After her mother dies in a car accident, 16-year-old Bree Matthews enters an Early College program at UNC-Chapel Hill. During her first night on campus, she witnesses a demon attack — one that she shouldn’t be able to see. When a mage’s attempt to erase her memory backfires, her own magical powers are awakened and she uncovers an erased memory from the night of her mother’s death. With the help of her peer mentor, Nick, Bree infiltrates the Order of the Round Table, a secret organization consisting of descendants of King Arthur and his knights, as she believes they may have something to do with her mother’s death. When Bree discovers that a war is on the horizon, she must decide what role she wants to play in this dangerous endeavor and how far she will go for the truth.
This Arthurian retelling was outstanding. The plot was intriguing, the magic system was well-developed, and the story moved along at just the right pace to keep me on the edge of my seat. I loved the diversity in the characters as well — Bree is a person of color, and many side characters identify as LGBTQ+. Furthermore, the novel tackles topics that aren’t the easiest to discuss, such as institutionalized racism, slavery, and intergenerational trauma. Deonn integrates these topics in a way that is real and sparks emotion, which makes the novel even more remarkable.