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Camelot Rising #3

The Excalibur Curse

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The gripping conclusion to the acclaimed Arthurian fantasy trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White finds Guinevere questioning everything—friends and enemies, good and evil, and, most of all, herself.

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. To defeat a rising evil. To remake a kingdom. To undo the mistakes of the past...even if it means destroying herself.

Guinevere has been a changeling, a witch, a queen—but what does it mean to be just a girl?

278 pages, Audiobook

First published December 7, 2021

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About the author

Kiersten White

76 books12.5k followers
Kiersten White is the #1 New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of many books, including the And I Darken series, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, Star Wars: Padawan, the Sinister Summer series, and HIDE. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, where they obsessively care for their deeply ambivalent tortoise. Visit Kiersten online at KierstenWhite.com and follow @KierstenWhite on Twitter.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 682 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,505 reviews30.8k followers
December 20, 2021
definitely the weakest book in the series. such a shame the trilogy ends with such a ‘meh’ conclusion.

while i will praise KW for creating her own version of camelot that is exciting and has really intriguing characters in it, i sadly wasnt experiencing any of that charm in this particular installment. the writing itself is still great, but everything else feels lacking.

my main gripe is with the relationships in this book. they are not convincing, nor are any of them relationships i want to root for. and i think the heart of this issue is the characters themselves. they feel more like plot pieces rather than characters. and so their connections with one another feel rather contrived. i dunno. theyre just not the characters i had come to enjoy in the previous two books, unfortunately.

i still have positive feelings for the series and still like how KW handles arthurian mythology as a whole, i just wish this conclusion had been more enjoyable.

3 stars
Profile Image for Vee_Bookish.
1,258 reviews278 followers
Want to read
April 14, 2020
can people stop rating books that have barely been written yet

we know you haven't read it
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books478 followers
May 6, 2021
"Did you really think a sword could save anyone? Swords do not save. They kill, Guinevere."


Hello all and welcome to me screaming about how utterly wrecked I am from disappointment and let-down expectations. This book took the excellence from the other two and decided to throw it in the garbage and I'm just sitting here like:

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN????? everything was going so well in the other books?? My heart literally HURTS from the absolute disrespect this showed to all the characters who became paste-in plot devices instead of the living, breathing portrayals of the first two books. The writing is still mostly-decent but barely holds together the shabby attempts at plot and finalization. Questions are "answered" in the way of someone taking a sit-down and listening to a podcast of the news for the last 10 years in a chipmunk voice you can barely decipher. Relationships are a joke all around and don't even make sense??

(except for ONE but that's a point for later down . . . )

The way this is written feels like the author wrote the first third of the book directly after the others . . . but then came back a few months later with a totally different viewpoint than what it had originally started as and like I DON'T LIKE THAT!?!? The consistency from the other books is erased by the halfway point. Characterizations are ripped apart into cardboard cut-outs and the magic that led me to ADORE the other books was totally missing from here.

⚠️⚠️ spoilers start now ⚠️⚠️

'Once, not long ago, Guinevere had ridden surrounded by armed soldiers and marveled at her power. Now she rode surrounded by armed soldiers and marveled at her smallness.'


I just absolutely HATED the way Guinevere's character was reduced to that of a lost little girl who seemed to care more about stubbornly isolating herself from those who cared about her and refusing to accept advice. Which considering all that she'd been through previously, it is somewhat understandable . . . but she really didn't GROW as a character. Instead, she came across as stuffed into a box meant to portray how Independent™ and Girl Power™ she was, which actually came across as the opposite, stifling any potential. She rushed into things with only half a thought and sheer idiotic determination driving her so much that it was a wonder Guinevere made it as far in life as she did.

and now allow me to shriek in anger about the revelation of her past:


The way the secrets of her past are teased about fall so, so flat in comparison to the actual revelation. Who cares she's a weird mix of an immortal water deity (half of the Lady of the Lake) who maybe killed the soul of the "real Guinevere" to create something new which is the Guinevere we know in this series?? Apparently she does . . . too much. It was this driving force behind her stupid decisions and crippling self-deprecation that was more-than-poorly handled in order to rush the Girl Power™ aspects she and the rest of the book was supposed to have.

*bangs pots and pans* BUT DON'T TAKE ME HATING ON BADLY-WRITTEN FIERCE FEMALE CHARACTERS AS HATING ON FIERCE FEMALE CHARACTERS!!!! The reason I'm so upset is that it's a BAD EXAMPLE and could have been so much better but really comes off as the author being angry (as she stated in her acknowledgements tbh) and that, in my opinion, quite obviously clouded judgement in creating good characters instead of using them as shells to vent personal rages through.

