that I have trouble with.

Clary wasn't paying much attention to their immediate surroundings

BWAHAHAHA!! She gives us all this detail in Clary's POV and then says that Clary isn't paying attention to the surroundings!

her eyes were on the blue haired boy

I get very tired of the epiphet "blue haired boy" VERY quickly.

And it really should be "the blue-haired boy." Otherwise, she's talking about a blue-colored boy who has hair.

who'd talked his way into the club. He was prowling through the crowed as if he were looking for something. There was something about the way that he moved that reminded her of something .

What thing? Some thing? Do tell. "Something in the way he moves..."

I'm not sure who needs a dictionary and thesaurus more--Clare or her editor.

"I, for one," Simon went on, "am enjoying myself immensely."

This seemed unlikely. Simon, as always, stuck out at the club like a sore thumb, in jeans and an old T-shirt that said MADE IN BROOKLYN across the front. His freshly scrubbed hair was dark brown instead of green or pink, and his glasses perched crookedly on the end of his nose.

What a lovely message. Attention, kids! It's unlikely that you'll enjoy yourself at a party or a club unless you're dressed in the height of fashion. Cassandra Clare says so.

He looked less as if he were contemplating the powers of darkness and more as if he were on his way to chess club.

For future reference, goth kids--froofy white gowns with bell sleeves, parachute pants and teddy bear backpacks are unmistakable signs of THE POWERS OF DARKNESS.

"Mmm-hmm." Clary knew perfectly well that he came to Pandemonium with her only because she liked it, that he thought it was boring.

In other words, he's a nice guy doing something that will give someone else pleasure. I hereby predict that Simon will be tossed aside as soon as Clary finds a much sexier guy who is a complete and total arsehole. That's what ALWAYS happens in Young Adult Romances.

She wasn't even sure why it was that she liked it -- the clothes, the music made it like a dream, someone else's life, not her boring real life at all.

That sounds like she DOES know why she likes it.

But she was always too shy to talk to anyone but Simon.

SNIP for a lot of talk about the blue-haired boy, who has now acquired a hyphen, and Clary fantasizing about the sheer wonderfulness if he just came over and talked to her. Yawn.

Oh, well, Clary thought, trying not to feel like a deflated party balloon. I guess that's that. The girl was gorgeous, the kind of girl Clary would have liked to draw

I'm so reminded of Agnes Nitt and Christine from Terry Pratchett's Maskerade here.

tall and ribbon-slim, with a long spill of black hair. Even at this distance Clary could see the red pendant around her throat. It pulsed under the lights of the dance floor like a separate, disembodied heart.

I suppose I should be astonished by the Sue's outstanding vision, but I'm not. After all, she not only knew how many tablets of ecstasy a dealer across the room was holding in his hand, she could actually diagnose the ingredients and determine that it was made with herbs rather than without.

"I feel," Simon went on, "that this evening DJ Bat is doing a singularly exceptional job. Don't you agree?"

I feel that in the hands of a writer with talent, Simon would be sending Clary up with a comment like that. In this case, I think that Simon is just pretending to enjoy himself in a VERY awkward way.

SNIP as Clary ignores him.

Her attention was on the girl in the white dress. Through the darkness, smoke, and artificial fog,

Smoke? So not only is the club filled with enough fog to suffocate everyone in the room, it's also on fire?

her pale dress shone out like a beacon. No wonder the blue-haired boy was following her as if he were under a spell, too distracted to notice anything else around him

Because phosphorescent gowns are just that alluring.

- even the two dark shapes hard on his heels, weaving after him through the crowd.

Clary slowed her dancing and stared. She could just make out that the shapes were boys, tall and wearing black clothes.

But colours showed up, eh?

Isn't it amazing that she can see five pills in the hand of a dealer and the tangled hair extensions of one couple but, in this case, all she can see are dark shapes wearing dark clothes?

And how does she know these two dark shapes aren't skinny girls with no boobs? Are their penises showing?

