At 16 years old, Bree Matthews is devastated by the loss of her mother in a fatal car crash. She desperately needs an escape from her home life and going to the Early College program at UNC-Chapel Hill seems like the best way to escape the grief. On the very day that she arrives at the university, Bree is a witness to an attack - a magical one. It turns out that the campus is home to secretive demon hunters known as the Legendborn. After witnessing the attack, the group's "Merlin," is unable to erase her memory of what she witnessed. With the help of her school-assigned mentor Nick Davis, Bree is entered into a tournament to become a Squire in the secret society. As Bree works to understand her new abilities, she learns that another magic user was present in the hospital the day her mother died. The society is largely white, and as a Black female, Bree is an outsider. She is going to have to decide whether she truly wants to know about her mother's past and her death.
BTSYA / Teen Reader (17):
Legendborn grabbed my attention immediately with how fast Bree gets tangled up in the magical world. Bree stood out from the beginning as a complex protagonist who is dealing with a lot of issues but is not afraid to stand up for herself and do what she believes is right. I loved her dynamic with Nick and Sel, two of the other main characters, because their interactions added so much to the story and were so fun to read.
I also appreciated the diversity. The book did a great job portraying people of different races and sexualities. The world-building is very well done. It never felt forced and it provided the information necessary to understanding the scope of the story. My only criticism is that the influx of expository knowledge can be a lot to handle at first, but it is so interesting to read about that I didn’t particularly mind. That being said, I enjoyed practically everything about this book, and I couldn’t recommend it any more highly.
Legendborn is a great fit for anyone interested in the urban fantasy genre and/or looking for a book that takes elements of certain mythologies or magical concepts and uses them to craft an original story. I also recommend it to anyone looking to read something that doesn’t feature only white characters, and which addresses serious issues like racism in a realistic way.
I suggest buying this book as a gift or for your personal enjoyment because it is sure to be a story that many people will enjoy. This novel is appropriate for readers 13 and older, since it doesn’t have any mature content but does deal with some heavy concepts. To anyone looking for a new and unique fantasy book to read, this story is a masterpiece you will absolutely enjoy reading.
Graphic violence, including assault and rape; gore, racism, and characters use profanity.
This is an urban fantasy that is a retelling of the Merlin myth and features BIPOC characters in the lead.
14 and Up
13 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 17
Buy. You will love everything about Legendborn and be ready to read it all over again when you're done.
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