Review by Booklist Review
The woman known as Guinevere rides from the convent to join her soon-to-be husband Arthur in Camelot, but she is not what she seems. Merlin has charged her with protecting the new king at all costs, but there are other players in the mix who have a different target in mind. White plays with the Round Table legend, giving Guinevere a different origin, Lancelot a gender switch, and Mordred a much more sympathetic role in the intrigue at court. This series-opener focuses on Guinevere's early days as she tries to settle into unfamiliar territory while learning the tasks of a queen. The writing is engaging, and this is undeniably a fresh take on Camelot. The author mixes action and introspection and takes care with character motivations and backstories. Arthurian legends are seeing a bit of a revival these days, so nudge interested readers toward Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy's Once & Future (2019) and Thomas Wheeler's Cursed (2019).HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: White regularly turns out best-sellers. Couple that with a robust marketing campaign and King Arthur's current popularity, and this should be another hit.--Cindy Welch Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this fresh twist on an enduring tale, White (Slayer) introduces an intriguing new heroine. After the real Guinevere, a princess preparing for marriage in a convent, dies, Merlin (banished from Camelot along with all magic) replaces her with a 16-year-old forest witch who has magic at her fingertips and no clear memory of her early life. Drawn to King Arthur's innate goodness and devotion to Camelot, she marries him to protect him from any threats. The new Guinevere is enraptured by Camelot's sights and soon makes new friends, including her lady's maid, Brangien; Arthur's enigmatic nephew, Mordred; and the preternaturally skilled fighter dubbed the Patchwork Knight. When a long dormant threat awakens, Guinevere must choose her destiny: embrace the wild magic that beckons her, or fight for the hope and promise of Camelot. With immersive prose, White captures the spirit of Arthurian legend while adding diversity and a bit of powerful feminist flair in this appealing series opener, and while Guinevere is the focus, White doesn't shortchange her supporting cast. Guinevere's mysterious past, and her future, leaves much to be explored in future installments. Ages 12--up. Agent: Michelle Wolfson, Wolfson Literary Agency. (Nov.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
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.--Rebecca Greer, Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, FL
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
An acclaimed master of the female-centric retelling turns her hand to Arthuriana.Guinevere is a mystery: an impostor princess, daughter of Merlin, and possessor of magical knowledge, she has been sent to Camelot to pose as queen and keep Arthur safe. White (Slayer, 2019, etc.) sets up an ambitious take on Arthurian lore, with many details familiar yet alteredLancelot is a woman, Mordred is Arthur's right hand and also very appealing, and Guinevere intends only good, although it seems as if this incarnation may still bring ruin, in this case merely by being magical in a world that has banished magic. The connective tissue of the power women wield despite being overlooked doesn't always hold together, but the questions Guinevere asks about women and power, and the subtext that chaos is inherently feminine (the defeated Dark Queen, Guinevere, the Lady of the Lake) while Arthur represents masculinity and control, are intriguingalthough this volume comes to no conclusions. More diverse than many Camelot representations (Sir Bors has a physical disability, Sir Tristan has brown skin in otherwise white Camelot, and there is a pair of lesbian lovers), this is a retelling designed for a modern audience more interested in people than battles and more intrigued by identity and affection than honor and questing.A promising series opener. (Fantasy. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.