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Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere's Tale #1) by Nicole Evelina: A Book Review

Daughter of Destiny (Guinevere’s Tale #1)
Author: Nicole Evelina
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Lawson Gartner Publishing
Release Date: 2016
Pages: 328
Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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.

     My Review: Guinevere has been maligned for centuries. She is known for betraying Arthur and causing his downfall. The Tales of Guinevere Trilogy, by Nicole Evelina, tries to paint Guinevere in a more positive light. The first book of the trilogy, Daughter of Destiny, tells the story of Guinevere's early life before she marries Arthur. Guinevere is sent away to be a priestess of Avalon to learn the old ways. While she is there, she has a rivalry with another priestess-in-training named Morgan and falls in love with a Druid-in-training named Aggrivane. Guinevere hopes to one day marry Aggrivane, but her destiny leads her to marry Arthur and become his queen.

    I have read Daughter of Destiny twice. The first time was two years ago when I had to do it for a book tour. I have been a fan of many books with Guinevere as its main subject, such as Queen of Camelot, The Guinevere Trilogy by Persia Woolley, and Rosalind Miles’s Guinevere series. Each of them has portrayed their own version of Guinevere's early days. When I first read Nicole Evilena's version of Guinevere's youth, I was disappointed because it was very similar to Mists of Avalon with Guinevere as a priestess training in Avalon and learning the ways of the old religion. At the time and still today, I do not see her as a priestess of Avalon. Her being a priestess only seemed to be a set up just for her to meet Morgan and have a rivalry. It also was used to meet Aggrivane and for them to have a private tryst in the woods. There were no details of religion or the duties of being an Avalon priestess. What were the responsibilities of being a priestess of Avalon? I don’t know. Daughter of Destiny never answered that. All it showed was Guinevere and Morgan fighting to be the best priestess in Avalon.

      Two years later, I decided to read this book again to see if my views on this book changed. I bought the first two books and began to read. Reading Daughter of Destiny again made me dislike it even more. Guinevere was a very frustrating character. She was very selfish and arrogant. She is critical of others, especially of women. She constantly whines about how unfair her life is. Yet she makes no attempts to improve it. Guinevere is not only immature, but she is weak. She lets others manipulate her and quickly submits to their will without even attempting to put up a fight.

    Overall, this novel does not do any justice to Guinevere, portraying her as a weak-willed woman who is easily controlled. I thought the characters were very one dimensional. This was because there were only two types; either the person hates Guinevere or loves her. The love interest was trite and boring. He had no distinguishable characteristics except that he was handsome. Nothing happened in the plot except for the many and repetitive love making scenes between Aggrivane and Guinevere that did little to enhance the novel. Thus, out of all Guinevere books that I have read, this is by far the worst adaptation. I am definitely going to  read the rest of the series, but I have little faith. Read this if you are looking for a light and quick version of the Guinevere character. However, there have been so many versions that have portrayed Guinevere in a very human, sympathetic light that me understand her more and have done her justice. I suggest that you read those first in order to get a sense of who Guinevere may have been.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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