Feels like I saw you all a bunch back to back to back for a hot minute and then.... I picked up The Guinevere Deception and man...... So obviously this review is going to be about this book written by Kiersten White and I'm so sincerely split on this book.... so let me tell you why...
So I was super excited when I received the opportunity to read this book before it published... and I had started to read it about 3 days before its release which normally would be no issue for me to finish..... This book was SUPER slow for me. The concept of this book being that Guinevere (who isn't really Guinevere) is the only one that can protect Arthur from some secret threat really made me excited initially because... well obviously GIRL POWER! But she has to marry him to have a legit reason to be in his kingdom.... Arthur ends up spending a large portion of the book away from Guinevere which was off putting although the justification of him being king is a solid point. It just seemed odd and uncomfortable and while I believe their relationship was written that way for a purpose... I found myself losing interest because of their lackluster chemistry. The first half of this book felt like the main characters were just tiptoeing around the real plot line for the story and I literally found myself avoiding this book. Guinevere was not a bad main character but I really felt like she didn't have much in the way of personality not just because she had stolen someone else's life but she just calm of flat and uninteresting to me. She is secretly a witch with magic that is banished from Camelot which alone was enticing. But... again we hardly see her interact with Arthur... I spent a long time just watching Guinevere chase false leads and attempt to figure out whose behind the "attacks" on Arthur and Camelot and when the other shoe is dropped about half way through the book and you receive a huge shock and plot change it begins to make more sense. But that alone.... really just sucked for lack of a better word. I'm still not sure how I feel about it all. The whole book feels like it was drug out and that I'm still missing things that I need to understand what is happening.
Now! There were things I really did enjoy about the book as well even with the slow moving and confusing plot. I loved that Guinevere has multiple romantic interests this story including (although I think it may be more of a hope from me then an actual option) a woman as well. All three of them have a varied degree of understand of her and bring out different emotions and characteristics in Guinevere and that makes for an extremely dynamic read. And with the plot being choppy those interactions are what kept me anchored down and reading... it developed the characters and the plot in a secure way that even though I was struggling it gave me a safe stable place to return to.
I also loved that the running theme of empowering women in this book. Between Guinevere getting her legs under her and figuring out her inner strength when in comes to her magic through the book to the shocker of the Patchwork knight (trying not to be spoil sport). It was nice to see women being valued and lifted up to equal men in a retelling of a story that is so predominately male. I applaud White for making it feel natural cause there are ways that it really could have read abasive and forced. White makes the female force one to be reckoned with while still leaving the story of Arthur and Camelot in tact.
Finally. I loved the ending of this book. I loved how Guinevere lives up to the expectations I had for her in the very beginning and how she shock and awed with her magic. I also was super invested in her ending choice as to which side of the problem she chose. Mind you I won't yet say that I think it was the choice I would have made but it fits the character of Guinevere and I think that it was a selfless choice that I'm invested in following through and finding out how it plays out.
This book was kinda a roller coaster. When things finally began coming together I found myself really enjoying the plot and getting to a place where the characters had began to inspire me to invest in them. But the beginning of this book was hard for me so I gave this read a three and half star rating. I want to know more and discover more now that I have finished the story but I think the beginning could have used a little more excitement and development.
These pages take me places and I am hoping I start to read more again now that this is over!
All my love!