The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising Trilogy Series #1)

The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising Trilogy Series #1)

by Kiersten White


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"Fascinating. . . . Kiersten White has taken the best parts of the Arthurian legend and made them all her own."—Renée Ahdieh, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn series.

A new fantasy series set in the world of Camelot that bestselling author Christina Lauren calls "brilliant," reimagining the Arthurian legend . . . where nothing is 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.

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? *THE FIRST BOOK IN THE CAMELOT RISING TRILOGY*

"A rare and enviable mix of impeccable writing, heart-stopping action, lush scenery, and complex, relatable characters . . . brilliant!" —New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren

"Stunning. . . . will leave every reader hungry for more." —Somaiya Daud, author of the Mirage series

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525581673
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 11/05/2019
Series: Camelot Rising Trilogy Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 918
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile: HL610L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, the Slayer series, the And I Darken trilogy, and many more novels. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further-away times.
@kierstenwhite on Twitter
@authorkierstenwhite on Instagram

Read an Excerpt

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl on the cusp of womanhood.
This particular girl had never before felt the power she held by existing in a space of men, but today, surrounded by them, it radiated from her. I am untouchable. They revolved around her as though she were the Earth, and they the adoring but distant sun and moon and stars. It was a type of magic in and of itself.
A veil obscured and dimmed the world around her. She sat back-achingly straight in her saddle. She did not wriggle her toes in the boots they were so unaccustomed to. She pretended she was a painting.
“I cannot believe the convent had no nuns willing to travel with you,” Brangien complained, brushing at the fine layer of dust that baptized their journey. Then, as though unaware she had spoken aloud, she bowed her head. “But of course I am very pleased and honored to be here.”
The smile offered in response to Brangien’s apology went unacknowledged. “Of course,” the girl said, but the words were not quite right. She could do better. She had to. “I do not love travel, either, and I appreciate the kindness you have shown by being my companion on this long journey. It would be lonely without you.” They were surrounded by people, but to them, the blue-and-scarlet-wrapped girl was goods to be guarded and safely delivered to the new owner. She hoped desperately that Brangien, eighteen years to her own sixteen, would become a friend.
She would need one. She had never had one.
But it would also complicate things. She had so many precious hidden things. Having another woman with her at all times was both unfamiliar and dangerous. Brangien’s eyes were black like her hair and hinted at cleverness. Hopefully those eyes would see only what was offered them. Brangien caught her staring and offered a tentative smile.
Focused on her companion, the girl did not notice the change outright. A subtle shift, a lessening of tension, her first breath fully drawn in two weeks. She tipped her head back and closed her eyes, grateful for the leafy green reprieve from the sun. A forest. If she were not barred on all sides by men and horses, she would hug the trees. Run her fingers along their veins to learn each tree’s story.
“Tighten the circle!” Sir Bors commanded. Under the heavy arch of branches, his shout was hushed. He was a man unaccustomed to being muted. Even his mustache bristled at the offense. He moved his reins into his teeth to grip them and drew his sword with his good arm.
The girl snapped out of her daydream to see that the horses had caught the fear of the men. They shifted and stamped, eyes rolling to search as their riders did. A gust of wind lifted her veil. She met the gaze of one of the men—Mordred, three years older than she, and soon to be her nephew. His subtle mouth had twisted up at one corner as though he was amused. Had he caught her reverie before she realized she should not be pleased by the forest?
“What is it?” she asked, turning quickly away from Mordred, who was paying far too much attention. Be a painting.
Brangien shivered and shrank into her cloak. “The trees.”
They crowded in on either side of the road, twisting trunks and grasping roots. Their branches laced overhead to form a tunnel. The girl did not understand the threat. No crack of a twig, no rustling. Nothing disturbed the beauty of the forest. Except her and the men around her. “What about the trees?” she asked.
Mordred answered. His face was serious, but there was a songlike quality to his voice. Playful and low. “They were not here on our journey to retrieve you.”
Sword still drawn, Sir Bors clicked his tongue and his horse moved forward again. The men clustered around her and Brangien. The peace and relief the girl felt at being among trees again disappeared, soured by their fear. These men claimed every space they went into.
