First Impressions of Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

For months, social media has buzzed about the novel Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. I finally got around to giving it a read; my timing aligned well, as February was Black History Month.

Though I have yet to complete the book, I have enough to form a first impression of what I have read so far.

The story begins with an introduction to Bree, the main protagonist, and her father in the hospital finding out about the mother’s death. Then it progresses to Bree moving into her dorm at UNC— “a residential program for bright high schoolers” that initially seems like the perfect escape as she attends a party at the quarry with her best friend and dormmate, Alice. While at the quarry, Bree is separated from her friends and comes across a flying demon that feeds on human energy.

A Merlin, who is a teenage sage named Sel, attempts to wipe her memory, but she still remembers what happened.

The party is soon broken up by the police, who then escort Bree and Alice back to campus in a police car. This particular scene was hard to read as the police were racist towards them, making degrading comments about their skin color. This theme continues throughout the book where Deonn shows the reader what it’s like to be a Black girl and to be judged based on her skin color. Showcasing this dynamic could hopefully help others see what people of color go through.

Bree then meets Nick when she gets back to campus and is assigned a mentor. She tries to avoid him, but he ends up finding her. While walking and talking with Nick, she notices a strange light. She runs towards it, and this shocks Nick since only Legendborns have this gift of sight.

Without giving much more away, Bree and Nick team up to help Bree understand the Legendborn secret society and to find out about what really happened when her mother died.

I found myself struggling to put this book down. If you choose to read this book, make sure to set extra time aside during your schedule to read; you should not start it late at night since you definitely won’t be able to put it down.

Deonn has a beautiful writing style and makes the magic in this story feel real. The way she describes scenes and locations makes me feel like I am in the story myself, and the book’s pace moves along nicely without feeling like it is moving too slow or fast.

Additionally, the book is mostly plot driven thus far. There are also character developments, but I feel they are not as strong compared to plot development.

For example, Bree is selfish when forcing Nick to help her, but she is also highly motivated and strong.

Although I admire Bree’s ability to stand up for herself, it makes me a little upset at how selfish she can be. I am hoping to see a development of her character to think of those around her more before acting.
If you are a fan of young adult fantasy with magical elements, secret societies, and known legends with a twist, this book is the right fit for you.