CLOCKWORK PRINCESS: THE END (SELF’S EYES SWOLLEN TO THE SIZE OF GOLFBALLS)

WAAAAAH!  Self tried to put off reading to the end of Clockwork Princess, but she couldn’t, she just couldn’t.

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! CAN’T SAY SELF DIDN’T WARN YOU!

She wanted to begin Clockwork Angel all over again, the scene where Will first stumbles across Tessa, in the house of the Dark Sisters. He looked like an ordinary boy, only beautiful. And he had gear strapped to his chest, and threw knives like nobody’s business. Tessa was scared and, to distract her, he told her about hedgehogs. Hedgehogs! Will Herondale, self absolutely loves you.

She ended up PM-ing with her niece on FB: Karina, see what you’ve done? Self is a MESS! SUCH A MESS! SHE CAN’T EVEN! BECAUSE — WILL HERONDALE!

Calm down, self!

Anyhoo, self has made no secret of the fact that one of her favorite secondary characters was Jessamine. And somewhere in Clockwork Princess, she expires. In Will’s arms. But not before she has a very touching conversation with him, and ends up revealing that she always liked him better than Jem (You said it, girl! Jem is such a — such a — never mind!), and self cried BUCKETS. She does mean BUCKETS.

And just as she was wringing out her last set of clean handkerchiefs because Will was taking the loss of his parabatai so badly (Not to mention, he had sex with his parabatai’s fiancée but he only did it to comfort her because she was so torn up over the loss of Jem; he did ask her about three times if she was sure, and each time she told him that yes, she was sure, and she wouldn’t hold it against him if they did it, and that whole scene was just so — AAARGH!), along comes . . .

the ghost of Jessamine!

Cassandra Clare, thank you thank you thank you for making the reader’s last encounter with Jessamine not a bloody corpse in a white gown on the steps of the London Institute!

Jessamine: I always said you’d be a dreadful suitor, Will, and you are nigh on proving it.

Will:  Truly? You have come back from death like the ghost of Old Marley . . . to nag me about my romantic prospects?

Jessamine: What prospects? You’ve taken Tessa on so many carriage rides, I’d wager she could draw a map of London from memory . . .

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2nd Quote of the Day: From Self’s Short Story, “Lizard” Included in the Collection, GINSENG AND OTHER TALES FROM MANILA (Published in the U.S. by Calyx Press)

They must have been sitting there a long time. Her grandmother was leaning forward, saying something in a low, insistent voice, while Wito’s mother listened with bent head. Wito saw how intently her grandmother gazed at her mother, how there seemed to be something about her mother that kept drawing the older woman forward, so that it seemed she might reach out any moment and touch or, perhaps, hit her. Wito saw how her mother hung her head, and knew that she was crying. The back of her neck, covered with fine, black hair, looked narrow and exposed. Wito thought she caught the words shameful and waste, but then her grandmother saw her and broke off aprubtly.

When Wito went up to greet her grandmother, the old woman’s cheek felt dry, like parchment, whereas her mother’s cheek was soft and moist, and when Wito turned to leave, her mother softly said “no” and pulled her close. Her mother’s arms encircled her, forcing her to face her grandmother.

—  Marianne Villanueva, “Lizard,” included in The 100 Best Philippine Short Stories in English, Manila: Tahanan Books, edited by Isagani Cruz

Cassandra Clare Quote of the Day: Clockwork Princess, pp. 315 – 316

Will beset by a pack of werewolves at a Welsh country inn:

Will was bleeding from his shoulder where one of them had dug deep furrows with his claws; the pain was glorious . . . “Again,” he said, and barely recognized his own voice, strained and cracked and deadly. “Again.”

OMG, self can’t. She can’t even.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Fairy Tale Cottage in Chapter 14 of CLOCKWORK PRINCESS: PARABATAI

Self loves fairy tales. Regular readers of this blog know that very well. She has hardcover copies of both The Annotated Brothers Grimm and The Annotated Alice, both published by W. W. Norton. Her favorite Hunger Games fan fiction writer is Mejhiren, whose bleakly beautiful fairy tales blend Hunger Games and fairy tale elements like the Wild Swans or the Snow Queen so seamlessly. Which brings us to Clockwork Princess.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

In Chapter 14 of Clockwork Princess (Self hates the thought of finishing this book. She tried to keep from reading more than a chapter today, but that was an epic fail), Tessa Gray has been kidnapped by the evil Mortmain, and is being taken to Wales in a carriage driven by hideous Mrs. Black. She manages to throw herself out of the carriage, and tumbles down a ravine, and then follows a stream to a little cottage:

She had seen no sign of human habitation for miles, and was beginning to despair of her plan, when a clearing came into view . . .  It had begun to rain lightly, but even through the drizzle she could see the outline of a low stone building. As she drew closer, she saw that it seemed to be a small house, with a thatched roof and overgrown path leading to the front door . . .  The house was deserted.

