The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim Book Review

Author Information

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.

Book Description

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.

Review

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.

Lost in a Book- Book Review

Lost in a Book
An Enchanting Original Story by Jennifer Donnelly

“Keep being the author of your own story. Never let anyone else write it for you again.”

I picked this book up as part of a challenge on Instagram and am really glad that I decided to read it. I love all things Disney so when I saw that Disney now publishes books and they aren’t just the retelling of the movies, I wanted to read them all.

Lost in a Book is the story of the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast with a twist. Early on in her stay at the castle, Belle encounters a enchanted book in the Beast’s library and rather than sharing her findings with others she keeps it to herself. Through the use of this book, Belle visits the land of Nevermore which offers her a separate life than the one she would have at the castle. In Nevermore Belle can have all of her dreams come true, after all this is a story written just for her, but staying here would mean leaving behind what she has at the castle. What would leaving her friends at Beast’s Castle mean for belle and for her friends?

I love how the prologue for this book is two sisters who are watching Belle’s life unfold at the castle and decide to bet on what she is going to decide. I like how this opening shares the relationship between these two sisters because it sets a precedent to the rest of the story. Their relationship causes issues not only among themselves but for others who come into their lives, such as Belle.

As I continued reading more I couldn’t put this book down because I wanted to know what would happen to Belle and her friends. I wanted to know if she was going to have the same ending in this book as she does in the movie, and if she didn’t, then what was her new ending?

Near the end of my book I found myself in tears as I started to feel sympathy for the bad characters in the story. I think a story is good when you not only cheer for the good characters but feel for the bad ones. I love that the bad characters have reasoning behind their actions and the author has given them feelings beyond what one would expect.

I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Disney especially if you enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast movie.

About the Book: Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever. 

About the Author: Jennifer Donnelly is the author of twelve novels –StepsisterLost in a BookThese Shallow GravesSea SpellDark TideRogue WaveDeep BlueRevolutionA Northern LightThe Tea RoseThe Winter Rose and The Wild Rose – and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She is a co-author of Fatal Throne, which explores the lives of King Henry VIII’s six wives, for which she wrote the part of Anna of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife.

She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History. 

Jennifer’s first novel, The Tea Rose, an epic historical novel set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was called “exquisite” by Booklist, “so much fun” by the Washington Post, a “guilty pleasure” by People and was named a Top Pick by the Romantic Times. The Rose trilogy continued with The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose.

Her second novel, A Northern Light, set in the Adirondacks of 1906, against the backdrop of an infamous murder, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. Described as “rich and true” by The New York Times, the book was named to the Best Book lists of The Times (London), The Irish Times, The Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the School Library Journal. In 2015, TIME Magazine named it one of the 100 best young adult books of all time.

Revolution was named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. The audio edition was awarded an Odyssey Honor for Excellence.

In 2014, Jennifer teamed up with Disney to launch the bestselling Waterfire Saga, an epic series about six mermaids on a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil. The first book in the series, Deep Blue, was released in May, 2014; the second, Rogue Wave, launched in January 2015; the third, Dark Tide, came out in October 2015; and the fourth, Sea Spell, is scheduled for release in June 2016.

In November 2015, Jennifer released the historical novel These Shallow Graves, which received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness, and was named a Junior Library Guild Selection. 

Jennifer worked with Disney again in 2017, when she published Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book, an original story to accompany the blockbuster Beauty and the Beast film. Lost in a Book expands on the classic tale, exploring the growing friendship between Belle and the Beast as well as Belle’s ordeal within the pages of Nevermore, a magical book from which she narrowly escapes. 

Jennifer returned to historical fiction with Fatal Throne, a book about Henry VIII and his six wives published by Random House/Schwartz & Wade in 2018. For this project, Jennifer joined six other authors (Candace Fleming, M.T. Anderson, Stephanie Hemphill, Deborah Hopkinson, Linda Sue Park, and Lisa Ann Sandell), each of whom wrote the part of Henry or one of his wives.

About the Book and About the Author are borrowed from Goodreads.

You can find this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.