Review: The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins




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.

This book was certainly an epic, it blended a huge quantity of historical knowledge of European politics from the 1300s and a generous dash of Irish and Celtic folklore from the same time to culminate in a final battle between humans and the Fae. The author’s knowledge of his subject matter was amazing.

I’m sad to say that this book didn’t really float my boat (I’ve had an unlucky streak recently, I’m going to have to pick a dead certain for my next or I’ll have to take a break from reading for a while!), it read more like a history book with a little bit of magic thrown in rather than a story designed to entertain – it took me ages to plough through it and left me feeling drained at the end.

I think it’s largely because I like my characters strong and relatable, with a fast moving narrative to keep my interest (I’m not ashamed to admit that I have the attention span of a gnat)- this felt quite dry and full of historical information designed to educate you rather than amuse.

Don’t get me wrong:

Education = Good Thing.
However, I was looking for entertainment on this occasion and this didn’t quite deliver what I expected from the book’s description. There was considerably less magic and lore than promised and a lot more political doublecrossing and mad English kings.

There was a huge number of characters in this book which shamefully ended up in my getting confused over what I was reading, resulting in my swearing a lot as I flipped back several pages to re-read the chapter and sort it out in my mind before continuing.

All in all, I felt that this was a great story with a whole, detailed world with a rich history waiting to be explored – but the narrative too complicated with too many characters to really take me through it and immerse me in this reality.

I would recommend this book for avid history buffs, who like a bit of mythology thrown in rather than people like myself: avid mythology buffs who like a bit of history thrown in.

Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review


4 comments on “Review: The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins

  1. It’s a very interesting premise.

    Liked by 1 person

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