Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Themes: Fantasy, YA, romance, demonic creatures, Arthurian legend retelling, trials.
Trigger warnings/Potential concerns for readers: Some violent scenes and injuries, death, grief.
Format: I received an E-Arc copy from NetGalley but I believe it will be available in paperback and on kindle, you can check it out here.
Price: £6.49 at Waterstones.
Rating: 5 STARS!
Release date: 15/09/2020
Ok where do I even begin with this book, I loved it! Legendborn has become one of my favourites books of the year, it was entertaining and it really ticked every box you look for when reading a fantasy book. Legendborn is one of those really great books where you really want to devour it in one go but you also want to take your time reading it and really taking it all in. I recommend taking your time and really engaging with it, especially if you’re unfamiliar or not the most knowledgeable with the legend of Arthur, though there is a really helpful guide and Google exists of course!
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential programme for bright high-schoolers at UNC – Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape – until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down. And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts – and fails – to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw. The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets – and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down – or join the fight.
Starting with the basics, the world building is rich and believable, I really loved the college and secret society aspects and how well the fantasy elements blended together to make it a world I’d love to visit, even if demons do exist! There’s diverse characters, Bree, our main character is a young Black teenager (she’s 16 and the other characters are a similar age and older), plus there is non-binary and LGBTQ representation which we love to see!
A lot happens in this book and that’s excluding some of the secret society elements in the book, it’s also a very fast paced book but thankfully though it’s easy to keep track of what’s happening.
I love Bree, she is a such a badass and well rounded character, she is dealing with a lot of grief and you can’t help but root for her. I loved her friendship with Alice, Deonn did a great job writing about a realistic friendship, the ups and downs and the challenges faced when dealing with huge issues such as grief and college (the girls are in Early College). I don’t want to be too spoilery (if that’s even a word, ha) but I have two ships from Legendborn that I can’t decide which I like better, one involves your typical all-American guy and one involves a hot mysterious guy who we first meet whilst he’s lurking in the woods and I love them both. Deonn has the potential to set up a love triangle for the next book and I’m not mad haha.
On a more serious note, this book deals with grief and Deonn has written about grief really well. As someone who has very recently lost a loved one, Deonn has dealt with the grief aspect really respectfully whilst also being very honest about the different emotions felt. There’s also a note at the end of book about grief and how grief and Legendborn relates to Deonn’s grief.
I found Legendborn to be a very honest portrayal of what it’s like to be a Black woman living in the south in America where there’s still a lot of racism, it was an accurate narration of the past and present issues of racism faced by Black people in America. Legendborn also deals with the racism surrounding colleges and secret societies and how the actions of white people in the past still have repercussions for Black people today.
Overall, I absolutely loved Legendborn and I can’t wait to see what Tracy Deonn has in store for the rest of the series.