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
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.
I ENJOYED... ❤️
- 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 HAD A HARD TIME WITH…💔
- 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!