Review: Amy Rose Capetta & Cory McCarthy – Once & Future

I was sent an eARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I’m a huge sucker for retellings. Fairytales, myths, legends, you name it and it’s likely I’ll want a retelling. But even I have to admit some of those (*ahem* Beauty and the Beast *ahem*) have been overdone by now. That’s why I was very interested to read Once & Future. I don’t think I’ve read a King Arthur retelling before, and to make it even better: it’s queer! If I was already hyped for a King Arthur retelling, you can imagine my excitement to read a queer one co-written by a non-binary powercouple!!

Synopsis

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.

Review

I had high hopes for this book, and I’d already seen some raving reviews before diving in myself. And I wasn’t disappointed!

This was such a funny, entertaining read, with an awesome cast of characters. I loved the refreshing take on the King Arthur legend set in space, with a genderbent Arthur and a gay Merlin, among other twists.

It was wonderfully empowering to see just how many LGBTQ+ characters there were, and just how inclusive this novel was. I don’t think I’ve seen a single straight relationship in the entire book, and there were also characters of various genders.

However, I do think the character development as well as the action sequences felt quite rushed at times. I would have liked to see a more steady pace, especially when it comes to the developing relationships.

All in all, Once & Future made for a great, fast-paced, entertaining sci-fi read, with a lot of different representations, but it could have used a little more depth.

Conclusion

I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing new retelling! I’d especially recommend it if you’re a fan of Illuminae, as it’s kind of comparable in themes and setting.

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