Bullet Point Review: Once & Future, Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy

Hi friends! I hope you’ve all been well. Today I’m going to be reviewing a book that had a little bit of hype around the blogosphere… a gender-bent Arthur retelling!!

Once & Future, Amy Rose Capetta & Cory McCarthy

Published by Jimmy Patterson, March 26th, 2019.goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.



  • This book is a gender-bent retelling of the Arthurian legend and friends, this alone is very, very exciting, moreover it was a very, very diverse and inclusive book and world with characters asking people for their preffered pronoums and, you know, tiny things like that matter and seeing this in a book was so, so good.
  • Once & Future‘s strongest suit was, for me, its cast of characters. You know how much I adore my book characters and, here, I was really happy with the cast. It’s a badass cast of diverse, queer characters and they all were SO great. This book is told from two POV and both were really good:
    • Ari, our main character, is quite impulsive and doesn’t take sh*t from, well, anyone and I really appreciated her determination and seeing her embracing her destiny, taking matters into her own hands and everything.
    • Merlin was my favorite of the lot, because he’s this skinny red-head teenager dressed in robes performing spells and trying to escape his own destiny while trying to fulfill Arthur’s and ugh I just loved him. Also his growing, conflicted feelings for Val made my heart buuurst.
  • The other characters in the book also were great, though my feelings weren’t as strong for them all. The thing I probably loved the most about them all, is how diverse the cast was and, in a retelling of Arthur, this was SO good to see. Ari, Gwen and Val are all pan or bi (not precised), Merlin is gay, Lam and Val are black, Ari is from Arabic descent and also a refugee. SO much diversity here, friends.
  • About the story in itself: the world was interestingly built and I really enjoyed it overall, with every planet being dependant on Mercer, this big, controlling, diabolical group and this unlikely found-family fighting back.



  • I felt like, at times, the plot and pacing were a little bit confusing and all over the place, failing to completely immerse myself into the story. Maybe it’s because I am not too used to reading these kind of stories and had a little bit of a hard time grasping the world and its rules, at first, I’m not certain. Thing is, it took me a little bit of time to get immersed into the story and, sometimes, I felt like I wasn’t completely into it when I read because I felt, disconnected.


If you’re into Arthur retellings, are looking for a great, badass cast of diverse characters to take you along on an intergalactic adventure, I would still recommend Once & Future. If my confusion made the story a little hard to grasp, at times, the characters made up for it, making me still enjoy this book.

Final rating: 3 drops!

A million thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

Trigger warnings: abandonment, violence, blood, talk of plague, death, loss of a parent and loved one, animal death, suicide, war.

Diversity: Queer main characters (Pan/Bi: Ari, Val, Gwen, Ace : Jordan, Gay : Merlin), POC main characters (Lam, Val), Genderfluid main character (they/them : Lam). Ari is of Arabic descent and also a POC.

Did you read Once & Future? Do you want to?

Did you ever read a Arthur retelling? What was the latest retelling you’ve read? Let me know in comments!



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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

33 thoughts on “Bullet Point Review: Once & Future, Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy

  1. I definitely want to read this novel; Arthur’s legend reminds me of my childhood so much, I read a book on it in school and so Once & Future is calling to me so much! It seems super interesting and an awesome twist on the legend, so I’;m excited for its realease!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate books that don’t really allow me to have the chance to fully immerse myself. I feel like that’s such an important factor to a book. Regardless of whether it’s a romance novel cliche or a fantasy novel, I have to be sucked into their world. While I don’t think I would read this book myself, you wrote a great review! Great post! xxx

    Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was an actual teen, I was OBSESSED with this book called Avalon High by Meg Cabot. I could not tell you how many times I read that book. It sounds very different from this one.

