After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants to escape. A residential programme for bright high-schoolers seems like the perfect opportunity – until she witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus . . .
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so-called “Legendborn” that hunt the creatures down.
A mysterious 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 about her mother. Now Bree will do whatever it takes to discover the truth, even infiltrate the Legendborn. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and foretell a magical war, Bree must decide how far she’ll go for the truth. Should she use her magic to take the society down – or join the fight?
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Author’s Website: https://www.tracydeonn.com/
Content warnings for Legendborn: Death of a parent and traumatic grief/flashbacks, alcohol consumption, mind control/memory manipulation, racist macro and microaggessions, emesis (vomiting), blood, mild gore, combat violence, mention(s) of: physical abuse, racist violence, sexual violence. (Taken from author’s website)
This is my first book from my Beat the Backlog TBR and I’m so glad I picked it up! I’m kicking myself for sitting on it for so long.
This is a wonderful unique twist on the King Arthur legend and one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book. What I didn’t expect was the gut wrenching journey through grief and the horror at the racism the main character Bree faces day to day.
The opening to this story is a blow that will resonate with those that have experienced the loss of a loved one. The impact of Bree’s grief is something that stuck with me throughout the book. Deonn writes this so poignantly that it provokes a protective feeling for Bree after only a few paragraphs.
They are past-tensing my heart—my whole beating, bleeding, torn heart—right in front of me. It is a violation.
It’s easy to forget that Bree is only 16 throughout this story. Bree is trying (and failing) to cope with her grief and on top of that she has to deal with blatant racism. The wall she has in place for her grief might be new to her but facing prejudice is not. The helplessness and the cold fury that fills you during those moments is a reminder that although this is a fantasy, THAT is reality.
The wheal is set in motion for her infiltration to a secret society of descendents of King Arthur and the Round Table. Here we meet the Legendborn and are introduced to the complex structure – which is a little daunting initially.
The demon hunter aspect gave me Mortal Instrument vibes and the fight scenes are pretty epic. As Bree learns about her own heritage, there is even more magic and revelations about her ancestors that adds another layer to this tale.
This type of knowing is an expensive toll to pay. I can’t forget the knowledge just because the price is high. And yet, sometimes we have to tuck the reminders away today in order to grow power against them tomorrow.
There is a love triangle afoot, and given that each character have layers we have yet to see – this is going to be a further trial for Bree. The build up for this, although you see coming; there are parts woven in that come as a surprise and potentially explain bonds and relationships a little better.
There is diverse rep amongst the supporting characters: a non binary character, Bree’s BFF Alice is a lesbian and Taiwanese-American, there are bi characters, and also a F/F established relationship.
This story was a compelling fantasy coinciding with the harsh reality of what Bree faces in the ‘normal’ world. Each chapter is enthralling and I couldn’t put the book down. The wait to November for the second installment will be a very long one!