Yet another exciting Rick Riordan Presents publication, The Last Fallen Star, the first in a series, introduces readers to the world of Korean mythology. Riley Oh was adopted into a family of healing witches from the Gom clan, descendants of the Cave Bear Goddess. Riley has memorized every healing spell she’s ever heard, but it’s not doing her any good because she has no magical powers. Like everyone, Riley just wants to fit in, but it’s hard when you’re the only kid without magic.
Hattie, Riley’s adoptive sister, is about to turn thirteen and have her initiation ceremony to become a healing witch. Riley’s thirteenth birthday is only a month away, but there won’t be any ceremony for her. Unless…. Hattie and Riley discover a hidden spell that will let Hattie share her powers with Riley, and they decide to try it out at Hattie’s initiation ceremony. Of course, things go terribly wrong, and Riley, with the help of her best friend Emmett, must find the last fallen star, as Hattie’s life (and the world) hangs in the balance.
To succeed on her quest, Riley must work together with her sworn enemies, question her beliefs, and make personal sacrifices. But in the end, Riley finds the true meaning of family, friendship, and belonging, as “true love conquers all.”
Graci Kim’s middle school debut offers a present day kid trying to find her place in the world. Riley makes a lot of bad choices, but in the end, her heart is true and she finds the right path. The Korean mythology is captivating, and Kim expertly weaves it into a fast pace and adventure packed story.
Middle schoolers who like mythology will love this book. The Korean folklore is intriguing (and I really appreciated the glossary of Korean words at the end of the book). Learning about other cultures through stories like this helps everyone recognize our similarities while appreciating each culture’s unique attributes. I can’t wait to read about the next adventure for Riley and her friends in The Last Fallen Moon (Spring/Summer 2022)!