She couldn't have said how she knew that they were following the other boy, but she did.

Possibly because they're "weaving after him through the crowd"?

She could see it in the way they paced him; in their careful watchfulness, the slinking grace of their movements.

A small flower of apprehension began to open inside her chest.


"Meanwhile," Simon added, "I wanted to tell you that lately I've been cross-dressing. Also, I'm sleeping with your mom. I thought you should know."

The girl had reached the wall, and was opening a door marked NO ADMITTANCE. She beckoned the blue­haired boy after her, and they slipped through the door. It wasn't anything Clary hadn't seen before, a couple sneaking off to the dark corners of the club to make out - but that made it even weirder that they were being followed.

Because it's not possible that the two supposedly male dark shapes could just be going in the same direction, or want to share a bottle, or need to bum money from either Octopus-Head or Glow Girl, or be trying to buy or sell some drugs, or--perish the thought--be sneaking off to have sex themselves. Because none of that EVER happens in clubs. Of course not.

She raised herself up on tiptoe, trying to see over the crowd. The two guys had stopped at the door and seemed to be conferring with each other. One of them was blond, the other dark-haired. The blond one reached into his jacket and drew out something long and sharp that flashed under the strobing lights.

A knife.

He should have dyed it the same color as his clothes. Then all Clary would see would be a dark shape.

SNIP as the Sue tries to point out the two guys with the knife. Simon doesn't see anything. I have to admit that my first reaction was, "Of course he doesn't see anything, you nitwit. It's a dark club with tons of distracting psychotropic lights, and he's wearing glasses!"

Anyway, Simon starts struggling through the crowd to get a security guard. The Sue then makes a very Sueish decision. Something terrible could happen--so what does she do? She goes right toward it!


"What's your name?"

She turned and smiled.

Who is "she"? Christ, does this book have an editor?

What faint light there was in the storage room spilled down through high barred windows smeared with dirt. Piles of electrical cables, along with broken bits of mirrored disco balls and discarded paint cans littered the floor.

Evidently no one has cleaned this place since disco died.


"That's a nice name." He walked toward her, stepping carefully among the wires in case any of them were live. In the faint light she looked half-transparent, bleached of color, wrapped in white like an angel.

Angels, apparently, double as white translucent ghosts.

It would be a pleasure to make her fall ....

Down the stairs, where she'd break her neck.

"I haven't seen you here before."

"You're asking me if I come here often?" She giggled, covering her mouth with her hand.

Possibly because it was the most stereotypical pick-up line in the world after "What's your sign?"

There was some sort of bracelet around her wrist, just under the cuff of her dress - then, as he neared her, he saw that it wasn't a bracelet at all but a pattern inked into her skin, a matrix of swirling lines.

A telltale tattoo that indicates one's membership in the Death Eaters an organization of killers! Wow! I can't imagine how Cassie Clare came up with THAT!

He froze. ''You -"

He didn't finish. She moved with lightning swiftness, striking out at him with her open hand, a blow to his chest that would have sent him down gasping if he'd been a human being.

I swear to God, the first thing I thought was, "Hello, Buffy." It just seemed such a characteristic move.

He staggered back, and now there was something in her hand, a coiling whip that glinted gold as she brought it down, curling around his ankles, jerking him off his feet.

A gold whip? Who is she, Wonder Woman?

He hit the ground, writhing,

I initially read that as "He hit the ground running.

the hated metal biting deep into his skin. She laughed, standing over him, and dizzily he thought that he should have known. No human girl would wear a dress like the one Isabelle wore.

???? Why on earth not? He said earlier it was old-fashioned, that's all. Seems like anything goes in this club, so this is stupid.

She'd worn it to cover her skin - all of her skin.

What about her face? Hands?

Isabelle yanked hard on the whip, securing it. Her smile glittered like poisonous water.

I can see a smile glittering like water, but how does the glitter of poisonous water differ from the glitter of normal water?

