Most Popular Reviews 2017: The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins @MLTompkins @PenguinUKBooks @penguinusa

This week, I am sharing the five most popular reviews this year by visits to the blog. Thank you to all of you for visiting and supporting me, and the blog, but most importantly your support for all of the authors I’ve featured.

The most popular review on the blog this year is a book which swept me away into a world of history, myth and magic was The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins. I posted my review for this on 5 April and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Description

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.

Review

The first time I read the description of this novel I knew I had to read it. My feeling that this book was for me wasn’t to be disappointed as I started reading the first few pages set in our time, an air of mystery swept over the story before Mark Tompkins took us back several thousand years to where the real story happened.

Set mainly in Ireland with some trips around Europe this story weaves magical myth, historical fact, papal legend, and pure fiction to bring together a beautiful yet heartbreaking magical fantasy about how magic left not only Ireland, the centre of all magic, but the world.

Using Goddesses, witches, fairies, vikings, kings, queens, angels, knights, mermaids/men and just about every other creature from legend you could think of without them being out of place or it feeling overcrowded Mark Tompkins has made this feel like a world full of infinite possibility under attack from people who don’t understand.

I couldn’t help but see connection between the way the church were portrayed in this book as pursuing the end of magic and the way over the years they pursued and tortured different groups for things they saw as a threat such as women they called witches, and those from other religions. I think this contrast was on purpose, it certainly wasn’t lost on me and I found many of the papal characters unnerving and in some cases quite sickening!

Our Goddesses on earth Aisling and Anya are twins and between them hold the power of the goddess all the magical creatures worship and follow. They are strong girls and will only become stronger. They each had strengths, Aisling, the fighter, Anya the bookworm and I loved the both for each of the their strengths as I could relate to both.

You know from the title of the book, it’s not going to be a happy go lucky novel. Things aren’t going to go the way you want them to and I’m almost tempted to pigeon-hole this a dark fantasy as it gets pretty grim in places. Despite this I couldn’t help feeling like there was hope, all the way through I just felt like something was going to turn around make things better.

I’m hoping beyond hope that there will be a second book as this was an astounding read. I haven’t read anything like this in, well, ever!

A huge thanks to Mark Tompkins for so kindly sending me a signed copy, I will treasure it. I also thank Penguin for the eARC to read in return for my honest review.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleThe Last Days of Magic
Series: N/A
Author: Mark Tompkins
Genre: Fantasy | Dark Fantasy | Magic
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1 March 2016
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Audio
Pages: 400
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen

#Review: The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins @MLTompkins @PenguinUKBooks @penguinusa

Description

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.

Review

The first time I read the description of this novel I knew I had to read it. My feeling that this book was for me wasn’t to be disappointed as I started reading the first few pages set in our time, an air of mystery swept over the story before Mark Tompkins took us back several thousand years to where the real story happened.

Set mainly in Ireland with some trips around Europe this story weaves magical myth, historical fact, papal legend, and pure fiction to bring together a beautiful yet heartbreaking magical fantasy about how magic left not only Ireland, the centre of all magic, but the world.

Using Goddesses, witches, fairies, vikings, kings, queens, angels, knights, mermaids/men and just about every other creature from legend you could think of without them being out of place or it feeling overcrowded Mark Tompkins has made this feel like a world full of infinite possibility under attack from people who don’t understand.

I couldn’t help but see connection between the way the church were portrayed in this book as pursuing the end of magic and the way over the years they pursued and tortured different groups for things they saw as a threat such as women they called witches, and those from other religions. I think this contrast was on purpose, it certainly wasn’t lost on me and I found many of the papal characters unnerving and in some cases quite sickening!

Our Goddesses on earth Aisling and Anya are twins and between them hold the power of the goddess all the magical creatures worship and follow. They are strong girls and will only become stronger. They each had strengths, Aisling, the fighter, Anya the bookworm and I loved the both for each of the their strengths as I could relate to both.

You know from the title of the book, it’s not going to be a happy go lucky novel. Things aren’t going to go the way you want them to and I’m almost tempted to pigeon-hole this a dark fantasy as it gets pretty grim in places. Despite this I couldn’t help feeling like there was hope, all the way through I just felt like something was going to turn around make things better.

I’m hoping beyond hope that there will be a second book as this was an astounding read. I haven’t read anything like this in, well, ever!

A huge thanks to Mark Tompkins for so kindly sending me a signed copy, I will treasure it. I also thank Penguin for the eARC to read in return for my honest review.

Rating

Book & Buy Links

TitleThe Last Days of Magic
Series: N/A
Author: Mark Tompkins
Genre: Fantasy | Dark Fantasy | Magic
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1 March 2016
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Audio
Pages: 400
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | SpeedyHen

#ReleaseDayBlitz: Darkstorm by M.L. Spencer @MLSpencer1 @UFBooks

I love the look of Darkstorm, which makes it a real honour to be part of the release day blitz, organised by Ultimate Fantasy Books, for this dark fantasy novel by M.L. Spencer! This spotlight post gives you all the info you need on the book along with the usual buy links!

Description

Faced with an imminent cataclysm that will destroy the magical heritage of their people, a conspiracy of darkmages resolves to open the gateway to Hell. The only mages who stand a chance of opposing them are Sephana Clemley and her acolyte, Merris Bryar, along with their protectors, Braden and Quin Reis: two brothers with a turbulent past and a caustic relationship.

Will Braden and Quin be able to protect Sephana and Merris long enough to prevent the unsealing of the Well of Tears? Or will they fall victim to manipulation and become darkmages themselves?

darkstorm-release-day-blitz-banner

About M.L. Spencer

M.L. Spencer grew up on the works of Steven R. Donaldson, Stephen King and Frank Herbert. She wrote her first novel-length manuscript at thirteen. Her debut novel Darkmage won the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for Fantasy. She was also awarded 1st Place Prose in in the San Bernardino County Writing Celebration.

