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Reviewed by Nell Mace-David
Opening sentence
'It should be around midday right now, with the full glare of the sun. But there is nothing left in the sky. The sun is gone.’
In The Last Fallen Realm by Graci Kim, Riley and her friends are scrambling to get the clan witches equipped with elemental magic before the war starts. The goddesses have been kind of quiet, which must mean that something big is coming. But the goddesses being, well, goddesses, nobody quite knows just how big.

A quick recap for those of you just joining in: Riley Oh is a piece of the dark sun, fallen into the Mortal Realm, and along with her twin brother Dahl, who is a piece of the dark moon, she must defeat the goddesses. The goddesses are five divine beings (there used to be six, but that’s another story) who provide powers to the clans of witches. Or they used to, before they decided that they wanted to go rogue and rule the universe. So, not exactly a great situation to be in.

As you can probably guess from the opening sentence, the goddesses steal the sun, and basically the whole sky. Good thing Riley is in Vegas, so they still have neon lights to see by. Also, the fabric that separates the God Realm, the Spirit Realm, and the Mortal Realm is tearing, so there are some pretty crazy things going on. Think fire dogs, and entire oceans hidden inside fountains. Now seems like a good time for Riley and Dahl to fulfill their prophecy and find their true potential, but as it turns out, it’s not that easy.

To fulfill the prophecy, they need to find Mago’s Fire, which is the tear Mago Halmi shed when she created the world. And guess where Mago’s Fire is. The God Realm. Seems kind of fitting, I mean, we’ve been to the other two realms as well. With the help of old friends, and some new ones, Riley must find Mago’s Fire, and with it, discover what it means to unlock your true potential. Think things were already kind of nuts? Well, kid, you haven’t seen anything yet…

This thrilling final instalment in the Gifted Clans series is everything you need in a book: heartfelt, hilarious, and action-packed.

As Graci Kim puts it ‘the third book [in a trilogy] is inherently a final adventure, a last hurrah, and also a farewell.’ This book is all of that. It tore me down and lifted me up again. Throughout this series, I have never felt more connected to the characters than I did in The Last Fallen Realm. I rooted for them every step of the way, and for it to come to an end was sad, but I knew that they were being left in a good place.

Unfortunately, Riley has made a lot of friends along the way (that bit isn’t bad), and when they all started coming back in towards the end, I ended up getting a bit confused about who was who. I love that they were brought back, making the journey come full circle, but it tore me away from the action. I would have liked to be able to focus on the excitement, rather than being stuck trying to remember who this was and what they had done in the past.

On a more positive note, I also loved how immersive the setting was. Over these novels, Kim has really developed as an author, and you can see it (or, read it, rather) in her writing. The characters’ emotions were my own, and I could see their world around me. The language was vivid, yet accessible, so that everyone could see these fantastical realms for themselves. Not only was I in the middle of this beautiful story, but I was also learning more about Korean culture, both ancient and modern.

Now, about the plot. I feel that Riley and Emmet’s romance was underdeveloped, verging on shallow. It kind of comes across as something that Kim felt she had to put in. This is surprising, considering the depth that the rest of the book shows. Maybe it would have been better if it had been brought in sometime in the second book, as it would then have had time to fully develop, rather than being so sudden. The Last Fallen Moon could have used something extra, whereas having another side plot in this book was a bit much. Otherwise, I absolutely loved the plot. The twist was something that I never could have foreseen; a piece so necessary you had no idea you needed it until it appeared.

I would recommend this book to just about anyone. It is suitable for middle grade readers, but I think that older YA readers would also enjoy it. The only thing that I would recommend is that you start from book one (The Last Fallen Star) so that you don’t get lost. This book is great for any reader of fantasy fiction, or the kind of contemporary mythology books that Rick Riordan writes, such as Percy Jackson and the Kane Chronicles. This series has probably been one of my favorite things to review, and it is something that I will be coming back to repeatedly. I hope that you find these books as amazing as I did. Happy reading!

- Nell is 15, home-schooled and lives in Dunedin
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
ISBN: 1368073166
Format: Hardcover
Publication: 2023
Ages: 10+
Themes: Fantasy, Korean mythology, family