A YA fantasy that combines Arthurian legends with Black history in an urban setting.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.
Although I read this book last month, I’ve only now had the chance to write my review. Spoiler alert: I absolutely loved it!
Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)
Published August 15, 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Data from Goodreads
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.
My Review: A Definite Favourite!
Rep: Black representation, LGBTQIA+
The Pros: What worked for me
- The story is unbelievably imaginative! You’ve got King Arthur mythology, African-inspired magic, Black history … and it all works so well! If this isn’t genius, I don’t know what is. Hands down, this is the most unique book you will come across!
- The author does not shy away from difficult topics around race and feminism. But she also isn’t too heavy-handed with these themes. This is something I really appreciate.
- I really liked all of the characters, including Bree. Everyone is flawed, and readers can connect with all of them.
- I love the magic system! There are 2 of them here and the way they intersect is absolutely fascinating. I’m sure the sequel will shed more light on this, and I cannot wait!
The Cons: What I didn’t like
- At the beginning of the novel, there were some things that could have been explained better. However, the author fixed this as the story continued so it wasn’t a major issue for me.
- The plot moves quickly (which is great) but it always took me aback that this story takes place over the span of a couple of weeks – a lot happens in a short time frame, and it is a bit jarring when you consider the timeline.
As someone who reads a lot of YA fantasy, I’m always hunting for something unique. I found that with Legendborn. The plot points all worked well together, the characters were interesting, and there is so much happening with this novel! I am extremely excited for the next book in this series – and I hope you’ll all consider reading this one!