Review: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn


My first 5 ⭐ read of 2021 (finally)!

If you haven’t already heard about Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn, it follows sixteen-year-old Bree, who is accepted into an early program at UNC Chapel Hill, alongside her best friend, Alice. Still healing from the recent death of her mother, Bree finds herself thrown into a secret world of magic and demons, amongst the descendants of King Arthur who call themselves “Legendborn.” 

Before reading this, I kept reading spoiler-free reviews that said, “I’ve never been interested in the legend of King Arthur and the Roundtable, but I loved this book!” And I can now say that I wholeheartedly agree.

So many important themes are packed into this book. Deonn tackles racism, slavery and colonization, love and family, loss, healing, grief, and trauma, as well as the pressure of college.

I found the main characters to be well-rounded and likeable. Bree is a great main character with a lot of agency despite the world around her, and the first person POV worked well for her story. I have to say, I liked Nick, Bree’s Legendborn love interest, better in the beginning than by the end, but I have a feeling his character is going to evolve in the sequel. I also enjoyed getting to know Sel’s morally grey character and backstory. 

The one con about this book is that the Legendborn world was a little tricky to understand, though if I’m being honest, it was so much easier for me to understand than Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. That being said, there were a lot of info dumps, and it made it worse that I read the Kindle version, so I couldn’t just flip back to re-read sections in order to get a better understanding of the world. However, this didn’t deter me from loving the story! 

I also thought that Deonn could’ve easily made Bree eighteen years old, especially since the story already takes place on a college campus, and it would’ve made the story (not to mention the love interests) make more sense; however, I understand the publishing market prefers sixteen year olds.

I’m looking forward to the sequel!

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I adored the first couple of chapters. The way Schwab sets up this alternate reality world, and sucks you in by flashing forward, is brilliant. 

Here’s a synopsis: Victor and Eli start out as college roommates. As seniors, Eli comes up with an idea of working on EO’s for his thesis. EO stands for ExtraOrdinary, a kind of fabled superhero that might or might not exist. This leads both Victor and Eli down very dark, disturbing, dare I say “vicious” and “villainous” paths.

On Goodreads, the world is described as “a gritty comic-book-style world,” which is completely accurate. Schwab’s worldbuilding is one of her strengths; even Lockland University is very grounded, and feels very concrete and interesting. 

I really enjoyed Victor’s love for blackout poetry. It just made him that much more interesting, especially since he always used his parents’ books. And my favorite characters are, of course, Sydney and Mitch. 

The book isn’t linear; it jumps back in forth in time, from 10 years ago to Victor and Eli in college to ten years in the future, after Victor breaks out of jail. In the beginning, this time jump felt clunky, and I was annoyed with it because it was a bit of a chore. However, it did start to flow better and work better about halfway through the book.

My biggest issue with the book was Eli’s character. Victor’s downwards descent was believable, from the many hints we get in the beginning that he has a darkness lurking in him. But Eli’s is a little too sudden, and we don’t really get a build up to him becoming a mass-murderer. I think his faith and “chosen by God” storyline was a little too…on the nose? It was a little too something. I feel like I wanted more depth to him.

There also is definitely a heavy trigger warning attached to this book, for suicide, death, violence…I almost stopped reading it near the beginning because, for a while, the whole book focuses heavily on near-death experiences, and it was a little too heavy, even for me, who enjoys dark storylines. But this is a book about villains, after all, or “anti-heroes.” 

Overall, the writing, worldbuilding, and the frame of the beginning and ending of the book were well done, and I enjoyed the story as a whole. I think the sequel has a lot of potential.

VERDICT: 4 stars 


Alexis’ June Library Haul

Alexis: About a month ago, I requested three books from the library, and of course they all came around the same time!

  1. Nocturna by Maya Motayne
  2. The Editor by Steven Rowley
  3. The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister

I already started Nocturna, and I can’t wait to read the other two!

On a different note, what’s your favorite Starbucks drink? I usually go for a matcha latte with almond milk, but the espresso machine was down, so I settled for a green tea frappuccino.

Check out the books below!

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit