Book Review: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Simon & Schuster)

I first found Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, published by Simon & Schuster, through Bookstagram and it looked brilliant. YA fantasy/king Arthur retelling? Sign me up. Naturally, when I saw the book in the bookstore, I had to have it. It was on my backlist TBR for a while but this month I finally picked it up and am so glad I did.

Tracy Deonn is a bestselling author from North Carolina, who used much of her own experience to write Legendborn. She’s been in a variety of careers including live theatre, education, and video game production.

After Bree Matthews’ mother dies, Bree escapes her grief by attending an early college program at UNC-Chapel Hill. But, her first night there, Bree witnesses a magical attack, a sight that unlocks her own magical powers. Desperate to get to the truth of what she is and what actually happened to her mother, Bree joins the campus’ secret society dedicated to King Arthur. Well, not just dedicated to. The majority of the society is full of direct descendants of King Arthur and the other knights of the round table. Can Bree find the truth before she gets caught up in their magical war?

I absolutely loved this book. I read it slower because I went on vacation last week, and my days were so busy with activities, but whenever I could I grabbed the book and tried to read even a snippet at a time. It became addictive. So much so that I don’t know how I’ll be able to wait for the publication of its sequel.

Not only was the subgenre my favorite–fantasy retelling–but it was executed so well. Bree was a compelling character with her own trauma, magic, mixed feelings, and realizations. But so were the characters all around her. No one was flat, one-dimensional, or entirely unlikable. Plus, there was so much good representation; a lot of the book dealt with generational trauma of African-Americans whose ancestors were slaves in the American south and it really explored the Black experience, including some Black cultural traditions even in its own magic. Plus, there was also LGBTQ+ representation, non-binary representation, Asian representation, Latina representation, and disability representation.

The worldbuilding and history was really well developed, cutting into how Bree’s life and history ties in with the Round Table, and how the Round Table became a secret society on a college campus. The book also deals well with trauma, grief, and PTSD, in a realistic manner. The romance was also cute, though I wasn’t always rooting for the love interest lol.

Finally, the main reason to read this book is Sel. I’m in love with Selwyn Kane. (I wish I was eighteen again so I could say that without sounding creepy. Why do we have to get older but book characters don’t?) Sel is an amazing, well-rounded character but also of course, dark-haired with a tragic past so naturally I love him.

I know every book has flaws, even the best books. But I’m at a loss here. The only real critique I could make is that sometimes the storyline gets bogged down with the history of the round table and each family that passes the legacy through their bloodlines. But even then, I find that history was important later on.

Overall, I’m proud to say that Legendborn will be joining my list of five star reads for 2021. It is such a good book. I recommend to everyone who loves magic, books that deal with trauma and history, and books with shocking betrayals.

Have a peek at Tracy’s Instagram here.

By myadventure2017

Writer, Reader, Bookstagrammer, Booktoker, Blogger

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: