Hello, everyone. The Guinevere Deception was one of my best books of 2019, so I am very excited to bring you this review of its sequel. I would like to thank TBR and Beyond Tours for having me on the tour and for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Title: The Camelot Betrayal
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Camelot Rising #2
Age Category: Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: 10 November, 2020
Length: 384 pages (Hardcover)
The second book in a new fantasy trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White, exploring the nature of self, the inevitable cost of progress, and, of course, magic and romance and betrayal so epic Queen Guinevere remains the most famous queen who never lived.
EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE IN CAMELOT: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.
Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.
When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?
My Rating: 4.25 stars
Content Warnings for the book: physical abuse, emotional abuse, violence, and misogyny
Representation: two sapphic side characters (in a relationship with each other), bisexual main character (confirmed by the author)
I absolutely adored the Guinevere Deception. Its sequel was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, and it did not disappoint. While the first book was about Guinevere facing the outward dangers of Camelot, this book made her look inward – creating circumstances and obstacles for her that required her to not just rely on her magic, but also her will power and inner strength. Although it did take me some time to understand the ~vibe~ of this book; when I did indeed get it, it made me shed many a tear and reflect on my own self. In other words, it was a wonderful experience that I did not see coming, but really liked.
I really liked how this book built and somewhat confirmed the theories I had formed and then made me doubt them. It was at once frustrating and enjoyable. Frustrating because I felt outsmarted and enjoyable because it never once dropped in ball in trying to amaze its readers. I admired how this managed to be consistent with always having its focus on Guinevere. Which is what sets this series apart from other Arthurian retellings, the fact that it is about Guinevere, the queen who was relegated to being a wife and the object of desire of a great knight. The book constantly reminds me why I loved the first in this series, because of how it changed the characterisation of Guinevere and Lancelot. Making them both fierce women, with skills to be dangerous and giving them both baggage that brought them together.
Although, I was kind of disappointed that a romance between Lancelot and Guinevere did not develop, it was also a sort of relief. Since, it was really interesting to see Guinevere trying to navigate her feelings for both Arthur and Mordred. The book made these feelings complicated, rather than giving them simple designations like good or bad. And it carried this same instinct to other characters and mythical stories in its world. Although it had established certain well known characters from Arthurian myths – such as Merlin, Morgan Le Fey and the Lady of the Lake – through stories and appearances in the last book, it changed the lens we looked them through.
I found it to be immensely intriguing to see Guinevere constantly question everything – the truth of her being, her feelings for Arthur and Mordred, her wild and destructive magic, her place in the court and Camelot. This book was character driven as well as plot driven, and I found that to be an incredible strength that I could not resist. I also liked the contrast it set up with problems that Guinevere faced as a person, as a witch and as a queen The introduction of Guinevach, the sister to Princess Guinevere was a really fun obstacle to encounter.
My only complaint is that up until a certain point in the book, it felt very lackluster. It managed to pick itself up pretty soon and became very enjoyable, but it felt like it had a false start. But I loved this book and am eagerly looking forward to the next! The ending was really unexpected and mysterious and I can’t wait to find out more.
Applicability: US Only
Prize: One finished copy of The Camelot Betrayal
End date: 16 Nov 2020
Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling and Bram Stoker award-winning author of the And I Darken trilogy, the Paranormalcy trilogy, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, Slayer, The Guinevere Deception, and many other novels. Kiersten lives with her family in sunny San Diego, California, where she perpetually lurks in the shadows.