After finishing Belladonna about a week ago, I haven’t actually touched a novel. I had the very first exam of my psychology degree today and I’ve been spending every single second studying, or preparing for study. I think I did alright. But being the first one finished is always awkward. In my experience it means you either nailed it or completely bombed out. And I can’t afford to bomb out. The GPA to get into Honours is pretty competitive. I think I need a 6 (Distinction) overall just to get in. Which means I basically have to ace everything. No pressure or anything.
I managed to take a break to read “The Course of True Love (and First Dates)”. Thank God, otherwise I think I would have lost my mind. I haven’t gone so long without a plots and characters before. I was actually kind of glad this story took so long to come out. It meant that I got some new TMI to prepare me for City of Heavenly Fire in two months. I am both ecstatic and terrified that CoHF is the last in the TMI series. Once I’ve finished reading it, it’s all over.
I’m distracting myself. Moving onto “The Course of True Love (and First Dates).
I loved it. I absolutely loved it. And you know why? Because this was pure, unadulterated Cassandra Clare. Did you notice how funny this was? She got to write her characters on her own without outside influence and it really showed. Magnus is a hilarious character and that was something that was tempered with Ms. Clare writing these stories with other people. Those authors may be talented, but they don’t know the Shadowhunter crew like Cassie does.
What I loved most about this story was Alec’s character development. Seriously, I hated Alec all through The Mortal Instruments. I thought he was weak-willed, selfish, and a coward – putting Magnus through all that pain just because he couldn’t let go of Jace. Even after it was painfully obvious that Jace was so obviously in love with Clary from day one. (I know, I know, it takes a while to get over someone, but I would have though Jace falling in love with a girl would have told Alec that Jace just didn’t swing that way). As I have said countless times before, Alec’s throwing Clary up against the wall in City of Bones basically made me want to hate him for life. And the only reason I tolerate his character is for Magnus’ sake. Magnus is incredible and if he loves Alec then he, Alec, must have some redeeming qualities.
But I think, because The Mortal Instruments revolves around Jace and Clary, we don’t get Alec’s full character. I am in no way saying that Alec is a two-dimensional character. But we don’t see enough of him to get the full picture, if you know what I mean. It was like seeing Luke being a bigot in “The Last Stand of the New York Institute“; we are getting new facets of the characters’ personalities in these adventures with Magnus. Honestly, the only time I ever saw Magnus’ Alec was in City of Lost Souls:
“Iz,” Alec said tiredly. “It’s not like it’s one big bad thing. It’s a lot of little invisible things. When Magnus and I were traveling, and I’d call from the road, Dad never asked how he was. When I get up to talk in Clave meetings, no one listens, and I don’t know if that’s because I’m young or if it’s because of something else. I saw Mom talking to a friend about her grandchildren and the second I walked into the room they shut up. Irina Cartwright told me it was a pity no one would ever inherit my blue eyes now.”
He shrugged and looked toward Magnus, who took a hand off the wheel for a moment to place it on Alec’s.
“It’s not like a stab wound you can protect me from. It’s a million little paper cuts every day.”
At every other point in TMI, I saw a coward who was too afraid of himself to realise that he was treating people like crap. He even tried to take away Magnus’ immortality without talking to Magnus about it first. I mean, what?! But now, seeing Alec through Magnus’ eyes, I am really looking forward to giving him a second chance. There aren’t a lot of characters who get second chances with me, but Alec may be one of the lucky few.
I think the reason I love Magnus so much is that he is so who he is. He doesn’t change for anyone. He has never been anything but a glittering, magical, omnisexual man with a heart of gold. Actually, he kind of reminds me of Captain Jack Harkness. I’d say minus the glitter, but I don’t doubt that Captain Jack has doused himself in glitter for some kind of fantasy at least once.
The fact that Magnus charms his wallets to bite, tried to force Alec to wear his clothes, and does’t apologise for getting Jace’s name wrong, are all reasons that I love him. One day I will be as comfortable in my skin as Magnus is in his. Even though, Magnus has a few centuries on me.
And another reason Magnus is magnificent? He mentions Will Herondale a lot. That will never get old. I miss Will. Thank God for The Last Hours, eh?
The only thing I want to say is that Magnus seemed too in love too quickly. I mean, the word love is never said anywhere in this story, but the way Magnus talks about Alec is pretty full on for a first date. Like this, for example:
If Jace was gold, catching the light and the attention , Alec was silver: so used to everyone else looking at Jace that that was where he looked too, so used to living in Jace’s shadow that he didn’t expect to be seen. Maybe it was enough to be the first person to tell Alec that he was worth being seen ahead of anyone in a room, and of being looked at longest.
Honestly, I thought that was a bit intense for a first date. However, that could just be more of Magnus’ outrageous characterisation. He is, after all, a very OTT person. I suppose it’s only to be expected that he is very OTT in his relationships as well.
Can’t wait to see you again in May, Magnus!