We begin with Jace not just playing the piano, but playing one of the most technically difficult piano solos ever written. Edward, I know of your weirding ways! But note the style in which his actions are written:
Jace had played his way through the first when he got up from the piano, went into the kitchen, picked up Luke's phone, and made a single call. Then he went back to the piano and the Gaspard.
Clare is going to make these sudden jumps to a constrained third person perspective. The intent is to make Jace’s motives unknown so as to “surprise” us later. Dan Brown ran into this problem in his books because it is so obvious when the POV is suddenly constrained so the reader knows there must be something beyond the obvious going on.
This style is particularly dreadful here because it leads to boring laundry lists of “Jace did X, then Y, then Z.”
It turns out that Jace called Raphael to bring a vampire bike, probably because Clare can’t think of any other modes of transportation for her world except ones copied from Harry Potter. It turns out Jace is blackmailing Raphael using the turning of Simon against him. Which… doesn’t make sense. Magnus, Alec, Clary, Jace, Izzy, and, most importantly, Simon would all have sat down and had a discussion about if Raphael actually broke any law, and then if they were going to cover up for him if he did. We never saw this. Also a bike seems to be a really cheap payment for a person’s life.
They banter, mentioning how they aren’t welcome at the Clave. Raphael mentions that he had hoped Jace’s arrogance would have been beaten down some… And Jace replies with a witticism. Shocking.
There is a line break here which I assume is meant to indicate a time jump, as Jace is suddenly flying. But it also indicates a return to the normal limited third person perspective. That is, we are back in his head so we can know that he is… thinking about the weather and scenery. He is clearly heading for “a ship”, but he refrains from thinking of the importance of this ship or why he is heading towards it. Because Clare needs this to be mysterious.
He reminisces for a moment about what his father told him about sailing. This was apparently a time where Valentine said “all men” and not “all Shadowhunters”. Why that is significant, I have no idea. His father also subscribed to gender essentialism? No, Jace says that he likes it because it means “he was still part of the human race” that he has spent these books looking down upon. Right.
He enters the boat and comes across… Clary? He is terrified when he sees her pallid state and even more so when she reveals a bloody wound in her chest. He tries to wake her, but notices her suddenly white eyes are familiar before he blacks out.
Jace wakes up to Valentine hovering over him and asking how he feels. Then daddy asks how Jace found him. Yes, that is an interesting question. Jace says that he tortured the info out of the Raum demon. I can only think he is referring to the one in the last chapter. But he was only tumbling with it just near Clary for a few moments. It doesn’t seem believable. Additionally, why wouldn’t he tell anyone? Those demons were trying to kill him, Clary, and pretty much everyone he knows.
Valentine says he should call first, because his “guards” are nasty. Jace points out the obvious, that they are demons summoned by the Sword. Because it works like that now. Shut up. Jace asks if it was Clary before, and Valentine is surprised. Jace here states that “He wasn't unfamiliar or uncomfortable with secrets—either his own or other people's—but his feelings for Clary were something he had told himself he could bear only if he did not look at them too closely.” This is where things get annoying. This is an incest-kink story. Embrace it! Is this a tragedy? Embrace it! Don’t give this BS. This sound like it is Clare saying that she doesn’t want to actually address the issue. Coward.
Valentine tells Jace that “Clary” was the demon Agramon. Basically, it is a boggart that kills you. He appears on many lists as simply “Demon of Fear,” but unfortunately I have yet to have traced his origin.
So, basically, this was simply a repeat of Molly Weasley’s encounter with a boggart.
Jace is shocked that Valentine has a Greater Demon under his control (I don’t think Agramon is considered Great). Valentine laughs and gives this explanation for how he obtained Agramon:
I paid a young and hubristic warlock to summon it for me. He thought that if the demon remained inside his pentagram, he could control it. Unfortunately for him, his greatest fear was that a demon he summoned would break the wards of the pentagram and attack him, and that's exactly what happened when Agramon came through.
That… doesn’t make sense. The kid was chanting “spells of containment and banishment”“spark of anger” before Valentine tries to laugh it off. Wow, I am sure he really isn’t evil and I am sure Jace is falling for this Oscar deserving act.