Funnily enough, it's that LITERAL plot aspect that really frustrated me—the sheer lack of power everyone had when it came to The Dark Queen and Merlin. Except of course for Guinevere who suddenly was able to block control and save the day. Yay for girl power!!

before I scream about how upset I am with how the relationships in this book were handled, allow me to introduce the mess in here that is the Plot, apparently:

"Arthur is plotting against her, and my mother is plotting against Merlin, and doubtless Merlin saw all this and has his own plots that were put in motion seventy years ago and will somehow ruin whatever my mother is trying to do, while Arthur sweeps in with his damnable sword and cuts through the magic of my grandmother, who will retreat and plot anew, while Arthur goes and does Arthur things and and my mother plots and Merlin interferes from afar. They are all a terrible river crashing down a hill. Nothing will stop them. Nothing will alter their course. If we remove ourselves from it, all we have done to affect the outcome is claim our own selves and our own happiness as more important than being drowned by their conflict.


My boy Mordred once more proving his amazingness by summing up this book's plot so aptly and perhaps being the only self-aware character?? And yet he's treated as the Bad Guy™?? The DISRESPECT . . . but I digress.

The plot of this book is shaky at best, rushed at worst as it tries to pull all the threads together in a way that stays somewhat true to the originating mythos while still carrying out the retelling aspects. And quite honestly, it's badly done. There is a narrative being pushed in this book that I GET OKAY but sacrifices good story telling to do so. The female strength and character equality could have been in here without trashing all the male characters or ruining characterization on all genders. It felt forced and unnatural and truly shattered all my hopes of this book being as grand as the previous ones. It was slapped together and the "ending" felt more in line with a drafted outline than an actual finale.

"And leave Arthur alone in Camelot?"
"God above, yes. Let Arthur be alone. Let him be alone forever."


If there was just ONE THING this book did right it was show how Arthur really isn't a good person and yet no one really cares about that. Yes, that is an effect of his upbringing and the world he was raised in . . . but still doesn't excuse it. He isn't cardboard so much in this book because his faults and barely-erased toxic ideas of a relationship are put on full display here. And it's really sad that THIS is the thing I have to applaud.

Also, the other characters were barely in here to make room for Guinevere angsting about how she's wrong, doesn't belong, and oh no can never love anyone or do anything right.

"I wish you were evil. It would make everything easier. I understand you, and it hurts so much."


I should have stopped reading this after first third of this book because made me SO HAPPY because my boy Mordred was around, Guinevere was finally allowing herself to recognize the connection they had and the feelings she held for him. The plot made sense. The characters were real and funny. They bantered so well. It was sweet and cute and a fair amount of PG smexy . . . until it wasn't.

I WISH I COULD EXPLAIN WHY THE UNEXPECTED, BADLY-EXCECUTED CHANGE OF PACE HAPPENED!!! The blurb promised and more than hinted at an exploration (I guess we did get that) and confirmation of a Guinevere/Mordred ship. And I wish I could say that we got a solid HEA here on literally ANY level. So many chances for excellence were tossed aside, even a lovely appealing aspect of a poly romance between Guinevere, Mordred, and Lancelot because, in the first third of the book, EVERYTHING MADE SENSE AND I WAS OVERJOYED!!

"Think of me often. Think of me at the most inappropriate times. But think of me honestly, and remember that I am answering for my own mistakes."


Is my review becoming as disjointed as the book?? Probably. I am just so TIRED and my heart aches with how much this let me down, okay. I was so hyped for the finale of this series, ready for all the Mordred teases to come into play in a finalized relationship . . . but instead I got nothing but frustration at the amount of how many good things didn't happen or were tossed aside as if they were worthless. Guinevere from the first book would be horrified at what happened to her; I AM horrified at what happened to her . . . any everyone else. And so I am just going to re-read the first third of the book again and pretend that's the true finale and Mordred and Guinevere chose to run off to a cottage together in Avalon and leave the rest of the people to fight it out amongst themselves.

P.S. No, the introduction of Fina wasn't even enough to rescue this book.

I received a digital ARC from Delacorte Press via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC copy.


Profile Image for aly ☆彡 (sick).
346 reviews955 followers
January 23, 2022
It started great and then I think it was too long but was proven wrong. And then it proved me wrong again with the ending.