"He's all yours, boys,"

A low laugh sounded behind him, and now there were hands on him, hauling him upright, throwing him against one of the concrete pillars. He could feel the damp stone under his back. His hands were pulled behind him, his wrists bound with electrum wire.

If his hands are being pulled behind him, how does he know that his wrists are being bound with wire that's made of electrum. Is his skin doing a chemical analysis?

Oh, and electrum seems to figure in Yu-Gi-Oh! and Final Fantasy XII, so I'm seeing this as another example of stealing an element from something popular so as to cash in on the popularity.

As he struggled, someone walked around the side of the pillar into his view: a boy, as young as Isabelle and just as pretty.

If I had just been bound to a pillar by three of the mortal enemies of my kind, and I had very little hope of escape, the last thing I'd be doing is checking any of them out!

His tawny eyes glittered like chips of amber.

Two things:

1. It's fucking DARK .
2. Amber doesn't glitter.

"So," the boy said. "Are there any more with you?"

The blue-haired boy

Why are we still calling him the blue haired boy in his own POV???

He wasn't bright enough to remember his own name?

could feel blood welling up under the too-tight wire, making his wrists slippery. "Any other what?"

"Come on now," The tawny-eyed boy held up his hands, and his dark sleeves slipped down, showing the runes inked all over his wrists, the backs of his hands, his palms. ''You know what I am."

Far back inside his skull, the shackled boy's second set of teeth began to grind.

Oh, that explains his stupidity. Obviously, the teeth in his skull have been eating his brain.

"Nephilim," he hissed.

How do you hiss something that doesn't have any sibilants?

The other boy grinned all over his face. "Got you," he said.


SNIP for redundancy as Clary walks into the storage room and then describes it all for us. Again. At first it looks as if the place is deserted, but then she hears voices, and sees Octopus-Head and the Nephilim. Hey, doesn't that sound like a band?

There was the girl in her long white dress, her black hair hanging down her back like damp seaweed.

Dark, shiny, stringy and tangled?

The two boys were with her - the tall one with black hair like hers, and the smaller, fair one, whose hair gleamed like brass in the dim light coming through the windows high above.

I'm confused now. Is this a club that opens during the day?

The fair boy was standing with his hands in his pockets, facing the punk kid, who was tied to a pillar with what looked like piano wire, his hands stretched behind him

She's got good eyes.

If she can see through that pillar to the wire binding Octopus-Head's hands, she's got X-ray vision.

his legs bound at the ankles. His face was pulled tight with pain and fear.

Given the nature of the club, it could just as easily be excitement and eroticism.

Heart hammering in her chest, Clary ducked behind the nearest concrete pillar and peered around it.

So although she has this superior eyesight by virtue of being half-Nephilim, the full Nephilim neither see her nor hear her. Riiiight.

She watched as the fair-haired boy paced back and forth, his arms now crossed over his chest. "So," he said. "You still haven't told me if there are any others of your kind with you."

Your kind? Clary wondered what he was talking about. Maybe she'd stumbled into some kind of gang war.

"I don't know what you're talking about." The blue-haired boy's tone was pained but surly.

"He means other demons," said the dark-haired boy, speaking for the first time. ''You do know what a demon is, don't you?"

Idiot exposition.

The boy tied to the pillar turned his face away, his mouth working.

"Demons," drawled the blond boy, tracing the word on the air with his finger. "Religiously defined as hell's denizens, the servants of Satan, but understood here, for the purposes of the Clave, to be any malevolent spirit whose origin is outside our own home dimension -"

This is what's known as 'As-you-know-Bob' dialogue. To quote the Turkey City Lexicon:

"AS YOU KNOW BOB: A pernicious form of info-dump through dialogue, in which characters tell each other things they already know, for the sake of getting the reader up-to-speed. This very common technique is also known as "Rod and Don dialogue" (attr. Damon Knight) or "maid and butler dialogue" (attr Algis Budrys)."