Valentine decides to go on a walk and do an evil villain monologue. He starts by referencing Paradise Lost. Oh God, please no.
"...if I recall correctly," Valentine was saying, "you are in fact familiar with Milton's Paradise Lost?"
"You only made me read it ten or fifteen times," said Jace. "It's better to reign in hell than serve in heaven, etcetera, and so on."
"Non serviam," said Valentine. "'I will not serve.' It's what Lucifer had inscribed upon his banner when he rode with his host of rebel angels against a corrupt authority."
"What's your point? That you're on the devil's side?"
"Some say Milton was on the devil's side himself. His Satan is certainly a more interesting figure than his God." They had nearly reached the front of the ship. He stopped and leaned against the guardrail.
Some say that Romeo and Juliet is an epic story about true love.
Some say that Shakespeare was actually a group of writers.
But the real problem here is that Clare has been setting up Satanic parallels for Valentine. And now she just has him announce, “Look at me, I’m totally Satan!”
And I know people don’t like to read past the first two books of Paradise Lost, but while I have many issues with the theology it is not Satanic. The beautiful illusion of Satan is a lie. This is demonstrated throughout the book time and time again. Satan was motivated by ambition, and then for ruin and destruction. The famous speeches at the beginning? Lies. That’s canon. Milton was writing a theodicy. This is all in that book you claim to have read over a dozen times!
There is more purple prose about the scenery, and then Valentine asks the most important question: WTF is Jace doing there? Jace responds by asking the question the Queen told him to ask, “what blood runs in [his] veins”.
The reaction shot? ”Surprise passed over Valentine's face like a hand smoothing away all expression.” Wow, this guy is positively Luciferian in his lying skills! That’s has at least level 8 CHA.
Valentine replies the “blood of the Angel” does, which Jace points out is true of all Shadowhunters. And that is it. He recognizes that is a BS answer and makes sure that Valentine isn’t lying to the Queen, for some reason. We know he gave a technically true, but still deceitful answer. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see it. This is pathetic. But Jace just acting disappointed is even more pathetic. Did he think the Queen wanted him to ask that question just to waste his time? Did he not notice the pathetically transparent deceit that just took place?
Then Jace randomly goes emo and lists all the people that hate him and how alone he is. And whose fault is that? I’m sure sneaking back to your father is going to fix those relationships. Keep lying to your family!
Jace then jumps to asking about Valentine’s motives for all the crap he’s been pulling throughout this book. This guy needs to calm down and actually discuss a topic! This Villain is so easily nailable—wait, I didn’t mean that phrasing! Valentine gives the answer we already know about killing Downworlders, the Clave, and demons. Jace points out the irony of those claims when Valentine seems to keep to all-demon company these days. My god, a valid point! From Jace!
Valentine then gives a speech about how he is a “patriot”, which doesn’t really answer anything. And is very odd, given that nationhood isn’t really an issue here.
Valentine: I hate demons.
Jace: So why do you use them?
Valentine: I hate demons.
They haven’t actually discussed anything! At all! This entire conversation!
Jace then thinks that he would like to change the “blood in his veins” and thinks of Clary. But he instantly recants for the sake of… “the hunt” and “the kill”. Two things here. A minor point is that he was first thinking of blood in terms of parentage, so as not to be incestuous. But then he moves to blood as being a Shadowhunter or a human. Those are not the same issue and one does not cancel out the other. The second thing is to keep this in mind for the next book, and pretty much all the other times Jace has been characterised as a bloodthirsty sociopath.
And yes, he just chose hunting and killing over his True Love. Suck it, fangirls.
Valentine rhetorically asks why he would fight the Clave if he thought they were allies against the demons. Jace thinks to himself ”Power” in reply. Again we have the problem of seeing Jace’s thoughts now, but not when the author wanted to hide them for the sake of manufacturing suspense and mystery. But more importantly we are being told why Valentine is evil and Satanic, not shown it.
Valentine declares that coddling the Downworlders weakens the Clave to Demon attack… Somehow? I thought they were saving resources for fighting Demons by not trying to fight all the Downworlders? As this is his main contention, this really needs to be fleshed out.
