Last of the Talons (Talon #1) by Sophie Kim #bookreview #YA #fantasy #Koreanmythology

After the destruction of her entire Talon gang, eighteen-year-old Shin Lina—the Reaper of Sunpo—is forced to become a living, breathing weapon for the kingdom’s most-feared crime lord. All that keeps her from turning on her ruthless master is the life of her beloved little sister hanging in the balance. But the order to steal a priceless tapestry from a Dokkaebi temple incites not only the wrath of a legendary immortal, but the beginning of an unwinnable game…

Suddenly Lina finds herself in the dreamlike realm of the Dokkaebi, her fate in the hands of its cruel and captivating emperor. But she can win her life—if she kills him first.

Now a terrible game of life and death has begun, and even Lina’s swift, precise blade is no match for the magnetic Haneul Rui. Lina will have to use every weapon in her arsenal if she wants to outplay this cunning king and save her sister…all before the final grain of sand leaks out of the hourglass.

Because one way or another, she’ll take Rui’s heart.

Even if it means giving up her own.

This stunning cover and the game of life and death between Lina and Rui made this book irresistible. The description left no doubt I’d enjoy it – I just didn’t realize how much.

Lina may be young, but she’s experienced more tragedy and loss than most people. She lost her parents at a young age, she blames herself for the deaths of her gang/found family, and she’s now starved, beaten, and forced to work for the man responsible for killing the other Talons. If she doesn’t, he’ll kill her little sister, the one good thing in her life. Lina will sacrifice anything to ensure her safety.

The author has created a unique world filled with Korean mythology, magic, and vivid, breathtaking imagery. The dynamic between Rui and Lina is unusual and magnetic, and I was all in from their first scene together. The game is simple – she has fourteen days to kill him, or he’ll kill her. So much planning and plotting going on. And yet they’re civil to each other – he invites her to dinner, a ball, and shows her his favorite places in his kingdom. Lina is a clever and skilled assassin, but she underestimates how cunning Rui is. It’s hard to put anything over on this guy.

There’s so much to like about this novel. A protagonist who doesn’t give up and willingly sacrifices for those she loves, plot twists and unexpected paths, incredibly high stakes, and a supposedly cruel Emperor who might just possess a bigger heart than anyone realizes. I’m more than ready for the second book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

27 thoughts on “Last of the Talons (Talon #1) by Sophie Kim #bookreview #YA #fantasy #Koreanmythology

  1. Sounds like a winner. When my kids were at TKD every day, they both would have been interested in this. (My son because he used to love to read and my daughter because she became obsessed with everything Korean for a while.) Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Teri.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve spent countless hours at TKD also, Staci. My youngest would enjoy this one and no doubt borrow some elements for his D&D games. They’re both still heavily into manga graphic novels with themes like this. Hope your son still loves to read! Your daughter probably doesn’t have much time for that – with good reason.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s given up books for YouTube, I’m afraid. He doesn’t read for enjoyment anymore. And my daughter only reads inspirational works and kids’ books. I wish they both made time for a novel now and then.

        I hope you recommended this one to your sons.


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