The day Bree gets accepted into an early college placement at UNC, is the day her mother dies. The last words they spoke were of anger. Unable to deal with her dad’s grief on top of her own, Bree goes ahead with the placement. Once on campus she witnesses something she shouldn’t and Selwyn tries to take her memory of the incident away, but his mesmer does not stick. As she comes to terms with a world of magic, she must also learn about her ancestors, the women she never had a chance to know.

Demons. Aether. Knights. Homework. A boy who makes me feel fuzzy.

Legendborn was just amazing. Honestly, it was a bit of a random pick as I’d seen it in the Goodreads Choice Awards and then it popped up as an ebook deal, and I though what the hell, I’ll give it a go. I haven’t actually been that impressed with YA fantasy recently so I went in with low expectations, which turned into me being stuck to the book for three consecutive evenings.

The concept is inspired by the myths of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I don’t really want to give too much away because the secrets unfurl as Brees gets deeper into the secret society. It has the right mix of away from home for first time experience and monsters from another dimension, plus secret societies and hot boys. But it also has a more serious side, looking at generational harm caused by slavery and ongoing systemic racism. The society’s obession with lineage, traced back millennia is in sharp contrast to Bree who didn’t even know her grandmother and has no idea of the magic that flows through her family.

To be able to trace one’s family back that far is something I have never fathomed. My family only knows back to the generation after Emancipation. Suddenly, it’s hard to stand here and take in the magnificence of the Wall and not feel an undeniable sense of ignorance and inadequacy. Then, a rush of frustration because someone probably wanted to record it all, but who could have written down my family’s history as far back as this? Who would have been able to, been taught to, been allowed to? Where is our Wall? A Wall that doesn’t make me feel lost, but found.

After Bree gets in trouble by going to an off-campus party, she’s assigned a mentor, Nick, who then has to save her from hellhounds and mistakes her for a page, whatever they are. Bree isn’t meant to even be able to see hellhounds, and the other magic users seem determined to keep Bree out of their club. In their world, people like Bree are there to serve dinner, not fight their battles or gain the privileges of membership.

I loved the characters. Some of the society is welcoming to Bree and she finds friendship there. Selwyn is intent on keeping Nick safe, it’s his job and his animosity has justification, even though to Bree he is just making assumptions of her. Then there are those who are quite obviously racist bigots (there’s a non-binary character who also feels out of place but has the benefit of family ties).

Everything has two histories. Especially in the South.

It’s long enough to feel like a whole season arc, many writers may have tried to string the story out over a couple of books this felt so satisfying. Of course it ends with plenty more potential for other books and it is the start of a series. I can’t wait to see where the story and charcters go in the future.

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