A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers can compare this to the legends of King Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Morgan le Fay, and Camelot. Start with The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White. Touches on the challenges of building a safe, prosperous society in medieval times. Poses the question to readers about whose stories get told and why. Are some heroes made to look more heroic by making their enemies seem more evil? Some reminders of the limited options women had in life at that time.
Ruling justly requires sacrifices. Wielding great power can be costly, even if you have the best intentions. Like most Arthur legends told, duty, loyalty, and bravery all shine. This time loyalty is heavily tested and, as the title implies, sometimes betrayal wins.
Positive Role Models
Guinevere continues to battle with her two roles: magical protector and dutiful queen. Her heart is also torn between a deeper attraction to Mordred and more stability and responsibility as Arthur's queen and wife. Without real memories of her life before, she's even more confused about the right path and whom to trust. Even if she leans toward betrayal and spends much of the book hiding things from Arthur, she does everything she can to keep her friends safe and sacrifices much for them and for Camelot. In terms of representation: Two of Guinevere's maids are a lesbian couple and the famous knight Lancelot is a woman in this story.
Violence & Scariness
An attacker is run through with a sword. Skirmishes where people are killed by arrows and magical fire. A pack of wolves is killed by magical fire. Someone nearly choked to death, someone else is magically stripped of memories until he is brain dead, and two kidnappings. A (good) dragon is injured and killed. A poisoning. Mentions of how Arthur is the product of rape and how another woman suffered trauma at the hands of a cruel husband.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, straight and LGBTQ+, and much talk between Arthur and Guinevere about whether and when to consummate their relationship. Much innuendo in a sewing circle comparing penis sizes to various objects.
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One "s--thole," plus "damn" and "bastard" rarely.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Guinevere, 17, and Arthur, 18 or 19, both drink at celebrations and dinners. There's wine at a wedding and spiced wine at a festival. A belligerent man who had too much to drink is knocked out by a knight.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Camelot Betrayal is the second book in the Camelot Rising trilogy by Kiersten White, author of the And I Darken trilogy, Illusions of Fate, and The Chaos of Stars. Readers learned in the first book, The Guinevere Deception, about a reimagined queen of Camelot who wields magic and is sent to protect King Arthur and the kingdom. Violence here is mostly of the fantasy variety -- people and wolves are killed by magical fire -- but there are also skirmishes where people die from arrows and one man is run through with a sword. Someone is nearly choked to death and someone else is stripped of all his memories until he is brain dead. A good dragon is also injured and killed. Just like the first book, expect some drinking at celebrations and dinners and some kissing, both straight and LGBTQ+. Guinevere continues to battle with her two roles: magical protector and dutiful queen. Even if she leans toward betrayal and spends much of the book hiding things from Arthur, she does everything she can to keep her friends safe and sacrifices much for them and for Camelot.
Is It Any Good?
Fantasy fans will enjoy this second trip to Camelot as intrigue builds and relationships get more complicated, but sometimes this world seems as hazy as Guinevere's memory. It doesn't help that The Camelot Deception starts with a half-formed dream of the Lady of the Lake and the Dark Queen. It's too much mystery with too little explanation until much later in the story. Other events also happen with too little build-up, like rescue missions and encounters with Mordred and magical foes. Some of those encounters don't build on the plot of this particular story either. This is one of those sequels where you can easily sort what's setup for the finale.
Still, author Kiersten White will draw readers in with what she always does expertly: digging into complex characters, especially strong women in a world of men (see her fabulous And I Darken series). And the love triangle everyone saw coming -- because it's always been part of Arthurian legend -- is a deliciously tangled mess of emotions and desires. Even if the storytelling can get a little hazy, it's clear by the cliffhanger ending that the finale will be worth it.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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