Audiobook Review: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary

Publishing Info: Audiobook by Simon & Schuster Audio UK, narrated by Joniece Abbott-Pratt

Star Rating: 5/5

Back Cover Summary:

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants to escape. A residential programme for bright high-schoolers seems like the perfect opportunity – until she witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus….

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so-called ‘Legendborn’ that hunt the creatures down.

A mysterious 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 about her mother. Now Bree will do whatever it takes to discover the truth, even infiltrate the Legendborn. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and foretell a magical war, Bree must decide how far she’ll go for the truth. Should she use her magic to take the society down – or join the fight?

After seeing so many good reviews for this book, I had high hopes. From the first few chapters, I knew I was going to love Legendborn and that it might well become a favourite. And it has. It’s been a long time since I loved a book as much as I loved this one. It truly blew me away.

I was drawn in from the very beginning and was totally glued to the book all the way through. Time didn’t exist. I would just disappear into the audio and emerge a while later not having realised how much time had passed. Something that is incredibly rare for me. I felt so immersed in the story and didn’t want to stop listening. The narration from Joniece Abbott-Pratt was perfect and brought so much emotion and depth to the telling of the story.

Legendborn draws on the King Arthur legend, though isn’t exactly a retelling. The characters in the secret society that Bree finds herself part of are descendants of King Arthur’s knights. I love Arthurian legend and really enjoyed how Tracy Deonn used King Arthur’s legacy to create a story different from any other King Arthur retelling or interpretation I’ve come across.

Although there are some familiar YA tropes present, the way they were written felt really fresh. I do love YA, but the tropes can sometimes make me roll my eyes or groan internally. I didn’t feel that way with this book at all. It actually reminded me what I love about YA. The romance has chemistry and there is a love triangle of sorts which isn’t an in-your-face love triangle, it’s more subtle, and I actually loved it.

As well as romance, friendship is also really important in this book. Both Bree’s long-time friendship with her best friend Alice and the new friendships she makes. There are quite a lot of side characters but they all had individual personalities and I became quite attached to the whole group.

Grief and trauma are significant themes of Legendborn, and Tracy Deonn showed Bree’s struggles with this so well. I found it emotional to read, and the character development was excellent as we see Bree grow. 

Tracy Deonn also talks about racism and slavery, both the history of it and the impact of that history and ongoing racism on the lives of present-day Black Americans, weaving these themes into the fantasy world she has created in a way that highlights the issues in the real world.

Everything in this book just comes together so well. The plot, characters, pacing, the writing, all of it was excellent. There aren’t any weak points for me. It’s all excellent. Which I think is what made it an instant 5 stars for me, because every aspect is done so well and it all flows and works together.  

Legendborn is a spectacular debut and a brilliant start to this series. I will absolutely be reading the sequel, Bloodmarked. I can’t recommend this highly enough, and if you haven’t read it yet, get yourself a copy of this book! 

3 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

  1. Wonderful review. I am in the same situation, I have seen and read so many wonderful reviews, that I want to read and/or listen to this one.

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