Last of the Talons (Talon #1) by Sophie Kim
Publisher summary: 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.
My Thoughts: Lina’s story got my attention right away. Readers are dropped into the middle of a heist and there are extremely high stakes. This certainly works to get a reader invested. As the story progressed, I did notice though that it was harder to read anytime I focused too much on the details. It’s like one of those pictures that only works if you let your eyes relax a bit. There are a few things that don’t quite add up in the timeline or with other pieces, but if a reader is willing to let that slide, the story is still enjoyable.
The author has merged a pied piper story with Korean folklore to create a new tale with action and intrigue. Family is everything to Lina whether it is her sister or the Talons–her found family. This is both her weakness and her strength. Anyone can control her if they have the power to harm her family, but when her family is in danger, she is also fighting her hardest.
The tale bounces back and forth from the past to the present and readers see a former relationship of Lina’s while also seeing a new stirring in her heart. This is a story with a lot of trauma. There is a note at the beginning of the book to check the content warning if that might be a concern. Readers are directed to the end of the book to become informed, but it’s tucked away so spoilers can be avoided.
Recommendation: Get it someday. It’s entertaining and may be of interest to fans of K-dramas or those who simply enjoy Korean inspired fantasy.
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Availability: September 27, 2022
Review copy: Digital copy via publisher