Book Review

The Guinevere Deception – Kiersten White

The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of Arthurian legend (in fact, I once wrote a research paper about it), so when I saw that Kiersten White was gifting the world with the Guinevere Deception I was intrigued. I’ve always loved the magic of Merlin, the honor of Arthur, and the world in which readers find themselves as they explore Camelot. I wanted to see what White would bring to the story and how she would re-write the characters in her own unique way.

The Guinevere Deception draws us into a story after Arthur’s battle against Uther Pendragon, once he is King of Camelot albeit a young King. At eighteen, he is being pressured to find a wife so that is when Guinevere comes into the picture. Our Guinevere finds herself in a Camelot that bans the use of magic and yet she is a magic wielder herself. How can she protect Arthur (and that is what she has been sent to Camelot to do) if she must hide her ability to do magic at every turn? I was really intrigued by this premise because it gave Guinevere more agency and power than I feel that she generally has. She was the protector, rather than the damsel in distress who found herself in the midst of a love triangle.

The characters in the book were relatively authentic to their Arthurian counterparts, but sometimes I wish I had a little more development from them. Arthur was brave and honest, a man of the people, but I wanted to know why he felt a bond with Guinevere. Lancelot a fierce defender of the defenseless and loyal to Arthur, but how did Lancelot become so good? Mordred always troubled me because of his history with Arthur, so I spent the whole book wondering if White had changed his backstory or if he was going to be the backstabber that I didn’t trust from the beginning because I knew the legends. I enjoyed all of the characters, but I also wanted a little more depth from all of them as well.

Taking the time to develop relationships between characters, whether it’s friendship, loyalty, love, or something else is incredibly important. Sometimes I felt that characters just had this magical bond or connection to one another that was never explained. I didn’t truly get the sense of a build to that point and the book would have been so much better with that development. Despite that, I enjoyed the plot although it meandered at times between magic, adventure, fights, truth and lies, and scenes that probably could have been cut to improve pacing.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and genuinely want to spend more time in this version of Arthurian legend, which I don’t always say after reading a retelling about King Arthur. I can see the future of this story and how much the author can do with the plotlines, webs, and characters that she placed before us in the first book.

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