Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1)
Kiersten White
Delacorte Press
Published November 5, 2019

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About The Guinevere Deception

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

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.

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 Guinevere Deception on Goodreads

My Review

THIS is the female-centered Arthur retelling that I’ve been waiting for. I remember loving the idea of taking the legend of King Arthur and retelling it from a female point-of-view when I first heard about the book CURSED by Thomas Wheeler. CURSED tells the story of Arthur’s rise from the point-of-view of a Druid woman who becomes the Lady of the Lake. It was a cool book, cool idea, but the level of violence and focus on battles were a struggle for me.

So I left that book feeling like I still hadn’t seen a female-centered retelling that appealed to me. And then I found this book. Oh. My. Gosh.

I feel like one thing the book does really well is to deliver the sense of magic and honor and awe that other tales of Camelot and King Arthur inspire. King Arthur, though he’s not the main character, retains that visionary, every-man’s-king-ness that I think of as really essential to his character. Camelot also has this shiny, fairy-tale quality to it that I didn’t realize I hoped for.

By far the most amazing thing about this book, to me, is the way the female characters own the story. It’s wholly Guinevere’s tale. She’s the hero, the one piecing things together to uncover threats to the kingdom. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that eventually, there will be a face-off between Guinevere and a Dark Queen, a force of evil magic. I loved that even in this, the story focuses on its ladies.

There are a couple of female side characters who added a lot to the story, too, but I don’t want to say too much about them, because I don’t want to give any spoilers. Just know that there is a lot to look forward to in the cast of this book.

This is the first book by Kiersten White that I’ve read, and I loved the storytelling and the writing enough that now I want to read everything she has ever written. I think this is going to be a series you need to read in order, so I do recommend starting with this book.

The Guinevere Deception on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Characters are mainly white/English. One side character is a lesbian. Another side character says that when she dresses as a woman, it feels like a lie, so she dresses as a man.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Brief strong profanity and crude language. Mainly it’s used to describe what Camelot was when Arthur became king. Sewage flowed in the streets and some of the street names reflected this fact. Then Arthur arranged for a group of kids to collect everyone’s chamber pots and empty them away from the streets.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. Reference to a girl in love with another girl. Some vague reference to sex/pregnancy and how quickly Guinevere will provide Arthur an heir.

Spiritual Content
Some characters have the ability to do magic. Guinevere mainly uses what she calls knot magic, where she literally ties knots for protection and other purposes. She can also touch things and have a sense of their identity and where they’ve come from. A Dark Queen intends to use magic to destroy civilization. Magic is chaos. Arthur’s rule is order. The two cannot exist together.

Violent Content
Some battle violence. Guinevere meets a man who was accused of raping more than one woman. He suggests that he would like to do the same to her.

Drug Content
Social drinking at dinner and parties.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

  1. Cyla Panin says:

    I loved this one! At first I thought it might be similar to others I’d read but I was blown away.

    • Kasey says:

      Yes! Same! So glad to know someone else has the same reaction. I’ll be reviewing the sequel later this week. 🙂