Ms. Spencer lives in Southern California. By day she works as a biology teacher; by night she sweats over a beaten-up keyboard. She is now in the process of expanding the Rhenwars Saga into a trilogy.

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Book & Buy Links

TitleDarkstorm
SeriesThe Rhenwars Saga #1
Author: M.L. Spencer
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 19 January 2017
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook | Paperback
Pages: 304
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US

#BlogTour: Curse of Stars by Donna Compositor @dcompbooks @XpressoTours #Review

Curse of Stars by Donna Compositor is currently on a two week blog tour with Xpresso Book Tours and I’m so pleased to be one of today’s stops for this book. A dark fantasy set in another world the book follows teenager Sabi Perez. Check out my review below and be sure to check out the international tour-wide giveaway aswell which has some great prizes!

Description

Sabi Perez is the last Diamond Crier, only she doesn’t know it. Not until a crazed ruler from another world comes to collect her priceless tears and won’t take no for an answer.

Living in New York, Sabi’s seen some nasty things, but the lengths to which her captor will go to keep his crown are things found only in the darkest nightmares. Afraid and alone, Sabi finds solace in her cellmate, Anya, and Cabal, a fellow Crier who also has powers, a rare combination that buys his favor from the ruler. Only it’s a favor he doesn’t want.

In a fit of rage, power erupts out of Sabi, the same power Cabal has, and a spark of hope ignites. Together they may have a chance at escape, something no other Crier has done. Except a ruler hellbent on draining them of every last diamond tear isn’t their only hurdle. If they escape they’ll be hunted to the ends of the earth, if they survive the trek to safety. If they stay the ruler will leech them dry. Sabi would rather die trying than lie down and die, even if that means running away into even more danger.

“. . . vividly imagined and deftly plotted dark fantasy . . .” BookLife Prize in Fiction

curse-of-stars-tour-banner

Review

Curse of Stars has quite the high-octane beginning, with a chase through New York, when a strange man turns up vowing to take Sabi. Once he achieves his goal the speed of the story slows but Sabi is on a different planet, the planet she was born on. Not that she has any clue any planets but earth even existed. She is a Diamond Crier, quite literally one who cries diamonds, and more than that she is the last of her kind.

Sabi is trapped in a cell with Anya, someone who doesn’t trust easily, and they only see guards and a boy who brings them food Cabal. The three of them hatch a plan to escape but they are living in hell defined so it may take more than luck to carry it out.

Curse of Stars is marked as a young adult novel, yes Sabi our protagonist is a teenager, but beyond that this didn’t have the feel of a young adult novel to me, Many of the themes in this novel as quite adult, the way the book is written is deep and dark and Sabi could easily be middle aged and pulling off the same actions throughout the book.

This really is a dark fantasy, not much goes anybody’s way and a lot of really bad stuff happens. Much of the book, especially the earlier parts, make for uncomfortable reading and there is a lack of hope that goes with reading this novel, even when you feel the hope glimmer something often snuffs it out.

The thing I was disappointed with was towards the end of the book there didn’t seem to be the same commitment to the dark fantasy theme, the level of description and depth of character building seemed to be less intense. I felt like I had read this extremely intense book then about two thirds of the way in it just flaked off a little. I still enjoyed it but it just wasn’t fully committed to the genre as it had been in the beginning and I missed that.

I actually didn’t like any of the characters in this book, which was odd as I did enjoy reading it. But I had a major dislike for Sabi who I know I was supposed to feel empathy for but I just didn’t, I really disliked her and I had times where I hoped she was going to get killed off in a rare plot twist, I found Anya tiresome, and I found Cabal devious.

Donna Compositor has strong writing, her level of understanding of her world translates well in her world building, her characters are three-dimensional, with you left unsure about what will happen next as it is rarely the outcome you would expect, especially within a young adult novel.

Given the way this ended I’m expecting this to be the start of a series so will be interested to see what happens next in this world.

Thank you very much to Donna Compositor for the eARC so that I could review this book honestly.

Rating

blb-three-star

About Donna Compositor

donna-compositor-author-image

Donna has been writing since she was in the single digits when she first realized she needed to do something about all the thoughts in her head. After a stint with bad poetry she finally found her way to novels, mainly of the young adult fantasy variety. When she’s not cranking out more stories she works a regular 9 to 5, reads anywhere from 2 to 3 books a week, drinks copious amounts of tea, eats way too much, and makes her own beauty products because her skin turns into a sentient hive if she uses anything else. This is mostly because she lives in the desert where the air siphons water clean out of her. She lives with a man named Steve and several quadrupeds: three cats named Renfield, Sam, and Dean; and a MinPin named Malfoy.

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Giveaway

This is a great international giveaway, check out the prizes below. Head to Rafflecopter to enter! Good Luck!

  • 1st place: $20 gift card to the eBook retailer of their choice, a glow bookmark, and swag pack
  • 2nd-4th places: $10 gift card to the eBook retailer of their choice and a swag pack
  • 5th place: a swag pack

Book & Buy Links

TitleCurse of Stars
SeriesDiamond Crier #1
Author: Donna Compositor
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 19 February 2017
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats:
Pages: 264
BuyAmazon UK | Amazon US

Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff @misterkristoff @HarperVoyagerUK

Description:
A wonderful new epic fantasy set in the dark heart of an academy for assassins.

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day she lost everything.

Continue reading Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff @misterkristoff @HarperVoyagerUK