Book Review: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

5 magical, eye opening, Arthurian, dark academic stars!

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Brief summary: Legendborn is a story of a sixteen year old girl who, after the death of her mother, runs away from home by enrolling in a high school college program. Once there, she quickly encounters a mysterious world filled with magic, demons and the people who fight them, the “Legendborn.” Which of course throws her in a whirlwind of an adventure, only to find out this world has been around her for longer than she ever expected.

Review: To say this book met my expectations for how awesome it is would be an understatement. This book was incredible, and it is important. The way that Deonn threw in micro and macroaggressions into this story was so seamless. It really makes you feel exactly why they can hurt so much, and exactly how casually some people throw them out. But she does it in a way that the story remains fun and easy to read. Bree is a badass, and this magical world of the Legendborn is interesting and action packed. But considering it is a world within our own world, it is built on white supremacy. And just like any person from a marginalized group, you are not allowed to forget that. If only while reading.

“This year will be remembered as […] the year Pages compete for a record three Squire positions, and”—to my surprise, she openly gestures in my direction, a pleased smile on her face—“the year our chapter welcomes its most diverse Page class.”

What is truly the most remarkable thing about this book is that she manages to tackle so many important topics. It isn’t just recognizing aggressions, but it is also having a main character in therapy. It is also casually having a non—binary character in the order. It is nodding to the fact that no one knows everything about intersectionality, and we can all learn, no matter who we are. It is tackling dark academia, and not holding these historically problematic universities and secret societies on a pedestal. It is everything. And it doesn’t forget to make you laugh.

Buttermilk biscuit — Jesus, take the wheel.

“Sorry to interrupt, my liege! Please, proceed with thy gentle tonguing!”

Big Takeaway

Legendborn is incredible, and it is important. It is a story based on Arthurian Legend, with some major dark academia vibes thrown in that tackles so many important topics, but doesn’t forget to take you on an adventure that will make you laugh.

About the Author

Tracy Deonn is the New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award winning author of Legendborn, and a second-generation fangirl. She grew up in central North Carolina, where she devoured fantasy books and Southern food in equal measure. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication and performance studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tracy worked in live theater, video game production, and K–12 education. When she’s not writing, Tracy speaks on panels at science fiction and fantasy conventions, reads fanfic, arranges puppy playdates, and keeps an eye out for ginger-flavored everything.

Tracy is a champion for diversity and representation in science-fiction and fantasy literature and media. And when Tracy’s mother told her that the women in their family were Black Bene Gesserits, she believed her.

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Have you read Legendborn? What did you think? How are you dealing with having to wait for book 2?