Fantasy · Retelling · YA

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Two words: Holy sh*t.

I can’t even… Wow.

This book is perfection itself. This is a refreshing, brilliantly built world around Arthurian legends, with details in all the right places. The creatively and the way the author put it to words, is incredible.

In summary, Legendborn follows the story of Bree, a high school student taking college classes at a prestigious university in North Carolina. The past of the place and its grim legacy of slavery are everywhere around campus. As a black woman, Bree faces discrimination from “white” people and racism at a level that we see quite a lot nowadays in the news related to police. But her misadventures take a whole different turn when she witness a magical attack on her very first night at campus. She gets pulled into the world of the “Legendborn”, a secret society of students who hunt demons.

The plot is refreshing, creative and complex. It took me a while to grasp all the straws, and when it did it blew me away at the brilliance of it all. Every single line of story, every character and every action is connected and it leads to a bombastic ending that left me begging for book two.

The characters are everything and the plot wouldn’t be the same without them. Bree is an amazing main character. She’s witty, honest and smart. She is unapologetic as she voices the stigmas surrounding the history of black people, the current issues and the unfairness that white people want to swipe it under the rug. Her strength is represented in other ways too. Bree struggles with grieve, to process the loss of a loved one, and eventually she manages to do so. It makes her human but also shows her determination and the deep understanding of herself and her abilities.

Tracy Deon did the impossible in this story: she tied famous Arthurian legends and its heroes with the story of slavery, discrimination and abuse of black people throughout the ages. In her own style of writing, she managed to teach historical facts I wasn’t aware of but it didn’t feel like so. The misuse of power to abuse and use people to achieve more power and recognition is a reality and it wasn’t easy to read it. Still, it teaches us a lesson that power usually comes with a price, and not everyone is willing to pay it.

There is also the topic off diversity which is, unlike other fantasy novels, very well represented. Bisexuals, non-binary, lesbians, Bree is black, her best friend is Asian. And all of this is done smoothly and casually. I wanted to clap at this achievement.

I’m completely blow away by this masterpiece and I need the sequel like yesterday.

Read it. You’ll know just how much you needed this in your life and didn’t realised it.

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