The Excalibur Curse by Kiersten White is the final book in our Camelot trilogy. Guinevere is willing to do whatever it takes to discover who she truly is.
While journeying north toward the Dark Queen, Guinevere falls into the hands of her enemies. Behind her are Lancelot, trapped on the other side of the magical barrier they created to protect Camelot, and Arthur, who has been led away from his kingdom, chasing after false promises. But the greatest danger isn’t what lies ahead of Guinevere—it’s what’s been buried inside her.
Vowing to unravel the truth of her past with or without Merlin’s help, Guinevere joins forces with the sorceress Morgana and her son, Mordred—and faces the confusing, forbidden feelings she still harbors for him. When Guinevere makes an agonizing discovery about who she is and how she came to be, she finds herself with an impossible choice: fix a terrible crime, or help prevent war.
Guinevere is determined to set things right, whatever the cost.
Guinevere has been a changeling, a witch, a queen—but what does it mean to be just a girl?
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy and may or may not reflect the published edition.
“And he had hurt her, had hurt Guinevere, and he could never fix it, and he did not deserve to ever fix it.”
I went into this with relatively low expectations. After the way the second book left me feeling, I was prepared to be disappointed. I really was not, however, prepared to be disappointed in our main character. To prepare for reading this advanced reader copy, I made a point to re-read the first two books. This was to make sure that my review was fair, and that I remembered things correctly. Part of me wishes I hadn’t done that. Why? Because Guinevere left in book two, and someone else replaced her in book three.
“She was alone. She was a fool. And, as her lungs burned and her vision dimmed, she knew with absolute certainty she had drowned before, and she was drowning again.”
Guinevere is single-minded in this book. Her focus is finding out who she was before she was Guinevere. I understand wanting your own backstory, and I generally support and love these kinds of plots. Yet, once we found out who Guinevere was, it was incredibly lackluster. My initial reaction was an eye roll and an “okay, congrats?” And there was some 50% left of the book after that. We had the pleasure of meeting Fina, and her inclusion in the book is the only thing that kept me going. I found her greatly amusing and refreshing from what happens to Guinevere’s personality after she finds out who she is.
“Life is short. Death is swift. Some sorrows are sweet enough to be worth feeling.”
Once Guinevere knows who she is, she then spends the rest of the book is annoying as fuck about it. I rarely use the f word in my reviews. But our favorite female hero seems to wallow in the information. She is overwhelmed by it and becomes somewhat useless to the rest of the story and the war happening around her. This only improves in the final 25%, and it’s mostly an act of desperation. This felt frustrating to me to read, and I wanted to smack her upside the head for it.
“I know you would fight the whole world for me. And I would for you as well, which is why I cannot tell you what to do. I will be safe, one way or another. And we will be together again.”
My last comments are more of a nit-picky thing than anything. The first book made me excited for a female Lancelot, and the idea of Guinevere being queer. The second book made me feel like I had been queer baited and led on. And this book? This book made me wish I’d been queer baited because the ending was a cop-out. Do better. Write better. This entire book felt like our author had no idea what she wanted to write, and like the audience’s opinions made her choose too many directions at once.
“I am life and I am death and I am everything in between.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.