HomeReviewsYoung AdultReview: Legendborn

Review: Legendborn


Title: Legendborn
Author: Tracy Deonn
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 512
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Date Published: September 15, 2020
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


After losing her mother in a car accident, 16 year old Bree Matthews has shut down. Throwing up internal concrete protective walls to keep herself safe from further pain, she keeps everyone at a distance and readily accepts the opportunity to leave home and attend UNC-Chapel Hill, a South Carolina college with early age admissions.

Attending the traditional first night college party at a local quarry, Bree witnesses something unbelievable – a demon feeding on the aggressive energies of fighting frat boys. Further, a mysterious dark haired mage, who calls himself a “Merlin”, kills and banishes the demon and wipes Bree’s memory of the incident … it doesn’t work.

Bree finds herself immersed into the world of the Legendborn, an ancient secret society descendant from Arthur and his knights of the round table, who may have connections to her mother and her death. As Bree infiltrates the society to find answers, she discovers not only is a magical war brewing, but she herself has mysterious powers. Will she use these strong powers to bring down the society, or join them in the fight?


Well, hello Tracy Deonn and your addictive, perfectly paced narrative! You have restored my enjoyment of YA fantasy that has been seriously beaten in 2020!

Even though this YA has the standard elements we see in the genre – magic, young love, and coming-of-age … Tracy Deonn has crafted an incredibly enjoyable contemporary fantasy with strong conversations on grief and racism that round out a fabulously strong magical world with amazing characters. It has been a long time since I’ve read a YA with characters I enjoyed this much … I mean, Selwyn is everything and any Darkling fan will likely fall in love with him. Just a warning. But Bree herself is fascinating – her passion, her determination, her battle with herself, her grief, her heritage, her place in the world – she is fiery, dynamic, and I rooted for her with every single page. Representation – of sex and colour – never feels forced and is a shining example of how to do this correctly.

I loved this magical world. I loved these characters. I loved the pacing of this story, that even though it tops 500 pages truly felt like it wasn’t enough. Bree is one of my favourite YA heroines and I haven’t enjoyed an anti-hero like Selywn since The Darkling. While the hierarchies within the Legendborn organization are detailed, (a titch overwhelming at times), and all the characters read much older than their age suggests, these minor complaints weren’t enough to take away from the whole. I was blown away by this story that provides such a deeper emotional connection and reading experience through  the conversations on grief, racism, sexism, patriarchy and history. Powerful, gripping, and propulsive, I enjoyed every minute and highly recommend you don’t snooze on this excellently crafted YA.

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