BAYA Book Review

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

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Deonn, Tracy. Legendborn. Margaret McEldererry Books (Simon & Schuster), 2020. 501p. ISBN: 9781534441606. $18.99. MS, HS, OT *****

Centuries ago, King Arthur and his Knights tied their consciousness to the bloodlines of their descendants — to continue their battle against demons that seek to break into our world and feed on human energies.

For generations, the “Legendborn” have worked in secret, curating the bloodlines through which King Arthur and his Knights will manifest when need arises.

Into the world of this secret society, comes 16-year-old Bree Matthews. She’s been awarded a residential scholarship to a program for bright high-schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill. Bree views it as an opportunity to escape from the painful memory of her mother’s death five months ago. During her first night on campus, Bree witnesses a demon attack. A “Legendborn” mage tries to erase her memory but unlocks a memory instead, of something that happened at the hospital on the night Bree’s mother died.

Now Bree is determined to discover what exactly the “Legendborn” had to do with her mother’s death. Bree’s quest for the truth leads her to infiltrate the “Legendborn” at UNC-Chapel Hill. Bree also discovers a magical tradition passed down to Bree through the women of her family, a tradition that had its origin in the desperate flight of Bree’s ancestor’s  escape from chattel slavery.

Legendborn author, Tracy Deonn, is the 2021 winner of the Coretta Scott King / John Steptoe Award for New Talent. Very deservedly so; this is an exciting fantasy, which offers a compelling new perspective on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table while grounding itself in timeless human emotions like grief and coping with tragedy. 

–Cynthia M. Parkhill, Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts
Tags: Coming of age, Diverse, Fantasy, Mental health, People of color, Supernatural, Grief and trauma,  Folk tradition, King Arthur

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