Legendborn (Legendborn #1)
by Tracy Deonn
⚔️⚔️⚔️⚔️⚔️ (five stars, as rated in dueling, Arthurian swords the likes of Excalibur! Huzzah!)
Bree Matthews enrolls in a program for gifted teens at UNC after a tragic accident kills her mother and shatters her family. Hoping for a clean start and to put her pain behind her, Bree jumps at the chance to attend a party in the woods on her first night at school. Everything seems normal until, late that night, she witnesses a supernatural event involving a secret society named the “Legendborn.” The group attempts to erase Bree’s memory of the event and, convinced of their success, let her go. Realizing their mistake, Bree turns to Nick, a classmate assigned to help her with her studies and former Legendborn himself. When Bree realizes the Legendborns’ connection to her own family history she begins to wonder if what happened to her mother was an accident after all…
“Growing up Black in the South, it’s pretty common to find yourself in old places that just… weren’t made for you. Maybe it’s a building, a historic district, or a street. Some space that was originally built for white people and white people only, and you just have to hold that knowledge while going about your business.”Tracy Deonn, Legendborn
Y’all. I could NOT put this thing down. And, admittedly, I skimmed a bunch of it the first time I read it because there is a crazy love triangle and I wanted to get to the making out before I lost my mind. Having satisfied my lack of self control as far as that side of the story is concerned, I did ultimately go back and re-read all the denser segments that focus more heavily on lore and world building. I am super glad there are more books to this series because that world building is insane. So much Arthurian Legend. So much lore and ritual to keep straight. I don’t want to give anything away as far as all of that is concerned, so let me just say that I loved it and can not wait to get my hands on the second book!
The representation in this novel is about as perfect as it gets. Seriously. I do not say that lightly. We have queer characters, gender neutral characters, characters of color, and neuro-diverse characters. There is no tokenizing. There are discussions of race and gender and orientation without making them the focus of the books. This is everything I want from contemporary fiction and particularly from fantasy. To say I am overjoyed is an understatement.
✨ Rep in this book: Black protagonist, neuro-diverse character, transgender character, Asian supporting character, gay character
✨ Content warnings for this book: death of a parent, racism, violence, battle and war themes, manipulation, mind control, death, murder, chattel slavery
About the Author: Tracy Deonn
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. (Copied from the author’s personal website)
Personal note: girl on the Legendborn romance(s?)
*SPOILERS AHEAD* Per the love interests… Ooh boy. I am not usually a big fan of the enemies to lovers trope if one of pair has LITERALLY TRIED TO KILL THE OTHER at an earlier point in the book. This was hard for me because Bree’s relationship with Sel is deeper and more (in my opinion) sophisticated than her relationship with Nick which appears to be relatively superficial. But I am not into the idea of her saving him or helping him reach mental stability. That’s on him. Fingers crossed for book two. If anyone can pull this off it’s Tracy Deonn. I have literally never had more faith in an author!
P.S. I opted against making a character aesthetic for Sel because I just don’t feel like I know him well enough yet. Hopefully we’ll get to understand him better in book two!
For more moodboards and character aesthetics be sure to follow me on Pinterest!