The library was still plagued by outbreaks of flying books — three weeks ago a whole flock of Far Eastern atlases had taken wing, terrifyingly broad, muscular volumes like albatrosses, and wrecked the circulation area, sending students crawling under the tables. The books actually found their way out through the front door and roosted in a tree by the welters board, from which they raucously heckled passersby in a babel of languages until they got rained on and dragged themselves sulkily back to the stacks, where they were agressively rebound.
It’s been a long time since self has read a book about magic, perhaps not since The Infernal Devices. The magic in Lev Grossman’s universe is great.
The first boat had swung back. Now it smashed into the canoe again, a deathblow, and the brave little boat was broken open like an egg. Both Malcolm and Asta cried out with love.
The next book on self’s reading list is The Golden Compass. At least, she’ll give it a go.
So far, this year, she’s read three really good novels, the kind that make it into her “favorites” list: Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto; The Mandibles, by Lionel Shriver; and La Belle Sauvage. Actually, Conclave, by Robert Harris, was pretty good, too. Wow, the first third of 2018 has produced a rich harvest. That’s never happened to self before.
The last time she read a trilogy was way back 2015, when she began Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices. That was a smashing series. She spent part of that year in London, looking for Saint Bride’s and the old Blackfriars bridge. At Saint Bride’s, she chatted with a deacon who was amused that Saint Bride’s was the setting of the Shadowhunters’ London sanctuary. She was so into Victorian Steampunk that year, and remembers being mightily impressed that York had an annual Steampunk Festival.
For this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, ATOP, self goes back to the pictures she took of a London church she visited in 2015. She’s not sure if she’s interpreting the theme correctly (“a view from the top”) but she’ll post this anyway.
Two years ago, self was on a Shadowhunters reading binge. She took The Infernal Devices trilogy with her to the UK, and decided to plan her days around places cited in the books.
In her website, author Cassandra Clare says she used St. Bride’s near Fleet Street as the titular setting for the Shadowhunters Academy. And self did get to see this church. And it was one of the most beautiful churches she had ever seen.
You can see an exhibit on the history of St. Bride’s in the crypt. The spire was designed by Christopher Wren. Building began in 1671 and was completed in 1703:
The steeple was destroyed during the Blitz (see newspaper headline below).
The steeple has been rebuilt; you can see it from the top floor of the National Portrait Gallery. It’s a long, slim needle that feels surprisingly at home with the modernistic buildings surrounding it.
Self returned to St. Bride’s last year, with poet Joan McGavin. The main space was closed for refurbishing, but the crypt was still open to the public. While Joan went down to look at the exhibit, self chatted with a clergyman, who asked what brought her to St. Bride’s. And she said, Shadowhunters. He was highly amused.
London, June 2015: Hunting for Blackfriars Bridge. Because Blackfriars is where Tessa and Jem, the other leg of The Infernal Devices love triangle (Self ships Wessa. Her fanfiction alias would be PeetasandHerondales, if that weren’t already taken. But anyhoo, Blackfriars) meet every year for eternity to see what’s up with each other (after Tessa married Will! Yes!).
June 19, author Cassandra Clare reminds the Shadowhunter universe that Will Herondale died on that day. KA-BOOM! Self is in her lodgings in London, having a melt-down. Wants to get to the Serpentine River, because that’s where Will took Tessa to look at ducks. But she has too many FEELZ.
Here’s a link to a tumblr author whose Shadowhunter graphic illustrations are just so on point.
Last summer, self visited York. She’d been there only once before, when she was a wee lass of 11. An old high school classmate (who she hadn’t seen since high school graduation, many many years ago) invited her to visit, and self never turns down an invitation to see a new place. Besides which, York is the setting for a very crucial turn of events in Cassandra Clare’s Victorian steampunk trilogy, The Infernal Devices.
The cathedral is amazingly beautiful.
The ceiling is an intricate fretwork of grids:
The cathedral was once burned to the ground by a madman who stoked the fire with deliberate glee.
It was hit by lightning, which started another fire.
During World War II, all of the stained glass windows were taken down and painstakingly stored. The cathedral was spared during the bombings. Then the windows had to be put up again.
Self is so very into The Infernal Devices(as dear blog readers well know, from all her posts through the summer, leading up to her trip to London).
There are three books in The Infernal Devices trilogy, and self tore through all three while she was in Banff (Thanks much, Niece Karina!).
When she was in Banff, she saw stacks of the just publishedy The Bane Chronicles in the bookstores. The book is a collection of short stories about some of the characters in this universe, and there are three authors. Which means, not every story is by Cassandra Clare (Jury’s still out on this; Clare is a really good writer. But the stories she’s read are somewhat uneven)
Nevertheless, self read two of the stories in between trips, when she dropped by Kepler’s in Menlo Park. In Dublin, she hung out in a bookstore for a few hours and read more of the stories (She was trying hard not to add to her luggage, which is so ridiculously crammed with books, all the time)
But now, the friend she is staying with has a teen-ager who happens to own a copy of The Bane Chronicles. And now she can quote because she has the actual book in front of her!
Self must confess, she never bothered to read all the stories in the collection, just the ones that concern her favorite Shadowhunter family: the Herondales!
Which brings us to the first paragraph of the story “Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale,” which is co-authored by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan. And here’s the opening:
Ever since the unfortunate events of the French Revolution, Magnus had nursed a slight prejudice against vampires. The undead were always killing one’s servants and endangering one pet’s monkey. The vampire clan in Paris was still sending Magnus rude messages about their small misunderstanding. Vampires bore a grudge longer than any technically living creatures, and whenever they were in a bad temper, they expressed themselves through murder. Magnus generally washed his companions to be somewhat less — no pun intended — bloodthirsty.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SORRY SPOILERS!
Edmund is the father of her all-time favorite character in The Infernal Devices: of course, that’s Will Herondale. Do you even need to ask.
Self was in London in June when Cassandra Clare announced that it was the anniversary of Will Herondale’s passing and it was almost too much, the torrent of feelz she unleashed with that announcement. (Self wanted to ask Ms. Clare why it is necessary to remind readers that Will Herondale is dead, dead, deader than a doorpost. Aaaargh!)