The Glossary of Terms Useful in Critiquing Science Fiction puts it this way:

"Maid-and-butler dialog is dialog in which...characters tell one another things they should already know, so that the reader can overhear them ("So sad that Madame had her cardiac arrest in the parlor and was carried out on a green stretcher last Thursday, June fifth, Nineteen Thirty-Four," or, "Gee, Rod, here we are on Mars. It's a good thing we were able to flee the wreckage of our burning spacecraft.") Usually manifested by apparent simple-mindedness of the characters forced to deliver these inanities."

It's generally considered a poor form of writing characteristic of young or inexperienced writers who don't know any better.

"That's enough, Jace," said the girl.

"Isabelle's right," agreed the taller boy. "Nobody here needs a lesson in semantics - or demonology."

*loses the will to live*

No, I'm not going to say anything about who needs lessons. It's just too EASY.

They're crazy, Clary thought. Actually crazy.

They must have been reading this book.


Jace raised his head and smiled. There was something fierce about the gesture, something that reminded Clary of documentaries she'd watched about lions on the Discovery Channel, the way the big cats would raise their heads and sniff the air for prey. "Isabelle and Alec think I talk too much," he said, confidingly. "Do you think I talk too much?"

Yes. You're telling a living enemy your real names. Someone needs to read the Evil Overlord list.

The blue-haired boy didn't reply. His mouth was still working. "I could give you information," he said. "I know where Valentine is."

Jace glanced back at Alec, who shrugged. "Valentine's in the ground," Jace said. "The thing's just toying with us."

Does it really matter if Valentine's in the cold, cold ground? Being in the ground doesn't mean he's dead. Lots of animals are in the ground, and they're still alive.

Isabelle tossed her hair. "Kill it, Jace," she said. "It's not going to tell us anything."

Jace raised his hand, and Clary saw dim light spark off the knife he was holding. It was oddly translucent, the blade clear as crystal, sharp as a shard of glass, the hilt set with red stones.

Edged weapons made of crystal are so common in fantasy, anime and video games that they're a cliché. Is there anything original in this story?

The bound boy gasped. ''Valentine is backl" he protested, dragging at the bonds that held his hands behind his back. "All the Infernal Worlds know it - I know it - I can tell you where he is -"

What's a big Bad – has nine letters and begins with V…?

I rather think that Valentine was Voldemort in the original of this story.

Considering that this is a converted Potterverse story, he undoubtedly was.

Also--edited to note this, because I didn't know until someone told me--Valentine is the name of a villain in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series.

Rage flared suddenly in Jace's icy eyes. "By the Angel,

Which one? There are rather a lot, after all.

every time we capture one of you bastards, you claim you know where Valentine is. Well, we know where he is too. He's in hell. And you -" Jace turned the knife in his grasp, the edge sparking like a line of fire. ''You can join him there."

Now that's just stupid. You ask one question and you threaten to kill him? You really don't want any information he might have, do you?

And now, enter the Sue, being dramatic:

Clary could take no more. She stepped out from behind the pillar. "Stop!" she cried. "You can't do this."

Mary Sue Litmus Test Question #42:

Three people in a small room have bound one guy to a pillar. All of them seem to be crazy and homicidal. At least one of the three has a weapon and seems eager to use it. You, on the other hand, are alone and unarmed, and they can kill you just as easily as the other guy. Do you:

1) Book out of there as quickly and as carefully as possible?
2) Go and call the police?
3) Try to find some way to distract them inobtrusively without getting yourself killed?
4) Remain frozen with fear and hope to hell they don't notice you?
5) Step forward boldly, loudly proclaiming to the universe that they must not kill, certain that they will listen and not harm or kill you?

Jace whirled, so startled that the knife flew from his hand and clattered against the concrete floor. Isabelle and Alec turned along with him, wearing identical expressions of astonishment.