This finale isn’t perfect but I enjoyed it as it is and need no reason to prove so. However, started as a solid four stars but ended up settled for three because of THAT FUCKING ENDING… It’s a disgrace for whatever shit you put Modred in and I refused to yield.

I literally jinx myself with the pre-review about ready to be broken because I am and I hated every single bit of it!!!!! NOT OKAY!!!!!!

Boo!!! Tomato tomato.



I did not foresee that cover.......

And that summary? Don't give me hope please #TEAMMODRED all the way!

I can't wait to be broken!!!

Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,464 reviews9,337 followers
December 29, 2022
**3.5-stars rounded up**

The Excalibur Curse is the third and final book in Kiersten White's Camelot Rising trilogy.

In this slow-burn, character-driven YA Fantasy series, White puts her own unique spin on the legend of Camelot, incorporating classic characters many of us know and love.

The second book in the series, The Camelot Betrayal, ended on an incredible cliffhanger, with the fate of our heroine, Guinevere, hanging in the wind.

I literally gasped at the final plot twist in that book and knew that I had to continue with this story as soon as possible.

As this installment begins, Guinevere finds herself separated from her closest companions. In order to free herself from her sticky situation, and continue on her mission, she is forced to make some new allies. One in particular, I really enjoyed being added to the cast.

I'm looking at you, Fina.

If you have read the earlier books, you know Guinevere has a lot of unanswered questions about her past. Okay, unanswered questions is putting it mildly. She has no freaking clue where she came from or who she really is.

This causes her continued angst. She cannot continue to live feeling like she stole the real Guinevere's life. She feels a fraud. She needs to find out her truth.

This story follows Guinevere over the ups and downs of her final quest for answers. What she finds...yeah, she's not ready for it. It shakes her to her core and causes her to feel like she is unworthy of the life she leads.

Her friends and companions, those who love her, work hard to convince her that she is incredible just as she is. She has changed their lives. It doesn't matter one lick where she came from. She is real and she matters.

While, admittedly, this started out slow for me, the pace definitely increased exponentially in the second half.

Also, I did finally get the answers I was hoping for and even though they weren't what I expected, I walk away satisfied.

There were so many great relationships built throughout this series. I think that aspect is my greatest take-away from this whole story.

Each relationship was unique and it had its own special qualities. I would say my favorite to watch evolve over the course of the three books was Guinevere and Lancelot. Wow, the two of them and their bond, it absolutely fills my heart to even think about. That's unconditional love.

Overall, I had a really good time with this series. It's a bit romantic and dreamy, but it's also full of twists, intrigue and fantastic characters.

As mentioned above, I'm really happy with this conclusion and can walk away comfortable that my favorites will live happily ever after...

Thank you to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I definitely look forward to reading more from Kiersten White soon!!
Profile Image for human.
640 reviews953 followers
Want to read
August 12, 2021
sfkjsldkfjldskfjlks i get that the covers are trying to show how guinevere is """changing""" over the course of the books, but, at the same time, she's not a pokemon y'all-
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
365 reviews958 followers
Want to read
December 8, 2022
I received this complimentary ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.


Guinevere and Mordred better be endgame or I'll riot!!! :P
Profile Image for Jasmine Marie.
96 reviews15 followers
December 20, 2021
Update 12/19/21:

DNF’d because Mordred deserved better, and so do I

1/24/21: I’m really hoping for Guinevere and Mordred to be endgame lol
Profile Image for Kate (BloggingwithDragons).
234 reviews64 followers
November 16, 2021
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Actual rating: 1.5 stars

The Excalibur Curse is the final entry in The Camelot Rising trilogy. I wish I could say I was surprised by how disappointed I was by the ending, but I’ve had a feeling I wouldn’t like the ending since The Camelot Betrayal . I guess what was more shocking to me was why I didn’t like the ending. After two other books in the series placing Guinevere in a love triangle with King Arthur and (his nephew, in this retelling) Mordred, Guinevere finally decides she’s in love with Lancelot. 

I have been completely perplexed throughout the trilogy, which decided to make Lancelot a woman. It just seemed like such an odd narrative choice because the character and her new gender, were completely underutilized. In fact, I even remarked in my review for The Camelot Betrayal that I had no idea why Lancelot had ever been made a female. She didn't enter the legendary love triangle with Arthur and Guinevere or even a plain Sapphic romance with Guinevere. Well, unfortunately these remarks must have been some sort of a prophecy, because in the eleventh hour of the series, after Guinevere finally admits and acts her feelings for Mordred, she then decides she's actually in love with Lancelot! 

