eARC Review – Legendborn

Title: Legendborn (Legendborn #1)

Author: Tracy Deon

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 15th, 2020

512 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage 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 with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

Review

Meet Bree, a 16 year old girl from rural North Carolina. Her mother just tragically died in a car accident, and she is headed to UNC for an Early College program. Her first night there, she heads to a party off campus and encounters something strange… magic. She’s busted for being off campus and has a mentor assigned to her. Nick, a 2nd year EC student, is with her when she experiences magic, and a magical being for the second time. Not only is he not surprised at this, he fights it off and leaves Bree very confused. Enter the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. In a whirlwind, Bree is brought into a secret society and starts to learn magic, as she comes to believe her mother’s death was NOT an accident. But the fact that she knows anything about magic is dangerous, because she is different and has separate abilities. Her Southern Black Girl Magic threatens the White Boy’s Club that is the Order, and Bree must fight for her life.

WOW oh WOW. I loved this book so much! Hands down, Legendborn will be in my top five for the year. Everything about this book pulled me in and kept me captivated until the very end. I am absolutely obsessed. The writing is superb, the characters are interesting, insightful, and dynamic, and the plot is action packed and filled with plot twists and shocking moments. I adored the romance and would have even loved more of it. Bree’s struggle with racism from the Order, the school, and police along the way was so well written, and Bree was really given a strong voice to push back against the rhetoric.

The magic system is very complex and there is a lot of information about the Order given, which can be hard to grasp. It isn’t info-dumped, it’s sprinkled in along the way and it was like creating a word map throughout the story for all the different elements. More information was introduced through to the very end, so if you prefer books with a carefully laid out magic system and world-building in the beginning, this may not be the book for you.

With a splash of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters and a sprinkle of ACOTAR, Tracy Deonn has created a rich world not too different from our own, but one where demons exist and the past needs to be told from all perspectives in order to be understood. Legendborn is a retelling involving a secret school society and black girl magic in a part of the world that is still working towards anti-racism.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Recommended for You

Title: Recommended For You

Author: Laura Silverman

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 1st, 2020

272 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape.

When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan.

Jake is an affront to everything Shoshanna stands for. He doesn’t even read! But somehow his sales start to rival hers. Jake may be cute (really cute), and he may be an eligible Jewish single (hard to find south of Atlanta), but he’s also the enemy, and Shoshanna is ready to take him down.

But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects…

Review

Recommended for You is a short, cute YA Contemporary with a hint of adorable romance, and all the book loving vibes! Shoshanna works at a book store in the mall, and it’s Christmastime so it is very busy. She gets a new coworker, Jake, who gasp DOESN’T READ! They don’t exactly hit it off right away, so they are instant rivals. When the book store owner announces a contest to see who can make the most sales, Shoshanna is sure she will win. But Jake is sneaky good at sales, so she has her work cut out for her…

I’m serious when I say this book is super cute. I loved that the main characters were Jewish, it’s not something you see in books often but really should be represented more. It was pretty short, less than 300 pages, but didn’t FEEL short. Like sometimes short books can see underdeveloped, or too quickly paced, but I felt like this book did a lot with a little. The pacing and flow was spot on, and it covered a good few weeks worth of time.

In terms of the characters, I like Jake more than Shoshanna. Shoshanna is a bit… much. She’s uber perky and bubbly, but it’s almost unrealistic with just how happy and optimistic she is, all the time. Or maybe I just can’t imagine being that happy! It’s certainly a bone of contention with Jake, because he initially interprets it as immaturity (they are 16). But Jake. Now Jake is that brooding, hot guy who is quiet and snarky, which is just a type of character I love reading about. But then you learn his backstory and it rounds him out so. well. BUT, I desperately wanted his POV. I would’ve adored to hear his snarky remarks in his head to Shoshanna and her perkiness, so I did feel like it was missing that opportunity.

Overall, a well done and interesting read, very quick and reminiscent of Jenn Bennett. I recommend if you’re looking for Jewish MC, a quick read, or a good rivals love story.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!