Although I read every day Monday-Friday, it seems to be taking me an astonishingly long time to get through books at the moment. I used to be such a fast reader, I don't know what happened. So, here's a very short post on the books I read during July.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare 
The second novel in the Dark Artifices series set in the world of the Shadowhunters 

After somewhat surprisingly finding the first book in this series, Lady Midnight, so enjoyable, I was very excited to read Lord of Shadows. However, I did find myself having one big issue with it. What I liked so much about Lady Midnight was that it stood so strongly on its own as a novel; you really didn't need to have read The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices to derive enjoyment from it. In Lord of Shadows, I feel like a lot of familiar faces were only there to delight and appease existing fans rather than doing anything to genuinely develop the storyline.

That being said, I am an existing fan of the Shadowhunter series so it felt like seeing old friends for me. I was also gripped to this novel from start to finish. The threat I expected to develop was not at all what I expected and as for that I shouldn't be surprised because I've seen how brutal Cassandra Clare can be before but I'm pretty sure my entire street heard the sounds of my heart breaking. It's sheer luck I was reading it at home when I finished it, rather than on the bus where I do the bulk of my reading. That would have been awkward...!

The next Dark Artifices novel is going to devastate me, I can tell.

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare & others
A collection of short stories from the life and times of the warlock Magnus Bane

I thought I'd continue the Shadowhunter theme and finally get round to reading this collection of short stories all about one of the most beloved Shadowhunters characters: Magnus Bane. Admittedly, I thought the collection started quite weakly. It felt like the Peru story was written for a much, much younger audience and I found the reason for Magnus' banishment totally unsatisfying after waiting that long to find out why he was banned from Peru. I was also thoroughly unimpressed by the appearance of Marie Antoinette in another story - she's sacred to me and I don't like seeing her story being re-written.

However, as I progressed through the short stories, I found them getting much better and much more interesting. I delighted in finding out how Magnus met his first Herondale and it was great seeing Valentine at the height of his power. There's also a decent amount of Camille in this book.

This isn't a book I'd recommend to everyone - it's only really worth a read if you're a hardcore Shadowhunters fan.

I am so unbelievably behind with my reading challenge! I started off so strong and then I don't know what happened. Hopefully in August I can read some excellent novels that pop me back on track.