“What does he mean, the trees were not here?” she whispered to Brangien.
Brangien had been mouthing something. She leaned over to adjust the girl’s veil and answered in a whisper as well, as though afraid the trees were listening. “Four days ago, when we passed through this area—there was no forest. All this land had been cleared. It was farms.”
“Perhaps we took a different route without realizing it?”
Brangien shook her head, her face a blur of dark eyebrows and red lips. “There was a jumble of boulders an hour back. Like a giant had been playing a child’s game and left his toys behind. I remember it very clearly. This is the same road.” A leaf drifted down from the trees, landing as lightly as a prayer on Brangien’s shoulder. Brangien squeaked with fear.
It was a simple matter to reach out and pluck the leaf from Brangien’s shoulder. The girl wanted to lift it to her face, to study the story in its lines. But, touching it, she instantly sensed that it had teeth. She dropped it to the forest floor. She even checked her fingers for blood, but of course there was none.
Brangien shuddered. “There is a village not far. We can hide there.”
“Hide?” They were a day from their destination. She wanted this to be over with. Everything to be done and settled. The idea of huddling with these men in a village while they waited to—what, fight a forest?—made her want to tear off her shoes, her veil, to beg the trees for safe passage. But the trees would not understand.
They were on opposite sides now, after all.
I am sorry, she thought, knowing the trees could not hear her. Wishing she could explain.
Brangien cried out again, putting her hands over her mouth in horror. The men around them stopped abruptly. They were still surrounded by green, everything filtered and unclear through the veil. Shapes loomed out of the forest, enormous boulders covered in moss and trailing vines.
Modesty be damned. She tore off her veil. The world came into startling, perfect focus.
The shapes were not boulders. They were homes. Cottages much like ones they had passed before, made of lime-washed cobs and beams with thatched roofs sloping down to the ground. But where smoke should have been drifting up from the roofs, there were flowers. In place of doors, trailing curtains of vines. It was a village reclaimed by nature. If she had to guess, she would say it had been abandoned generations ago.
“There was a child,” Brangien whispered through her fingers. “He sold me bread weighted with stones. I was so cross with him.”
“Where are the people?” Sir Bors asked.
“We must not linger here.” Mordred veered his horse toward hers. “Surround the princess! Quickly!”
As she was carried by the momentum of her guards, she saw one last vine-covered boulder, or perhaps a tree stump. Just the right size and shape for a little boy, offering bad bread.

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The Guinevere Deception 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
wendm_ccbh 9 days ago
3.5 STARS! The Guinevere Deception was my first book by Kiersten White and it took a different direction than I thought it would. Kiersten gives the King Arthur legends an unexpected twist that will leave you wanting more from the last page. Also, let's note that the cover of this novel is absolutely stunning! Though the story had a bit of a slow start, I was immediately intrigued by Guinevere and Mordred's chemistry. Guinevere is sixteen and has been raised in a convent. She leaves home to wed King Arthur; however, turns out this young woman isn't the real Guinevere but a changeling witch sent by the great Merlin to protect Arthur. I didn't feel much chemistry between Arthur and Guinevere. Arthur was brooding. He wasn't the main focus in the story. Alot of the plot dealt with Guinevere hiding her true identity and the fact that she was a witch for magic has been abolished in Camelot. This was definitely a book that gave me a lot of mixed feelings but it is also a book that readers should go into with an open mind because Kiersten will hands down surprise you, especially with her writing!
marongm8 2 hours ago
This book was received as an ARC from Random House Children's - Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I absolutely love King Arthur and the legend it has become and it is refreshing to read a new twist on not only the tales but for the characters and in this case Guinevere. In the legends, Arthur and Merlin tend to be the main focus and all we know about Guinevere is that she is Arthur's lover but we never hear how she came to be and how she got involved with King Arthur in the first place...until now. Kiersten White eliminated the boring parts of the stories and combined the best action parts in this novel making it so exciting to read and I could not stop. Our teen book club will also be excited for this and I can't wait to share it with them. We will consider adding this title to our YFiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
corianderreads 3 days ago
The Guinivere Deception is a retelling of the Arthurian/Sword in the Stone legends, featuring a much more strong and courageous Guinevere. Everything about this novel by Kiersten White is phenomenal. The characters, the setting, the storytelling. There's romance, mystery, intrigue, magic, and so much more. I had no doubts that I was going to love this book, and I even purchased myself a physical copy the day it came out. The cover is beautiful for one thing, and the story is so good that I have to have it on my shelf. Kiersten's Guinivere is such a loveable, fierce girl that you want to be friends with her and root for her throughout the whole book. The rest of the characters are all so developed and fascinating, and their interactions with Guinivere are all unique. Arthur is bae, but the book also features other cool, classic Arthurian characters like Mordred, Lancelot, Merlin, and more. If you like retellings with strong female leads, definitely check this one out.
