The Last Fallen Moon: A Gifted Clans Novel (#2)
Graci Kim, Author
Rick Riordan Presents/ Disney-Hyperion, Fiction, Jun.14, 2022
Suitable for ages: 10-14
Themes: Spiritrealm, Quest, Fantasy, Korean Mythology, Magic, Korean Americans, Sisters, Family, Diversity, Multicultural
For Riley Oh, life as the Godrealm’s last fallen star is not all it’s cracked up to be. Her new divine heritage doesn’t even come with cool magical powers; half of her friends and family (including her parents) can’t remember her; and to top it all off, the entire Gom clan is mad at her for killing the Cave Bear Goddess and stripping away their healing abilities.
But when their anger boils over and a group of witches curse Riley’s home, she knows it’s up to her to restore magic back to her clan – even if it means sneaking into the Spiritrealm.
Luckily, Riley has some backup. Along with her sister, Hattie, Riley meets Dahl, a heaven-born boy with shockingly white hair and a fondness for toilets, who might not be telling the whole truth about who he is. Together they’ll fight vicious monsters, discover dark underwater worlds, and race to save the land of the dead from a fate that no one could have foreseen.
And this time, Riley won’t let anything get in her way. Because she can’t shake the feeling that something terrible is coming their way – and the gifted community is going to need all the powers they can get.
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents the second book in Graci Kim’s New York Times best-selling Gifted Clans trilogy. “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.
Why I like this book:
Another compelling Korean mythological fantasy in the Gifted Clans series by Graci Kim. Her illustrious writing skills and fascinating world-building are perfect for this action-packed adventure that is magical, realistic, humorous, and dangerous.
After the death of the Cave Bear Goddess in The Last Fallen Star, Riley decides to travel to the Spiritrealm and find the patron, Saint Heo Jun, and restore the magic and healing powers to the Gom Clan. That means Riley must leave the real world behind (won’t tell you how) and journey into the afterlife, where souls pass through an interim period between life and death — seven stages of hell — before they can move into heaven. (View the realms inside the book cover.) Kim’s inclusion of the seven trials really makes this a rich reading experience as it expands the first book. It also introduces readers to this fantastical realm, new mythological creatures, danger and a lot of humor. (No more spoilers.)
What makes this story sing is Kim’s well-drawn characters that leap off the pages. Riley, an adopted protagonist, who can’t do magic or heal, makes a lot of mistakes in the first part of the story. But then her character growth takes off and she surpasses her sister by the end. Hattie is the best sister ever and takes risks of her own to be by Riley’s side in the Spiritrealm. Her presence reminds readers of the strong family relationships in the story. And there are new characters like Dahl, a delightful, witty, white-haired 13-year-old who claims to be a janitor and tour guide and helps Riley navigate the realm. There is so much more to his story (no spoilers) and he’s never incarnated. There are many more characters like the incompetent mayor and creatures who aren’t who you think they are — some loveable and and others are dark — but they will find their way into the hearts of readers in unexpected ways.
The plot is skillfully executed and readers will think they know where the story is headed, but will experience many different twists and turns. And they will be surprised and satisfied with the resounding ending,
Additional thoughts: If you enjoyed the first book, you will probably enjoy reading The Last Fallen Moon. I will admit that it took me a while to get into this story, but I am glad I hung in because it was worth the my time to really understand Korean mythology and the various rituals that still exist today in Korea. I do recommend you read the books in order, even though there is a short summary of the previous book to bring readers up to speed, I really loved The Last Fallen Star, so you don’t want to miss it! There will be a final book in the trilogy.
Gracie Kim is the national best-selling author of The Last Fallen Star, the first book in the Gifted Clans trilogy. a Korean Kiwi diplomat turned author who writes about the magic she wants to see in the world. In a previous life she used to be a cooking-show host, and 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. She lives in New Zealand with her husband and daughter. Follow her on Twitter @gracikim and Instagram @gracikimwrites.
*Reviewed from a library copy.