The Guinevere deception, by Kiersten White

The Guinevere deception is the first book of Kiersten White’s Camelot Rising trilogy, which came out in November 2019.

I bought it as a gift from myself, to myself, for Christmas (if you want it done well, do it yourself!) and… have been sitting on this review ever since. There’s no specific reason why – I enjoyed reading this book, and I’m pretty sure I’ll get the next one as soon as it comes out too, so there’s really no logic to this except me just forgetting to write this post every week since January.

Synopsis

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.

What I liked

I loved the characters! Guinevere was terribly cute and tried her best to make herself useful in a strange place, alone and uncertain of her place in the world. Arthur was kind and just, and trying his best to do right by his new wife, and all the secondary characters had interesting backstories. (Also, no spoilers, but : Lancelot is the best.) There’s also some LGBTQ+ representation, which is always a nice thing to have.

The system of magic seemed very original to me – I always think of magic in Arthurian retellings as elemental magic, like Merlin’s, or very complex spells and potions, but knot magic was a refreshing take on this and helped bring novelty to the story.

Merlin and Arthur’s complex relationship, as seen through Guinevere’s eyes, was interesting and made me want to see it more developed in the next part of this series, The Camelot betrayal, coming out in November 2020.

And one last point : Mordred. Mordred was excellent. I don’t want to spoil anything – if it is even possible to spoil Arthurian mythology – so I’ll stay super vague, but Mordred stole my heart in a couple of pages and then broke it. Damn you Mordred.

What I didn’t like

The pacing of the story was a little strange – it was very slow for the first half / two thirds of the book, then accelerated exponentially until the end. Personally, it didn’t bother me too much, but I can see why it might feel too slow to some reviewers.

At times, Guinevere’s decisions seemed hasty and not well thought-out, even though she was supposed to be in dangerous territory with the goal to defend her king at all costs – but I guess that could be blamed on the character’s age and naïveté : after all, she’s supposed to only be 16 when the story starts, and her backstory strongly suggests she hasn’t met a lot of other people before being sent by Merlin on this top-secret mission to Camelot.

Conclusion

This was a very fun read for me, I enjoyed it a lot and will most definitely try to preorder the next one when it comes out!

5 things I want to do in June + my June TBR

June is my birthday month – I’ll be 22 on June 10th! – so I’m planning a lot for the next few weeks : I’ve got exams coming up, final projects for classes, blogging, reading… hopefully, I’ll have a nice start of the summer with all those plans!

The unrealistic June TBR

My TBR might be a little too long for me to manage this June – but I’ll try nonetheless !

So far, I’ve got these two fantasy novels to read first :

  • Words of radiance, by Brandon Sanderson – I’m at 52% in this one and hopefully will be done by Wednesday (mostly because it’s so good that I can’t put it down, even to go to sleep!)
  • Oathbringer, by Brandon Sanderson – right after I finish the previous one, because I need to know what happens to Kaladin, Shallan and the others, and I can’t possibly wait until I finish something else first.

I got into Brandon Sanderson’s books after watching one of Emily @ BookswithEmilyFox’s videos – you can find her (super fun) booktube channel here!

I’ve also downloaded much more library eBooks that I can possibly read, but I’ll do my best to get through at least those before July :

  • Don’t overthink it, by Anne Bogel
  • Furyborn, by Claire Legrand
  • The buy nothing, get everything plan, by Liesl Clark
  • What the most successful people do before breakfast, by Laura Vanderkam
  • How to hold a grudge, by Sophie Hannah
  • Rest, refocus, recharge, by Greg Wells
  • I wanted fries with that, by Amy Fish

I also have a few books from NetGalley I’m hoping to read during these coming weeks :

  • Every other weekend, by Abigail Johnson
  • Don’t read the comments, by Eric Smith
  • Martian blood, by John Pahl
  • Act like a lady, by Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin and Jac Vanek

5 goals for June

Write something (again)

One of my personal goals for may was to try to write something – and I did! It’s a small Star Trek : Alternate Original Series fanfiction that I posted on AO3, and it’s super short, but it made me happy to write it. Getting kudos and comments made me feel much more confident in my abilities to write more, so I’ll try to post something new this month too!

Related posts : check out my May wrap-up to see how well (or not) I did on last month’s goals!

Keep trying to post regularly

I’m doing my best to follow my schedule – for work, for studying, and for posting reviews and discussions here. My blog schedule for June is almost ready (it only has a few posts without full titles, so it should be good to go in a few days), and I’ll try to follow it by using my free time to plan posts in advance, save my drafts whenever I can.

This should help me avoid unexpected blogging breaks like the one I unfortunately had to take in the first weeks of May.

Pass all my exams

My intensive summer semester ends on June 23rd, with two exams on June 22nd and two final projects to turn in by that date too. I passed the midterms this week, and am hoping for good results – all that studying I’ve been doing should at least help me maintain my current GPA!

Try to cut down on takeout and restaurant food

One of my most important expenses, in May, has been takeout food.

A medium iced capp from Tim Hortons when I go to work, two bubble teas to bring home on my off days, some groceries when I leave the store I work at, a burgers and fries order at A&W… It all added up to an amount I’m really not comfortable with, and I didn’t appreciate that when I had to pay off my credit card in full at the end of the month.

Fortunately, I made enough money in May to cover those unexpected expenses (I know that having a job during the pandemic is extremely lucky and I’m doing everything I can to do it well and keep it) – but I should have been able to save that money for other things, and not waste it when we had food at home.

So yeah. In June, we’re doing better. I won’t completely ditch the iced capps or the bubble teas, but when it comes to full meals, I’d love to take some more time to prepare them at home, so I don’t have to panic next time I have to pay my bills.

Have a great birthday

I actually have two three-hours classes on my birthday, so I probably won’t spend a lot of time having fun, but I’ve bought myself a brand new book at my local library today to celebrate, and I’ve got good stuff planned! A nice meal, maybe bubble tea, and a nice evening of watching bullet journaling videos on YouTube and reading on the couch should be great as a birthday not party, and will help me relax – which is exactly what I need right now.

Hopefully, my preordered copy of Aurora Burning will arrive eventually – I’d love for it to get here for my birthday!

That’s is for this month’s goals and TBR – stay around to see if I can take on these new challenges when I post my June wrap-up post at the end of the month!