Review: The Guinevere Deception (and an update)

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

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?

Hey hey, everyone!

First, quick housekeeping…Hope everyone is hanging in there. I, for one, have been reading very little, except for what I had to read for work. So, I don’t have anything terribly new or exciting to review. However, I did recently go to clean out some old, un-needed posts, and remembered how intense (aka, salty) Maddie of 2019 was. So, if you want some fun blast from the past reviews, check out Queen of Nothing, Capturing the Devil, Finale, or Again, But Better, reviews…which had me cracking up. But, obviously I laugh at my own jokes, lol.

Anyways! Onto the review. As many will know from this blog, I am a sucker for a good dark fantasy novel. I mean, I get fae, horse riding, and good old fashion goth angst all in one book? Sold. I am also a big fan of unique fantasy retellings. I mean, a King Arthur retelling isn’t anything especially exciting or new, but The Guinevere Deception still had a special flare going for it.

The story follows “Guinevere”, or a young girl who is sent in Guinevere’s place, to play the part of King Arthur’s bride. As we slowly find out, this girl is actually the daughter (though biological or not isn’t clear) of Merlin. In this version of Camelot, after Arthur has become king, magic (including Merlin) have been banned, despite Arthur’s personal preference. This leads to “Guinevere” being sent to protect him, and fill the role of queen.

Along with the fantasy elements, we have some very interesting relational plots happening. Guinevere is clearly feeling something towards Arthur, though the truth behind these feelings is muddled by a motivation to protect and serve him as king. We see her struggle with her needs as a person, and her duty to protect the king, one who is grossly uninterested in her as a person (despite his attempts otherwise). This comes particularly into play when another love interest arrives.

Okay, I know I always preach disdain for hormone driven, plot lacking love triangles, and traditionally I stand by that but…y’all also know I have a weakness for Darkling/Alina dynamics…so…I’m only human. (Which reminds me…omg I still haven’t read King of Scars D:).That being said, Mordred better turn his act around in the second book, I don’t want to be that person again who falls for the villain just because he looks good in black…heh.

Which is all to say… I did quite like Mordred (Arthur’s nephew), and he added an interesting, if somewhat predictable, element to the story. It was fun to see a King Arthur story where Arthur was, arguably, the most boring character in the story. He was very vanilla, especially in comparison to Guinevere, or even Lancelot… Like, no spoilers, but…this Lancelot is incredible. I digress.

The book was, kind of super slow. I chalk that up to world building, which is something that usually makes or breaks fantasy for me. However, I do think the slowness didn’t really take away from the book too much. It was much more “every day life in Camelot” slowness, versus meaningless action shots or whatnot. It added to the immersiveness for me in this case, and I believe it will be less of a problem in the second book.

All in all, this was a fun fantasy read, White really never disappoints with her retelling, soIam not surprised, and can’t wait to read the sequel!

3 out of 5.


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