4 out of 4 stars
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Why have magic users ceased to exist in modern times? What happened to all the magic that used to be so prevalent all around the world? Mark Tompkins’ The Last Days of Magic is a fantasy novel that details these worldly changes, and to do so it takes the reader back centuries to a time when magic users and humans co-existed.
The Last Days of Magic mostly takes place in medieval Ireland, where many faerie families are ruled by a Goddess who takes three forms, always being reborn through twins and keeping one part of the spirit in the Middle Kingdom. Aisling and her twin, Anya, are the latest reincarnations of this Goddess and are going through training in order to one day rule over the faeries. However, one sect of faeries plans on rebelling, and launches an attempt to assassinate the girls. With the Goddess’ powers weakened and forces fighting them from both inside Ireland and from overseas, will they be able to protect the land of magic they call their home?
Tompkins certainly put a lot of time and effort into fleshing out his characters. The story itself is full of action, betrayal, and mysterious magic, but the characters carried the novel’s success on their shoulders. Even the exorcists from Rome and the witches in France were hard to hate, despite threatening Aisling’s leadership. My favorite character by far was Jordan, an exorcist with some magic of his own. The contradictions Jordan embodied and the tough decisions he had to make were always interesting, because I could never tell whether he would sympathize with his fellow magic users or ruthlessly cut them down in the name of the church.
Unfortunately, there were quite a few characters in the novel, and many of them had similar names. I personally felt like it was hard to keep track of some of the minor characters who ended up filling large roles later in the novel. Not only that, but there was a lot of dialogue in the novel, which slowed down the pace and made me put the book down quite a few times. I admire Tompkins’ story-telling skills, but he certainly crammed a lot of information into a single page.
Overall, I would rate The Last Days of Magic 4 out of 4 stars. The characters delighted me and I enjoyed getting a peek into a world full of magic and political turmoil. I would definitely recommend this book to fantasy and historical fiction fans, especially those with an interest in European history. There were a few violent and sexual scenes in the novel, so I would not recommend it to minors. The sequel to this novel was nicely set up, and it may or may not take place in modern times.
The Last Days of Magic
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