“Everything has two histories. Especially the South. In "Legendborn," we discover at least one more history to learn about - that of the Arthurian Legend. A fantasy/mystery mashup set on a southern college campus would have easily drew me in on its own. Add in the premise that Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table has secretly existed for the last 15 generations as a secret society to fight demons made it even more enticing. What made this truly magical is how Deonn gives us even greater depth with her #ownvoices authorship by also deftly highlighting how the modern day Black experience is still haunted by the lingering legacy of slavery in the South. She gives this experience voice through Breonna’s experiences of microagressions and blatant racism and more poignant observations such as the contrast of how easily the Southern whites can proudly trace their roots and family tree instead of the disruption and loss of lineage created by slavery for Black families. Grief tied more immediately to the recent death of her mother as well as these encounters of inter-generational trauma are addressed well throughout the story lines. A stellar sense of place exists with rich descriptions of southern culture, North Carolina and UNC Chapel Hill that could have only been created through deep personal experience. I loved that she created the implication that UNC was created and exists to be the stronghold and legacy of the Roundtable with us Onceborns not having the slightest clue. I immensely enjoyed the audiobook narration as it pulled the emotion and tension directly off the page in a wonderfully immersive way.”
Cori, Bright Side Bookshop
An Instant New York Times Bestseller!
Winner of the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe for New Talent Author Award
Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.