Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.
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 received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Ahem, ladies and gentleman, I have an important announcement to make. Now, nobody tell Jem, Sevro, Morozko, Nik Malikov, Kaz, or Hilo…but I have a new book boyfriend, and his name is Selwyn. As I’m reviewing this before most of my friends, I have called eternal dibs and you can all feel free to back off and leave him to me.
THIS BOOK! Books from debut authors tend to scare me a little. Yes, sometimes (like now) I am absolutely blown away and need to read a thousand more books written by my newly found favorite author immediately. Other times, there are issues with pacing or character development, or an unclear magic system. Although I still feel that my understanding of The Order and its magic system are a little confusing, I believe that is partially intentional, as I am learning things at the same pace as our MC, Bree.
Let’s discuss Bree while we are on the topic. She is everything that a 2020 reader needs to look for in a YA heroine. She was both strong and damaged, and it made her as a character that much more relatable and realistic. Bree is grieving the untimely death of her mother and the writing made the emotions feel as though they were my own. Her grief was raw, and real, and it made her that much easier to connect with as a character. I also adored that she didn’t take grief from anyone. Bree was never afraid to stand up for herself or speak her mind. Her connection to her ancestors was a favorite part of the book for me and I look forward to seeing that bond in future books of the series.
The side characters were solid. As you now know, I am in love with Sel and have added him to the harem. Nick and Alice are characters that I have a complex relationship with, and I fully believe that is intentional as Bree’s relationships with both of them are in flux. The other side characters, with the exception of William, were a tiny bit of a blur for me as I tried to understand who was linked to whom and why, but I did enjoy the very diverse cast of characters.
As the blurb for this book indicates, it is absolutely a great read for fans of Shadowhunters. Legendborn also has to be one of the most unique takes on Arthur’s story that I’ve read. I look forward to finishing the series and would like the next book in my hands immediately. Please and thank you, Simon Teen.