"Mordred had been told all his life who he was—the eel, Arthur's nephew, the fairyson, the Dark Queen's savior. And still he carved his own path, chose where to walk and followed no one. She had shied away from his pain because it was a mirror to her own. But he lived in it, did not run from it. He made mistakes and then kept going. And he always, always saw her."

 I had to laugh at this development, because otherwise I would feel like crying, at the fact that I didn't even get to enjoy Mordred and Guinevere acting upon their feelings. Blink, and it was over, and Guinevere was realizing, and repeatedly telling readers, that all along it was actually Lancelot, not Arthur or Mordred—the main love interests throughout the entire trilogy—that made her feel understood, complete, etc..  This is after reading in two other book in the series, and heck, even in The Excalibur Curse, that rightly claimed Mordred was the only one who saw her So once again, poor Mordred, the feminist, the one who always saw Guinevere, the "fairyson" of The Green Knight and Morgan Le Fay and the one who loves and talks to animals, is used and abused. And he takes it so well, that it hurts even more.

"'I will save you in spite of yourself,' he whispered into her ear. 'I will save you even if I am saving you for someone else.'"

I kind of wished that The Excalibur Curse had least gone The Mists of Avalon route, and had a polyamorous relationship with Mordred and Lancelot, at the very least, instead of so brusquely and suddenly pushing the object of Guinevere's desire aside. As the trilogy so badly wants to be a feminist reimaging of Arthurian legend, and Mordred is respectful of Guinevere's feelings for Lancelot, as he only wishes for her to be happy, why didn't they just enter into a relationship with the three of them? To make matters worse, at the end of The Excalibur Curse, Guinevere holds hands with both Arthur and Lancelot!

Before this moment, I thought that the only good thing about Guinevere's realization of feelings for Lancelot is that her feelings for King Arthur were finally pushed aside. Throughout the entire Camelot Rising trilogy, I've either been indifferent to or outright disliked Arthur, who always felt wooden and like a horrible, neglectful husband. For me, the character never reached the heights of legend. But to my horror, after she realizes he's married to the job, and not her, she tells reader's she still loves him too! I really wanted to scream. Though I thought my worst nightmare for the ending of this trilogy was one where Mordred died, perhaps at the hands of Arthur, as in legend, or to save Guinevere, I was quickly proved wrong by what happened in the actual ending, with

To me, it was almost like the author had suddenly decided that her retelling of Arthurian legend should end at least somewhat similarly to the legend, even though the trilogy had not put in the work to build up to that ending. It felt very random and unbelievable to me that Guinevere suddenly recognized her feelings for Mordred, then was over them, and in love with Lancelot, while still harboring love for Arthur. But suddenly, Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot were the main love triangle. Though the kingdom of Camelot is not left shattered in the wake of this particular love triangle as per legend, my heart definitely felt shattered. I also don't understand the hints of this romantic open relationship between these three characters, as Arthur has never liked Lancelot and used her poorly, and Guinevere knows that. Mordred and Lancelot, on the other hand, actually bantered and trained together. Make it make sense!

"But she had not been able to tell Mordred she loved him. And she had not been able to imagine a future with him, because it meant a future without Lancelot. It broke her heart that Lancelot thought no one ever valued her enough to try to protect her other than the accursed, faithless Lady of the Lake. Guinevere, would not, could not leave her behind."

My other main issue with The Excalibur Curse was every single one of Guinevere's other decisions! As if her romantic feelings weren't already giving me whiplash, the woman tears around making decisions with potentially catastrophic consequences at the drop of the hat. She never once stops to think things through or consider these ramifications, and sometimes, she even turns around from making a huge mess of things to making another horrendous choice to try to fix the previous mistake. She never listens to the advice of people around her, even those that have a better grasp of the situation or consequences either—she always assumes she actually knows better! It was so frustrating to me! What kind of Queen doesn't listen to advisors?
"She had thought she was waging war, when really she was just being moved around, a piece in a game controlled by more-powerful players." 

Honestly, this kind of impulsive and rash behavior from Guinevere, which is usually motivated by emotions, is the reason why I have tried to limit my reading of young adult fantasy. I cannot stand female protagonists, especially those in positions of power, who act immaturely, selfishly, and like their decisions don't affect those around them. This is not to say that all young adult fantasy novels have female protagonists who act like this, but I find that these characterizations are more common in young adult fantasy and I especially cannot stand them in the face of a novel that is marketing itself as a feminist retelling. I just can't relate to these types of characters as an adult. Maybe it's hubris, but I don't think I ever acted so carelessly as a young adult, whether with other people's feelings, and I sure wouldn't have with the fate of my kingdom at stake. Being a young character or simply being in a young adult novel, should not excuse characters to ignore their development, personality, and goals all for the sake of driving the plot forward or causing drama.