Sailon 3 days ago
The Guinevere Deception is one of those slow starting but suddenly you find yourself completely reeled in. Kiersten White has a completely new take on the magic, mystery and fable that is King Arthur's tale. The focus is on Guinevere, or a woman that is impersonating the true Guinevere. This story begins with a young woman traveling across the enchanted lands, taking the place of Arthur’s deceased bride Guinevere. She has been raised and sent by Merlin, who has been banished from Camelot, but still wants to protect Arthur from the attacks that are coming his way. They only way to protect Arthur is with magic, magic that has been also band from Camelot and using it carries a death sentence. The new Guinevere is confused but doing all she can to make the right choices to protect Arthur. Plots, deceptions and political machinations abound. White has a writing style that lavishly describing every detail of the world she is creating. She does a beautiful job creating the world but it sometimes slows down the flow. I really enjoyed the story and as I said by the end I was hooked; it just took me a while to get there. I received this ARC copy of The Guinevere Deception from Random House Children's - Delacorte Press. This is my honest and voluntary review.
Anonymous 4 days ago
I was sincerely looking forward to all the fantastical twists on Arthurian legend this book promised. Too, I loved the idea of structuring a plot around a Queen of Camelot with "agency and longing" who was "a mystery to everyone" because few things in the world delight me more than giving familiar female characters a new voice, their own vices and virtues, or including surprising deviations from original legend. Unfortunately, with this, with the Guinevere depicted here, I was underwhelmed. Neither she nor the story as a whole worked for me, sadly. However, I will say that I liked the Lancelot twist even though I saw it coming from ten miles away. The ending was also full of dynamism and adventure and high stakes decisions, which, had they been weaved in a little earlier, I might have been able to enjoy this more. 2.5 stars Thanks so much to Net Galley and Random House Publishing Group for providing me with this ARC!
SkyeWright 6 days ago
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this book in exchange for an honest review. **** The Guinevere Deception, first in a new trilogy takes a new look at the Arthurian lore. Guinevere, a changeling taking the place of the real Guinevere, is sent to be the new, young, boy King Arthur’s wife by Merlin to protect Arthur from outside threats. She meets many a character that those familiar with Arthurian legend will recognize, some in different shapes and sizes but familiar all the same. **** An interesting story with an exciting concept and one I was really excited about reading for I am a huge lover of all things Arthurian and love a good retelling. I both really liked this story for what it tried to do but feel a little let down for what it did do. The story is very slow at the beginning, it takes a very long time for much of anything to happen. There are hints to things to come and lots of questions to ponder that are still not answered (worry not, there are 2 more books to get those answers to come in the future though).. Guinevere is hinted at being a strong, take charge character in summary and ended up being a damsel in distress more often than not (hopefully her strength over comes in the next books). What I did like: Guinevere was a very compassionate character who definitely has a hint of fire in her and I really hope it burns brighter in the forthcoming books, Arthur because how can I not?, Brangien is a fierce and loyal lady to have at your side and I hope for more of her, Lancelot is the best gift of this novel, and last but not least I of course loved Mordred because how can I not?
Anonymous 7 days ago
One of the best reimaginings of King Author and Guinevere I have read! I enjoyed it so, so much. There are so many retellings of King Author, but not many that really delve into Guinevere and I loved this take on her. It was different than anything else written about them and I truly appreciated a fresh take. I felt so invested in the characters--my heart literally couldn't take it by the end, I swear. I got to see some of my favorite characters in a new light and I loved it.
