Day 15 of #PrideLibrary20.
Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori 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.
Add Once & Future on: Goodreads
Trigger warnings: genocide, murder, violence
Once & Future is the kind of queer retelling I need more of in my life! I’ve always been a fan of anything Arthur & Merlin inspired since watching the BBC adapted TV show in my teens but it took me far too long to finally pick up Once & Future. I really, really enjoyed this retelling, it was such a fun, comedic take on the Arthurian legend whilst also set in space, I wasn’t all that sure if it was possible to rewrite such an old classic story as a sci-fi novel but I am now pleasantly convinced that the outcome was amazing! Once & Future includes all the futuristic tech you’d expect while staying true to the important elements of the Arthurian legend and incorporating some fun medieval ideas too!
Our main character, Ari, the Arthur in this lifetime is pansexual, and I was already overjoyed at the prospect of a female King Arthur retelling but there is a whole cast of queer characters in the roles of the famous knights of the round table, Merlin and Guinevere (Gwen) to adore. I found the relationship between Ari and Merlin so charming, it was a very sweet friendship from the very beginning and Merlin definitely added humour to any situation. I definitely saw one of the twists in the other characters identities quite early on, but readers who aren’t so familiar with the legend might find it a surprise.
I thought the story was very enjoyable, I could easily read this novel in a day as it’s quite fast-paced and kept my interest throughout. Sadly there is a slight lack in character development and some scenes felt a little rushed, I think the novel could have been an extra 50 to 100 pages to ensure more depth to some scenes. However I would still definitely recommend Once & Future to any sci-fi fans as I loved reading it and could hardly put it down! I’m looking forward to starting Sword in the Stars straight away.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I will earn a small amount of commission on any purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.
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