Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (Camelot Rising #1)

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White // VBC Review

The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1)
Kiersten White
Published: Nov. 5, 2019 (Delcaorte Press)
Purchase at: Amazon
Review Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

After Arthur’s defeat of The Dark Queen magic in all forms was banished from Camelot. Meaning Merlin was banished from Camelot. However, this does not solve all problems as the wizard has foreseen the rise of evil once again.

So, Merlin sends in Guinevere who, in his stead, will wed Arthur and become his queen, in order to remain close to protect him and root out the evil brewing beneath Camelot’s surface.

But who really is this girl that Merlin has sent as savior? As Guinevere searches for the threats to Camelot, she’ll uncover more secrets hidden within, secrets that, if discovered, could mean the end to everything Arthur has built.

This is the second Arthurian legend retelling I’ve read this year. Although the two are wildly different in scope, I love the fact that Arthurian legend is so easily manipulated and molded. It’s a veritable treasure trove of varying accounts of this knight or that knight or this love or that love. In the hands of someone like Kiersten White, who is no stranger to retellings, it becomes a magical story about a girl finding her power, finding her voice.

I loved the idea of deception. Of who is being deceived and who is committing the deception. At first seemingly believing the deception lies with Guinevere who is magic in a magicless world. It’s easy to see and identify this deception, but as Kiersten White’s story unassumingly and slowly unfolds seeing the twists of other deceptions that Guinevere couldn’t even comprehend was a treat and just signals how tangled Arthurian Legend really is.

Probably the one thing that was difficult for me to reconcile with was the idea of how young everyone is. Guinevere is sixteen, Arthur eighteen yet there’s so much talk about his quests, battles and victories that have themselves already been turned into the things of legends. It’s hard to see an eighteen-year-old boy (young man) taking on this mantle, but I think it’s also a great way of showing how much pressure Arthur is under, the kingdom he’s built and responsible for, the tough decisions he will always have to make.

Struggles with identity is a common thread throughout the story, and something that I’m assuming will proceed in books to come. Guinevere holds the title of queen, but she doesn’t identify as a queen. She doesn’t know what her role is exactly besides the rather cryptic protector of Arthur. But protecting Arthur would also extend to protecting Camelot because they are basically one and the same. It’s an interesting quandary and I can’t wait to see how it continues to unfold.

Kiersten White applies this same theory to pretty much every other character in the story. If you’re familiar with anything Arthurian you know who all the players are, but I daresay you’ll be surprised and maybe even delighted with some of the twists thrown in and what they might mean down the road.

While the legend of Arthur undoubtedly has its romance, I was really happy that there was more focus placed on Guinevere herself. Guinevere does wonder at certain moments where her relationship with Arthur may eventually lead—by the end I think she hopes it turns into love—but there’s a lot less angst about the whole thing, and there’s still that undeniable base connection.

The Guinevere Deception is a really good introduction to an already familiar world that just so happens to pull out some unexpected surprises that keep the story fresh.

Sexual content: Kissing

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