Yolanda Margolin 8 days ago
**3.5 Stars** Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC. I’ve been around long enough to read a fair share of King Arthur and Camelot legends. I remember devouring The Once & Future King by. T.H. White and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley back in high school! I was obsessed. But it has been awhile since I’ve been interested in the legends and when I heard of The Guinevere Deception, I was intrigued! This story is told through Guinevere’s perspective and what a view it is! We revisit Camelot through Guinevere’s eyes but deception is everywhere in this book. All is not what they seem at Camelot and magic is forbidden at Camelot, so what does that mean for Guinevere who was sent there for her ability to do magic? Arthur is under threat and she must protect him this time but is she able to or will all her efforts become unraveled? What I Liked: *The familiar characters from the Arthurian legends is nostalgic. It’s hard to resist a story about this boy who pulled a sword out of stone and is now a man and a most beloved, golden king. We have the knights and the villains, the legends have been retold so many times, it was nice to enter the world of Camelot again. *The story of Camelot is really magical with Merlin the wizard, the knights of the round table and Guinevere. I loved the world building of Camelot in this story, it reminded me of why I fell in love with the legends in the first place. *Kiersten White is a talented author and I’ve read a few of her books and love them. Once again, her writing shines and sucks you into the story. *The backstory on the characters is important especially for someone new to the King Arthur legends and I thought it was done well. It helped jar my memory about certain characters I had forgotten. *Love the twists about Guinevere, Lancelot, and even Mordred! I like how this book is reimagined for our current times. The author added LGBT relationships, and tweaked a few things about the story but I really enjoyed the changes. *The book cover is amazing. I can only imagine what it looks like in real life! Things That Made Me Go Hmm: *I loved the beginning of the book because we meet Guinevere. But about 15%-20% into the book I felt like I was just waiting for something more to happen. I understand though that the backstories of some characters are important, but after Guinevere gets to Camelot it felt like the story slowed down. *I struggled in the middle of the story because here is Guinevere who is sent to protect Arthur…but her magic seems so minimal. It seems like nothing much happens for a good half of the story, just world building, but the second half has much more action. *I hope we get more character depth in the sequel because outside of Guinevere they were kind of bland. Sometimes even Guinevere was a bit blah…I’d like to see if Merlin comes back into the equation and maybe see Arthur being tested (like he was in other legends) and even Guinevere, the ending shows us there is much to learn about her! Final Thoughts: Overall, I enjoyed The Guinevere Deception, but the second half is much more engaging than the first half. It gives a some backstory for newcomers to the Arthurian legends and I enjoyed the changes and twists in the story. It’s a solid debut for this series and I look forward to reading the sequel!
TorieStorieS 8 days ago
It's been over five years since I last read anything of White's, but a Camelot retelling definitely caught my attention! I have enjoyed several of these in the past, but it's been a while, so I was quite curious to see what fresh take White would spin! Told from Guinevere's point of view, it quickly becomes clear that this Guinevere is far more than the cheating queen... and that this may not actually be Guinevere at all! The mystery of real identity drives the reader to turn pages just as much as the other action - from woods that spring up overnight, to plotting kingdoms to the north. Not to mention familiar characters like Arthur, Mordred, Lancelot, Merlin - even Tristan shows up! Some characters are more traditionally presented than others, but many have more drastically fresh twists from their classic inspirations. This all combines to make this feel very fresh despite the overall familiarity of the story. The magic in particular is original and I really enjoyed this even more than I expected. I definitely plan on continuing on with this series! It's a solid re-telling with a lot of original elements and makes for a fast and fun read!
