Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (ARC)

Greetings and salutations fellow book based lifeforms! I come to you today with a post that’s quite different from my usual. Thanks to Hear Our Voices Tours for the chance to do this post for you all! Legendborn is a book featuring a powerful Black lead character, magic, and Arthurian legend. There are a lot of central themes in this book, and I’m gonna do a rec-a-reads (and watch) based off some of them!

Image features Legendborn ARC against brown background with silver and black dagger & scabbard in foreground supported by wooden disk. Acorns and coins are in foreground. Entire photo is staged on wicker breakfast tray.
Image courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

The main plot of Legendborn is set around the Legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. If you’re looking for more things like this, you may want to check out…

BBC’s Merlin
This one is pretty obvious. The show focuses on the titular Merlin, who serves the Prince Arthur Pendragon and will eventually rise to become his sorcerer. Colin Morgan stars as Merlin with a supporting cast featuring a young Katie McGrath (Supergirl, Jurassic World) as Morgana. This show is available on Netflix and is one of my favorites to watch when I want something familiar but interesting.

The Camelot Rising series
Written by Kiersten White, author of The Dark Decent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, The Camelot Rising series of books feature the common Arthurian players but with a twist: Guinevere isn’t just the love interest on the sidelines this time, she’s the MC and the heroine of the story! The first novel: The Guinevere Deception released in November 2019, with book #2 expected in November of 2020.

Once & Future
Released in March of 2019 by the dynamic writing duo of Ami Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy, the Once duology takes a look at the myth of Arthur through a gender-bent lens with a Merlin who’s aged backward to help guide Alix to saving Camelot.

Secret Societies
A big part of this book is a secret society that Bree finds herself drawn to and yet wanting to flee. Here are some other things that feature secret societies…

The Order
This show is on Netflix (season 2 just dropped a month or so ago) and revolves around a boy who’s off to college and hoping to be tapped to join one of the oldest secret societies on campus. Featuring witches and hidden lineages, this show is great to quench your dark academia fantasy thirst.

Dead Girls Society
This mystery novel released in 2018 and features a group of girls who all receive the same anonymous letter daring them to do things in exchange for what they want: money, prestige, and life-saving medication.

BONUS: The Magicians
I absolutely love this show. The first 4 seasons are up on Netflix. Based off the book series by Lev Grossman, the MC Quintin is drawn into the secret world of Breakbills University. He and his friends — who are sometimes his enemies — must team up and stop the Great Blank Spot from happening.

Magic Hidden in the Real World
Though the book is set in the real world at UNC Chapel Hill, there is a bit of magic hidden on campus. Here are a few books that sort of do the same…

Charlie Bone
I absolutely loved these books as a little! Jenny Nimmo writes about Charlie Bone, a regular kid who discovers he has the magical ability to hear people through photographs and portraits. His cruel grandmother and her sisters send him to Bloor’s Academy to be educated about how best to harness these powers. This is a complete series of 4+ books (I think there are actually 7 or 8) that will keep you occupied and entertained for a good while.

The Spiderwick Chronicles
These books are another favorite from my childhood. They’re super short and sweet and one could totally power through like 5 of them in an hour. The first book (and maybe parts of the second) have been adapted into a movie featuring a very young (practically a baby) Freddie Highmore (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Bates Motel, The Good Doctor) as the twin boys Simon and Jared. Fun fact: these were co-written by an author that I’m sure many of you have on your fave 5 list: Holly Black (Folk of the Air trilogy).

Written by Brandon Mull with more of a middle grade/early young adult audience in mind, I enjoyed the Fablehaven books as a kid too. The story revolves around Kendra & Seth who go to visit their grandparents only to discover that Grandpa is missing and that Fablehaven (the grandparent’s house and grounds) is actually a nature reserve of sorts for fairies and witches and other fantastical things! The series was so popular and successful, Mull has written a sequel to the original storyline of 5 books.

Competing for the title of Squire to the coveted Line of Arthur is a main plot point in Legendborn. Though some are born in to the world of the Legendborn, some, like Bree have stumbled upon it and have to fight twice as hard for a seat at the table.

Tiny Pretty Things
This duology features characters at a prestigious ballet academy that are all fighting for the title of principle dancer. Written by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles) and Sona Charaipotra (Symptoms of a Heartbreak), this book is soon to be adapted into a series for Netflix. I will most definitely be tuning in!

This series is set in futuristic world where people can’t die…but they can be gleaned. When a spot opens for a new Junior Scythe, Citra and Rowan are pitted against each other for the position and, more importantly, the lifelong protection of their families. Neal Shusterman writes a fun world about morality, the power of AI, and the power of following one’s heart about what they believe to be right.

Scarlett has always dreamt of running away to Legend’s circus experience called Caraval. She never thought she’d actually get to go when she receives an invitation that she can’t refuse: her little sister Donatella has been taken and Scar is the only one who can save her. Written by Stephanie Garber, this trilogy is one of my favorites when I want to slip into a fantasy!

The Hunger Games
Katniss. Gale. Peeta. The Capitol. The vicious fights around the cornucopias…’nuff said. Suzanne Collins knew what she was doing with these.

The final theme I’m going to touch on is #BGM. In these times, especially, it is important for young readers to be able to see someone like them on the page. I’ve got a whole list of fantasy books written by Black authors featuring some amazing Black kids…

Raybearer by Jordan Ifewko
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Rosanne A. Brown
You Should See me in a Crown (double points: both Crown & Legendborn feature LGBTQ+ MCs) by Leah Johnson
Slay by Brittney Morris
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Shuri by Nic Stone
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

That was certainly a lot to process,and a lot for me to unpack but if you’ve stuck it out this long and Legendborn seems like your type of book (and honestly, there’s something for everybody in it), run, don’t walk, to your favorite bookseller of choice and purchase 2 copies: one for you, and one for a friend because you’re surely going to be shoving this at everyone once you’re done.

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster for sending me a finished copy of this book a few weeks ahead of its release for me to read and review! Legendborn is Tracy Deonn’s debut novel and was released on September 15th from Margaret K. McElderry books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. For more on Tracy and what she’s up to, visit tracydeonn.com.

Published by stacialovestoread

I’m a firsttime blogger and a lifelong reader. Join my journey here, and on my bookstagram @stacialovestoread!

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