Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend
Outskirts Press (2009)
Reviewed by Galia Popov (age 11) for Reader Views (8/09)
“Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend” by Cheryl Carpinello is about the childhood of Queen Guinevere from the legendary Camelot. Princess Guinevere roams the castle grounds with her friend Cedwyn, hunting, exploring, and generally getting into trouble. She likes being a princess. When King Arthur comes to visit, Guinevere doesn’t understand why he seems so interested in her. Soon after, the wizard Merlyn and her father explain to her that he will be her future husband. Appalled by the idea, Guinevere tries to run away. She doesn’t want to marry! Cedwyn convinces her to return, with the reasoning that if she likes being a princess, she should like being a queen. Guinevere decides to marry King Arthur after all. The morning after her 13th Birth Day, Guinevere, Cedwyn, and Merlyn go on a hunt to find the supposedly lost King Pellinore. After tramping through the forest, getting nearly trampled by King Pellinore, and catching a rabbit, they decide not to continue the hunt. On the way back, they come across a herd of red deer. In the herd of red deer are a group of unicorns. Merlyn tells them how the red deer protect the unicorns.
Even though the majority of the book flows together well, chapter eight, where Guinevere, Cedwyn, and Merlyn try to find King Pellinore in the forest, would be better eliminated. It makes no sense whatsoever in context with the rest of the book, and it doesn’t help that it’s the least well written chapter. Chapter nine – the part about the red deer – is questionable, but it flows well enough to make sense. Also, the cover is a little choppy. The title is hard to read, and the digital part isn’t very well blended.
“Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend” by Cheryl Carpinello informs the reader about what it would be like to be a princess in an early medieval castle. Specifically, a princess who is about to be betrothed to the most legendary king in England’s history: King Arthur. The afterword, glossary, additional reading, and the other extra notes in the back are a helpful addition to the story. This book would probably be best for ages seven though ten, but could be enjoyed by older or younger kids. This book is an appealing new take on an old legend.