Title: The Guinevere Deception
Author: Kiersten White
Pub. Date: November 5, 2019
There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.
Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.
To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.
Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?
This will be a spoiler free review.
I’m still in a reading slump, so I don’t think I enjoyed this as much as I might’ve otherwise. But I also have kind of an iffy relationship with Kiersten White books. I think she’s a great writer, but her books don’t always click with me.
This book was also different that I expected it to be, but I’m not sure if that’s a positive or a negative. Reading and reviewing books while in a slump is a bit weird and a lot of the time, I feel non-committal and just meh about it all. So, if my reviews for the foreseeable future feel a little bland or are short, blame the slump.
While I ultimately did enjoy this book – more so the latter half – I do think that it requires a decent understanding and knowledge of Arthurian legend. There is a bit of back story, but as someone who knows a fair bit of the lore and mythology surrounding Arthur and Camelot, there were moments I felt really lost.
You really need to have an understanding – and more than a Disney/cartoon version.
But that being said, there were definite moments that shocked me, and the probably shouldn’t have since I do have some knowledge. Especially certain scenes that happen towards the end with a certain character. I should not have been surprised, and yet I was.
It did feel familiar enough to more traditional Arthurian Legend, but as always, Kiersten gave the story her own little unique twists that I ultimately really enjoyed. I thought the magic system was really interesting, and I think if I ever had to use it, it would suck. It’s amazing in the ingenuity and craft of it, but as a form of magic, it really would suck. Guinevere handles herself really well thought.
I have my suspicions about Guinevere and who she is…who her mother is. I’m definitely interested in reading the next books in the series for that alone. I really want to know if I’m right or not. I kind of liked the mystery behind her. Who she is, what her past is, I want to know it all. Kiersten hooked me on that alone. I liked Arthur and Brangien as well as the knights. I can’t wait to see what they all do in the next books. I’m glad certain asshole characters got what they deserved, and I feel bad for Guinevere towards the end.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The second half kept me more interested, and the characters felt fresh and original, while still feeling reminiscent of more traditional character roles. If you’re a fan of Arthurian Legend, BBC’s Merlin, or just good fantasy stories, you’ll definitely want to check this one out – out today!