BasicBibliophile 9 days ago
The Guinevere Deception is the story of a young woman who deceives a kingdom to save its king. It is about the testing of loyalty, perseverance, and love in the face of danger and disarray. It combines modern ideals with ancient lore to create an intriguing and twisty bent on the Arthurian legends. It is wonderfully imagined and dully written. Author Kiersten White set out to strengthen the female characters of the Arthurian legends, but once again we have the beginnings of another poorly developed love triangle in which love is determined by the amount of spark in a touch. Is she falling for Arthur, the boy king who is so busy running a kingdom, she is always lamenting that he’s never around to get to know? Or the other person, who she thinks is snake like one moment and her BFF the next? Guinevere spends most of her time poorly investigating a threat by jumping to huge conclusions, floundering when she doesn’t know basic things, and always seems to be confused. Confused about who she is, what she should be doing, who she has feelings for, and who is telling her the truth. White’s female characters may not be sex fodder, but they definitely aren’t strongly written either. In fact, no one is strongly written, and the characters falll flat. As does the story and writing. Most of the story is told rather than shown and the plot points the author does try to foreshadow are hammered in and obvious. I finished this book because I love Arthurian legends and I wanted to see what the author did with it. However, the writing is not particularly beautiful or rhythmic. The story moves slowly and isn’t well crafted, not are the characters. It’s intriguing enough to want to know how it finishes but not particularly well written. Positives: Genderbending and twists on a few Arthurian legends Negatives: Writing is mostly telling, not showing One dimensional characters Clunky, monotone writing at times Dull and uninspired love triangle Things that might matter to some people: Slight LGBTQ representation. Some kissing. No language.
Anonymous 9 days ago
So I loved this book enough to procrastinate my organic chemistry studying, which is saying a lot bc I really need to know my ochem ASAP for my test. But I digress. SO I am a SUCKER for retellings, especially of tales like Robin Hood or King Arthur. (this was obviously King Arthur). I love the turn the author took with this tale. Enough of it was new and interesting but enough was old and familiar. I don't want to get too detailed because I don't want to spoil anything. I also LOVED the magic present in the book. SO interesting and I've never really seen it done but I loved it. I do wish we got to see more of Merlin, but this tale takes place after the bulk of the King Arthur tale we know and love. There was a part of the book at the end that felt very de ja vu, like I'd read it before (or maybe seen it, on BBC's Merlin?) but i could be crazy. Or it could be part of the original tale the author pulled in. I did feel like the end wrapped up very suddenly, and I don't feel like the main character has much depth yet, but I still loved reading about her and I'm interested to see the growth she and the other characters will experience in later books, as well as what twists and turns await us.
Anonymous 9 days ago
The Guinevere Deception is a reimagining of Camelot legends, which I'm not very familiar with past recognising character names, so I didn't know what to expect from this one. Regardless I had a great time reading it. It had magic swords, brave knights, women doing secret magic, a fairy queen, dragons, and an all around fun escape into Camelot with a bit of modernization for the female characters to shine. Fast-paced and kept me wanting more. It did leave quite a lot of unanswered questions to answer in the next installment and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. I loved Kiersten White's And I Darken trilogy and The Guinevere Deception is another hit in my book.
Jessica_Peterson 9 days ago
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. There was a lot going on with Mordred, to be honest. 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. See this review in its full glory at www(dot)ramblingsonreadings(dot)com
mschaeff 9 days ago
I feel like Camelot retellings are about to be the new Beauty and the Beast retellings, and I'm totally here for it. This particular story is about Guinevere, who is a changeling - she effectively impersonates a dead princess and marries Arthur. I will be honest: this book is largely earning a four star rating from me on the strength of the world building, awesome magic, fascinating intrigue, and really apt characterization of Arthur. The backstory on Arthur and his family was really well done. The general magic (knots! Excalibur!) was so cool. That part is all incredible. I struggled with the writing itself occasionally - there felt like there were about four THOUSAND descriptions of how afraid Guinevere was of water, how perfect Arthur was, and the general mystery surrounding Merlin. It's sort of foreshadowing, but it felt excessive. I didn't always love Guinevere. She was sort of excessively stubborn and excessively given to terrible decisions that always seemed to work out for her. (I mean, the classic fantasy novel heroine trap.) And I feel like you have to be fairly familiar with Arthurian legend to follow what's going on. I had to Wikipedia like fifteen times to figure out what was going on. I also struggled a little because this book truly has so little romantic pay off. (Legitimately: there is one kiss.) I felt like the chemistry between Guinevere and Arthur was just... lacking. And romance is such a massive, central part of the entire story of Camelot that it felt like a missing piece. BUT: I'm still giving the book three-and-a-half-rounded-to-four stars. Lancelot is phenomenal, Arthur's characterization is perfect, and I really, REALLY enjoyed all the fun twists on the legend. This book is a lot of fun and worth a read, but again, I really recommend familiarizing yourself with the backstory a little more before you dive in.