Another thing that really bothered me about the trilogy was that it led up all of the magic in Camelot being destroyed. I am guessing that what the trilogy was going for was that Guinevere didn't need magic to be a good queen, but it ended up just being a letdown to me. What kind of story about Arthurian legend consistently strives to destroy magic? Plus, I thought one of the coolest ideas about this trilogy was that Guinevere was the daughter of Merlin, and had magic of her own to protect Arthur. It just kind of felt like a letdown for her to not actually be Merlin's daughter and for her to lose all of her magical powers. I wasn't as disappointed with the reality of Guinevere's true identity personally, as I did feel there was plenty of build up to the revelation, but I was definitely not a fan of how she reacted to it.

"At last Guinevere knew who she was. And she would do anything to fix it."

Despite not being able to stand Guinevere or any of her horrific decisions in The Excalibur Curse, I somehow enjoyed reading it, mostly in spite of itself. I read the entirety of the novel in a day or two, and I never wanted to put it down. This in spite of Guinevere constantly "telling" her feelings instead of showing them, and not liking the ending. The one thing that has felt very consistent to me throughout The Camelot Rising trilogy is that I never know what to rate the novels, because though I really enjoy them, I know that the writing could be better, and now,The Excalibur Curse made me very unhappy.  It's really a conundrum! I guess I can chock up my love for these novels as guilty-pleasure.

Ultimately, I've decided to give The Excalibur Curse 1.5 stars, because though I really enjoyed reading it, I found the ending to be very unsatisfying on almost every level. If, like me, you've been with the trilogy since The Guinevere Deception , by all means, read The Excalibur Curse in order to know how the trilogy ends. However, I would definitely prepare myself for disappointment.

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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Shauni .
274 reviews234 followers
December 8, 2021
I've really enjoyed reading the Camelot Rising trilogy. This last book was my favorite. I felt like the stakes were higher and some really interesting characters were introduced. There was also some good development of several returning characters. Guinevere has finally come into her own and confronts her obstacles without backing down. I really enjoyed watching her grow.

While I did enjoy this series, there were a couple things I had beef with. One was the never-ending love triangle (or rectangle...trapezoid?). While I do like my books with some romantic angst, Guinevere's inability to choose drove me crazy. I mean....she had both Mordred and Lancelot willing to fall on a blade for her. That didn't even touch the strained relationship she had with Arthur....her husband.Come on girl!!! Just make up your mind and stick to it!

The other thing I kept hoping for was a little more depth to the plot. As I read the books, I often felt that something was missing in the story. I would have loved more world building in the history of the Lady of the Lake and the Dark Queen.

Overall I really enjoyed this series. It had adventure, magic and romance. A really great read!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for The Smol Moth.
209 reviews28 followers
February 12, 2022
My review is too long to put on Goodreads because I hyperfixated lmao, but it's up on my blog now!


Pre-review: Well, that certainly felt like three books' worth of character arcs shoved into one, which resulted in a feeling much like being on an old, rusty roller coaster that could break at any time. Rtc.


Am I reading this book solely for Mordred and Brangien? Yes, yes I am. Let's pour one out for the only good characters in this trilogy with any page time.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,084 reviews215 followers
November 23, 2021
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Camelot Rising series has a special place in my heart. From getting to know all the characters to going on their adventures. I honestly had the time of my life diving into these retellings of King Arthur. It also doesn't hurt that I got each and every book within this series as an ARC and loved every single page.

I was never fully prepared for The Excalibur Curse mentally. Mostly because I didn't want to say goodbye to anyone but I really wanted answers when it came to Merlin and the Dark Queen. Seriously - these two were on my mind since the very first page in the first book. So, when I got more clues, information, and then some huge reveals. Well, my mind was prepared one freaking bit.

It was a lot to take in and I devoured this all within one sitting. The romance, the betrayals, and everything in between kept me on the edge of my seat. I'm still not a fan of little love shapes that took place but I also had no idea who to ship who with. Of course, I enjoyed Arthur and Guinevere from the very beginning but I know some people wanted her with Mordred. Those people are wrong but details.

