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?
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“I do not know what Merlin did to me, or why, and the more I try to fix things or claim who I am, to be queen or to wield magic as a protector, the more people get hurt. Where will it stop?”
And that my friends is the crux of the matter.
This sequel will slowly change the reader’s view on the narrative. On who is good and who is evil. Nothing is black or white and even the Dark Queen had her reasons. That’s something I love about Kiersten White’s stories: she always goes for every shades of grey!
All along, I thought that Guinevere deserves a love story.
She is always second to Arthur. He is a kind and good king, a good man too. But he’ll never worship Guinevere or place her first in his heart. It will always be Camelot. Guinevere is like a convenience to him, a paw on his chess game.
I wanted them to be together but knowing that, I am torn between Lancelot and Mordred.
Lancelot because she is a very interesting character. Similar to all Arthurian’s legends, we can feel that Lancelot is probably more than devoted to Guinevere. She is always observing Guinevere, protecting her, worshipping her. And Lancelot went through so much as a kid and growing up I want her to be happy.
“Lancelot shifted so that Guinevere’s head was at a more comfortable angle against her shoulder. Her low voice was softer than normal when she answered, “I am never in the dark when I am protecting you.”
But I am also rooting for Mordred because Guinevere has conflicted feeling for him. He has always SEEN Guinevere, the whole of her. There is also an undeniable chemistry at play. And he will prove being a more complex character than what we could have thought. Not the black hearted villain.
Guinevere is, you can guess, a character I deeply care for.
I think she did not deserve what Merlin did to her: whip her memories clean. Her mind is like an empty shell and she does not know who she is, who she was.
That must be a terrible feeling.
Yet she is so dutiful.
Guinevere is a gentle soul. You can see it in how she cares for animals and how she regrets hurting people, even if they are villains about to kill her. She is powerful but hates using her power to maim living beings.
“This is the pain of being king. Of being queen. Making choices that will hurt some but save others. And often not knowing until it is too late who will be hurt and who will be saved. I am sorry you have to share it, but I am glad to have the company.”
She is also very dedicated in protecting Arthur and Camelot. Without memories, she still tries her best to be a good queen. And my heart broke every time Arthur left or kept himself at arm’s length while Guinevere so wanted to be loved.
I was glad that she had found a family in Camelot among many women: Dindrane, Branghien, Lancelot and more to come in that story. Here again women’s friendship warmed my heart as men seemed too busy to fight and protect Camelot to really care for Guinevere.
Arthur is the charismatic king that we all know from stories.
He draws people him, inspire deep devotion and that’s what Guinevere felt for him too. He is courageous, kind, considerate but … will never be all Guinevere’s and for that, I resented him.
“She often felt that her own life began the day they met. And while it was true she had few memories before that, it was also because there was something about Arthur that made him instantly the center of any life. Sir Caradoc had given up a crown after one meeting. Lancelot had trained her whole life to serve at his side. And Guinevere had chosen Camelot over all else to help him.”
But one person whose story differs from the traditional tales is Merlin!
Merlin is not the all good wizard here. His vision of a future means he won’t hesitate to make choices crushing people in the process and it gives us a “one narrative” as if his vision of the future was the only good one.
He made possible for Arthur’s mother to be raped. He erased Guinevere’s memories and we’ll learn that he “arranged” other truths to suit his scheme. Honestly, I despised him!
And Guinevere is making her mission to right Merlin’s wrongdoings.
It gave us a very interesting and unique revisiting of Arthurian legend, ending on a big cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the third book!
Have you read it already?
Thanks for reading
Great review, Sophie! I haven’t read this series but it really sounds interesting. I’m glad you’re enjoying it!
This sounds like such an interesting series!
My copy arrived a couple of days ago and I’m soooo excited to get started with this one 😀
I’m glad to hear the sequel is good. The first one was just an okay read for me so I’ve been debating about whether or not to continue the series. I think you have me convinced to keep going.
I love this premise, it definitely sounds different to what I usually read! Guess I’ll have to add to my TBR, LOL! 🙂
Awesome review, Sophie! Making me crave for some Arthurian stories right now too. 😀 Hope the third book will deliver too now! 😀
Fab review! For a change i actually have the first book…so need to read!!
Hahah yes you do Caro!
Now its just time that is required!!!