The Last Fallen Star, by Graci Kim | ARC review

Hello! I had some trouble uploading this review, but I’ve finally got it up, and I’m excited to share it with you all! The Last Fallen Star, by Graci Kim is a middle grade fantasy novel published by the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, and is an incredible book.

The Last Fallen Star

Author: Graci Kim

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents (imprint of Disney Hyperion)

Release Date: May 4th, 2021

Genre: Middle grade, urban fantasy

Representation: Korean-American main character and side characters

Goodreads | Storygraph

Synopsis:

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. 

I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion and my review.

The Last Fallen Star, by Graci Kim is an incredible book. From the second I started reading, I was pulled into the plot, and always wanted to know what happened next.

Riley is a fantastic main character. The book is told from her perspective, and I loved reading from her point of view. Riley is very close to her sister Hattie, and I loved the sisters’ relationship in the book. Hattie is so selfless, and always wants to do what she can to help her younger sister.

The magic system and world was also done in an amazing way. Riley’s family is part of the Gom clan, a line of Korean healing witches, and one of six clans within the gifted community. The community of the gifted (those with the power to perform magic, and those belonging to

The writing in the book was beautiful, in the description and in driving the plot forward. The book was definitely much more intense than I expected, but not at all in a bad way. It is a middle grade book, but definitely did not hold back with anything in terms of plot or characters. There wasn’t so much going on it was difficult to understand what was happening, but there was a level of complexity to the worldbuilding and plot that is rare in middle grade.

I think that often, authors of middle grade can underestimate the level at which their target audience can read, but this was definitely not the case with Graci Kim in The Last Fallen Star.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was how close Riley is with her family. I talked about her relationship with her sister before, but a huge element of the book is the Oh family’s closeness: the parents and the two girls. Riley is adopted, and that is talked about in the book, but that doesn’t make her any less a part of their family, and any less a sister to Hattie.

The book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, which makes me even more eager to read the sequel, which is expected for publication in 2022. I’m really excited to see how the author expands on the world, and how Riley’s story is continued in book two, which will be called The Last Fallen Moon.

Graci Kim is a Korean-Kiwi diplomat turned author who writes magic-infused books for magic-infused readers. She grew up not seeing herself in her most treasured books, and has since committed herself to writing about Korean diaspora kids who achieve all their hopes and dreams.

Her mythology-inspired debut MG novel, The Last Fallen Star, about Korean witches in LA, unbreakable sisters, forbidden spells, and one girl’s search for belonging will be published with Rick Riordan Presents, Disney Hyperion, on May 4 2021.

In a previous life, Graci was a diplomat for the NZ foreign service, a cooking show host, and once ran a business that turned children’s drawings into cuddly toys.

If 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.

Website | Goodreads

Overall, I was blown away by The Last Fallen Star, and I can’t wait to read the sequel!! Graci Kim’s debut novel is absolutely incredible, and you should definitely go pick up a copy to read right away. From the complexity of the plot, the Korean folklore woven in, and the amazing characters, the most recent of the Rick Riordan Presents novels did not disappoint.

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read The Last Fallen Star? What are some of your favorite middle-grade books? Chat with me in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “The Last Fallen Star, by Graci Kim | ARC review

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