The door was already part open, the wood swelled with rain.

DUN DUN DUN!

There are many more descriptive details in the passage, but this chapter is so packed that self will have to turn dear blog readers’ attention to another subject.

Chapter 14 is also the chapter when the terrible thing happens. The cord linking Will Herondale to his parabatai snaps, and the rune just above his heart which represents the bond he shares with Jem starts to disappear. Of course, it couldn’t have occurred at a worse time (unrequited love for Tessa etc etc have taken its toll) and Will himself begins to wish his life could end, too. That is, until he’s attacked by a pack of werewolves. And then, Will being Will, instinct kicks in and he fights:

The lycanthrope screamed, and a dark bolt of glee shot through Will.

That Cassandra Clare. When she writes about Will, her writing is as sure and finely honed as a rapier. He’s her best character, the one she seems to know intuitively. And her writing is at its best when she writes about him.

Self read somewhere that Clare is starting a new series, and it’s going to be about the children of Will and Tessa. Wait — WHAT??? Tessa and Will have children ???

Indeed they do! James and Lucie Herondale. And that’s who Clare’s new series will be about.

But self doesn’t want to read about any of Will’s descendants, no matter how many of his fine qualities they inherit. She wants to read about Will. And she doesn’t want him showing up as some kind of oracular ghost, either. Can you do that, Cassandra Clare?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beginning Clockwork Princess

Self is knee-deep in current WIP (18th century Filipino priest! Tons of incident! A secret love!) but she still has to find out what happens to Will Herondale.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Clockwork Princess, the third book in The Infernal Devices Trilogy, begins with Tessa in a gold wedding dress.

You know what self likes so much about Infernal Devices author Cassandra Clare? She never lets her two main men, Magnus Bane or Will Herondale, wallow.

So Tess Gray broke Will’s heart in Clockwork Prince. Now, it’s off to the new, which is taking care of Will’s younger sister, Cecily. It is wonderful seeing Will through her eyes!

With Tessa adorned in her wedding finery, there is a sudden arrival from Gabriel Lightfoot, and the following conversation ensues between Gideon (who has moved into the London Institute and secretly pines for Sophie, the ladies’ maid with the scar on her face) and Gabriel:

“Is father hurt?” Gideon went on, coming to a stop before his brother. “Are you?” He put his hand up and took his brother’s face, his hand cupping Gabriel’s chin and turning it toward him. Though Gabriel was taller, the look of a younger sibling was clear in his face — relief that his brother was there, and a flicker of resentment at his peremptory tone.

“Father . . . ” Gabriel began. “Father is a worm.”

At first self was thinking: Benedict Lightwood, worm — well, in the metaphorical sense. Right? Right?

But no. Cassandra Clare does not shrink from making one of her trilogy’s main antagonists turn into an actual worm. It’s just so, so — Kafka-esque!

Woman, you are brilliant. Just, brilliant.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day, CLOCKWORK PRINCE, p. 389

Self is still reading Mark Twain, but to Twain does not belong the Sentence of the Day (Is that even correct grammar, self? Something wrong with the construction, apparently. Nevertheless)

She has reached p. 453 of Clockwork Prince! And tomorrow she mails the book back to her niece in Calgary, who lent her a hardback collector’s edition. Thank you soooo soooo much, Karina, for introducing self to The Infernal Devices! (And oh by the way she’s still into Peeta Mellark, and she still writes Hunger Games Everlark fan fiction, and she’s also still in the Banff Writing Studio, but none of that matters now, because, because — now she has to reveal her Sentence of the Day!)

SPOILER ALERT MAJOR SPOILER ALERT DO NOT READ IF YOU HATE SPOILERS

The climax of Clockwork Prince is when Magnus Bane kisses Will Herondale.

Ooops — NOT!

Clockwork Prince is a really great novel. Self would have given it five stars if not for all those wasted scenes between taking-so-slow-to-die Jem Carstairs and that Silly Twit Tessa Gray.

There is no sentence like a Cassandra Clare sentence when she describes Will Herondale in action. Allow the slight digression, dear blog readers, but self will never forget that sentence on p. 446 of Clockwork Angel when Will was hurrying to save Tessa from the evil and lascivious clutches of a certain gentleman (This is Victorian London, after all! Did you perhaps think this was a Sarah Waters novel — BWAH. HA. HA!), and he has to ride bareback through the streets of 19th century London, and he has to take out his stele while on a dead run, and he hits a locked door in the Institute, whereupon:

He slashed the stele across the door’s surface, creating the fastest Open rune of his life.

