Audience: YA Urban Fantasy
Length: 501 pages
Author: Tracy Deonn
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release Date: September 15th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
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.
Wow am I so glad I read this! It was fantastic. An incredible debut.
For someone who’s not a general fan of urban fantasies, this didn’t make me worried for a second if I was going to enjoy it. I loved the combination of the college campus with the Arthurian legends. It was SO COOL. A bit confusing at times and I didn’t quite understand until the end how everything worked in the organizations, but once I got there, watching everything click into place was beautiful.
Bree is flawed character with an intense amount of strength. I love solid character growth over a book and it was perfect here. Bree went through an acute amount of grief, growing up, and the racism and microagressions she experienced throughout her life (and more specifically in this book while she’s in a college program). It was powerful to take in this story.
This magic system is complex and very well crafted. Add in some demons and rogue parents and this was a mash-up I could get on board with. It was high action and was paced well. I loved all of the adventures with a dash of a preciously sweet romance brewing.
Legendborn has an incredibly powerful voice. It’s a book hard to put down. It’s a book that makes you think and be exposed to conversations you might not have been. I loved this and can’t wait for the sequel!
Overall audience notes:
- YA Urban Fantasy
- Language: some strong
- Romance: kisses
- Violence: demon attacks, physical altercations, see trigger section for more
- Trigger/Content Warnings: depcitions of intense grief, slavery, abuse, PTSD, PCBD (persistant complex bereavement disorder), intergenerational trauma, loss of a parent, racism and micro-agressions