Penzi 9 days ago
Thank You to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book to review. Wow! 10/10! What a stunning introduction to what is sure to be a thrilling trilogy. I must confess that I have been an avid fan of Kierstan White's writing and I jumped on the chance to read and review an early copy of her newest book. I could not have made a better choice! The book was riveting, with characters that jumped right off of the page and situations that drew the reader further and further into the world of Camelot. Any readers will find themselves charmed by the prose White uses and the dreamy state she achieves throughout the book! The mystery at the center of the book would have become confusing and over drawn at the hands of any lesser author but White manages to successfully draw readers into a mystifying state that makes the reader want more. The only negative about this book is that everyone who reads it will have to wait at least another year for the sequel!
Anonymous 9 days ago
One of the really interesting things about reading eARCs is trying to avoid being swayed by other reviewers. Often, folks are very thoughtful about their feedback... and sometimes, they are not. You've already committed to reading and reviewing it, so you're in for it (at least if you want a good NetGalley score!!), but you can start out with a skewed perspective either way if you spend too much time in the reviews. This is one where I am really, really glad I did not let other people's reviews stand between me and getting started. I am an Arthurian legend aficionado, loving the many adaptations of this book from Steinbeck to Mists of Avalon. This is also my first Kiersten White book, and I was eager to begin since so many seem to adore her retellings. This a character-driven novel, led by a very relatable Guinevere. She is unsure of her talent, in part due to her upbringing, but is very sure of her mission. I admired her bravery and willingness to be a resource to Arthur even to her own detriment. Her point of view begins at a shallow level, which was concerning for me. However, it was quickly supplemented and we were treated to seeing a girl taken out of her environment with an intense pressure for success. The idea of magic being banned from Camelot and the political pressure faced by Arthur is one of the most interesting parts of this book for me. Society shifts in unpredictable ways at times, and it is exciting that a YA book is using this as an opportunity to think about how our own society can make decisions based on prejudice that have enormous implications. There is a significant investment in world-building here, and is clearly a first book in a series. If you expect to have all revealed easily without patience, this is not your book. However, I would definitely encourage you to invest your time. The Guinevere Deception was a nice twist on Camelot with accessible themes and good pacing. I look forward to enjoying more of Ms. White's books in the future, and following along with Guinevere's experiences in the additional book(s). *My thanks to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the eARC access.*
WHarris 9 days ago
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this free eARC in exchange for an honest review. I wanted so much from this book. I've been anticipating it's release since I first saw the cover earlier this year. I'd never read anything by Kiersten White, though quite a few of her books have been on my list for a long time. I'll be honest and say that this wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The premise was amazing and the mystery was great but "Guinevere" as a character left a lot to be desired in my opinion. I love retellings and I think that Kiersten did a great job with her reinterpretation of the Arthurian myths. She brought a uniqueness that left you wanting more of the characters that everyone already knows and loves. The problem, I think, is that it left you wanting too much. Both Guinevere and Arthur's characters left a lot to be desired in my opinion. I could not connect with them at all and sort of found them exhausting. It took me forever to understand this aversion to water that Guinevere had, which may be my own fault honestly. Positives though: I loved what was done with Tristan/Isolde/Brangien. That side storyline was definitely one of the unique pieces of the book considering that Tristan and Isolde are technically before the Arthur myths. The patchwork knight mystery was GREAT. The reveal and subsequent interactions involving the patchwork knight was definitely my favorite part of the novel, hands down. Overall, it wasn't until the last 20% of the book that I became really invested in the story and what was going on. That's when all the excitement happens, when you really begin to understand what's at stake and really get a feel for what the author was trying to do. I just wish it hadn't taken so long to get to that point. With that being said, I will be picking up the next installment because once I got sucked in during that last bit, there's no way that I can go on without finding out what happens next.
