Please Note: I received an ARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinions in my review.
Synopsis (From GoodReads):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.
Review:When we read a book, we often find what is called text-to-self connections, which means that something in our own lives connects us to the story. In the case of The Last Days of Magic, by Mark Tompkins, I immediately connected with this book based on my Irish heritage, and my conflicted Catholic upbringing.
The setting of this book is 14th century Europe and Ireland. The Church is trying to rid the world of magical creatures, saying that they emerged after fallen angels left heaven to mate with human women. Fallen angels and women...both deemed by The Church as evil. What a convenient way to oppress women who wanted to learn to read, question The Church, or not be submissive to their husbands. I was cringing, at times, to read how awful the clergy was to women, using their power to abuse, and debase a group. What makes this novel so good is that this kind of witch hunting and abuse actually did happen during those times.
When the book begins, the reader is treated to many scenes of Ireland and it's brutal beauty. The people have a connection to the land, each other, and to magic. There are fighting, conniving kings (both fae and human), goddesses, slaves, peasants, and priests. The nobility is at war with each other, The Roman Catholic Church, and (of course) England. But the common people are the ones who pay the price.
I thoroughly loved this book!
If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, then this will certainly delight you.
One of the best aspects of this book is that there are wonderful female characters.
It's not just the men who are important in this story. There is Aisling, the half-goddess, trying to rebuild her life after a terrible tragedy. She goes through many transformations as she navigates a world that is advancing without the magic she has harnessed in the past. Another great character is the slave, Najia who finds a way for her and her siblings to survive after being traded around like packages. Brigid is a Irish high priestess who protects Aisling and the traditions and rituals that keep magic alive at the expense of her own happiness. I loved having so many perspectives in the story.
This story is an epic adventure. Once I started reading it, I could not stop. Considering all the various characters, locations, and plots it was easy to follow (sometimes, in GoT I would be lost). All the different stories wove together to create a rich tapestry of Ireland and a time gone by.
Release Date: March 1st, 2016
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Recommendation: For fans of magical, royal, epic stories, this will be a MUST READ!!!
Would I read more from this author: Yes, Yes, Yes!