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Book Review: 'Legendborn'

Sadie Quimby

Posted on October 31, 2020 19:41

5 users

If you enjoy YA fiction, I definitely recommend this book: it's a wild ride.

Have you ever read a book that combines Arthurian legends with the experience of being black in the South with the trauma of losing a parent? I'm guessing the answer is no, unless you've already read this book. If you haven't, and if this eclectic combination of themes sounds interesting, I'd definitely recommend reading "Legendborn" by Tracy Deonn.

The basic plot is pretty simple. The main character Brianna (known as Bree) and her best friend Alice, start a pre-college program at UNC Chapel Hill. Three months earlier, Bree's mom was killed in a car accident, and she's still dealing with her grief. The parts of the book that focus on her feelings of grief are very sad, but they feel real, and not contrived.

Then Bree discovers there are a group of people with powers, Legendborn, who fight demons. She becomes convinced that her mom was murdered and joins the Arthurian secret society in order to find the truth behind her mom's death.

There's an inevitable love triangle. First there’s the friendly sunshine boy, Nick, who's the chosen one, heir to King Arthur and everything: him and Bree hit it off right away. Then there's the Kingsmage, Selwyn, who's sullen and sarcastic (and of course very attractive): him and Bree absolutely hate each other at first, it's pretty entertaining.

Usually I get bored real quick with a love triangle, but most love triangles center around a (usually pretty generic) white girl, and there's something refreshing about seeing a strong-willed and powerful black girl get attention from two hot guys. Besides that, the relationship that forms isn't overly mushy, and the banter Bree has with both of the boys is fun to read.

It's especially nice to see Bree make some friends and love interests among the secret society considering that she faces a significant amount of racism, from unintentional microaggressions to outright hostility. The society she joins started with King Arthur and the knights of the round table, and it has a history of racism as well as classism. Bree is the only black person there, and the first to join.

The author shows how all of Bree's connections are valued, from her old friend to the new ones she makes in the order: but at the same time, there's still no substitute for a group of people who understand you without any effort. Bree finds this community with a group of black women who are also in the world of magic, although a very different kind.

What I enjoyed the most about "Legendborn" was how it managed to weave all these different threads into a cohesive whole. The story seemed relatively straightforward at first but as the book continues there are some fantastic twists and turns I didn't see coming.

Sadie Quimby

Posted on October 31, 2020 19:41

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Source: WashPost

Author Susan Dennard sat down for a chat about her newest book, "Windwitch," diversity in YA fiction and more.

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