Review Detail

lush and thrilling middle grade fantasy
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
THE LAST FALLEN STAR is a thrilling epic fantasy. Riley Oh is a saram, a person without magic, adopted by a family with healing magic. She is so excited for her sister, Hattie, who is about to be initiated and who can begin to use magic on her own. Riley wishes with everything that she could have magic too. When her sister Hattie convinces her that they should try a spell to give her magic, the consequences are unlike anything they expected.

As they try to make things right, things just seem to get worse. Before long, Hattie's life hangs in the balance and Riley must embark on a quest to find the last fallen star before it's too late.

What I loved: The world-building is lush and magical, and the scenarios and characters leap off the page. The story pulls the reader into Riley's world from the start and the pace keeps the reader hooked throughout. The mythology/folklore and groups of magical people were absolutely fascinating, and it all came together in a riveting way. Riley, Emmett, and the other characters met along the way were really compelling. Their motivations, hopes, and dreams shine through their presentation, and it was delightful getting to know them and watch them grow during the story. Riley learns a lot about people, the truths she thought she know, honesty, and trust throughout the book, and her journey was really poignant.

The quest was absolutely wonderful, and I loved the mix of humor in with the serious. For instance, the Ghostr app was truly a delight, which allowed ghosts stuck on Earth to finish up their business to create profiles and be matched with people who could help (though some of those ghosts were definitely up to no good). The pop culture references added to the fun. I also really adored the side characters we meet along the way, particularly the guardian of the library, a cheollima (and whoa, that library!!! I was totally fascinated and loved it!). I also loved the concept of the magic houses, and the way they must be nice to the sin who have developed there, such as always complimenting the door-sin on the way in. This is a world I wanted to live in - I loved it.

Written for the middle grade crowd, some of the topics and events introduce a level of danger (possession, evil spirits, peril, etc.) that might be too much for sensitive/young readers. The book is blended with humor, so it doesn't hit super heavily, but it does have some scary moments for sensitive people. The book would definitely hold appeal for YA readers as well - it's a delightful read, and I can definitely see this series becoming a hit!

Final verdict: With lush world-building and compelling characters, THE LAST FALLEN STAR is a must-read middle grade fantasy. Highly recommend for fans of THE TRIALS OF MORRIGAN CROW, AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS, and CITY OF GHOSTS.
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