THE CAMELOT BETRAYAL, by Kiersten White, Delacorte Press, Nov. 10, 2020, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
Kiersten White’s The Camelot Betrayal is the engrossing second book in her Camelot Rising trilogy.
Everything is as it should be in Camelot: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.
Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to the people around her — Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde; Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight; and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.
When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving — Camelot, or herself? —Synopsis provided by Delacorte Press
First things first: If you haven’t read The Guinevere Deception, stop. Find the book and read it.
The Camelot Betrayal continues to challenge Camelot mythology, looking at the legend through the eyes of Guinevere rather than Arthur. That flip of perspective changes everything. It modernizes the story in and of itself. Add in other “contemporary” elements like a female Lancelot and a same-sex love story, and it becomes an infinitely more relatable tale.
As with The Guinevere Deception, Arthur remains my least favorite character. He still comes across as kind of one note. Mordred plays a smaller role in The Camelot Betrayal, so he’s not as interesting, either.
It’s fair to say that women really move the action forward in The Camelot Betrayal. And, as is so often the case, a lot of what they are doing is behind-the-scenes. Between Guinevere, the Dark Queen, Lancelot, Brangien and a number of surprise characters, there’s a lot of action and drama that unfolds.
Author Kiersten White does an excellent job allowing the story to unfold at the pace required. It never feels as if she’s using people or things to propel the narrative forward.
Guinevere is an interesting character; in that she’s learning about her origins at the same time as readers. This adds to the overall ebbs and flows of tension throughout.
I can’t wait for the third book in this series.
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