Now, in Clockwork Prince, tiresome Jem has broken a leg or something and is completely useless against a giant automaton and Tess’s dastardly brother Nate has been quite brutally slappiing Tess about, and only Will is left to protect Tess from an explosion set off by one of Henry’s infernal contraptions, and of course after it goes off Tess is all sad because her evil brother has died, and very belatedly she looks at Will and notices that he is lying very still because:

His gear had been shredded all along his spine and shoulder blades, the thick material torn by flying shards of razored metal.

EEEEK!!!

NOOOOOO!!!

So once again, Cassandra Clare has dug in the knife and self can’t even.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Enveloped 5: New Leaves and Smiles at The Banff Centre, Alberta

There’s a huge tree just outside self’s window that was just a skeleton of twiggy branches. Until three days ago, when leaves started to appear. Now, just look at it:

Spring arrives in Banff!

Spring arrives in Banff!

There’s a Writing Studio reading every Wednesday night. Last night’s reading was held at Wild Flour Artisan Bakery in downtown Banff. Greg Hollingshead, Director of the Writing Studio, was one of the readers.

A little about Greg: His collection, The Roaring Girl, won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. His novel Bedlam was a Globe and Mail 100 Best Books of the Year and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice.

Greg Hollingshead, Director of the Banff Writing Studio, at Last Night's Reading in Wild Flour Artisan Bakery, Banff

Greg Hollingshead, Director of the Banff Writing Studio, at Last Night’s Reading in Wild Flour Artisan Bakery, Banff

It is truly amazing that everyone read so well, even though self calculated about a third of the readers, and probably half of the audience, were sick. Sick like self: stuffy nose, cough, no appetite, etc.

Self actually saw an in-house doctor at Lloyd Hall on Tuesday, who told self that she was suffering from a run-of-the-mill cold virus and didn’t need any prescription medication. The only good thing about having this cold is that everyone around her at the reading (including Greg Hollingshead) seemed to be suffering from the same thing. She could hear people trying to quell coughs all over the place. Dear blog readers, there is nothing worse than knowing you’re going to have to hawk a big one, something so explosive it will be heard all over the room, and despite your best efforts, it still comes. I kept chewing zinc lozenges but what can you do.

Freelance writer and editor Julia Phillips, who read excerpts from two of her short stories last night.

Freelance writer and editor Julia Phillips, who read excerpts from two of her short stories last night.

Anyhoo, the reading last night went on as planned. All the readers were fantastic. Julia Phillips (pictured above) has had work in the Crab Orchard Review (Woot Hoot! So has self!), Drunken Boat, The Rumpus, The Week, and The Moscow Times. She was a Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers.

Self also began chatting with a woman sitting near her, who turned out to be author J. Jill Robinson. Here’s a link to a review of one of her books, More in Anger, in The Globe and Mail.

Canadian Fiction Writer J. Jill Robinson, at the Banff Writing Studio reading last night

Canadian Fiction Writer J. Jill Robinson, at the Banff Writing Studio reading last night

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Too Much! Cassandra Clare, You Are Simply Too Much!

Now, where were we? Oh yes, self caught about six hours, then woke up to resume reading Clockwork Prince.

As usual, SPOILERS!

In addition: Trigger Warning: Possible Incestuous Relationship

Tessa and Will are off to a masked ball, Tessa impersonating Jessamine while Jessamine is out cold, hit on the head with a mirror and tied to her bed by the very resourceful lady’s maid (the one with the big red scar right across her face). Author Cassandra Clare has found a good excuse for the pair not to have Jem along. (Thank goodness! After his make-out with Tessa the previous night, it’s got to be Will’s turn!)

Unlike the ball in Clockwork Angel, which was for vampires, where Will had to pretend to be Tessa’s subjugate, this one is given by Benedict Lightwood, who has a thing for demons — smelly things with multiple tongues, bug eyes, green skin, and so forth. Nothing compared to vampires, self thinks dear blog readers will agree.

Clare wickedly has Tessa pretend to be Jessamine, who is in love with Nate Grey (Tessa’s dastardly brother), so at the ball (which is masked, BTW), Tess has to subject herself to listening to sweet nothings from her own brother. Will she do it, self wonders? Will Clare actually have Nate kiss his own sister? Will Tessa have no choice but to submit, for the purposes of the investigation? Read on:

Nate’s hand slipped around the back of her neck. He was wearing gloves, but Tessa couldn’t rid herself of the feeling that something slimy was touching her skin. “My little Jessie,” he murmured. “You behave almost as if you’ve forgotten your own part in this. You did hide the Book of White in my sister’s room as we asked you to, did you not?”

