Feminist Killjoy. Badly Behaving Bookliker. Writer and reader of all things speculative.
Reading this book is like running your nails down a whiteboard, the kind that squeaks like a pair of mice during sexytimes when you write on it. The prose is cluttered with bad and unnecessary similes and adverbs, like so much dirty laundry strewn around the dorm room of a lazy fratboy.
I know I'm supposed to be jealous of the beautiful Isabelle, who wears weapons for jewelry and has hair like dark clouds of poisonous ink. I know my heart is supposed to skip a beat every time Jace's tawny eyes spark like fireflies dancing an elegant minuet over a pool of molten gold. I know I'm supposed to relate to our scrappy heroine Clary, who is actually scrappy, like a ginger-colored, curly terrier. But genuine emotions come only in dribbles and drabs; most of the time the characters' emotions are about as penetrable as an Olympic-sized pool full of Jello mixed with concrete.
I also know that I'm meant to find the characters witty, but the one-liners they throw around are as stale as fortune cookies that have been left out on the kitchen table for a week. Cassandra "I'm Just Like Joss Whedon, No Really" Clare doesn't have a knack for quick wit, I'm afraid.
And her knack for plot is inconsistent, spluttering like a busted-up antique Vespa, occasionally looking cool as it puffs its way through a small Italian village but mostly looking old and antique. She steals every idea that isn't nailed down--flying motorcycles, magical cups, a ham-fisted faux-Hitler villain--and then grabs a hammer the size of a 4x4 to pry up a few more and steal those too. She's like a many-limbed Cthuloid horror, grabbing ideas with arms, legs, and face tentacles and carrying them off into the night, cackling like a raven with a head cold.
Certainly there was the occasional surprise, the occasional good twist, tense moment or strong, honest emotional portrayal, popping up like those damn moles you keep missing during a high-paced game of Whack-a-Mole. But like with a high-paced game of Whack-a-Mole, you start to realize that most of what you're doing as you read is smacking something--namely your forehead--at the bad similes, the bad prose, the bad world-building, and the bad humor.
P.S. Please be advised that it is not my fault if you're unable to understand satire.