But he uses the pejorative term “degenerate races” to describe them. Jace’s reaction is interesting: “The words carried an uncomfortable familiarity; they recalled Jace's childhood to him, in a way that was not entirely unpleasant.”
There is clearly an attempt at brainwashing, but it isn’t explored any further. The problem is that Jace is only an “ironic” racist. He actually draws attention to this contradiction by pointing to Luke as a non-degenerate. Valentine just uses this to launch into another speech about saving the world, to which Jace just… Reminisces about half remembered sensations he felt back home in the manor. Pay attention! Simon has ADD now, not you!
In Valentine’s speech he claims that Nephilim are “the closest thing that exists in this world to gods”, which is a really odd statement to make unless it is a ham-fisted parallel to Satan. And what do you know, Jace points that argument out! Jace then comes to his senses enough to ask Valentine to stick to the main question: how can he use demons? And will he use them against the Clave.
Valentine replies without pause in the affirmative, and that certainty shakes Jace. He details that his plains to use an army of forsaken failed and that creating new Shadowhunters would take too much time. With the sword he can control an army of demons, who will then kill each other when he is done.
Jace points out, rather stupidly, that Valentine would murder every Shadowhunter opposing him. But Valentine counters that fear, fear of his new battle station, will cause the Clave to surrender to him… Which actually isn’t a bad move on his part.
But Valentine has had enough talk and decides to show Jace how their survival actually hangs in the balance. He takes out the Sword and hands it to Jace “the way he'd always taught him, hilt first” (actually nice touch).
Did Jace then stab him?
Attempt to make off with it?
Use it to make Valentine tell him the truth?
Nope. Instead the Sword gives him a vision! More random magical powers for everyone! He sees demons everywhere. Clare clearly tries to go for Cthulian, indescribable horrors, but demons have appeared rather corporeally in this series already so it is out of place. Anyway, he sees them everywhere and gets sick, for some reason. He drops the sword and the vision stops.
He asks Valentine what he saw and Valentine reveals that those were demons “drawn to the edges of this world by the Sword”. They are not the demons he has called, but the ones that he will call. And that proves… What? It is implied that he brought them to the edge of the world. So without Valentine, what is the great danger? Valentine is on a boat because “the wards are thin here”. How does this inter-dimensional travel work? Really? And hold on, how will your new Clave fight demons any better than the current one? Are there demons running amok right now? Basically, this was for Valentine to brag and for Clare to try to show why he is a justified Big Bad. And theoretically, couldn’t he control demons to kill each other ad infinitum? There would then be no need for Shadowhunters.
Jace maintains that the Lightwoods would still fight, but Valentine counters that if Jace joins him they would be spared. This naturally gets Jace whining about how he hurts them and it is all his fault. Valentine doesn’t play into that game and agrees with him! Jace doesn’t know how to feel about that, and I actually enjoy that bit of emotion.
Anyway, Valentine says it is natural because they are the same. They “poison and destroy” all they love. God, that makes being a whiney jerk-off sound so high and mighty. And the reason is because they are called for a ”higher purpose” than all the “distractions”.
"And our punishment is visited on everyone we care about? That seems a little hard on them."
"Fate is never fair. You are caught in a current much stronger than you are, Jonathan; struggle against it and you'll drown not just yourself but those who try to save you. Swim with it, and you'll survive."
See, they been talking for pages but here Valentine is actually manipulating and getting his good old Evil on! He again promises protection for Clary and the Lightwoods, and I always trust mass-murders who just called my family members distractions! They give me candy!
Valentine asks Jace what his final answer is, and Jace replies "Yes, Father. I've made my decision."
But we don’t see him make the decision! Dun dun dunnn…
Okay, enough of that. It is obvious that Valentine is a lying liar who lies and Jace isn’t going along with him. The writing in this section was 100% Dan Brown. It is clear what is being arbitrarily hidden from us for no reason other than to manufacture intrigue that otherwise wouldn’t exist because the villain has the depth of a kiddy pool and the heroes are horny morons.
And so ends Part II. God Speed!