“Of — of course I did. I was only joking, Nate.”

“That’s my good girl.” He was leaning closer. He was definitely going to kiss her.

Oh Heavens to Mergatroid!!!

And Heavens to Mergatroid again!!!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Annoyed With Tessa Gray, A Disquisition on Teeth

Self is so annoyed with Tessa Gray.

Will Herondale comes into her room at night, wakes her from a nightmare, bends down to kiss her, and at the last minute she turns her head so that his kiss lands on her cheek.

##@@!!!!

Dear blog readers, self can’t, she can’t even.

Just for that, she’ll have to leave Clockwork Prince for a while and turn to Courtney Humphries and a fascinating disquisition on teeth (called, what else, Teeth) in the latest issue (Spring 2015) of Bluestem magazine.

Trigger Warning: Extremely Detailed Descriptions of a Dental Filling

My teeth have been jammed full of an embarrassing number of fillings . . .

(One moment: Fellow Writing Studio writer has just emerged from across the hall, and would you believe in 3 weeks self has never once had an adequate conversation with this person, whose name is Dan, who lives in Tijuana and has won a Canadian National Magazine Award for his writing about HIV-infection and the drug trade in Mexico. And she practically trips over her sneakers and has to call out at the top of her voice — he walks really fast! Self swears she heard him emerge just two seconds ago — WHERE IS THAT ARTICLE ON HIV-INFECTION IN TIJUANA CAN I READ IT. To be continued)

. . . over the years, and each one felt like a failure in my duty as a caretaker. Other body parts we can be lax about. Scraped knees heal, broken arms knit. Even a metabolism fallen into sloth can be rescued with exercise and good food. But teeth are monuments that we must painstakingly clean and protect, or lose them forever. My mother has had various crowns put in, and I fear that I will too someday, as she always warns me that our family has soft teeth. Just the phrase “soft teeth” is foreboding — it implies a fatal weakness in parts that are supposed to be strongest, a lack of genetic fitness that could doom me to a toothless fate.

Alas, this disquisition on teeth, too, has to end on somewhat of a cliff-y. Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE Quote of the Day, p. 110 (Trigger Warning: Mr. Starkweather’s Grisly Trophy Collection)

Ah, this world: witchlight and warlocks, silver bullets and werewolves, vampire fangs and faerie wings.

These are fairy tales for grown-ups. Small wonder self loves Cassandra Clare.

Anyhoo, it works out really well since self has been sick in bed with a terrible cold, these past few days. Last night she actually broke down and ordered room service. Room service! What an absolutely great idea! Maybe she’ll do that again today. She might even order the exact same things she ordered last night: salad w/ trout, and lentil and bacon soup. Mama mia, that was the best salad she’s ever had. Probably the best salad in the history of salads.

She wrote, too, a wee little bit. Quite happy with her progress on the novel.

Now, where was self?

Oh right. Our three redoubtables took the train from King’s Cross (Self has been there! Last year! That’s when she heard about the death of poet Maya Angelou, because it was projected on a giant screen over the main hall). Will was sent because he’s so pretty and the Shadowhunter they’re dealing with has a weakness for a pretty face (Checked the fan fiction charts: yup, just as self  suspected, there are many dozens of fan fiction involving Will and — some other guy. He just has that much cross-over appeal). Jem went along because he’s Will’s parabatai (And many of those fan fiction homo-erotic pairings are Jem and Will. Of course). And Tessa Gray went along because she wants to make herself useful to the Enclave. Useful! My eye! She just wants to hang out some more with Will and make him wildly jealous by showing how nice Jem is being to her!

Starkweather shows his three visitors around his museum of “spoils”, which include such grisly souvenirs as:

the remains of warlocks: mummified talon hands; a stripped skull, utterly de-fleshed, human-looking save that it had tusks instead of teeth; vials of sludgy-looking blood.

Had enough? Just so you know, Tessa faints, Jem catches her, she has a terrible nightmare, in which her dastardly brother has imprisoned her in a cage and . . . she’s awoken by Will Herondale! And Will is saying: “Tess . . . that must have been quite a nightmare, to have taken the spirit out of you so. Usually you are not afraid of much.”

And self just wants to scream at Tessa: Enough of these cow eyes — go ahead and kiss him already, damn you!

Back to the book.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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