Title: The Guinevere Deception
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Camelot Rising #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Camelot, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 18th May – 10th July 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
5th sentence, 74th page: “He might not be human.”
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 that 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, knotted 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?
I had thought that this would be a fairly easy read. One that I would just whisk through and enjoy without being totally floored. I was wrong. So completely and totally wrong. This story had surprise after surprise after surprise after… every page bought something new to light that I just wasn’t expecting. White managed to turn everything on its head. Repeatedly. Nothing was what I expected. And everything pulled me further into the world that White has so lovingly crafted as her own.
At first I loved the fact that Guinevere is the tough, powerful, magical being in this story. That she’s the one who is to protect Arthur and Camelot. As the story unfolded and things steadily got turned more and more on their head… I started to feel really, really sorry for her. There were so many revelations, difficulties and tragic moments throughout that my heart almost hurt at the end of this novel.
I love that there are a number of strong, independent women in this novel. And those who don’t fit that mould are barely mentioned. It’s nice to read a historical fiction / story of Camelot that doesn’t have women who, although strong are just falling in love and blindly following their menfolk. Rather, there are hints of love and companionship throughout, but nothing that deters Guinevere and her cohort from their chosen path. And, ultimately, when Guinevere is in trouble… it’s the women who ride to her rescue. Doesn’t exactly make me like Arthur all that much… but I’m hoping that in the next novel, he will redeem himself…
The men in this novel kind of drive me nuts. They’re stupid and tend to disregard the women who are by them. In particular, I found Arthur a little too quick to disregard Guinevere’s warnings and power. There may be a few reasons why that are revealed towards the end of the novel… but I still found him annoyingly high-handed and difficult.
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