Review: THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION by Kiersten White

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count: 352
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Series: CAMELOT RISING, Book 1
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It

Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher.  It has not affected my review in any way.

43568394The Dark Queen has been defeated, peace has come to Camelot, and the king is marrying a princess from a southern kingdom. At least, that’s what the populace has been told. While the Dark Queen was slain, Merlin has foreseen a new evil lurking on the horizon, and has sent a changeling to guard King Arthur, disguised as recently (secretly) deceased Princess Guinevere.  The new Guinevere is there to thwart magical attacks, but she must do so in secret, for Camelot has banned magic from within its walls; to be caught practicing brings banishment or death. Guinevere sets about finding her place in court life while warding the castle and seeking out the threat Merlin foresaw.  Is it the mysterious new knight besting challengers in the arena?  A woman recently banished for minor magics?  And why is most of Guinevere’s memory before traveling to Camelot a fuzzy haze?

THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION is an enchanting retelling of  King Arthur mythology, a blend of familiar beats and new twists that will have you flying through the pages.  It’s a beautiful tale told from Guinevere’s perspective, and does an excellent job of encapsulating that awkward feeling of trying to figure out your role in a new group of people. Guinevere is trying to balance her secret tasks with her public facing ones, and navigating just where she stands in relation to Arthur. He knows why Merlin sent her and wouldn’t presume to insist she fulfill her “wifely duties” to a husband, but his kind indifference as he attends to ruling unintentionally leaves her lonely in the castle. But just because Guinevere doesn’t come to the castle for love doesn’t mean there isn’t any romance. Her relationships are complicated due to her marriage to Arthur, and the love triangle that develops doesn’t feel like a jammed in YA trope, but like a completely natural evolution out of the situation.

There’s a wonderful mix of the old and new in THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION.  There’s plenty of elements you’ve seen before if you’re at all familiar with the mythology: the knights, Excalibur, the Lady of the Lake and more are all there to greet you.  But peppered into the classic tale are new spins to give this a fresh perspective and add some mystery.  Will the story go like it’s gone before, or is a twist lurking around the corner? Sure, there’s the usual sexist tropes of medieval times, but that won’t stop Guinevere from sneaking out the back door to deal with a dangerous magical creature roaming the forest.

THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION was a lovely read I tore through in a few days.  The prose snares you into this world of intrigue and magic, where a threat is lurking just out of sight.  If you want a tale of King Arthur’s court that will keep you guessing, this book is for you!



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