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.
I’ll admit, as much as I love history, I’m not the biggest fan of medieval history. Especially when it comes to the bloody wars that were waged all in the name of religion. This made it difficult for me to truly love this book, but that’s to no fault of the author or the story, just a personal preference. Especially since I’m such a finicky reader when it comes to fantasy to begin with.
However, despite my own personal misgivings, I enjoyed how the author managed to weave together an informative and interesting tale that incorporated both myth, legend and history. It’s an intriguing tale of medieval Ireland and the challenges a young half-goddess, Aisling has to endure. Though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the era, I appreciated the way the author was able to incorporate Celtic myth/lore into a world where the Vatican had declared anything that was not of the Christian faith to be unholy. It shows there’s a lot of depth and knowledge about the time.
If I had to caution about something in the book, it would be to be prepared to have a constantly moving timeline. This isn’t a book that just moves forward in it’s plot, but it also attempts to parallel its major moments to give a more thorough view of events as they unfold. This was handle well and I appreciated being able to see what was happen, especially during a vital moment toward the beginning of the book. When another author might have revealed the events that unfolded at a later time or through some magical connection, which is just a literary device to give things away, this author chose to rotate the view of the events as they unfolded.
I suppose I should also warn that any potential readers should be prepared to encounter a lot of historical background and information in regards to both the mythology and history of this time and the area. For some, the sheer amount of information might seem overwhelming, but it’s meant to help create a more thorough understanding at the world in which this story takes place. While the setting wasn’t quite to my liking, I had a great appreciation for the story and I’m curious to see if the ending truly implies there will be a second novel. If so, it would be interesting to see how things unfold centuries after the events of this book.