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 altered—Lancelot 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 intriguing—although 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)