Tuesday, 23 February 2021

REVIEW: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Pages: 501
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: September 15th 2020
TW: Grief, Racism, Abuse, Ancestral Trauma
Buy the Book: Book Depository

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 program 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.

I’m a sucker for anything Arthurian, so I was immediately drawn in by the concept of Legendborn, but this story completely reinvents the legend in a new and exciting way. It follows a secret society consisting of Knights of the Round Table descendants, and those who share a bloodline with Merlin. Bree finds herself sucked into their world as she attempts to find answers about her mother’s death, uncovering family secrets and abilities she never knew she had. From the very start, this story is action-packed and filled with twists.
 


I would happily scream from the rooftops about how much I love Bree. She is certainly no damsel in distress and absolutely does not stand for the bullshit of others. Her determination to find answers leads her down some unexpected paths, but she takes everything in her stride and does her best to help in each situation.

Predictably, I adore Sel. There’s a specific type of character that I always fall for. Moody, misunderstood, has a softer side that only shows when their walls are down, you know the type. Sel is one of those characters. I knew he was going to be a favourite almost immediately. I’m so excited to discover more about his past and who he is as a person.

There are too many wonderful characters for me to talk about, so let me just say that I can’t wait to see what happens next for them, and to see how their relationships with each other shift throughout the series. Though romance plays a part in this story, there is a huge amount of importance placed on friendship and the bonds of family.
 


  • Bree’s Grief. I first started reading this book back in October, but at the end of the month, as some of you might already know, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed away not long after. When I finally got back to books at the start of this year and picked up Legendborn again, Bree’s grief struck such a chord with me. I absolutely needed to read about a young woman trying to navigate the world after such a huge loss. I’m so grateful to stories that discuss grief openly, that show us we’re not alone in this pain.  
  • Important topics. Whilst the story deals with Bree’s trauma from loss, it also highlights the racism and microagressions that she faces as a black woman.
  • World building. What I love most about Arthurian Legend is that it can be spun so many different ways, and this book manages to achieve a completely new take, weaving in other areas of history along the way. Though there were moments when I felt a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of characters and information, I did enjoy getting to know each aspect of the world.
  • The magic. I’m fascinated by the magic system with Legendborn. It was interesting to learn about rootcraft, and how Bree’s ancestors differed in their use of magic from the Order.
   


Legendborn felt familiar and new at the same time. It’s the type of urban fantasy story that makes me feel at home in the pages because it reminds me so much of the YA stories that first pulled me into the genre. But the characters and the plot were refreshingly different. An exciting start to a series I can’t wait to read more of, I’m so glad I picked up Legendborn and that it was able to give words of comfort to me at a time when I needed them.  

Royal Rating:

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