… and I am only one installment in.
So, the history of the phrase “bane of my existence”, which generally means something which causes misery or death, is middle and old english “bana” which means destroyer or murderer. So, the “Bane Chronicles” seems aptly named after all…
This is yet another e-book only debacle. At least that’s my thoughts after the first installment of the Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. There are 10 installments, each written by Clare and one of two co-authors: Sarah Rees Brennan or Maureen Johnson.
The fist, whole whopping 80 or so pages, is co-written by Brennan. And the adventure promised was pretty adventure-less. This amounted to just a few short stories about Magnus, Ragnor and Catarina have in Peru. We see 4 “adventures” – one in each of 1791, 1885, 1890 and 1962. In 1791 Ragnor joins Magnus and they end up on a ship, intended to protect the cargo but the ships sinks. In 1885 Catarina also joins them and they help a client find treasure. In 1890 Magnus is trying to learn an instrument as he has fallen for a boy who teaches the instrument and when the boy breaks up with Magnus, he steals and enchants a carpet (turns it into a magic flying carpet) and gets really drunk (and there’s a bit about getting healed by some guinea pigs). In 1962 Magnus meets a woman who is a their and a con and convinces her to run away with him.
We end with finding out that Magnus has been banned from Peru, but we are never told why. I think it’s important to see what was promised (from Goodreads):
“Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices know that Magnus Bane is banned from Peru—and now they can find out why. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.
There are good reasons Peru is off-limits to Magnus Bane. Follow Magnus’s Peruvian escapades as he drags his fellow warlocks Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss into trouble, learns several instruments (which he plays shockingly), dances (which he does shockingly), and disgraces his host nation by doing something unspeakable to the Nazca Lines.
This standalone e-only short story illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality populates the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series. This story in The Bane Chronicles, What Really Happened in Peru, is written by Sarah Rees Brennan and Cassandra Clare.”
See where they said we can find out why Magnus is banned? I highlighted it in red so that it can’t be missed. It was clever at the end of the first “chapters” to tell me that what I just read wasn’t why he was banned, setting my expectations for learning the answer. To not be told it at the end – wow, what an easy way to NOT be creative. And the bit with the monkeys, and the other bit with the guinea pigs, I am not sure creative or interesting describe it so much as it felt that the author(s) were trying to be so over the top that it ended up just stupid.
The dialogue and reading in this was choppy and felt like it was written by a 10 year old, without an editor. I don’t know if its a result of the collaboration (I have found that books written as a collaboration are not as well written, and they suffer from the Last Samurai “too-many-minds” syndrome (if you don’t know what I am talking about go watch the scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DAWlspPiuI) and fall flat on their butts just like Capt. Algren. Sometimes, after multiple installments the collaborators figure things out and survive the sword fight, other times, they continue to fail miserably (and frankly, should surrender and put the readers out of their misery). The worst part is, there are two authors here who were miserably lazy and uncreative. Does it really take two minds to write something so awful? Especially when the page count is only 80 pages!!!! Have I mentioned that these e-only books are a waste of time and money, more often than not? I think I have (devoted an entire post to it, at least once before).
It’s a shame, I always liked Magnus as a character. He was funny and clever and I loved him in the MI and ID*. This set of adventures did nothing to add to the character. And the “shockingly”, well, lets just say that the music he plays gets some page time but not much else does. And there really isn’t anything shocking about this story except how badly written it was. I am hoping that the little series gets better as suffering through 10 installments that are this bad will be rough.
Thought I would share some examples of the awfulness (and my reactions when reading them)…
“Ragnor’s suspicious nature continued to make Magnus very sad and disappointed in him as a person, such as when they visited Lake Yarinacocha and Ragnor’s eyes narrowed as he demanded: “Are those dolphins pink?” “They were pink when I got here!” Magnus exclaimed indignantly. He paused and considered. “I am almost certain.” (my thought: how does sad and disappointed come from that?)
“Pardon me, but we did not have the time to exchange that kind of personal information,” Magnus said. “I could not have known! Moreover, I wish to assure both of you that I did not make any amorous advances on female monkeys.” He paused and winked. “I didn’t actually see any, so I never got the chance.” (my thought: trying to hard to make Magnus seem over the top.)
“Life could not be entirely devoted to debauchery and monkeys. Magnus had to finance all the drinking somehow. There was always a Downworlder network to be found, and he had made sure to make the right contacts as soon as he’d set foot in Peru.” (my thought: maybe something fun and like one of the adventures promised will come of here? Then, a few pages later, the disappointment again set in.)
“I also prefer not to remember the time we spent in the desert. It is a mammoth desert, Magnus. Ordinary deserts are quite large. Mammoth deserts are so called because they are larger than ordinary deserts” (my thought: no crap, mammoth is larger than ordinary. There was nothing more clever the author could come up with here?)
“So ended our love,” Magnus said. “Ah, well. It would never have worked between me and the plate anyway. I’m sure the food did me good, Catarina, and you were very good to feed me and put me to bed—” (my thought: now trying to hard to be clever.)
And my (least) favorite:
“I progressed to full hallucinations? It’s official. That sounds like . . . almost the most drunk I have ever been. Please don’t ask questions about the most drunk I have ever been. It’s a very sad story involving a birdcage.” (my thought: please ask, maybe that story will be better!)
I think I need someone to remind me – was the dialogue of these characters always this awful in the MI and ID books? Yikes! 9 more like this… I may have to take a cue from Magnus and have a lot to drink before reading the next installment.
MI refers to the Mortal Instruments Series and ID refers to the Infernal Devices Series, both by Cassandra Clare and where we first meet Magnus.