I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins
Published by Viking on March 1, 2016
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Medieval, Sagas
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An epic novel of magic and mysticism, Celts and faeries, mad kings and druids, and the goddess struggling to reign over magic’s last outpost on the Earth
What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries,
The Last Days of Magic
brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.
Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.
As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.
The Last Days of Magic
introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.
The Last Days of Magic is a sweeping epic that I really enjoyed, even though I was lost most of the time. I do not tend to do well with epic stories. The Lord of the Rings series almost broke me with the ridiculous amount of characters and the over description of everything. I can barely make it through an episode of Game of Thrones without asking my husband who that just was. So even knowing that, I wanted to read The Last Days of Magic, as it just sounded so good. I am glad I gave it a chance, as I really did like the book. (I can’t even fully break down the synopsis, so please see it above.)
Mark Tompkins can create quite the world. Rich with a deep connection to the land and detailed (but not too detailed, I’m looking at you LotR with your 6 pages describing a tree). The pacing had a few issues with abrupt time jumps but the action always stabilized it. There was no lack of emotion; between those fighting for their cultures and homes and those fighting for power and religion, the emotions ran high. As mentioned, I did have some trouble with the characters, as there were so many. But those I did follow were great. I rooted for them, wept with them and wished them victory. Tompkins’ writing is strong. To be able to build such a nuanced world and have a unique voice for each character takes some talent.
Even thought I did not fully follow the story it was somehow still a really enjoyable read. Action, magic, goddesses, corrupt politicians, power hungry witches and more filled a world that brimmed with war and turmoil. Mark Tompkins crafted a remarkable world in The Last Days of Magic. The ending did not feel final so I hope this is the first in a series, as, even confusing, this is a world I will happily rejoin.
Favorite lines – The quick prayer snatched from the slit throat of the pious. The thunder of riderless horses, crazed from their wounds. The distinctively sweet smell of blood mixed with sweat on the victors, the stench of guts spilling from the losers as the cry of havoc goes up. This is what I have craved. Facing another man, knowing that only one of us will survive the next few heartbeats, feeling his life flee as I push my blade into his body—that’s when I’ve felt most alive. Like an opium addict constantly drawn back to the den, he had been drawn to killing. Until today. Until I arrived here.
Biggest cliché – The plague? No, that’s like so totally two years ago.
Have you read The Last Days of Magic, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge