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.
I have to admit, I put off this book so long and I was mostly because I afraid is going to be bad. Why I bought a book that I thought is going to be bad, you ask? Because of the cover!!! I was mostly afraid is going to be a very generic YA fantasy with the super obvious love triangle, that I hate.
Well, I was wrong!! this book surprised me in so many good ways. While I love Arthurian legends, they are mostly male-centered and I am so happy to see a rising in gender-bend retellings like Legendborn and Once & Future. Guinevere deception, while keeping the gender of most characters the same, chose to center the story on the female protagonist and offer a “Meanwhile in the castle” type of story. The only downfall is a very slow beginning, where you feel like the action is happening somewhere else while we are stuck in the castle being nice to nobles (just like Guinevere).
I loved that the author took a step forward than your average YA fantasy, asking questions like “how far is too far” and “does the end justifies the means”. I just love how tridimensional the characters are, even Arthur who is The Knight in Shiny Armor™ is only human, and flawed when facing difficult decisions. For example, Camelot has a very strict no magic policy, but he is a bit of a hypocrite, throwing other people out for practicing witchcraft while using it himself through Guinevere.
Guinevere herself is a bit naive, but I had to remind myself that she’s only 17. She’s quick to jump to conclusions, assuming every stranger is evil and after Camelot or Arthur, but who wouldn’t be when you were told to expect dangers on every corner. I loved her growth and inner struggles, I wish we would see more of the evil mentor trope.
Mordred was almost my favorite character until The Patchwork Knight was revealed. While Mordred was the right amount of sass and irony through the story, I do have the hope that we will see more of the Knight in the next book.
Is very hard to keep this review spoiler-free, because the last 150 pages or so were just packed with plot-twist after plot-twist, which totally redeems the slow start in my books because you do need the time to put in place all the pieces for that magnificent endin
One last thing I want to address is the love triangle because everyone knows the Arthurian legend has a love triangle. I am not a fan of those usually, but here was done smoothly enough that I haven’t realized until the end that I was pinning for both parts.
All in all, this was a good story, I am pumped for the second book coming out next month!