Graci Kim is a Korean-Kiwi diplomat turned author who writes about the magic she wants to see in the world. When she’s not lost in her imagination, she’s drinking flat whites, eating ramyeon, and most likely hugging a dog (or ideally, many). She lives in New Zealand with her husband and daughter.
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.
Thanks Disney Books for the advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Thoughts and Themes: As far as I can remember, I haven’t read a book about mythology so I was a bit skeptical going into this one. I wish I hadn’t been though because the minute I started reading this one, I couldn’t put it down.
I really liked the way that world building is done in this book, world building is usually one of the things that make it hard for me to read fantasy or sci-fi. This book does a great job of including the world building along with the story. I like how it is seemlessly inserted throughout, you get a bit of world building as the story progresses.
I also really like how this story takes place in Los Angeles, but it includes magic and hiding that magic from Saram (people without magic). I thought that the setting was perfect and liked how this magic was happening in front of others but Saram had no clue that this was happening.
I didn’t see the twist near the end of the book happening and I think that really made me want to read more of this story. I am glad that this is only book 1 of this series because I need more of the story and all of the characters.
Characters: Through this book you get introduced to a few characters through the interactions that they have with Riley. You get to meet Hattie, her sister and Emmet, her best friend, along with different members of her family. You also get to meet several mythical creatures, and people from the different clans.
I really liked getting to meet different people that are a part of the different types of clans. I loved getting to see how they all interacted with each other and how they all come together in the end for the greater good.
I loved our main character, I really liked how she developed through the course of the story, and how she came into her own. I really liked how she made certain decisions throughout the story, and how she used the motto of her clan for those decisions. I’m being very vague because a lot of the character’s development has to do with main plot points of the story that I don’t want to give away.
I also really liked all of the mythical beings that we got to meet throughout Riley’s adventure. It was so cool to learn about these creatures, and see the role they play in the story and RIley’s life. I have heard about these creatures before but never really knew what they meant to people and it was great to see what they meant to each clan.