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The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
Young adult

The Guinevere Deception

by Kiersten White

Excellent choice

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Quick take

You know King Arthur? This series gives his notorious wife some well-deserved time in the spotlight.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_ForbiddenLove

    Forbidden love

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_BasedOnAClassic

    Based on a classic

Synopsis

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?

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The Guinevere Deception

Chapter One

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.

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Why I love it

I love a good King Arthur retelling, but because there are so many adaptations out there, I’m pretty picky about which ones to indulge in. Thankfully, The Guinevere Deception ticks all the boxes of what I'm looking for in an Arthurian story: there's a badass, magic-wielding Guinevere; a simmering love triangle; action-packed sword fights; and exciting deviations from the dusty original that keep you guessing.

As the title suggests, the book focuses on Guinevere, a young woman sent to Camelot to marry King Arthur in order to secure a political alliance. But Guinevere is not who she says she is. She's less a demure princess than a fierce, kind-hearted warrior and witch, tasked by Merlin with protecting Arthur from a grave danger destined to attack him from inside Camelot.

You might think you know the story of King Arthur, but in this book nothing is at it seems. The Guinevere Deception leaps off the page with a gorgeously detailed medieval setting, and its intricate mystery—not to mention forbidden romance—captivated me from page one. (Plus, I won't spoil it, but the reveal of one of Arthur's knights made me want to fling the book across the room in glee.) You'll love this book if you're looking for a historical fantasy that breathes new life into a classic story, infusing it with magic, romance, and women who are not to be trifled with.

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Member ratings (619)

  • Andrea W.

    Longview, TX

    Heart strong Guinevere stories! Magic and mysterious background only improve the story. Also, those vibes between her and Mordred?? *fans myself* Kiersten White always delivers; can’t wait for book 2!

  • Casey F.

    Pitman, NJ

    This is a really interesting take on a story we all know, and I really appreciate the creativity. Guinevere is a strong, badass narrator and she is surrounded by interesting characters. Worth a read!

  • Chelsea C.

    Myerstown, PA

    What isn't excellent about a King Arthur retelling? Absolutely nothing. I loved this and I am ready for the second book to be out yesterday. Strong female character, magic, hunky knights... Greatstory

  • Alexis M.

    Mooresville , NC

    I have always loved arthurian legends and reimaginings and this one is a favorite. The twists and turns of each characters emotions and the story left me wanting more. I cant wait for the second book!

  • Raegan H.

    Knoxville, TN

    I have always loved the story of King Arthur and Merlin. I loved seeing such a unique twist on such a famous story. Beautiful world, unique characters, and a romance to die for! Would highly recommend

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