Title: The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans #1)
Author: Graci Kim
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Graci Kim’s thrilling debut about an adopted Korean-American girl who discovers her heritage and her magic on a perilous journey to save her witch clan family.
Riley Oh can’t wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister’s footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she’s a saram–a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she’s ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community.
Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie’s magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family’s old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie’s initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It’s a perfect plan!
Until it isn’t. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie’s life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it?
As Riley embarks on her search, she finds herself meeting fantastic creatures and collaborating with her worst enemies. And when she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she has been taught to believe, Riley must decide what it means to be a witch, what it means to be family, and what it really means to belong.
Thirteen-year-old Riley Oh was adopted into a Korean witch family. She’s excited for her sister, Hattie, to be initiated and earn her powers, but Riley wants to somehow get her own powers. Hattie and her find a spell to connect them and share Hattie’s powers with Riley. They have to perform the spell in front of everyone in their community, but they’re stopped at the last minute. There’s a secret from Riley’s past, which could kill the girls if they perform that spell. Riley still wants to get her powers so that she no longer feels like an outsider in the family. She gets a quest from a goddess, who wants her to find the last fallen star. If she can find the star, she will get her powers, but the task seems impossible. Riley must complete the task before she loses everything she loves.
This story had a twist on the “chosen one” narrative. Rather than Riley being the chosen one to save the world, she was the only one in her family who didn’t have powers. Riley became the chosen one when she had to complete the quest. The quest had larger implications in their witch community, so she did end up being the one who had to save them all.
Korean culture was an important part of the witch community in this book. Their portal was inside an H-Mart store. Riley encountered creatures from Korean folklore. Though Riley was adopted, her biological parents were also Korean so she looked like her family. I loved the way Korean culture was so integral to this story.
The Last Fallen Star was a fun story! I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.
Thank you Rick Riordan Presents for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Have you read The Last Fallen Star? What did you think of it?