Title: The Camelot Betrayal
Series: Camelot Rising #2
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retellings
Published: November 10th, 2020 (Delacorte Press)
Synopsis: EVERYTHING IS AS IT SHOULD BE IN CAMELOT: King Arthur is expanding his kingdom’s influence with Queen Guinevere at his side. Yet every night, dreams of darkness and unknowable power plague her.
Guinevere might have accepted her role, but she still cannot find a place for herself in all of it. The closer she gets to Brangien, pining for her lost love Isolde, Lancelot, fighting to prove her worth as Queen’s knight, and Arthur, everything to everyone and thus never quite enough for Guinevere–the more she realizes how empty she is. She has no sense of who she truly was before she was Guinevere. The more she tries to claim herself as queen, the more she wonders if Mordred was right: she doesn’t belong. She never will.
When a rescue goes awry and results in the death of something precious, a devastated Guinevere returns to Camelot to find the greatest threat yet has arrived. Not in the form of the Dark Queen or an invading army, but in the form of the real Guinevere’s younger sister. Is her deception at an end? And who is she really deceiving–Camelot, or herself?
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Guinevere has accepted her role as Arthur’s queen and to protect Camelot, but she is still restless. The Dark Queen has risen and is no doubt biding her time to strike. Guinevere still struggles to belong, even as she continues to wonder about her past, but danger may have already arrived in Camelot, as magic is not the only threat. Not only is Mordred still at large, the real Guinevere’s younger sister arrives unexpectedly for a visit. Can Guinevere maintain the deception or will she be exposed as an imposter?
I’m quite conflicted about this book. On one hand, it was undoubtedly entertaining, but on the other, it hardly felt like Guinevere’s story at all, there was so little focus on the main conflict. I hope all these side stories I had to muddle through in this book are actually going to come back and be relevant in the finale or I will be very disappointed. There is definitely a little middle book syndrome here, and I skimmed quite a few chapters because I was very bored at some places.
We get some nice backstories, including an interesting variant of Tristan and Isolde, and the interludes certainly helped liven things up. Guinevere has quite an interesting arc as she begins to grow into her role. I also really liked her strong friendship with Brangien and Lancelot. While I like this version of Lancelot, I’m still confused on what to think regarding how this will end up in comparison to the myth. There isn’t nearly enough laid out to make it happen realistically, but I’m curious to see where this goes. Mordred is turning into quite the interesting character and I don’t even know if I would call him a villain anymore – assuming there isn’t another twist hidden up ahead.
The plotline with Guinevach, Guinevere’s sister, was just building up to be something really good – and then it falls flat. If it had to be that way, why did Guinevere need to spend nearly 2/3 of the book fretting over her intentions, jumping to conclusions and generally acting in a very suspicious manner towards her? It just made her sound really whiny when this could have all been resolved so much earlier to make way for some more solid plot. Also, where I enjoyed Arthur and Guinevere’s romance in the first book, this time around, it falls flat, Arthur in particular who has basically no character development in this one. Honestly, having Guinevere run off with Mordred is more believable at this point – atleast they have some chemistry! All in all, I would consider this the book of side quests and false leads, and of course, the one where Guinevere makes some reckless and questionable life choices.
The ending was certainly a surprise, and one you will not see coming. Combined with the revelations about Guinevere that may or may not be true, it sets the stage for a very interesting path ahead. Overall, this wasn’t up to the standard of The Guinevere Deception, but an entertaining sequel. Knowing Kiersten White though, the finale is likely to be a showstopper, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this retelling is going to end and how close to the original story it will stay. I would definitely recommend this not only for fans of retellings and the legend of King Arthur, but also fantasy fans, who are sure to enjoy the unique magic system and the world of Camelot.
The Camelot Betrayal releases on November 10th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: