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?
I’ve always had a fascination with anything Camelot since seeing the movie Excaliber years ago, so when I saw this retelling of Guinevere, not to mention the beautiful cover, I jumped to request it from NetGalley.
If you’re not familiar with the Arthurian legend, don’t let it stop you from reading this book. Prior knowledge isn’t required. I liked the idea of Guinevere being King Arthur’s protector instead of how she’s traditionally portrayed. The problem is, while not giving away spoilers, the book description is a bit misleading. She’s also unsure of exactly who or what the threat is to Arthur, so Guinevere spends a good portion of the book trying to suss it out. And not much happens during that time.
That being said, the last 15-20% of the book moves pretty quickly, while still leaving most of the action for book two. By the end, the threat is identified, and there are a couple of twists – one of which most readers will figure out early on, and the other I guessed half of. There’s still an unrevealed mystery involving Guinevere and Merlin, but that’s something for later books, also. I found King Arthur’s character the most intriguing, having to shoulder the responsibility of a kingdom at such a young age and put everyone else’s needs and interests ahead of his own.
If you’re a Camelot fan, it’s all here along with Guinevere – Excaliber, King Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, the Lady of the Lake – but personally, I’d hoped for a queen that didn’t require saving so many times. Judging by other reviews, I’m in the minority on this one. Still, the story held my interest.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.