Legendborn is written by Tracy Deonn
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.
Well, I said I wasn’t going to do it, but I did it. I bought Legendborn.
I don’t regret it. Do I have questions, yes. Absolutely.
Do YA books always move the plot along so quickly? Especially at the beginning? I don’t read a lot of YA fantasy so I don’t know.
These are the questions that the internet is good for!
So let’s get on to the actual review.
I’m not gonna lie, I had some misgivings about this. I haven’t read a YA book in years. I had, in fact, written off the genre about 7 years ago because the books I was reading just weren’t all that good to me. I don’t even remember them, that’s how memorable they were.
But this book had an interesting enough premise that I couldn’t resist it.
See, I’m a sucker for a good King Arthur story. They just, well, make me happy. This is even though I haven’t read all of Le Morte D’Arthur. I have it, I just haven’t read the whole thing. That’s a big, dense, book.
But this book isn’t a retelling, it’s an expansion of the myth. It’s what happens if the descendants of Arthur and his Knights survived to modern times.
I’m not gonna say I went nuts over it, cause I didn’t, but I did enjoy it enough that I would pick up book two. Because cliffhanger!!!
The plot for the story was great. I enjoyed the way it twisted and turned as it went. And followed it to its, for me anyway, unsurprising conclusion. Maybe it’s because I’m not the target audience and have been reading fantasy books for over 25 years? Maybe? And I did have a problem with how our main character just walked up to a door and was like, “hello, I’m here for the thing”.
And they let her in! She didn’t even know what the thing was!!!
The world building was really great. I thoroughly enjoyed the painting the author created with her story. It is magical realism, given that it is set in modern day North Carolina, and I sometimes have a problem like that, but not here.
Characters were good too. There were sometimes where people just accepted things a little too easily, or got angered for no reason other than “oh look, she’s here”.
Pacing was a bit frantic as the author tried to fit as much in the beginning as she possibly could, but it did level out into smoother waters as the book went on.
All in all I’d say this book has earned a good 3.75 out of 5 stars from me!