‘The Last Fallen Moon’ by Graci Kim: A journey to hell and back

Our Last Fallen Moon book review jumps into the second book in the Gifted Clans series by Graci Kim.

When I read the first book in the Gifted Clans series, The Last Fallen Star, I was immediately struck by the vastness of this magical world. The different clans and their unique powers felt like a bottomless well of potential, and this debut novel only scratched the surface.

With The Last Fallen Moon, we dive deeper into this universe—way deeper. Like all-the-way-to-hell deeper. Book 2 sends Riley to the Spiritrealm, where she attempts to fix everything she broke in the first book. Sure, she didn’t have a choice—the Cave Bear Goddess had to be stopped somehow—but that doesn’t mean there weren’t consequences.

The Gom Clan is without its magic, and everyone is blaming Riley and her family. When they’re attacked by masked witches who put a hex on their house, she feels compelled to sneak off to the Spiritrealm and find a replacement patron so her parents can return to their clinic—not to mention find a cure for Hattie, Riley’s sick sister.

I was delighted to see Riley and Hattie’s relationship evolve in this book. They were one of the highlights of The Last Fallen Star, and I couldn’t leave them out of my The Last Fallen Moon book review. As an only child, sibling dynamics are always special to me, and I really enjoy seeing positive representations.

These two have a loving relationship, but it isn’t always easy—which makes it all the more realistic. Once again, these two girls struggle with their differences and find solace in their similarities. Hattie, in particular, goes on an interesting spiritual journey in this book, and I liked seeing this side of her.

Both Oh sisters grow a lot over the course of Fallen Moon, and each one finds their purpose. Riley gains a lot of confidence by the end of this book, and Hattie speaks on behalf of herself in a way we haven’t seen before. I love that they’re on two different paths and yet always on the same side.

We see a few characters from Fallen Star in this book, but much of the story is centered on Riley. I missed Emmett quite a lot, but Riley’s journey had to take her away from everyone she knew, and their eventual reunion hit a lot harder because of it.

last fallen book review

I should say now that I loved the way Graci Kim envisioned the Spiritrealm for The Last Fallen Moon. Not only did she address the more traditional depictions of the underworld, but she reimagined it in a clever and new way. It truly made this part of the universe feel upbeat and modern, but never let you forget its ancient origins.

In our Graci Kim interview, she talks about changing the landscape of the Spirtrealm because she doesn’t subscribe to the idea of punishment in the afterlife being the best way to teach people how to be better while they’re alive. I really connected with this idea, and I loved the interesting ways she drew upon the old to create something new.

We meet a few fun characters while Riley is making her journey across the Spiritrealm, but the most important is Dahl, who is larger than life and certainly not a character I’ll forget any time soon. From the way he looks and speaks to his true identity and secret desires, I found myself constantly intrigued by his presence.

If you’re an animal lover, you’ll be delighted to know there are a few significant creatures in this book. If you’ve always wondered what your soul animal would be, there’s a quiz for that.

More than seeing Riley find a way to help her community, I enjoyed watching her become a more self-aware, confident person. In the beginning of the book, she thinks everything is her fault, and at every turn, she’s bombarded with the idea that she keeps making mistakes. Every time something goes right, a lot more goes wrong.

While Riley does learn how truly capable she is, I appreciated the fact that this book was about family and community as well. Riley wanted to strike out on her own and fix what she thought she broke—to prove to her family she could do it—but she learned that isolating herself from everyone around her is a recipe for disaster. She has an army of people at her back, and when she finally realized that, she became even more powerful.

Most sequels in a trilogy struggle to be anything more than a transition between the first book and the third, but if you take anything away from this Last Fallen Moon book review, I hope it’s that this novel feels like an extension of its predecessor. It’s more about Riley’s spiritual journey than her physical one, and while it certainly sets her up to be ready for what’s to come in The Last Fallen Realm, Riley gains some major puzzle pieces along the way.

The Last Fallen Moon is a character-driven look at the inner workings of Riley’s mind, and now that she’s found her footing and has a better idea of what she’s up against, watching her save the world in The Last Fallen Realm will be much more satisfying.

‘The Last Fallen Moon’ published on June 14, 2022

Buy The Last Fallen Moon by Graci Kim from Disney, Bookshop.org, Book Depository, or Amazon. You can also add it to your Goodreads list.

Look for more recommendations on our books page, and listen to our The Last Fallen Star discussion and an interview with Graci Kim in Prophecy Radio episode #36.