The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
- Published November 5 2019
- Tags: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Strong Female Lead
- Format: E-Book, ARC
- Pages: 352
| Synopsis From the Publisher |
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.
| Book Review |
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
– Content –
A new, feminist-infused take on Arthurian legend -> To say I was excited to see that White was writing a new telling of Arthurian would be an understatement. I was ecstatic! And White didn’t disappoint – this book is definitely a different take on the legend, but it’s really badass and has a much stronger female presence, which is nice, and plays around with power structure and with character backstories, which makes a nice change. I enjoyed how White managed to take familiar characters and twist them, so that even though there are recognizable elements from the original legend, you don’t actually know what is going to happen and everything is still mysterious and there are major twists that will get you!
A unique magic system! -> I can honestly say that one of my favorite elements of this book was White’s magic system that she has created. Guinevere, who is a magical being in this story, can do knot magic, which comes in the form of her making knots – out of hair, out of thin wire – and depending on the knot creates a specific spell, like protection, confusion, etc. It was interesting to see the different magic at play here, most of which was based on elements, like fire magic or water magic. I think White has done a good job of introducing this magic piecemeal, rather than bombarding the reader all at once. I liked how different it was and I enjoyed slowly seeing all the magic of this world revealed over time.
Guinevere like you’ve never seen her before -> The story is told from Guinevere’s perspective, and I have to say she is definitely one of my favorite characters in this book. Seeing the world from her eyes invites you into this story, because in many ways, Guinevere is new to the world – until the story began, she’d only been living in a secluded wooden house in the woods with Merlin, learning magic, so once she ventures out in the world, we as readers, are seeing things new alongside her. We’re learning about Arthur and his court, about Camelot, and even some things about Merlin that were before unknown to Guinevere herself. Though she is inexperienced in the world, though, White imbues her with a strength of will, determination, and the desire to protect those she cares for. She makes a really compelling and strong protagonist.
Fast-paced and adventurous! -> I could hardly put this book down! The story was so compelling and White paced things so well. Chapter after chapter, I kept feeling the need to read more, to see the story progress. The beginning is a little slow, but only for a chapter or two and it begins to pick up almost immediately. I think anyone who enjoys a fantasy/adventure book will like this one, because it really does suck you into the world and take you along for a really interesting ride.
– Literary Value-
Strong plot structure with excellent world-building -> I know this book is being marketed as a series (which disappoints me a bit, since I’ve really been hankering for standalones!), but White still manages to create a well-structured story that can stand on its own. Once I got to the end, I didn’t feel like the story was incomplete, there is a definite climax and conclusion that do satisfy, even if you know the threat is ready to continue in the next installment. White has also created a really interesting world that took me far away from reality – which is everything I want in a fantasy book. I felt the adventure and excitement of discovering White’s version of Camelot and the surrounding areas.
White’s writing is as strong as ever -> If you’ve ever read one of White’s other YA novels, you’ll know she’s a skilled writer. This book is no exception and, I think, it’s one of her best novels that I’ve read so far. From the well-developed characters to the unique magic system to the world-building, this book is such a strong example of fantasy writing done right. The dialogue is realistic, as are the character’s motivations. There are elements of poetic description that don’t come across as false or trying to hard. There’s a really lyrical magic to it that ties everything together and connects everything within the story beautifully.
– Entertainment Factor –
An Arthurian Legend re-telling I can really get behind -> I really enjoyed this book. I was hooked immediately and I pretty much devoured this story. I’m only docking it points because White teases with a potential love-triangle and I’m super not into it. I still don’t know if it’s completely resolved at this point, so I’m withholding my 5-star rating until I have the whole trilogy in my hands.
But otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this adventurous, magical story and I want more of it. I guess I should be glad that there are books to come….
– Cover Art –
I mean, have you seen this cover? It’s gorgeous! My eyes bugged out of my head when I came across it on NetGalley and I knew I had to read it, especially once I found out it was an Arthurian legend re-telling. I’m a really big fan of purple, so the fact that this cover is full of purples and blues really speaks to me. I also love the illustration – I’m assuming it’s Guinevere, since she’s the titular character – and I think she’s beautiful, mysterious, and she has such power in her gaze! Whoever illustrated this really gave this woman presence and I am so here for it! I also love the touches of gold that highlight everything – like her crown and the fiery-aspects, which also tie in to the novel nicely!
| My Rating |
Definitely Worth the Read
If you love fantasy, magic, Arthurian Legend or all three, this is definitely going to be your new favorite thing. I really got sucked into the world that White has created and I loved seeing these iconic Arthurian characters brought to life in new and interesting ways. The story is full of adventure and it’s set to the perfect pace. The writing strong, the characters well-developed, and I really don’t have much in the negative to say about it.
The only thing holding me back from a perfect score is my own personal pet-peeve of love-triangles, though this statement must come with a caveat, because I can’t honestly say whether or not there is one – which is confusing, I know, but the overarching story isn’t done yet, so it is what it is and you’ll just have to read it to see what I mean!
Would I recommend this book?
Yes, I would recommend this book. It’s fantastically written, I loved the characters, especially Guinevere, the main character! I think anybody who loves fantasy, even those of you who only sort-of like fantasy, will enjoy this book. It has magic and the world is new, but White doesn’t go heavy on the exposition. Also, if you even have a passing knowledge of Arthurian legend, the characters and the places will be familiar enough that it will not be confusing. Definitely give it a read, okay?
Thoughts & Thanks
Thank you so much for reading this post. I would love to hear your thoughts on this book if you have read it or even if you haven’t! If you’re considering reading it, let me know what you think, once you do!