Anonymous 9 days ago
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. "There is nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl on the cusp of womanhood" Kiersten White has delivered yet again a beautiful, twisting tale filled with magic, heartache, and amazing women. I cannot accurately describe the wonderful warmth of hope and recognition that spread through me as I saw this age-old tale of Arthur and Camelot written in such a way that placed women at the front of the conflict. Each woman that graced the pages of this book was powerful, clever, complicated, and real in a way that so many stories have failed to do in the past. This book was such a refreshing read for me, and so captivating for so many reasons; from the new take on the Arthurian legend to the depth of the female characters, there are so many reasons to love it. Yet it is our main character Guinevere who takes the cake and really made this story what is it. A witch playacting as a queen, the readers get to discover the wonders of Camelot along with her. Her role at Camelot is something that she is still discovering, just as she is struggling to discover who she is as well. As Guinevere struggles and grows throughout this story, we get an inside look at the Camelot that is something of legends. The order and peace that Arthur strives for is like nothing anybody has ever attempted before, and Arthur himself is something of a legend in his own right. Alluring, charismatic, and wholly good to the core, King Arthur inspires unbreakable loyalty within all who come to know him, even Guinevere. Other characters we know make their way into this story as well, from Mordred, the King's nephew, to the magical sword of Excalibur, and even the prolific knight, Lancelot. But anybody who finds themselves familiar with the various takes on the Arthurian legend will find that they don't have much of an advantage on any other reader; White has put her own twists and turns on this story to leave anyone surprised and delighted at the new and imaginative take. This story, at its heart, is about women, and White made sure everyone knew about it. With Guinevere at the forefront of this story, she brings all other female characters to the front as well. Now the story of Arthur that has so long been dominated by him and his knights has been pushed to the back, focusing on the women that truly make the differences. Characters like Brangien, Guinevere's maid, to ladies of the court like Dindrane, from good witches to the Lady of the Lake and the Dark Queen, all come together to make this a tale about the women of this time. Each of these women was as complicated and nuanced as every character should be, and they were given their space to thrive in the story. Reading through this story, I found myself wishing for characters like Arthur and Mordred to be more complex and dynamic. And while I still believe that this would be a benefit to the story, it is clear that these characters may have been intentionally flattened in order to allow the readers to better focus and appreciated the women of this story. Yes, Arthur is beautiful, idealistic, and sparks such love and loyalty among others, but White let's Arthur's story speak for itself rather than taking the time away from female characters to develop him more, and that is a strategy that undoubtedly makes this book unique. Go and pick it up and see for yourself! #Netgalley #ARC #TheGuinevereDeception
BookishBecca 9 days ago
I've been looking forward to the Guinevere Deception for a long time, and I am happy to say it did not disappoint. The Guinevere Deception is a feminist retelling that finally gives agency to Queen Guinevere that retains all of the magic of the original legend with a couple of fun little twists. White casts the MC, Guinevere as a young woman who views the entire world with wonder, but who undergoes a journey where all her preconceived notions are challenged in a kingdom where the very essence of who she is is forbidden. Along the way, she discovers some true friendships and dark truths about the world she thought she knew. I thought, in particular, that the magic system in this book was strong, as was the characterization and relationships between all the characters. Seeing the world from Guinevere's POV was so charming and imperative to the story. It was good to see a young woman finally come into her own power. And some of the twists in the story really propelled me forward as I read it. I really enjoyed TGD, and look forward to what Kiersten White does with the remainder of the series. Thanks Random House and Netgalley for the ARC!