I'm less than impressed by the Nephilim's battle-readiness. Even if these so-called demon hunters weren't expecting someone to walk in, they just asked Demon Boy if there were any others of his kind here. They should have been prepared for a second demon, and been ready to attack, capture and kill--not been so startled that they dropped weapons on the floor.

The blue-haired boy hung in his bonds, stunned and gaping.

It was Alec who spoke first. ''What's this?" he demanded, looking from Clary to his companions, as if they might know what she was doing there.

"It's a girl," Jace said, recovering his composure. "Surely you've seen girls before, Alec. Your sister Isabelle is one."

More idiot exposition.

He took a step closer to Clary, squinting as if he couldn't quite believe what he was seeing. "A mundie girl," he said, half to himself. "And she can see us."

"Of course I can see you," Clary said. "I'm not blind, you know."

"Oh, but you are," said Jace, bending to pick up his knife. ''You just don't know it." He straightened up. ''You'd better get out of here, if you know what's good for you."

Oooh. I'm all a-tremble. Jace doesn't know how to threaten very well, does he?

"I'm not going anywhere," Clary said. "If I do, you'll kill him." She pointed at the boy with the blue hair.

Honey, don't argue with the homicidal boy with the very sharp weapon who, for some reason, is letting you go...

"That's true," admitted Jace, twirling the knife between his fingers. "What do you care if I kill him or not?"

Actually, I DON'T care.

"Be-because -" Clary spluttered. "You can't just go around killing people."

Mary Sue: "Besides, he's too sexy to die! He hasn't asked me out on a date yet!"

"You're right," said Jace. "You can't go around killing people." He pointed to the boy with the blue hair whose eyes were slitted. Clary wondered if he'd fainted. "That's not a person, little girl. It may look like a person and talk like a person and maybe even bleed like a person.

I'd apply the duck test. If it looks like a person and talks like a person and bleeds like a person...

But it's a monster."

Since when is being a person incompatible with being a monster?

"Jace," said Isabelle warningly. "That's enough."

''You're crazy," Clary said, backing away from him. "I've called the police, you know. They'll be here any second."

"She's lying," said Alec, but there was doubt on his face.

Of course she's lying. Why would she call the police before she knew or even suspected what you three were doing?

"Jace, do you -"

He never got to finish his sentence. At that moment the blue-haired boy, with a high, yowling cry, tore free of the restraints binding him to the pillar,

Proving once again that the Nephilim were not well-prepared. Dark Helmet was right--evil will always triumph, because good is DUMB.

and flung himself on Jace. They fell to the ground and rolled together, the blue-haired boy tearing at Jace with hands that glittered as if tipped with metal.

I'd probably be thinking in terms of metallic fingernail polish or brass knuckles, but that's me.

Clary backed up, wanting to run, but her feet caught on a loop of wiring and she went down,

On who?

knocking the breath out of her chest. She could hear Isabelle shrieking.

She's only shrieking to make Clary look that much better by comparison.

SNIP for a fight in which Jace gets clawed.. Isabelle flogs Octopus-Head, and Jace stabs him in the chest.

Blackish liquid exploded around the hilt.

I'm honestly not sure if Clare used a poor synonym for "spurted" or if Octopus-Head really does have self-detonating blood.

The boy arched off the floor, gurgling and twisting. With a grimace Jace stood up. His black shirt was blacker now in some places, wet with blood.

While I can see the shirt being wet, presumably with blood, I really don't think that it's possible to have a color that's darker than black.

He looked down at the twitching thing at his feet, reached down, and yanked out the knife. The hilt was slick with black fluid.

The blue-haired boy's eyes flickered open. His eyes, fixed on Jace, seemed to bum. Between his teeth, he hissed, "So be it. The Forsaken will take you all."

NOOOOOO! I don’t want to live in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series!

Jace seemed to snarl.

But it might only have been a smile. Or perhaps he was smirking a smirky smirk. Clary really couldn't tell.

