Legendborn was legit one of the BEST books I’ve read all year!!! It’s a pretty wild mash up, you’ve got Mortal Instruments meets King Arthur, Black girl magic, trauma and grief set in college….
BUT STAY WITH ME it was done SOOOO well and everything was explored in-depth as well! I had goosebumps when I finished it! What an amazing story told by an own voices author, so much of it is rooted in her own history and the history of Black people, but that Arthurian twist was amazing.T
Interested in hearing more? Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Read Legendborn Right Now…
1. An Arthurian Secret Society
The book is based around the self-titled Legendborn, who are descendants from King Arthur’s knights, inheriting their customs and their history in fighting demons. I’m not really that familiar with the original tale, but there was enough here to make it fresh and interesting. I loved hearing about the different jobs around the Order of the Round Table, such as Merlins, Knights, Kingsmages and about the Oaths of Service. There is a lot of world building here, and a lot to get your head around, but I loved the solid world-building set around this secret society, which reminded me of The Mortal Instruments.
2. Dark Academia vibes
The story is based around UNC Chapel Hill, a college steeped in history and societies (which I learnt from the author’s note). I loved how the story was set in college, where the characters are given the freedom to direct their day, which made it all the more interesting, seeing as Bree still needs to keep up with her grades, along with making friends, going to parties and of course, learning about the Legendborn. This made it more realistic to the reader as well.
3. Black girl magic & diverse representation
The main character, Bree Matthews, is a Black girl who is dealing with the loss of her mother. I loved how there were topical issues of racial prejudice, representation and also needing to ‘work harder’ to prove your worth explored here. Not only this, but the story is tied very closely to her heritage, which was so incredibly empowering. There’s also lots of POC and queer representation in here, including non-binary characters and Bree’s best friend Alice, who is Asian.
4. Fascinating love interests
I dislike bland, boring, white bread love interests as much as the next person, but both Nick and Selwyn were quite fascinating. Sel is quite arrogant and prickly from the start, but as you get to know him, you can see that he’s damaged with a dark past. Nick is sweet and kind, and although I thought he was less intriguing than Sel, he’s fated to be the next King within the Order, so there’s a lot resting upon his shoulders.
Honestly the love interests reminded me of Stefan & Damon from the Vampire Diaries, and I was totally into it.
5. It deals with grief & normalises therapy
Bree is coping with the loss of her mother, and it affects her deeply throughout the book and beyond. Her grief is raw, honest and heartfelt – and she doesn’t know how to cope with this loss. She undergoes therapy to learn more about her mother’s past and her heritage, and I thought the sessions with her therapist were wonderful. Grief underpins everything that she does, but it’s also something that drives her to her very core.
Legendborn is one of the best books that I read during 2020, and I think fans of The Mortal Instruments as well as any dark academia fantasy lover will enjoy it too! It tackles a lot of themes and genre benders effortlessly and the result is an unforgettable reading experience.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy!Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Series: Legendborn #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on September 15, 2020
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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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.
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