Review: ‘The Last Fallen Star’ by Graci Kim Is a Magical Journey Into Korean Mythology

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Disney Hyperion

The Last Fall Star brings readers to a brilliant new world where the magic of Korean mythology is very real and invites them on a quest with the heroine, Riley Oh, as she races to save her sister’s life and uncover the truth of her heritage.

Riley Oh and her sister Hattie are typical Korean-American girls that are as close as can be. The two hang out all the time and love each other fiercely, but there’s one stark difference. Riley Oh is an adopted saram, a nonmagical person, and her wonderful family is part of the Gom clan, a magical clan with the power to heal. The Goms are one of six clans and Riley wishes for nothing more than to be one of them. Just days from Hattie’s initiation as a full fledged witch, the two hatch a plan to perform a forbidden spell allowing Hattie to share her magic with Riley. This single action sets Riley on a journey she could never have predicted. As she races to save her sister’s life and uncover the truth of her heritage, Riley must look deep within herself to harness her abilities, her courage, and face huge revelations in order to locate the last fallen star for a seemingly benevolent goddess.

Debut author Graci Kim wields her pen with expert artistry to build an enchanting world that readers will get lost in for hours at a time. Kim introduces a strong female lead in Riley who begins her journey unsure of herself but grows in her confidence as the story progresses. Any young reader will find something to admire in Riley who fights with everything she has to complete her quest and save her sister’s life. Collecting a wonderful array of allies along the way, Kim builds a well-rounded world with details that leave you anxious for the next installment of the A Gifted Clans Novels. But this isn’t just a world of magic and adventure, Kim take the time to craft powerful emotional moments as well. Kim makes sure Riley experiences her own emotional growth while also showing how empathy for others is an asset, not a weakness.

Kim takes the magical elements of Korean mythology and organically works them into today’s modern world in a way that feels natural and believable. Readers learn about each of the six clans, meet fantastical creatures from mythology, and even meet a goddess along the way. Whether you know the mythology well or this is your first introduction, this novel will suck you in and keep you guessing until the end. The mythology is vivid and pairs with Kim’s brilliant storytelling full of twists and turns (and some epic side quests) to create a truly ethereal reading experience. If you’re new to the world of Korean mythology, have no fear, the book includes a lovely tree chart outlining each clan, their goddesses, and their attributes as well as a handy glossary at the back for easily looking up new terms.

The Rick Riordan Presents imprint continues to deliver hit after magical hit. Anyone who is a fan of mythology can’t go awry picking up a book from this imprint. The Last Fallen Star will be available online and in stores May 4 and is available for pre-order now.

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By Brianna
Brianna works full time in the publishing industry, passionately building books to bring to the masses. Her first fandom was Harry Potter, which she joined at age 11. Her love for books took her abroad to earn her Masters Degree at University College London, after which she lived in New York City, and now resides in Austin. She loves all things fandom including Supernatural, Doctor Who, and more. Ever the introvert, she can usually be found reading, playing with her dog, listening to music and practicing yoga. Brianna joined the Nerds and Beyond staff in 2018 where she unites her love for all things "nerd" with her passion for writing. Find her on Twitter here: @bookbag09
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