THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION, By Kiersten White, Delacorte Press, Nov. 5, 2019, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
I knew going into The Guinevere Deception that I would probably like it. I am a fan of Kiersten White, so it wasn’t a big leap. What I didn’t know was how much I would love her book that puts Guinevere at the center of the Camelot legend.
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. —Synopsis provided by Delacorte Press
The Guinevere Deception is the first book in White’s Camelot Rising trilogy. The next book, The Camelot Betrayal, is slated for a November 2020 release.
Author Kiersten White is no stranger to trilogies (And I Darken and Paranormalcy are both well-regarded trilogies). As such, she’s seasoned when it comes to pacing. I was particularly appreciative of her conclusion, which felt like one, rather than just a stepping stone to the next book.
Much like she did in The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, White tells the story of Camelot through a different lens. Instead of feeling like a prop moved here and there out of necessity, Guinevere is multifaceted. She’s flawed. She’s magic. She’s human. The story is infinitely better for it. The same can also be said for Mordred.
Merlin does come across a bit ambiguous. It’s clear there’s more to his story, and I have a feeling that will be fleshed out in future books. Arthur — the ultimate good guy — ended up being my least favorite character. For someone who has accomplished so much in a short time, he’s completely obtuse when it comes to Guinevere.
The Guinevere Deception is full of lush narrative that readers will immediately find both familiar and unfamiliar. White takes her time, letting the story unfold at its own pace rather than rushing from scene to scene. I look forward to where White takes this story.
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