Original Title: Daughter of Destiny
Year Published: 2016
Published by: Smashwords Edition (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
Number of Pages: 327
First Sentence: “I am Guinevere.”
Goodreads Rating: 4/5
Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.
In the war-torn world of late fifth-century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.
Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.
You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen.
Fans of Arthurian legend and the Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven-year-old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.
This was a really enjoyable book. It wasn’t what I expected when reading the blurb over at NetGalley, but it was almost better than I thought it’d be. This is a type of origin story for Guinevere, who is mostly known as King Arthur’s cheating wife. I’ve always felt like she could be so much more, and many attempts to do so have been made, both successfully and unsuccessfully. This is a successful attempt.
Here Guinevere is the descendant of a warrior tribe, meaning that she has been raised to not only be able to take care of the home but also fight alongside the men. I loved that. Instead of the fair innocent rose she has been depicted as in so many other adaptions it was nice to have her as a strong yet kind woman. I really enjoyed the fact that we got to see her grow up from a young child to a young woman and see how she grew to be able to face all challenges she faces.
If you are a lover of Arthurian legend and Arthur in particular then you might be a little disappointed. Arthur is really only in it towards the end of the book, although he makes a nameless appearance a little earlier. Instead, we get a strong cast of diverse and interesting characters. Most of them are women (yeah!) and Morgana is one familiar face. I loved that despite her being a sort of antagonist she isn’t made to be the horrible witch she is in most other stories. Loved that.
The story itself is very interesting. It does have it’s moments in the beginning where it gets a little slow, and yes a little boring, but it picks up and the rest of the book does make up for it. I will point out that this is a build up for the other books, so I’m guessing the plot isn’t that superdeveloped for that reason. That doesn’t mean tha tnothing happens. However, a lot of it is subplot and happens to other characters. Does that mean its bad? No, not at all.
Do I recommend it?