In the end, I'm loved every second I spent on these books and I'm just in awe of Kiersten's writing. Not sure what's her next book idea will be but I can't wait to dive into it. Seriously, go read this series people. Fall in love with every little thing.
Profile Image for andi.
161 reviews13 followers
December 9, 2021
→ 2 stars
→ thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest opinion.
read this review on my blog!

i found the first novel in this series quite enjoyable, the second one didn’t meet my standards, but this third and final novel really disappointed me. i expected so much more from the finale and, while a lot happened, everything felt rushed and disjointed.

the characters in this one, especially the female characters, were severely underused. i felt like the characterization they got in the previous two books was scrapped – almost none of them acted liked themselves. we had potential for strong, fierce female characters, but the book tried so hard to be feminist, that it all ended up falling flat. the main character, guinevere, was one character this book totally butchered. she was supposed to be a powerful queen, but she becomes obsessed with the tragedy of her past (which honestly wasn’t that big of a reveal and it’s not like she had any say in what happened so her self-deprecation was really pointless) and keeps pushing everyone away in a weak attempt to victimize herself even more, even thought her theory is constantly invalidated by everyone around her. she constantly refused to listen to any of the side characters. her indecisiveness got annoying at some point – for the whole novel she oscillates between the three love interests and this back-and-forth made me want to pull my hair out. her choices are also questionable at best, straight-up stupid during her worst moments.

i feel like too much happened in this book. it felt disjoined, with multiple plots going on at once. the scenes didn’t really flow together they way they should’ve – a lot of it felt like we’re skipping around.

in this third novel guinevere finally figures out that she might not actually have feelings for a certain character, only to end up with said character in the end, which really bothered me. truthfully, i would rather she remained single.

the ending was rushed and i feel like it was a bit too convenient how guinevere was suddenly powerful enough to do a certain thing with her magic. it didn’t make sense based on the rest of this book and the previous two novels. merlin also played such a small role in this series and i truly think he could’ve been more present or a bigger of a villain.

every time the book was edging towards a moment of tension, it got resolved in an instant, so the build-up was all for nothing, essentially. and it did this thing of getting rid of a villain we feared for a good few chapters in a couple pages.

i feel like the only thing i liked about this book was mordred. at least his character was somewhat consistent.
December 29, 2021
This was a really good and safisfaying ending to the trilogy! It's not my favorite in the trilogy but overall I would still recomend this trilogy to all my friends! Star rating= 4/5
Profile Image for Carrie (brightbeautifulthings).
819 reviews30 followers
November 30, 2021
There are spoilers ahead for The Guinevere Deception and The Camelot Betrayal. Guinevere’s plan to seal Camelot safely inside a magical barrier–and herself on the other side–has worked, but not the way she’d hoped. Now the captive of the Pictish King and his soldiers while Arthur chases down a false lead, she’s going to have to rely on herself to escape and discover who she truly is. With Merlin sealed away, Morgana may be the only one left who can help her, but she has her own agenda with the Dark Queen. What Guinevere discovers is more terrible than she could have guessed, and she has a choice between saving Camelot or undoing a terrible wrong that could destroy her. Spoilers will be clearly marked. I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Random House/Delacorte Press. Trigger warnings: character death (on-page), parent death, drowning, mentions of domestic abuse, abduction, violence, grief, spiders, bug horror, sexism. Some mild NSFW content.

If you couldn’t tell by my last two gushing reviews, I’ve been loving this series from the beginning. It’s not fast-paced or action-packed so much as atmospheric and introspective, with lovely writing and more focus on character than on plot, which are all things that work well for me. Throw in the number of nuanced, complex female relationships, and I’m there for it. Much like the previous books, The Excalibur Curse isn’t particularly fast-paced or plot-heavy. It meanders a bit through the first half, and while there is an eventual showdown with the series’ major villain, it doesn’t pack as much punch as the character development. For the whole of the series, Guinevere has been struggling with identity and whether she can truly know who she is if she doesn’t remember her past, and that search comes with a painful twist.

Lancelot of Arthurian legend is one of my favorite characters of all time, and I love her interpretation in this series. My biggest regret for this book is how little time Guinevere and Lancelot spend together on the page. On the other hand, Guinevere has a lot of soul-searching she needs to do on her own, and that can’t happen when she’s distracted by her feelings for Mordred/Lancelot/Arthur. All those relationships are well-handled, and I like where she eventually settles on all of them. I also like that, even in a world with magic, there are few easy magical solutions to any of the problems. If there’s a message here, it’s that sometimes we do terrible things or have terrible things done to us and just have to find a way to live with them.

