July 9, 2021

ARC REVIEW The Last Fallen Star (The Gifted Clans Book 1) by Graci Kim

The Last Fallen Star (The Gifted Clans Book 1) by Graci Kim
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Format: eARC
Publisher: Disney Hyperion (Rick Riordan Presents Imprint)

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Graci Kim’s debut novel The Last Fallen Star was an eye-opening fresh take on Korean mythology, leaving me hungry for more Korean myths (and for food with all the yummy food references). From mentions of boba to my first exposure to tornado fries, I got so hungry. I thought myself an amateur mythology expert, but I had to re-evaluate that title after reading The Last Fallen Star. Thank you for the inclusion of a glossary at the end of the book to help with learning all the new names and terms.

Riley, our protagonist, is the odd one out in a family of gifted witches. She wants nothing more than to fit in and become a healer like her adopted parents. Unfortunately, no amount of memorization or study will ever make up for the lack of innate magical talent. After her attempt to get magic goes wrong and she violates the laws of her community, she and her best friend Emmett must go on an impossible quest to find the last fallen star.

I enjoyed the humor that Kim wove into her story. I was cackling at the idea of swiping left or right on a ghost-finding app. Emmett was by far my favorite character in the story (sidekicks for the win!). His love of baking and strange quirks (a self-proclaimed allergy to emotions) had me hooked. I was touched by the bond between Hattie and Riley, as it reminded me of the bond between my sister and me.

One concern I had was that this would seem too close to the other Korean mythology title in the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee. After reading, I found they were very different and focused on separate aspects of the myths. Dragon Pearl is a space opera, while The Last Fallen Star takes place in modern LA.

I can’t wait to see comes out next from Graci Kim and the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. Thank you to Net Galley and Disney Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this title early!

About the Book
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.

Graci Kim does such an amazing job of blending Korean mythology into the modern world, I am now wondering how I ever lived without knowing all this cool information.--New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan

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.

About the Author

Graci Kim is the bestselling author of The Last Fallen Star, book one in the Korean mythology-inspired middle-grade adventure series. Called a “sparkling yarn” by Entertainment Weekly, the Gifted Clans trilogy has been optioned by the Disney Channel for a live-action television series, and was a 2021 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for “Best Middle Grade & Children’s Book”.

Graci is also one of the authors of The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities short story collection, published by Rick Riordan Presents (Disney Hyperion), which became an instant New York Times bestseller.

In a previous life, Graci was a diplomat for the New Zealand foreign service, a cooking show host, and once ran a business that turned children’s drawings into cuddly toys. She lives in New Zealand with her husband and daughter. You can find her sometimes on Twitter (@gracikim), more often on Instagram (@gracikimwrites), and always at her website (www.gracikim.com).

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