Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count: 400
Release Date: November 10th, 2020
Series: CAMELOT RISING, Book 2
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It
Note: I was provided a free ARC by the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Warning: Possible light spoilers for book one in the series. Haven’t read it? You can read the review here: THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION
Guinevere and Arthur may have turned back the Dark Queen for now, but that hardly means the threats to Camelot are over. Guinevere works daily to shore up magical defenses against potential threats, while Arthur looks to securing alliances with the other rules on Camelot’s borders. But even as Guinevere strives to be a queen that can help shoulder the burden of ruling the city, she struggles with the question of SHOULD she even be the ruler? After all, Guinevere has taken the place of a woman who is dead, pretending to be a queen on the instructions of Merlin. But why does Merlin want Guinevere in Camelot? What is her connection to the Lady of the Lake? And is the girl who’s just arrived in Camelot truly Guinevere’s sister, or a plant by dark forces?
My relationship with THE CAMELOT BETRAYAL is best summed up in the following anecdote. I read the bulk of the book (75%!) in one day. It was rainy, my bed was nice and cozy, and I found myself curled up under the covers and just effortlessly reading for hours. I was entranced and loving the time I spent with the characters, but I found myself coming out of my reverie around the 80% mark and asking myself, “…what exactly is the threat in this book?”
That’s the thing about THE CAMELOT BETRAYAL: not a lot happens in it. Oh there’s a dragon and a battle and a wedding and magic, but the plot is largely a string of unrelated events, with nothing remotely feeling like a climax happening until the final pages of the book. Even the mysterious sister who is teased as the main threat on the book jacket doesn’t become a significant plot point until over halfway through the story.
But while THE CAMELOT BETRAYAL might be meandering, I was perfectly content to sit down with the characters and see where they went. My love for these characters, from Guinevere to Lancelot to Mordred and beyond, is what kept me reading. A lot of light is shed on side characters and their backstories, revealing things like why Lancelot is so determined to be Guinevere’s knight, and what really happened between Tristan and Isolde and Brangien.
And while the events in the book don’t appear to be driving towards a real narrative point, they are all informing Guinevere’s central battle: what kind of person is she? A changeling with few memories of her life before Camelot, Guinevere came to the city under a set of presumptions, many of which have proven to be false. She wants to protect those she loves, but is she willing to act as callously as Merlin, a man who treats the world like a chess board, with little regard for the emotions of those he manipulates? All the events in THE CAMELOT BETRAYAL are about Guinevere being forced to confront whether she can live with the lives she takes, if it means that Arthur and Camelot are safe.
The mystery of Guinevere’s past – who she was before Merlin sent her to Camelot, why she has no memories, what her connection is to the Lady of the Lake – remains maddeningly enshrouded in secrets. The knowledge that the next book is the finale in the trilogy gives me hope for resolution, because what tidbits ARE shared continued to keep me intrigued. The CAMELOT RISING series might not be the most action-packed, but they have proven to be literally perfect for a rainy day.