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YA Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (CYBILS finalist)

Title: The Guinevere Deception

Author: Kiersten White

Year Published: 2019

Category: YA fiction
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2021 Google Reading map)UK

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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*

Review: This book was a finalist for the CYBILS Awards so I read it as a round 2 judge.

This is the second CYBILS finalist in this category that is a version of the King Arthur legend and it is quite different from the other one, Legendborn. While Legendborn was set in modern times with Arthur's knights' descendants fighting magical creatures, this novel sticks closer to the original Arthurian legend.

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I was going to and I think in part that is because it has such a strong female lead and other female characters. While the Arthurian legend is male-centered, this story centers on the role women play at various levels. 

What this story does well is propel the reader along, making one want to know who is "bad," who is "good," whom to trust and who to avoid. It is all sometimes twisted and I wasn't sure until close to the end, which makes for good reading.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • A to Z--"G"
  • Alphabet Soup--"W"
  • Children's historical fiction--takes place in a country in which I do NOT live; takes place in a region in which I have lived; proper noun in the title; features a castle
  • Literary Escapes--UK
  • Popsugar--magical realism

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