Book Review of The Last Fallen Star
The Children’s Book Review
Written by Graci Kim
Ages 8+ | 336 Pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion | ISBN: 9781368059633
What to Expect: Magic, adventure, Korean mythology and culture, adoption
Drawing heavily on Korean culture and mythology, The Last Fallen Star is a rollercoaster ride filled with k-pop, demons, magic, monsters, and delicious baking. At the same time, it explores some universal themes, like community, belonging, family ties, grief, and responsibility for actions.
Riley Oh belongs to a clan of powerful healing witches. Unfortunately for Riley, she’s adopted and has the bad luck of being the clan’s only saram (non-Witch). Scorned and mistrusted by other community members despite her loving and supportive family, Riley struggles to fit in and be accepted – that is, until her sister Hettie comes up with a brilliant idea: they’ll complete a power-sharing spell. Then, Riley can be a witch too.
However, the plan goes wrong, revealing that Riley is not a saram after all – she’s the orphan of banished witches from the outcast clan, and her heritage and willingness to cast an illegal spell have been the last straw for the elders. They utter a devastating command: either Riley’s family must disown her, or they will be stripped of their powers and outcast alongside her.
Desperate, Riley and Hettie appeal to the clan Goddess for help, but things get worse when the spell exhausts Hettie and sucks the life from her. The Goddess proposes a deal: if Riley brings her the last fallen star, she will restore life to Hettie. However, the harder Riley works to fulfill her end of the bargain, the more it becomes clear that everything she thought she knew about the clans, magic, and her family is not as it seems. Much more may be at stake than Hettie’s life…
Riley is a believable and engaging protagonist whose desperation to be accepted and to know who and what she is supposed to become will be relatable to many young readers, whatever their culture. At the same time, the rich and detailed portrayal of Korean culture offers readers an inclusive alternative to traditional Western-based fantasy fiction, like all volumes in the Rick Riordan Presents series.
The Last Fallen Star is gripping and heartwarming – a story no reader will want to put down until the end.
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About the Author
Graci Kim is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of The Last Fallen Star, The Last Fallen Moon, and The Last Fallen Realm. Called a “sparkling yarn” by Entertainment Weekly and featured in TIME Magazine for Kids, the Korean mythology-inspired trilogy has been optioned by the Disney Channel for a live-action television series and is being translated into multiple languages. It was named a 2021 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Children’s Book, an Amazon Best Book, a Barnes & Noble Young Reader Pick, and a Whitcoulls Kids Top 50. In 2022, Graci was awarded the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best New Talent.
In a previous life, Graci was a New Zealand diplomat and a cooking show host, and once ran a business that turned children’s drawings into cuddly toys. She lives in Aotearoa, New Zealand, with her husband and daughter.
You can find her via her website: https://www.gracikim.com.
Dr. Jen Harrison reviewed The Last Fallen Star. Discover more books like The Last Fallen Star by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Adoption, Adventure, Culture, Magic, Mythology, and Rick Riordan Presents.