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Ancestors, magic and legends. These three things kept me hooked the entire book. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is the novel I searched for as a teenager and never found until now. This book is phenomenal and easily sits on the throne of my shortlist of favorite books of 2021. It is about grief and love; lost mothers and family legacy; power and intent; mystery and self-discovery. Here is my review of this fantastic book, including a list of 5 reasons you will love it. This was the first book that I completed for my August 2021 TBR. Check out this post for details on other books on this month’s list.
A Gift to Gen Z and (Old) Millenilals
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is a beautiful gift to today’s teens. It is also long awaited present to an entire generation of Black women like me have been searching for since we were teens. A story that features a heroine who looks like us. A Black girl who has a full-fledged heroic storyline in spite of the racism that affects her reality, and all of the forces that wish to suppress the wonders of Black Girl magic. This novel is a top rating for character development, plot development, world-building, incorporation of history and overall chef’s kiss creativity.
Balancing History and Fantasy
I appreciated how Deonn addresses racism in Bree’s life while still allowing the heroine’s adventures to remain centerstage. There was a balance between the realistic pain of racism that she experiences at UNC-Chapel Hill and the fantastical story of being involved in an Arthurian secret society. I found it super interesting the way Deonn incorporated the history of Black people in the South, specifically the time period during slavery into this re-envisioning of the Arthurian Legends. If you are familiar with black magic and white magic, this story puts a twist on it.
Where is the BSU?!
One of my fave moments in the story was actually a direct result of a wondering I was having about Bree’s campus experience. It was along the lines of “Dang! This girl is getting initiated into an all-white secret society, trying to find out more about her mom’s death and possible murder all in the first few weeks of the semester and she hasn’t even had a chance to run into any Black people yet! Where is BSU (Black Student Union) at?” And just as I was having that thought, it felt like Deonn was reading my mind, here come two Black characters addressing just that point. I was on the floor cracking up! But for real, I was low key hoping they were going to have their own secret society of magicians based on African mythology..but I digress. 🧜🏽♀️
5 Reasons You Will Love Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Here are a few more reasons for you to read this book:
- Black Girl Magic- yes this was mentioned before, but we are talking about some legit literal magic here! 🧚🏾♀️
- Arthurian Legends – If you were like me and grew up reading fairy tales and stories about King Arthur and The Round Table, you have to check this out. King Arthur and his knights are still kicking it through their family trees. And if you are an Arthurian nerd you are going to want to read between the lines on some of the references. 🧙🏾♀️
- Love Triangle- If by any chance you were still holding onto any previous book character love triangles (don’t date yourself, but (cough) Team Edward (cough) Team Jacob, it’s time to upgrade Team Sel or Team Nick. 👩🏾❤️💋👨🏼
- Secret Societies- What’s not to like about the mysterious history and intent behind secret societies?🤐
- Strong, Interesting Characters/World Building – Let me tell you that when I finished this book all I wanted to do was go find a fanfic site so that I could continue existing in this world. 🏰
- Bonus: The Cover of course…I have dreams of cosplaying for this one… 🦹🏽♀️
HAVE A SIP OF COCOA ☕…
I came for… literal Black Girl Magic! This was my reintroduction to YA Fantasy
I stayed for… everything…yes.every.single.thing
Hot Cocoa Moments: I can’t tell you my real fave moment because booo spoilers. But I will say this (in whisper tone) root magic.
Would I Read it Again: Yes, quadruple yes.
Educator Recommendations: Get someone to purchase a class set for your classroom. The writing is so good and you will have so much to talk about with your students from craft to the topics brought up in the plot. Whether you read it as a whole class or in book groups I think it is worth the time. We spend so much time reading sad, traumatizing and depressing stories in English class, go for something outside of that box. You might be surprised at how many resistant readers eat this up.
Now go read Legendborn and get ready for the next installment in what is now the Legendborn Cycle, Bloodmarked coming out in 2022! (Which as everyone keeps pointing out is only four months away.) Have you read Legendborn already? Let me know what you think?