Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Synopsis: 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 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 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 defeat 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?
*THE FIRST BOOK IN THE CAMELOT RISING TRILOGY*
Isn’t that a lovely cover? I’m leading with something positive because for the second time this year an Arthurian retelling has left me underwhelmed. And this time it’s by Kiersten White who so brilliantly gender-reversed Vlad the Impaler in her The Conquerors Saga trilogy, which I LOVED! Unfortunately, in The Guinevere Deception, the first book in White’s Camelot Rising trilogy, Guinevere isn’t nearly as interesting as I expected, especially given the premise. She spends much of the book in confusion and indecision which grew quite wearisome after a while. And the saint-like Arthur depicted here, left me wondering how on earth he managed to inspire the devotion of so many, because while his ideals were as admirable as they are in any other retelling, his personality suffered from a dearth of charisma. In fact, none of the characters broke free of the one-dimensional mold they came from. There is an interesting twist with Lancelot, but it’s not fully developed, at least not by the end of this first book.
The story itself is filled with politics, which is unsurprising, however it doesn’t add enough to the promising world building, and it slows the pace down to a tortoise-like crawl for a majority of the story. The action does pick up near the latter half though, and the ending leaves me hopeful for the next book.
While The Guinevere Deception left me disappointed, this is the first book by Kiersten White that has let me down. It probably seems like I hated it, but I didn’t. There’s some welcome diversity and the twists on the Arthurian legend are creative and original. The actual story and characters just never quite lived up to the imaginative premise and after reading White’s previous books, I expect more. There are readers who enjoyed this, so as usual I encourage you to read some of the reviews on Goodreads. As for me, even though this wasn’t a win for me, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that White returns to fighting form in the sequel.