PLOT: The author crafts a exciting fantasy story richly informed by folkloric history. Some underdeveloped plot points and vague elements prevent the story from rising to its full potential.
PROSE: Other than a few instances of overwriting, Carpinello's prose is solidly constructed and develops a vivid sense of time and place.
ORIGINALITY: By focusing on the life of Guinevere over King Arthur, Carpinello offers a refreshingly new perspective on Arthurian legend.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: Though Guinevere is the titular character, the real star of the story is Guinevere’s best friend, Cedwyn, whose coming-of-age journey and internal conflicts deserve more attention. Guinevere, meanwhile, though brave and compelling, emerges as more of an iconic figure from legend than as a distinctive individual.
Date Submitted: August 02, 2017
Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Children are attracted to adventure and they don’t see the risks that adults do, refusing to accept many of the limitations and rules enforced for the sole purpose of keeping children safe. Guinevere and Cedwyn are close friends and Cedwyn, although still very young, has pledged his life to protect the princess who will one day be his queen when she marries King Arthur. Being children, they have their adventures. And one such adventure to the mysterious standing stones results in magical visions and then a race for their lives. There are people intent on kidnapping Guinevere. When she out-foxes their intentions, they take the castle children instead to be sold into slavery. Guinevere insists on chasing after the kidnappers and rescuing the children. The adventure intensifies as they risk their lives and become heroes. But are they totally successful in rescuing the children? Or do they just manage to create more problems in the process.
Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is the sequel to Cheryl Carpinello's first Guinevere story, Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend. Both books take the fascinating Arthurian legends and create stories that will entice even the most reluctant of readers. With realistic characters and an exciting plot full of adventure, the reader will be pulled along to an unexpected conclusion, one that demands another book to complete the series. Young readers will certainly easily associate with Guinevere and Cedwyn, who, at their young age, take risks and disobey their parents, while at the same time they reach out to help others and become heroes. A great way to entice readers, even reluctant ones, to follow the adventures found in legends.