The boy's eyes rolled back. His body began to jerk and twitch

"Began to"? He's been "arching off the floor," "gurgling," "twisting" and "twitching" for at least two paragraphs!

as he crumpled, folding in on himself, growing smaller and smaller until he vanished entirely. Clary scrambled to her feet, kicking free of the electrical wiring. She began to back away. None of them was paying attention to her.

Since they aren't paying attention, running like hell would probably be advised...

Alec had reached Jace and was holding his arm, pulling at the sleeve, probably trying to get a good look at the wound.

Clary turned to run - and found her way blocked

Too bad, Sue. You waited just a fraction too long.

by Isabelle, whip in hand. The gold length of it was stained with dark fluid. She flicked it toward Clary, and the end wrapped itself around her wrist and jerked tight. Clary gasped with pain and surprise.

"Stupid little mundie," Isabelle said between her teeth. "You could have gotten Jace killed."

And here I thought that Jace almost got himself killed because the wire didn't keep Octopus-Head bound and because Jace and the other two Nephilim are too easily distracted by one unimportant human.

"He's crazy," Clary said, trying to pull her wrist back. The whip bit deeper into her skin. "You're all crazy. What do you think you are, vigilante killers? The police -"

"The police aren't usually interested unless you can produce a body," said Jace.

Oh, I don't know. Have you ever heard of the Woodchipper Murder?

Cradling his arm, he picked his way across the cable-strewn floor toward Clary. Alec followed behind him, face screwed into a scowl.

Clary glanced at the spot where the boy had disappeared from, and said nothing. There wasn't even a smear of blood there - nothing to show that the boy had ever existed. "They return to their home dimensions when they die," said Jace. "In case you were wondering."


"Jace," Alec hissed. "Be careful."

Jace drew his arm away. A ghoulish freckling of blood marked his face. He still reminded her of a lion, with his widely spaced, Iight-colored eyes, and that tawny gold hair.

Jace IS Aslan.

"She can see us, Alec," he said. "She already knows too much."

SNIP as Jace tells the others to let Clary go. I have no idea why. Perhaps he's figuring, as supernatural entities so often do in stories, " Who would believe her? Who can she tell?"

Alec suggests bringing her to meet someone named Hodge.

"No way are we bringing her to Hogwarts the Institute," said Isabelle. "She's a Muggle mundie."

"Or is she?" said Jace softly. His quiet tone was worse than Isabelle's snapping or Alec's anger. "Have you had dealings with demons, little girl? Walked with warlocks,

Mary Sue: "Do I LOOK like Gilderoy Lockhart?"

talked with the Night Children?

Also--Night Children. A fandom expression to mean the undead characters in Buffy.... AND a film.

Have you -"

"My name is not 'little girl,''' Clary interrupted. "And I have no idea what you're talking about." Don't you? said a voice in the back of her head. You saw that boy vanish into thin air. Jace isn't crazy -- you just wish he was. "I don't believe in -- in demons, or whatever you --"

SNIP as Simon finally enters, along with a bouncer. Naturally, neither can see anyone but Clary.

Clary stared at him, then looked behind her, where Jace, Isabelle, and Alec stood, Jace still in his bloody shirt with the knife in his hand. He grinned at her and dropped a half-apologetic, half-mocking shrug. Clearly he wasn't surprised that neither Simon nor the bouncer could see them.

Somehow neither was Clary.

Possibly because she remembered how astonished the three of them were that a supposedly blind mundie could see them in the first place.

Slowly she turned back to Simon, knowing how she must look to him, standing alone in a damp storage room, her feet tangled in bright plastic wiring cables.

"I thought they went in here," she said lamely. "But I guess they didn't. I'm sorry:' She glanced from Simon, whose expression was changing from worried to embarrassed, to the bouncer, who just looked annoyed. "It was a mistake."

Behind her, Isabelle giggled.

Which is very silly of her. All that's been established is that mundies are blind--not DEAF.
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