The Guinevere Deception

Delacorte. Nov. 2019. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780525581673.
Gr 9 Up–Sixteen-year-old Guinevere knows she has a tough task ahead of her, charged by the wizard Merlin to protect King Arthur, her soon to be husband. She must do this while maintaining her secrets: she can do magic, which has been banned from Camelot and would get her thrown out, and she’s not actually Guinevere. Surprisingly, Arthur is in on her secrets and is her sole confidant, though Guinevere is often left alone as he goes off to save the kingdom. She makes friends with her maid Brangien, and with Arthur’s nephew, Mordred, who she initially distrusts as overly observant. Guinevere’s mission is unclear as Merlin often speaks in riddles and is said to be able to walk through time, giving him knowledge of all that’s to come. She increasingly questions Merlin’s motives as she learns more about him, and wonders about the gaps in her memory, such as when she can’t remember her real name. Her fear of water often becomes an issue and she’s greatly distressed to find Camelot surrounded by the substance. First in a series, this fantasy novel will appeal to fans familiar with stories of Arthur, and provides an introduction to those unfamiliar. Well-paced background is provided for key characters who are allowed to develop realistically and grow with the story. White deftly weaves together traditional Arthurian legend with an original plot that will keep readers questioning what they know.
VERDICT Full of battling knights and romance, this is a must purchase for all libraries serving teens.

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