This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using that link, a small commission is made from the sale. There are no additional costs to you. Thank you for your support!The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim
Gifted Clans #1
Published by Rick Riordan Presents on May 4, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Mythology
Format: ARC, eBook
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Graci Kim's thrilling debut about an adopted Korean-American girl who discovers her heritage and her magic on a perilous journey to save her witch clan family.
Riley Oh can't wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister's footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she's a saram--a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she's ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community.
Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie's magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family's old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie's initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It's a perfect plan!
Until it isn't. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie's life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it?
As Riley embarks on her search, she finds herself meeting fantastic creatures and collaborating with her worst enemies. And when she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she has been taught to believe, Riley must decide what it means to be a witch, what it means to be family, and what it really means to belong.
A copy of the book was provided for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore does not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Set in a modern world intertwined with Korean mythology, The Last Fallen Star is full of magic and page-turning adventure that the middle school version of me would’ve absolutely loved as much as the adult version of me. From a gift library filled with birds to mouthwatering food at the H-Mart, Graci Kim’s debut novel quickly became one of my favorite releases and (possibly) reads of 2021.
Riley Oh is adopted, growing up as a saram (non-gifted person) among the gifted community of witches, and her feeling of not belonging among her community and family is definitely relatable for anyone who has ever felt like an outcast. I loved the exploration of family relationships as she embarks on a journey to retrieve the last fallen star and finds out secrets that question her identity and sense of belonging. It’s a little messy and complex like many family relationships, but also full of love and support, and I can’t wait to see more of this possibly explored in future novels. I also loved the sisterhood explored throughout as Riley works to save her sister Hattie’s life when a spell backfires, and the relationships she develops, even if they might be with people she’s always been told to stay away from.
While The Last Fallen Star was at times serious and touching, it was also fun and humorous. Reading Kim’s debut novel was like sitting in an entertaining mythology class that kept me wanting to know more while cheering Riley on as she comes across a variety of magical creatures on her quest ranging from an adorable cheollima to a dragon scooter that takes you to places quickly. My biggest disappointment was finishing the novel quickly (because it was that awesome), but I’ll be eagerly waiting for the sequel to release to slip back into the world Kim has created and follow Riley as she continues on more adventures.
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About Graci Kim
Graci Kim is a Korean-Kiwi diplomat turned author who writes about the magic she wants to see in the world. The Last Fallen Star is her middle grade debut. In a previous life she used to be a cooking show host, and she once ran a business that turned children’s drawings into plushies. When she’s not lost in her imagination, you’ll find Graci drinking flat whites, eating ramyeon, and most likely hugging a dog (or ideally, many). She lives in New Zealand with her husband and daughter. Follow her on Twitter @gracikim and Instagram @gracikimwrites.
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