Hello! My name is Mikelann (pronounced Michael Ann, I know…it’s a major pain), and today I’ll be talking about Legendborn by Tracy Deonn for my guest review.
Author: Tracy Deonn
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published Date: September 15th, 2020
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.
This experience unlocks a hidden world of unique magic and hidden societies, and perhaps more importantly, Bree uncovers her own hidden memories of her mother’s death.
Determined to uncover the secrets of her mother’s death, Bree teams up with Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with a grudge against the group they’ll need to infiltrate in order to get to the truth. 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.
This book got a lot of hype and, I’ll admit, that hype was a big part of the why I picked it up. For once, the hype was so well-deserved. Honestly, I’m just mad at myself for not diving in sooner. In the beginning, I had a bit of trouble following the hierarchy of the Order, but this may have just been a reader error. This did not take away from the story at all. I found myself sucked in regardless of my own inability to fully grasp the intricacies of the Order. Which, to me, is a sign of a great book.
The POC and LGBTQ+ representation in this book was just…*chef’s kiss*. It was perfect. Of course, I say all this as a heterosexual white female, so take my opinion on this with a grain of salt, but I felt that the way the author incorporated these topics into her story and characters was very well done. I was able to connect and empathize with characters whose lives are so much different than my own.
The main character, Bree, seemed to follow the common characteristics of today’s YA female leads. But that thought was totally just me being a prick at that start. Bree turns out to me a much more complex character than we’re used to seeing in YA fantasy fiction and it was so nice to see her grow. She was complex, flawed…human. It was so refreshing to read about a character that is undoubtedly human and, as someone who has lost her own parents and is no stranger to the pain that Bree struggled with throughout this book, her struggles through her grief were raw, lending to the connection between reader and character.
My main problem with this book was that the relationship between Bree and Nick, and their feelings for one another, seemed to be a bit forced. Without giving too much away, I’ll tell you this…toward the end of the book, the reason for this seems to be explained. I really enjoyed how Deonn was able to not only avoid common tropes, but tie the tropes she may not have been able to avoid into her story in new and exciting ways.
Lastly, there was a bit of a twist ending. I will stray from going into too much detail, because I want you to be just as surprised as I was. As someone who can be pretty stingy with her star ratings, I totally did not hesitate to give this book a full five stars. I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel and will likely snatch it up as soon as it’s available.