The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White, #77 review

Publication date : 5 November 2020

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 whole book felt like a Deception. Kiersten White takes on the challenge of rewriting an Arthurian legend into a series of a feminist perspective of the tales of Camelot. Gone was the male-centred Arthurian story, here is the female spin of it.

We finally have a retelling of the Arthurian legend with a female protagonist. The daughter of Merlin takes on the name Guinevere when the actual Princess died and she is sent to wed King Arthur instead. Merlin sent his own daughter into the heart of Camelot to protect King Arthur from an evil that has risen to destroy them. Magic is outlawed in Camelot after a terrible battle with the Dark Queen and her creatures of the forest. King Arthur believes to weed out the evil, magic must be ripped from the very soil itself in order to not attract unwanted parasites.

The story unfolds as the Queen not Queen steps into the role of Queen of Camelot by day and witch by night, performing knot magic to keep magical beings with fay blood out of the castle. Working with magic in a Kingdom that banned it is a great risk, especially when there is always people around.

“Women are strongest when bearing one another’s pain. We each take a little on ourselves. No one dies, and we all heal together.”

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

As much as I adore medieval settings for stories, this tale was a bit of a stretch for me. The story didn’t move forward a lot as 50% of the book is Guinevere navigating court life (which was informative for those who never read medieval before), making friends and uncovering the hidden threat. The second half of the book is when (finally) things started to pick up, the plot was quicken, things got more exciting. Mysteries were revealed and the original legend was twisted in a way that left me dazzled by the change. The way it is written reminds me of “A Curse So Dark and Lonely” by  Brigid Kemmerer. It was fantasy written in contemporary style. If you are a reader who is new to fantasy, I suggest trying out “The Guinevere Deception” as it is a light fantasy read before easing yourself into the more High Fantasy books.

The book ended on a high as first books in series often do. It leaves a lot of questions for readers as the main chess pieces are onto different paths. The cover reminded me of anime posters, I can’t wait to see what they’ll do with the second book. Thank you to @times.reads for sending me a review copy. I finished it in two days. that’s how easy it was to read 😉

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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