"Fascinating. . . . Kiersten White has taken the best parts of the Arthurian legend and made them all her own."--Renée Ahdieh, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn series.
A new fantasy series set in the world of Camelot that bestselling author Christina Lauren calls "brilliant," reimagining the Arthurian legend . . . where nothing is 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.
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 FIRST BOOK IN THE CAMELOT RISING TRILOGY*
"A rare and enviable mix of impeccable writing, heart-stopping action, lush scenery, and complex, relatable characters . . . brilliant!" --New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren
"Stunning. . . . will leave every reader hungry for more." --Somaiya Daud, author of the Mirage series
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~Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!~
Review contains spoilers for the book.
As soon as I saw the title of this book, I knew I had to read it. An Arthurian legend as a YA book? Yes, please!
Usually with all YA books I try to keep my expectations low, but this book took what expectations I did have and met almost every single one of them. I’ll get to the “almost” part later in this review, but for a book that put in quite a few major changes to the Arthurian legend that many of us are familiar with, it did an amazing job of running with these changes and making them work!
I seriously loved Guinevere, but she wasn’t without her flaws. She had a fear of water that was inconvenient to her and made for a few cringey scenes in the book, such as that scene with the bath. Guinevere was also extremely quick to jump to conclusions without doing proper investigations first. Whenever she suspected someone or something, she latched onto them or it until she was proven wrong.
It was annoying that she did that, but I still loved Guinevere. She was very mindful of those around her, especially Arthur. Her relationship with Arthur was (unsurprisingly) completely different from her relationship with everyone else. Sent by her father Merlin to protect Arthur, Guinevere was devoted to both her mission and Arthur and was always thinking of the potential dangers to him and in what ways she could protect him, even finding her role as queen inconvenient to her other role as Arthur’s protector. She was willing to do whatever it took, and I loved that she slowly toughened up!
Now for the “almost” part, what expectations this book didn’t meet. The plot and romance, while I enjoyed them, were really hurt by how the ending of this book played out. I’m someone who actually loves love triangles in general, but I didn’t like what happened with this book’s love triangle at the end. I’ll admit I preferred Mordred much more than Arthur, but Mordred’s betrayal was just missing the build up it needed to be impactful.
Before the betrayal Mordred acted loyal to a fault to Arthur, enough so that he was protective of him and suspicious of everyone around Arthur, like newest arrival Guinevere. So when Mordred betrayed Guinevere and Arthur, it felt as though it came out of nowhere. There weren’t any hints toward it, and we didn’t even get to fully see how devastated Arthur was about the betrayal of his closest friend.
Another thing I thought needed to be hinted at more was the Lancelot reveal. The genderbend was a very fun and complete surprise that I liked, but where was the build up to it? Much like Mordred’s betrayal it came out of nowhere.
The book also didn’t answer at least two major questions about the plot, with the Dark Queen and the Lady of the Lake. This first book was really just about Guinevere’s time as “queen” and who the evil forces against Guinevere, Arthur, and Camelot were, and unfortunately most of it was spent on Guinevere suspecting the wrong people and things.
Problems and all though, I fell in love with this book and am way too excited for the second book to come out. It’ll be one of my most anticipated sequels for next year!
One of my best reads this year!!
Oh my god.. I just loved this so much. A very different retelling of the King Arthur legend. Absolutely loved the characters, and the attention to details. This is by far my new, most favorite book by Kiersten White! And one of my best reads this year!!! The changes to the story she made were just perfect, she really made it her own! Fierce women, King Arthur, brave knights, romance, and magic, what more could I ask for?!
I need the next book now!!!!