Series: Camelot Rising #1
Published by Delacorte Press on November 5, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
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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?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I don’t love the usual version of Camelot, where Guinevere marries an older Arthur, has an affair with Lancelot, and is banished. Not my fave. I’m thrilled to say that is NOT how this book turned out.
First of all, Arthur is 19. He’s pure, wholesome, beloved by all, and he is MAGIC. Oh, not literal magic. But the way he is written is almost too beautiful and wonderful to be true. Except of course, that he is torn between falling in love with his wife, Guinevere, and his undying loyalty to his people. This was a love triangle I could live with though, and Arthur was just so dang likable through and through.
Guinevere, who is not Guinevere, was an interesting character. She’s shrouded in mystery, even to herself for most of the book, so it was interesting to watch her learn more about herself. She is actually magical, and is working to secure Camelot from magical attack, but since magic is illegal in Camelot, she has to be very careful.
Guinevere came across as naive and kinda of stupid some of the time though. She was rash and a bit exhausting to me. I was disappointed that she and Arthur didn’t have more scenes together, but I think that was part of the point. Guinevere felt a bit abandoned by Arthur at times, so White was creating that same feeling for the reader.
And then there was Mordred. At first I liked Mordred. Then I was annoyed by him. Then I was happy with where his character ended up.
But there were very fun side characters, like Brangien. Brangien! Guinevere’s steadfast and SASSY lady-in-waiting. She’s a star. She was ready for every situation with a zinger and an eye roll.
I sort of wish we had seen more of Merlin – he is certainly vital to the story – but we only got glimpses, and lots of stories about him from other people. I was glad Arthur talked about him so warmly. I always love their friendship. I hope we get to see them reunited in the future.
I’m only giving the Guinevere Deception four stars because, while in the end I enjoyed it immensely, it started out pretty slow for me. I anticipate the second book leaning more towards 5 stars, as I expect to see more Arthur and Guinevere scenes, and more magical battles, but we’ll just have to wait and see! Definitely pick this one up though if you’re a fan of retellings, Arthurian legend, or just some good old fashioned fantasy.