4,5 « jigsaw puzzle » stars
I love Kiersten White’s « The Conquerors saga” and when I learned that she had a release planned about Arthurian legend, I was over the moon.
Then, I saw many disappointed reviews and began to stress….
Well maybe I am easy to please or I roll with the flow but I had a great time reading!
This was read in one day while I kept falling asleep not out of boredom but because I had the flu. Every time my eyes drooped I was so frustrated as I wanted to keep reading! That in my standards is a good read!
The Guinevere Deception is like a jigsaw puzzle that will be far from done when you’ll reach the end! You’ll have the outer borders but not much more and that’s maybe part of the reason some did not seem to like it. I will explain more about the “dislikes” that I have read about below but first, let’s explain some of the story (no spoiler) and what I loved in the book.
Guinevere is not the real name of our heroine but we won’t know her true identity. We know that she is Merlin’s daughter and has been sent by Merlin to protect King Arthur against an ominous threat. As magic has officially been banned from Camelot and Arthur had to follow the Christian rules, the best way to protect Arthur is to send a supposed bride from a kingdom far away who will be tasked with his protection.
Guinevere will work to protect Camelot and try to discover what is threatening the king and Camelot.
What I loved in the book is the mystery and the deceptions! Because there isn’t only one deception at Guinevere pretending to be someone else. No, they are many!
To the point where you don’t know anymore who is friend or foe, who is a “good Christian” or a magic user nor who Guinevere truly is! By the end of the book you won’t have many answers either, just more questions.
Merlin being rather “shady” by the end of the story and not fitting the first picture we got of him through Guinevere’s eyes in the beginning was also something that I really appreciated! I love shades of grey in my stories.
What I also loved was Guinevere. Even without much knowledge about her past, you can feel that she is good at heart. And yet we suspect there is more to come. She is brave and courageous, working tirelessly to strengthen Camelot’s protections.
Yet at sixteen she is still inexperienced and “unfinished” so she can seem “bland” to some. She is not Lada that’s for sure but that’s not the purpose of the story!
Guinevere will always follow her heart and want to save people and animals. Some might find her “meek” I think it was true to who/what she is and we’ll see more of it in the next installments.
I also really liked the roles women played in this story it was refreshing to see some twists on the legend. Some spoke of forced feminism but to me it just was a nice surprise. A re- imagining of an old legend under a whole other light.
Now I want to speak about what seems to have bothered other readers in the hope of giving you a “global picture” of the story.
One of the critics that I have read about that story is about characters being two dimensional. I don’t think I know Guinevere that well indeed but that’s because there are holes in her own memories! She is so certain of who she is at the beginning of the story but by the end she is lost and sees a whole different world with unknown facts about her past! Of course it would be difficult to really “know” someone if said someone had so many questions about herself.
I found this part about Guinevere’s loss of memories thrilling and intriguing but I totally get why it would bother others.
Not knowing every answer by the end of the books is also something that annoyed other readers. If you need to know everything then of course you’ll be angry. But this being a trilogy it pushes me to read the next book because I need answers to these questions!
If there is one thing that I can agree to it is Arthur being rather disappointing. He was the marvelous and generous king of the legend courageous and all but he was absent so often that we did not get to know him. This is a single POV, except for some very short chapters from the unknown dark enemy, we see all through Guinevere’s eyes and nothing through Arthur’s.
He was the perfect Arthur yet his dedication to Camelot while admirable was also disappointing as I would have loved more dedication to his relationship with Guinevere. More flaws. More “rawness”.
He was appeasing villagers, avoiding conflicts on the borders etc, absent most of the time and leaving his new bride behind! Not how I had pictured a potential love story!
Yet there is one good news about said relationship: I think more happened in the past between these two. Something that Guinevere nor us know and this is one more intriguing piece of the puzzle that I can’t wait to know more about.
« She was choosing Arthur, again. She did not know how, or when, but she had made this exact choice before.”
To sum it up: I loved this original interpretation of the Arthurian legend, where women play even more prominent roles than men, filled with deceptions, betrayals and a whole lot of unanswered questions.
Have you read it? What did you think of it?
Thanks for reading!