Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn is an awe-inspiring young adult fantasy novel inspired by the legend of King Arthur. 

Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

Bloodmarked is the powerful sequel to Tracy Deonn’s New York Times bestselling novel Legendborn. Here, Deonn builds upon her incredible debut, expanding what we see of the Order and the magic system at play. All Bree wanted was to uncover the truth about her mother’s mysterious death. So, she infiltrated the Legendborn Order, a secret society descended from King Arthur’s knights - only to discover she holds her own ancestral power. But the war between the demons and the Order is worsening, and Nick, Bree’s Legendborn sweetheart, is missing. The Regents who rule over the Order are doing whatever it takes to hide the war and Nick’s disappearance, so Bree and her friends must rescue Nick themselves. But Bree’s own powers are unpredictable at best, and she is struggling to resist her growing attraction to Selwyn, a mage appointed to protect Nick until death. 

Deonn proved herself a masterful writer with her novel Legendborn. Bloodmarked only proves this further. Here, Deonn’s world-building becomes even more complex. The magical world Deonn has created is completely mesmerising, as is her meticulous attention to detail. The magic system and various kinds of magical beings and their powers are all incredibly well developed - this is especially impressive considering Bloodmarked is a young adult novel. But it is not just Deonn’s world-building that is intricately detailed but her characters too. The whole cast of characters in Bloodmarked are fantastically well-developed and realistic. It was particularly interesting here to see the attention Deonn gives to Bree’s character and her warring emotions. Not only did we witness Bree’s struggle to understand and control her magic, but her tumultuous and confused feelings towards Nick and Selwyn too. 

Moreover, it is wonderful to see how Deonn has taken a modern fantasy series and put upon it a historical twist. Interweaving the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table adds a unique element to the series that rivals that of any other fantasy novel. But, even greater than this is Deonn’s inclusion of the history of slavery in her series. Bree is Arthur’s ancestor because a descendant of his owned and raped one of Bree’s enslaved ancestors. It was great to see how Deonn builds upon this in Bloodmarked, bringing together the collective spirits of Bree’s previously enslaved ancestors to help and protect her. In this way, Deonn also claims back the authority of the enslaved, endowing them with power. This links to the way in which Deonn brings in slavery here to explore racism in today’s society too. In Bloodmarked, we discover that the true evils in this world are not the demons and hellhounds that Bree and her friends fight but instead the systemic racism that permeates the lives of young Black girls. On one occasion, for example, Bree is denied use of the bathroom at a gas station because of her skin colour, whilst her white friend William is not. In this way, Bloodmarked becomes much more than a just fantasy novel - it is multilayered and meaningful. 

All in all, Bloodmarked marks a fantastic continuation of the Legendborn series. Book number three is much anticipated!

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