The Last Days of Hong Kong (Witch of Empire 3) by G. D. Penman

Stars: 3.5 out of 5

I hadn’t realized that this was book 3 of a series, so some of the events were a bit confusing, since I haven’t read the previous 2 installments. I’m interested enough to do go back and do it though.

I think the most interesting part about this series is the world. I mean it’s roughly the present times, but the political, sociological, and magical landscape is very different from our world. It’s a world where a wish granted by a demon or a fae can reshape the world to the liking of the person (or political entity) making the wish. So the Mongolian Empire might capture a demon and wish to dominate the world… and the world will have to accommodate for that. If England summons a fae and wants world dominion instead, well, the world will have to change to accommodate that as well. And where the two opposing wishes collide, chaos ensues. Image a world where you can go to sleep in New York, USA, and wake up in New Amsterdam, English Empire. This is good worldbuilding stuff, and I am all in for that!

Now imagine that after a horrible war, the realms of the fae and demons have been severed from Earth. No more wishes. No more world domination overnight. But then news breaks that one demon remains trapped on Earth, so whoever gets it will have the last wish left on this plane of existence. Blood will flow, people will die, cities will be destroyed, as all knowns powers race to get their hands on the prize.

I also liked the protagonist. She is a complex character with a lot of backstory that is hinted on but not entirely explained since this is book 3 in a series. Sully is interesting enough for me to pick up and read the first two books eventually, just so that I understand better what happened to the world before the big showdown in Hong Kong. 

I wasn’t in love with some of the author’s narrative choices though. For example, the constant jumping around the timeline was confusing and frustrating at times. I understand that the author wanted to fill in some gaps in Sully’s life after her miraculous recovery without giving too much away at the beginning of the book, but to me, that kills the tension. Here we are, in Hong Kong, the epicenter of an epic battle and Sully’s life is at stake… then we jump back 5 years and see her talking to some random character in New Amsterdam. And probably a lot of the confusion is because I haven’t read the previous books, so I don’t know who those characters in flashback are. I’m sure regular readers enjoyed when some of them got their comeuppances, but to me, it fell flat. 

 My other problem was that there were simply too many players in this game and it took real effort to keep track of all of them and what they wanted, apart from the doll containing the demon. On the other hand, I’m interested enough to go back and read the first two installments. 

So all in all, great story and very interesting world. I will definitely revisit this to hopefully understand the story better.

PS: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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