I’ve been anticipating this book for a while and have watched as booktubers I love have fangirled about it. I finally got my hands on my library’s copy and devoured it. I haven’t read a book like Legendborn since Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It also reminded me of Ninth House. It gives me PJ vibes based on the pages, squires, and legendborn deal which you’ll understand when you read it. It gave me NH vibes because it’s a secret magical society on a college campus and book has some darkness. Have I interested you yet?
Bree is the kind of hero that we all fall in love with and gladly wait a year or more for a new book. We love her through her triumphs and failures. We see ourselves in her, but she’s also completely unique in a way that sets her apart from the other great heroic characters we have on our bookshelves.
I want to point out that there are a lot of mention of Bree caring for her hair and I LOVED it. As a white reader, I am very aware that these references are not as meaningful to me as they may be to POC readers. However, I thought it was really important to an everyday aspect of a hero, as well as to represent natural Black hair in a fantasy book. I thought it was woven into the story in such an effortless way. I ALSO thought these mentions of hair offered more opportunities to show the aftermath of fights and adventures that we don’t always think about as readers. The heroes have to go home and wash the monster goo out of their hair–even if it’s not their shower day.
I’m not really a King Arthur buff. I thought the series by Megan Cabot was good enough and I thought the Disney movie was decent–or maybe I just really liked Gregg Sulkin. So, going into this book my knowledge is that of my preteen Cabot knowledge coupled with my Merlin television show knowledge. Deonn did a good job of bringing us into the Arthurian Lore. I still found some of it confusing, but I also think that’s part of what drew me into this magical system was that I had to actively participate to understand.
And the magical system was really cool. I will not be going into detail because no spoilers, but I it was interesting, engaging, and deadly. The stakes in this book were much higher than I realized and it was both betraying but made me realize that this book and this series is GOING places.
Deonn also covers really important issues of race, gender, mental health, grief, classism, and honestly probably so much more I might have missed. This isn’t a lighthearted fantasy. It’s funny, exciting, and maybe a little romantic, but it’s also dealing with the history America’s slavery and the present day ramifications.
Overall, I found Bree to be lovable, a somewhat unwilling hero–those tend to be my favorite–and a strong female lead who I foresee inspiring a lot of readers. If you haven’t already read this book, buy it or place a hold on it as soon as possible.