Far from any love interest, the truly important relationships in this series are the ones between women: Brangien and Isolde (ship it), Guinevere and Brangien/Dindrane (friendship), Guinevere and Lily (sisters), Guinevere and Fina (allies). Guinevere’s kindness and understanding help her make friends wherever she goes, and there’s the distinct feeling that everyone around her is better for it, especially the women. There’s a strong theme of women supporting each other and telling their own stories, and I love a series where all the main characters (and all my favorites) are various shades of kickass, complex women. I’ll be holding this story in my heart for a long time.


I’m crushed this series is over, and we didn’t get a single on-page Guinevere and Lancelot kiss. 😭 Love the character development and where they end up, but please, please write another book about their love story!

I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.
Profile Image for Britney Dillon.
511 reviews8 followers
June 9, 2021
***I received an eARC of this title from Random House Children's Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!***

I loved the first two books, in this series, and was really interested to see how it ended. And while I liked the book, I felt it was a little underwhelming. I loved the new take on Guinevere, and I really liked the moral grayness of Mordred. Initially I liked Arthur, but then as time went on I found myself asking why he was making the decisions he was, and that his actions seemed to go against his established character.

One of my biggest complaints is the character of Lancelot. Though I was definitely on board for the gender-bending, I don't feel like her character was well-enough developed to make her anything other than a plot point. I didn't connect with her enough to really care about her journey. And I felt like the

Overall, I think the series was a good one, and I would definitely recommend it.
Profile Image for dane.
267 reviews33 followers
May 9, 2022
CAWPILE Rating: 8.29 (4 Stars)

I cannot believe this series is over - it's such a bittersweet moment for me because I read the previous two books during extremely difficult times in my life, and they brought me great joy. It is a comfort to have finished it when I am in a better place.

While it is by no means the perfect end to the trilogy, it is most definitely my favourite. I loved the characters - both old and new (especially Fina!) - as they have come so far from book one. Guinevere's journey of finding herself and what she wants is such an emotional journey, and she was shaped by such incredible characters which I won't forget. The ending was a little rushed and I would've liked for it to be around twenty or thirty pages longer, but I feel satisfied with how it ended as every character got what they wanted (mostly...). I will not say goodbye to these characters as I know I will reread the series in the future, and anyone who is considering reading the series definitely should!
Profile Image for High Queen of Elfhame.
49 reviews4 followers
December 8, 2021


I am thrown because I was so emotionally invested in the characters & relationships that were so beautifully written into the first two books and the first half of this one.

Then halfway through this final novel (that I’ve eagerly been waiting over a year for), it felt like the author decided to just throw everything out the window.

I am all for strong female leads & beautiful LGBTQ+ love stories, but this just felt like an afterthought and a cheap attempt to be more socially & culturally relevant.
I would’ve been ALL FOR for some sort of polyamorous love triangle (or square) situation! 🙌
Just SOMETHING involving the person she spent all this time falling for. OR even a fraction of that time should have been focused on developing the “love story” that we were forced to accept at the end.

It was just so half-assed and slapped together, and did not make sense/align with the story that we had previously been so IMMERSED in.


What an utterly unsatisfying & unfulfilling end to what WAS one of my favorite book series. I feel offended for the characters lol. Kiersten White did the characters & the fans wrong.
Profile Image for Justine.
244 reviews132 followers
January 5, 2022
It’s really hard to rate The Excalibur Curse. It was satisfying on certain parts (the first 40% was terrific), but so disappointing too on so many levels. I feel like Kiersten White should have plotted this series better. Guinevere’s convoluted feelings for her love interests got so annoying at some point. And I just . . . Can you make up your mind already? And when she does make her choice around the halfway mark, it felt wishy-washy, poorly substantiated and unsatisfying to me. But then she changes her mind again on which love interest to go for and instead opts to go vague about the issue by the novel’s closing? I think as other reviewers have pointed out, it’s easy to feel whiplashed from Guinevere’s naivety and indecisiveness throughout this book.

Still though, Mordred is incredibly well-written. I empathized with him throughout the book. If White would ever write a spin-off, it should be from his perspective. I felt the sparks between him and Guinevere throughout this series and I’m hoping White’s next YA project would have an addictive romantic dynamic like this one.

