Legendborn by: Tracy Deonn

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.


Content Warnings: Death of a parent, generational trauma, racism, car accident, blood/gore, violence, anxiety, depression, PTSD, bullying, torture, slavery, murder, kidnapping, sexism, feelings of abandonment, and mention of rape.

I started reading this book last night thinking I’d read a few chapters, perhaps the first part, before going to bed at a decent time since I had to work at 7am this morning…I devoured over half the book and forced myself to put it down around 1am to get some much-needed sleep before my 6am alarm went off. As soon as I got home from work, and got some food in my stomach, I got comfy and dove right back in until I finished.

Deonn crafted this story in a way you’re able to devour 500 pages without feeling like it took any time at all. Not only do we get a fantastic modern-day Authur retelling but we see how trauma affects generations, how sometimes a child doesn’t see or understand the pain their parents have faced, how racism can deeply affect every aspect of your life, and how our pain and loss can affect those around us.

We have a beautifully crafted story that touches on very hard and emotionally heavy topics that are important for everyone to understand and discuss. Loss can profoundly affect us, yet so many people seem to disregard it or expect us to just “get over” a loss or feel awkward acknowledging our pain. We all react to loss in varying ways and it’s crucial we’re able to grieve in our own personal ways without judgment.

So many people, who’ve never faced racism, get nervous about discussing it and try to act like it hasn’t happened in hundreds of years…while the rest of us deal with racism every day. It’s important to understand how deeply racism affects some of our lives and how harmful trying to ignore or bury it can be.

It was so easy to relate and empathize with Bree as she struggles to find answers about her mother’s death and find out who exactly the Legendborn are, and if they have anything to do with her mother’s death.

Because of all the heavy topics discussed [racism, grief, and trauma being the biggest ones] I recommend making sure you’re in the right headspace to dive into this amazing story. The sequel comes out in November and I cannot wait to continue this journey. I was also excited to see that we should be getting a TV show adaptation as well!

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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