    It’s a shame the plot itself was lacking for you. It is particularly frustrating when you love the characters so much – I find myself reinventing the story as I go along whenever I read books like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OHHH Avalon High! I haven’t read that one, but I heard a lot about it.
      It is a bit frustrating, I really liked the cast of characters, but didn’t find myself as into the story as I would have liked. Still, definitely give it a try if you’re interested in an Arthur retelling, maybe you’d love it! 😀
      Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had mixed feelings about Amy Rose Capetta’s writing and previous books, especially about their pacing (it’s just… all over the place, or at least it was in Echo after Echo), so I think I understand what didn’t work for you about this one. I’m still on the fence about whether I’m going to read it or not, but I’m probably going to give it a chance and try the first chapter at some point.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh damn, I’m so sorry to hear that :/ I feel like that’s what happened in this book, the pacing was just a little bit, off and it made me a little sad :/
      I hope you’ll still give it a try, who knows you might be surprised 😀
      Thank you so much!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so sorry to hear that this book wasn’t EVERYTHING it could have lived up to be!! I’ll have to check this one out tho because the plot seems really unique and you don’t see a lot of Arthurian retellings??? Or maybe I’m just missing them entirely ahah. Great review 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve just started watching Merlin and now I want to read all the Arthurian retellings! This one sounds like such a fun read and I’m so excited to read about this cast of characters, they all sound amazing! The found family trope is everything! Wonderful review ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a great review! You completely got your points across in just a few bullet points and sentences,,,,how?? But I love the inclusivity of this new book—people asking for pronouns clears my skin! I’m really excited to see what else these authors put out, and maybe I’ll try the brilliant death by Amy rose capetta:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much, you’re too sweet, this means a lot!! ❤
      It was so good and refreshing to see a book being so inclusive and diverse and I loved that SO much. I hope you'll love it! I've heard great things about The Brilliant Death just as well 😀
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Caitlin ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m super excited for this one…particularly with how it’s super queer and diverse (!!) and a retelling too, which are basically all my favourite things. 😍But agh, it’s a pity it was hard to be engaged and disconnecting for you….fingers crossed your next read is better though!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I picked up this book at work today and was mesmerized by the cover until I realized IT’S A GENDER BENDING OF KING ARTHUR and I’m honestly a little pumped to give this a go!

    I haven’t read it yet obviously, but I’m struck by what you said was hard for you about reading it. I don’t read a lot of books that are set in non-contemporary worlds (fantasy, sci-fi, dystopia…etc.) and it’s not that I don’t like these kinds of stories…but I feel like I’m out of practice. I feel like I need a laid back fantasy to get me back into the swing of reading fantasy. Which feels super weird to say, but I have a feeling you’ll understand what I mean. I’ve been trying to read City of Brass for literally weeks and I just can’t make myself stay focused :/ and it’s not that the book isn’t good, because it’s kind of amazing. Damn, I feel like I should write a post about this lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Uhh YES PLEASE write a post about this because I would so read it and I feel like I would relate to it, too?! I feel like, sometimes, I’m out of practice with reading fantasy books, especially when I’ve been reading a lot of contemporaries in a row and I feel a little… unfocused while reading, that’s exactly it. It’s so frustrating :/
      I hope you’ll give this one a try and that you’ll love it! 🙂
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Christine ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is frustrating! Because it’s not like I don’t enjoy reading fantasy, but it’s definitely a different brain wave. I was in a bit of a reading slump lately, but I’m finally getting back into City of Brass and I’m glad I didn’t give up on it just because my brain wasn’t feeling it that day.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes definitely wait for the final copies-reviews, I hope that people will be loving this more. It has so much potential! 🙂
      Thank you for your comment, Nicole! ❤


  10. I have read a lot of things in this vein- that while the diversity is epic and the characters are great, it becomes a little convoluted. I have even had a few people say they were bored which… I mean, obviously it gives me pause hah but it IS good that the characters were so great and the diversity so well done! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahah it certainly makes us pause when some people say they’re getting a little bored while reading haha. I was never bored while reading that one, I found it entertaining from beginning to end, even if the pacing was a little… weird overall 🙂
      Thank you so much, Shannon! 🙂


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