Hello Gemmies! I am so excited to participate in the Hear Our Voices Book Blog Tour for Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. I loved this book so much. From the characters, to the romance, to the food, to the sisterhood, to the action, and the incredible story of perseverance. It is my pleasure to help spread the word for this kick ass feminist, contemporary Arthurian remix. First up on the tour is my book review...enjoy!
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Arthurian Re-Telling, Romance, Magic, Contemporary
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books
Publishing Date: September 15, 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.
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.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is a fantasy YA remix of the Arthurian legend. This book absolutely blew me away! It is so much more than I hoped for and better than anything I even knew I wanted. Legendborn is an engaging, fast paced, page-turning thrill ride, full of secret societies, magic, historical references, demons, ancestors, and Southern Black Girl Magic. There are themes of sisterhood, dealing with grief and trauma, connecting with your ancestors, self discovery, love, betrayal, greed, racism, strength and perseverance.
There is so much to unpack! Let's start with the world building. Tracy Deonn has created a lush vivid world that has various timelines, rich history, complex magical and belief systems, and super scary monsters! This unique story is not only beautifully written, it is full of diverse, complex, interesting characters. Bree as a main character is relatable and endearing. I found myself fully invested in her and rooting for her every step of the way. The sisterhood between Alice and Bree was amazing, from sharing the pain of hair wash day to having each others backs no matter what. I felt so many emotions reading this novel....happiness, sadness, outrage, fear, and anticipation. Although entertaining, Tracy Deoon also gives us a thought-provoking look at some serious topics including the dark legacy of racism, enslavement, and the exploitation of Blacks in America, specifically the American South. This book is a reminder that we still have a long way to go towards equality and removing the practices and thoughts of systemic racism.
If you are a fan of Black Girl Magic, love, sisterhood, sacrifice, communing with the ancestors, overcoming grief, secret societies, and a diverse new take on the King Arthur legend, then go read this book! This gem published by Margaret K. McElderry Books is available for purchase from all major booksellers. I give Legendborn 5 out of 5 gems. I cannot wait to read more stories set in this universe! Happy Reading!