Charles Templeton 9 days ago
Thank you so much to NetGalley for the eARC of this novel! I have been in love with Kiersten’s work since I read Slayer; and I knew that this novel would be no exception. The tale of King Arthur is one of my favorites, and just to have a retelling where Guinevere is the driving force of the plot is everything I didn’t know I needed! Kiersten does such an amazing job writing badass women, and I fell head over heels for this story from the first chapter. We are introduced to Guinevere as she makes her trek to Camelot; but we soon find out that she’s actually NOT the princess she claims to be. She is a witch sent by Merlin to keep Arthur safe and on the throne, which seems like a simple task at first until she realizes there are dark forces at play trying to emerge and take back what once was theirs. Guinevere must fight through keeping her magic a secret as it is outlawed in her new kingdom, learn who to trust within her court, and juggle the duties of a new fake queen/wife with doing the job she was sent there for. Arthur’s kind heart forces her to grow close to him quickly; like she’s known him for ages. She starts to notice gaps in her memory and begins the journey of figuring out who she really is, where she comes from, and why she is so deathly afraid of water. The lore in this book is spectacular; it does such a wonderful job of keeping the base story that we have all heard in our English classes growing up but making it much more exciting and easier read in these modern times. The humor is spot on, and so are the gut-twisting battles between good and evil along the way. The magic system is also brilliant. There are so many different kinds, my personal favorite being the knot magic. I think, though, the thing I loved most was Guinevere’s sight when she touched something. It was so beautiful but also heart breaking to see the inner thoughts of a mountain being slowly eroded or an eel who had been baked into a pie. There are so many gorgeous little details that really flesh out this story. I also related to Guinevere a lot. I too am a child of the forest, and there’s a scene where she talks about how much easier it would be to just be a tree instead of a person. I’ve had this exact thought before. It was so nice to see this strong yet vulnerable character weaving her way through her greatest fears, the uncertainty of first loves, and the constant battle of not just the dark magic threatening their very lives, but also just being around people and knowing how to act without blowing her cover. She is such a well-written main character, and I can’t wait to know more about her as the series progresses. All told, this may be my favorite retelling of the year, and I am so excited to see where the story goes from here.
tpolen 9 days ago
I've always had a fascination with anything Camelot since seeing the movie Excaliber years ago, so when I saw this retelling of Guinevere, not to mention the beautiful cover, I jumped to request it from NetGalley. If you're not familiar with the Arthurian legend, don't let it stop you from reading this book. Prior knowledge isn't required. I liked the idea of Guinevere being King Arthur's protector instead of how she's traditionally portrayed. The problem is, while not giving away spoilers, the book description is a bit misleading. She's also unsure of exactly who or what the threat is to Arthur, so Guinevere spends a good portion of the book trying to suss it out. And not much happens during that time. That being said, the last 15-20% of the book moves pretty quickly, while still leaving most of the action for book two. By the end, the threat is identified, and there are a couple of twists - one of which most readers will probably figure out early on, and the other I guessed half of. There's still an unrevealed mystery involving Guinevere and Merlin, but that's something for later books, also. I found King Arthur's character the most intriguing, having to shoulder the responsibility of a kingdom at such a young age and put everyone else's needs and interests ahead of his own. If you're a Camelot fan, it's all here along with Guinevere - Excaliber, King Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, the Lady of the Lake - but personally, I'd hoped for a queen that didn't require saving so many times. Judging by other reviews, I'm in the minority on this one. Still, the story held my interest. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
onemused 10 days ago
THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION is an incredible new YA fantasy that combines a dark mystery, magic, and romance/love into a gorgeous, page-turning package. I was completely swept away by the story, which completely brings the legend of King Arthur to life through the eyes of Guinevere. Here, Guinevere has been sent to marry Arthur, and we learn rather early that she is hiding a dark secret- she is not Guinevere. Camelot has been founded on Christianity, and magic has been outlawed. This is not to say that magic has disappeared- rather, magical creatures have been banished and those humans practicing magic killed or exiled. Guinevere has been sent with a mission to marry Arthur in order to stay close and protect him against an unknown magical force. Merlin was sent away as a magical creature, but he still knows something is coming for Camelot, and so, he sent Guinevere to help. There are many twists and turns in the plot that kept me completely hooked all the way through. I also have to give huge props for all the characters who are so well-built and completely unique. For instance, Mordred, Brangien (her lady's maid), and Lancelot were all so three-dimensional that I was as wrapped up in them as Guinevere. Arthur is also not a simple character, and I am still not sure if I really liked him, but I am curious to see how he will evolve in future books. I actually really enjoyed that he was complex enough not to just simply love, and it is easy to understand how Guinevere felt. This book. I feel a little lost in describing it, because it was completely engrossing and completely delicious and now I have a massive book hangover. If you enjoy fantasy, retellings, and/or complex characters, pick up this book- it does not disappoint. I will definitely be on the lookout for the next book in the trilogy. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.