I have to commend Rick Riordan on encouraging the reimagining of the world’s myths into stories for middle grade audiences. These books help keep mythology alive and permit readers of all backgrounds to meet heroes from around the world. The latest of these stories is The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim, which brings Korean mythology into a present context.
This is the story of Riley Oh, an almost-thirteen-year-old who was adopted as an infant. Though her family are Gom, or magical healers, Riley herself is a saram...a person without magical powers. While she is able to attend events with her family, Riley knows she will always be lacking that which makes her family unique. But, when Riley and her sister Hattie discover a spell that could share Hattie’s powers, the girls break the rules in order to prove Riley is a Gom at heart. As one might expect, things do not go exactly as planned, and it is up to Riley to uncover the truth in order to save the world. Please see my full review here.
The themes of truth and the balance between dark and light are palpable throughout this book. Riley has to constantly consider whether what she is learning is actually honest, and she reconsiders her opinions of others as she discovers more about them. These messages are just as important to adults as they are to the middle-grade readers for which this story is written, which makes this a timeless tale. As readers observe the world of Korean mythology, they are also driven to inspect the truth, light, and dark in their own lives.
This book is set up perfectly for a second installment, and readers will be excited to continue Riley’s story when it is ready. This is an excellent addition to middle grade library collections!
Do you know another great story I should include in my blog? Message me here and let me know!