So I guess, I’m settling for three stars. I do think the series peaked with the first book and the last two books could have been plotted better.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for lobelyys.
324 reviews57 followers
January 12, 2022
i... am mad

fuck arthur and mordred. i'm fucking team lancelot! i know these books aren't put on the lgbt+ genre (brangien and isolde don't count in this case), but these books felt a lot like queer baiting. and don't bullshit me with the "she felt love only in a pure way! don't put your lesbian ideas on things you shouldn't put your fingers on!" (i actually heard this from a friend...) but fuck no, guinevere wanted a piece of that ass and no one can tell me otherwise, fight me (actually don't please)

talking seriously, the story was good. the series was good. but i couldn't feel the chemistry on that ridiculous love triangle, and that was even more evident when lancelot is put on the line, for real, their chemistry is way to good. i love kiersten white writing and books. but this wasn't it. i'm disappointed
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Robin.
294 reviews1,272 followers
January 13, 2022
↠ 2 stars

On a fateful journey North to the Dark Queen. Guinevere is captured by enemies. Cut off with no allies, she must rely on herself to unlock the secrets buried deep within her past. As options wear thin and no chance of escape becomes known, she allies herself with Morgana and Mordred hoping that they can aid in her quest to discover the truth about how exactly she transformed into a queen. Her complicated feelings for Mordred still linger, and her loyalty to Arthur becomes complicated as she continues in her search. When Guinevere learns the harrowing truth about how she came to be, her entire perspectives shifts to righting a terrible wrong. Whether that means turning away from Camelot and the kingdom she loves, Guinevere is willing to do whatever it takes to rectify the past, even if it means unmaking herself in order to do so.

I took a chance on the Camelot rising series because I have always been a fan of Arthurian legend turned on its head. At its utmost, Kiersten White has remade a classic, centering the narrative around women and deconstructing the focal points to the original story. Guinevere has always been an overlooked character in my book, yet another reason why I picked up the first book originally. Where the first book lacked depth and the second one brought promise, the third left me wanting more from this world and all that it could offer. This has always been a story I wanted to continue following, but many times I felt as if the characters were not being utilized to their full potential. Guinevere and Lancelot are specifically called to mind here. These two were my favorite characters across all three books and their underutilization in the final installment made me want to put the book down. The revelation of Guinevere’s past was brilliant as were the implications on her future as queen. At the same time, the consequences via the reveal were drawn out far too much, impacting the resolution of the entire series. Though the plot naturally led to this discovery, Guinevere’s response was to isolate herself and become a martyr, virtually turning away from the potential to become something greater. Self-depreciation has never been my favorite, and Guinevere wallowed in it, taking time away from more important developments. The growing list of interpersonal conflicts between the characters also deteriorated the point of concluding the series. It all ended up rushed in the attempts made to resolve them while also bringing about a fitting end for all sides. There was so much potential to bring forth new meaning into these iconic characters, but something was lost in the quest to do so. A sadly unsatisfying ending for a series I had high hopes for.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review

Trigger Warnings: death, violence, murder
Profile Image for Grace A..
370 reviews40 followers
March 2, 2023
What a beautiful ending to an incredible series. At first I found it annoying and selfish that Guinevere wanted to unmake herself just so she can be her old weak, powerless self, instead of a powerful queen with magic to aid the kingdom. But, it was a journey of self discovery, and until she saw the value in her new self, she was a liability to others and herself. Her bravery to embrace the new Guinevere, a mix of humanity and old magic, saved Camelot and vanquished the evil plaguing the land.
Loved it! I wish I had more time with the characters and in the beautiful story world. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Feather.
2 reviews
December 12, 2021
This series is full of magic. It has broken my heart and put it back together again. And, while I love Mordred, the the real strength and magic and joy of this series is women. The way Kiersten White puts her female characters in constraining, confusing boxes built by men only to show you how they break out of them with determined grace and the help of the women they love. Guinevere touches the lives of so many and shows them they are stronger together just by being kind and seeing people for who they are rather than the label they have been given by others. There is no one right way to be a woman, other than with pride.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,391 reviews819 followers
December 31, 2021
3.5 rounded up. This wasn’t as good as the first two. It all came together in the end but I felt like Guinevere did not make the right choices and the ones she did make were compromises. As a trilogy , I really enjoyed but something felt flat.
Profile Image for Silvia C..
338 reviews3 followers
February 11, 2022
2.75 stars
It was okay.
I felt like it was trying to hard to send some messages.
And I'm not a fan of the reckless heroine trope. Guinevere does not really have a growth arc.
I appreciate a lot about this series. But in the end, it failed to deliver on my expectations from the first book.
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