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5 Reasons to read Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Fantasy,  Review,  YA

5 Reasons to read Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn is a fantastic, gripping, action-packed and complex YA Fantasy with amazing world and characters. Here are 5 Reasons to read Legendborn.

5 Reasons to read Legendborn

Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn

Publication Date : September 15, 2020

Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books

Read Date : November 22, 2022

Genre : Fantasy

Pages : 501

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tea for this book : Saffron + Peppermint Tea

Synopsis

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.

Review

Legendborn is a fantastic and complex YA Fantasy that revolves around Bree discovering elite white secret mage order fighting demons and her quest to find out who from the order is responsible for her mother’s death.

5 Reasons to read Legendborn

Plot that looks simple at first turns out complicated with amazing twists

This started out as Bree dealing with loss of her mother clueless about how to move forward in life or deal with her grief that oozed lots of teenage angst, recklessness but then she sees a shadowborn creature (demons from underworld) and a merlin (mage) fighting it and later trying to erase her memory of the event but instead it brings back her memory of merlin performing same memory erasing magic (called mesmer) on her and her father about her mother’s death that makes her think her mother’s death might not be an accident but a murder so to get the bottom of it and also find the merlin who performed mesmer in hospital she has to infiltrate secret society of mages called Legendborn who turns out to be descendants of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable.

I was curious to find what happened to her mother, how she was involved with Legendborn, how Bree has magic if her mother wasn’t part of Legendborn or any secret group, what will happen to her when her powers are exposed to Legendborn.

Author kept the plot and mystery tight and complex. Now the way story is written, I could see vast possibilities of the plot. I had so many theories and how with each theory story could take so many directions. The main mystery of what happened to her mother made plot look simple, somehow seemed just one thing among so many things happening. And when it was revealed it wasn’t what I expected. It made me little deflated but there still was so many questions specifically about Bree’s power and when that was revealed, it turned out spectacular. I never expected it and none of my theories were even close to what was revealed.

Concept like shadowhunter with complex worldbuilding and magic system

I read somone mention in review, it’s “arthurian mortal instruments” which is very apt description. I loved the concept of magic wielder or superhumans with enhanced skills or abilities protecting humans from Shadow creatures in Shadowhunters and here that basic is the same but here the superhumans call themselves Legendborn and they are descendent of King Arthur and his Knights of roundtable that means they all have different ranks and skills. They all can have sight to see shadow creatures but not every member gets to have the superhuman abilities, only awakened scion (direct descendent of the king and knights) gets the superhuman abilities and their squire (their partner in battle) get the ability through scion because of their bond. Squires are selected through competition between Pages (that’s Bree, in the story), and Pages are sponsored by the house of each knight.

I loved all the details on their hierarchy, how all the ranks works, how they are selected, how important to maintain order of the roundtable, their rules, and their actions that have hurt people. The best part was Legendborn history that goes way back to the original round table, important events and how over the time it changed.

It was horrible to read bad side of order, the way they treated merlins and what some line did to their daughters in the past and how they treated black poeple both in past and present.

Moreover, Legendborn aren’t the only one with magic here. There is another branch of magic explored here and this branch have different perspective towards Legendborn and how the magic should be wielded which is super amazing.

Heavy theme and lots of emotions and relationships

The story is about loss, grief, power struggle, belongingness, racism, intergenerational trauma, secrets, and colonial magic. Racism and intergenerational trauma makes it heavy read. But it’s not all sad and gloomy. There is childhood friendship of Bree and Alice that sees ups and downs with change in life. There is touching mother-daughter relationship, young love and some entertaining secondary characters that adds all kind of emotions here.

Interesting and diverse characters

There are lots of characters in this. They all are complex and there is lots of gray area or things that are still puzzling. Bree is smart, brilliant, confident, and driven when pushed. Her emotions, her loss and grief, anger, dilemma, everything was heartfelt, real and raw. Like Nick said I don’t think she really understands what she is getting herself into when she decides to join Legendborn. She was being reckless and often naive. I also think she was quick to judge people and also she was taking lots of leap of faith. But as story progressed, some of her decisions made sense like trusting Patricia and Nick. I don’t know if I can say I fully understand her decisions but her actions were reasonable.

I could see why she was having hard time trusting Sel, with Nick she went with her gut feeling, and with Patricia for knowing her mother for a while. What I don’t get is her decision to finally accept what Nick asked just after she decided to walk away and she was thinking to say her final goodbye. But I loved seeing change in her when it came to connecting with her roots, felt the trauma of the past, and made it a shield to stand up for herself and all the black people who suffered because of Legendborn. The moment that helped her accept her mother’s death and move forward was heartfelt and touching.

Nick’s childhood was sad and I felt for him, for what happened to his mother and I could understand why he could never trust merlins or the regent again, never wanted to be part of the order but his return because Bree wanted to enter the order was so sudden. It was mentioned he did it for his love for Bree but I somehow felt the reason wasn’t enough. I also think his jealousy and dislike for Sel was a bit selfish. He never tried to be friends with Sel nor he tried to understand his situation. And the way end turned the table, his reaction to it, I’m kind of curious to see what exactly he thinks now. Let’s just say he is not my favorite character and his and Bree’s ship was just okay.

Sel is my favorite. I liked him from his very first mention. He definitely has charm but he is very complicated, brooding, mysterious and so very volatile and unpredictable. I didn’t like the way he was going out for Bree but he never was rude to her about her being different or black or for having Nick’s attention. Once he get to know what Bree really is and what she can do, he stopped being rude to her (kind of lost interest in her). He actually made me laugh after that point and I loved the way he helped Bree both with trial and with her mother’s mystery and that too like the very minute she told about her purpose. (it made me think what Nick was doing for so long! Playing love sick boy! Was he ever going to help Bree!) What happened to him and his mother was touching and provocative. Compared to Nick, he was much more mature, smart, and fun. I wonder how he was so misunderstood by all characters. I absolutely love him for what he did in the final selection ceremony. I can’t wait to get more of him in next book.

Of all the secondary characters, William, the healer is my favorite character. He is most genuine, practical, and mature. I loved the way he could see Sel differently than others, the way he helped Bree and for what he did during the climax. I also liked Greer and Whitty, and Sarah. I thought I will like Tor in the beginning but she turned out worst the Vaughn I have a feeling there will be more about her in the second book too.

Even though it is pointed often the order is made of all elite white people, there is some diversity inclusivity.

Spectacular twist and climax and end

I have to put that all in one line as after what was revealed about Bree’s mother I wasn’t expecting a big twist as I was anticipating Bree’s mother’s death as a big twist. Yes, like I said that was deflating but everything that came after the revelation was outstanding. I couldn’t see all that coming- unexpected attacks, real person behind opening gates, the person who betrayed the group, unexpected deaths. The war before end was adrenalin filled and revelation about what Bree is and what power she has changed the whole game. I can’t wait to see what happens in next book.

You might not like this if you don’t like,

Insta-love and love triangle – Romance isn’t at the center here and end changes that insta-love thing. Love triangle is a possibility for the most of the book, it gets more clear in the end and we still don’t see it dealt in this book. so I would suggest ignore this point and read the book. There is a lot to love in the book.

Chosen one trope- I can’t say much without including spoilers but let’s just say this is different.

I highly recommend this of you like,
Complex plot
Interesting dicerse characters
Concept like Shadowhunters
Amazing world and magic system
Part Mystery, Part urban fantasy
Arthurian retelling
Theme of racism and microaggressions 
Chosen one trope
Fast pace
Trials/competition
Secret Societies

Book Links

Goodreads | Amazon.in | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Thank you for reading! Let’s chat..,

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

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