Book Review of Legendborn
The Children’s Book Review
Written by Tracy Deonn
Ages: 16+ | 512 Pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books | ISBN-13: 9781534441606
What to Expect: Magic, Racism, Arthurian Legend, Black History, Black Womanhood
Legendborn is a powerful, gripping fantasy that resituates Arthurian legend within the context of US race relations and the legacy of slavery.
Bree wants nothing more than to attend UNC’s Early College Program. However, her world is shattered when her mother dies in a car accident on the same day she tries to forbid her daughter from enrolling. Flooded with guilt and anger, Bree attends anyway, but things are not as positive as she expected them to be. It seems that UNC’s campus holds some dark secrets – secrets that include magic, an ages-old secret society, demons, and a bitter legacy of slavery and racism.
Worse still, Bree discovers she can’t keep her head down and persevere because it seems her family history is deeply entangled in these secrets—and her mother’s death might have been too. Soon, Bree finds herself torn between two cultures, two very different forms of magic, and two opposing destinies—when all she really wants is the truth. Bree is a strong, sympathetic, and utterly compelling heroine. Through her eyes, readers are invited to look hard at some ugly truths about racism in contemporary society and its impact on everything from education and identity to myth and spirituality.
On the surface, this is an utterly engrossing story about battling evil, fighting demons, and controlling magic, but below the surface, it is a story about what it means to be a Black woman in a society that has not yet let go of its expectations for Black women. There is some challenging material here, made more so by how the story draws readers into Bree’s emotions and perspectives. However, the challenge is well worth engaging in, both for the superb storytelling and the thought-provoking subtext.
Legendborn is a story no fantasy fan should miss.
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About the Author
Tracy is a champion for diversity and representation in science-fiction and fantasy literature and media. And when Tracy’s mother told her that the women in their family were Black Bene Gesserits, she believed her. Tracy successfully persuaded her Master’s committee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to allow her to write both her thesis paper and a fully-produced, award-winning play about Superman, West African myths, and secret identities.
After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication and performance studies from UNC, Tracy worked in live theater, video game production, and K–12 education. As an instructor, Tracy taught theater to middle and undergraduate students and creative and academic writing at the university level. When she’s not writing, Tracy speaks on panels at science fiction and fantasy conventions, reads fanfic, arranges puppy playdates, and keeps an eye out for ginger-flavored everything.
For more information, visit her website: https://www.tracydeonn.com/
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