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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fantasy meant to entertain.
Working and training hard will make you stronger and better. Even an individual sport like tennis can take teamwork to prepare mentally and physically, and to make sure you have the right equipment. Some muddled messages are positive but a little hard to follow about where anger comes from and using positive emotions to help channel negative ones in a positive way.
Positive Role Models
Legacy is a great role model for putting in the hard work training, taking risks to help others, thinking creatively, and being loyal and supportive of family and friends. She takes good care of the kids at the orphanage, loves them like family, and works hard to make sure they have as much as she can give them. She does disobey her father and run away, and breaks some rules at the palace training center, but her motives come from a desire to help others. Family and friends are loyal and supportive. Most adults at the palace are mysterious or hard to understand. Lots of positive representations of a wide range of skin colors without making race an issue in itself.
Violence & Scariness
Some scariness from a dark, spooky forest with a fantasy element that mentions a drop of blood and a moan of pain. Peril from a fire-breathing fantasy creature and pain from burns mentioned. A teen briefly remembers being branded as a child and the smell of burning flesh, no other details described.
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Occasional name calling, sometimes affectionately, like "idiot."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An adult drinks many times an unspecified liquid in a flask and acts slightly drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Legacy and the Queen is the first of a planned fantasy series created by retired NBA star Kobe Bryant (The Wizenard Series): It's about a girl named Legacy, from the provinces, who goes to the royal tennis academy in the palace to train for a tournament. If she wins, she'll be able to save the orphanage her father runs back home. There's some mild scariness from fantasy creatures and spooky atmospheres and a past trauma briefly remembered; rare name calling is sometimes affectionate, otherwise there's no strong language; there's no romance; one adult acts slightly drunk. Lots of positive representations of a wide variety of skin colors, and positive messages about working hard, training, teamwork, and channeling emotions in a positive way.
Is It Any Good?
This fantasy series created by Kobe Bryant is off to a pretty solid start as it intriguingly mixes fantasy, magic, dystopia, and tennis with a strong, determined heroine. Author Annie Matthew does very well at creating a world that's easy to picture in your mind while keeping the story of Legacy and the Queen moving right along. Big kids and tweens will admire Legacy's determination and relate to her struggles to understand and manage some strong emotions. More experienced readers will see some of the plot twists coming, or at least suspect what's likely to happen, but not so much that they won't enjoy immersing themselves in the magical story.
Not nearly as charming as Harry Potter, or nearly as intense as The Hunger Games, it still works as an interesting mash-up of a lot of elements from both. The open ending leaves room for more of everything, and fantasy fans will want to find out what happens next.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.