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 love the story of King Arthur and I’m sucker for any books written about it. So, a book about Guinevere (maybe I’ll be able to spell her name right on the first try after this review haha) definietly caught my attention. And it was supposed to focus on the women of this story and the strength they have and what they can add to everything around them. Plus, it there are lies and magic and Guinevere isn’t even who she seems. Trigger warnings: vague mentions of sexual assault
This book wasn’t what I expected it to be at all. I was softer than I expected. It was filled more forbidden magic done under the cover of night than sword fights. It was more about the knowledge that Guinevere had and the smart decisions she made, rather than her charging into battle. It took me awhile to get used to it, but I ended up really like this aspect. I liked how Guinevere and all the women showed their strength in their own ways, even if it wasn’t traditional. Saying and acting the right way at all times, being patient and laying traps, and putting up with talking to gross men. Though, there is some sword fighting and battles near the end.
I was also surprised about a lot in this book, in a lot of good ways. I’m not too too familiar with the inner workings of the original King Arthur tale, but I loved this story take on it. I liked seeing names I recognized and I liked where this story took their characters.
And that freaking twist at the end, that was brilliant. It came out of nowhere, but in the best way possible. I was actually kind of mad at myself for allowing myself to trust a certain character when I knew he felt slimy in the beginning! It was brilliantly done.
Though, I’m still a bit confused on the inner workings of some things. What is the end game? I guess that’s kind of the point since this is a beginning of a trilogy, but I would have liked a firmer grasp on that. There were threads that didn’t quite make sense to me from world building to character relationships/development. They make sense, but when I think about where they’re going and what is going to happen in the next books, it gets confusing.
I really, really loved Guinevere. She is such a fantastic character and a fantastic person overall. She’s caring, she’s strong, she’s fierce, she’s a fantastic friend, and she’s just all around super awesome. I also liked pretty much all of the side characters. I wasn’t sure about a couple of them, but they all grew on me.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing. It felt like a majority of the sentences were short, and it just felt a bit choppy to me before I got used to it. That’s just me though!
I feel like there is so much mystery to this book yet and that there’s still so much hidden. I want to know more. I really want to know the name that was just out of reach the entire book. I have a guess, but I’m not 100% sure. I guess I will be waiting to read the second book haha.
I loved Guinevere, I loved the forbidden magic, I love the strength of women in their own ways, I loved the horses, and I loved Camelot. I had a few issues with this book, but I still really enjoyed reading it!
Thank you for reading!