Hello Readers & Writers,
I am beyond thrilled to review Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy due out March 26th, 2019 from Little Brown. I was sent an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest feedback. As always, there will be no spoilers.
The book follows Ari who after crash landing on old planet Earth finds a sword. Removing the sword triggers the rebirth of Merlin – ie King Arthur’s guide and mentor – who has been aging backwards and is now a teenager. Merlin’s goal is to keep Arthur alive while Ari’s goal is to overthrow a galactic company and find her moms. Despite having a rough start, Merlin and Ari come together for a mission way bigger than themselves. They however can’t do it without help from an amazing cast of friends.
Upon hearing about this book, I immediately wanted to read it. Not only does it offer a sci-fi twist to the tale of King Arthur, but was promised to be an inclusive queer story. I can say the authors completely delivered on the wide representation of narratives. We have not only a pansexual MC, but a nonbinary character using they/them pronouns, gay rep, and on page f/f and m/m romance. The authors never once shy away from having these characters out in the open and it’s beyond refreshing to see in a sci-fi world.
On top of this, there’s important discussion around capitalism, government, the link between power and influence, immigration, non nuclear family structures, rebellion, and how blood doesn’t always make a family. As Ari and Merlin dive further into taking down Mercer – an organization that controls and creates everything for all planets – readers gain a sense of the struggles with revolution. How do you fight back against who provides for you? How do you fight back despite consequences? Who do you choose when you feel that you’re alone? Capetta and McCarthy force readers to question their place.
While in places, I felt I had to reread to properly grasp some plot twists, I loved the approach and honest commentary about societal issues. I loved the diversity of the cast and how their sexuality wasn’t a big deal. It was just a part of who they were. There’s so much in Once & Future to dive into and I urge you to pick it up for not just a great story, but to open up necessary discussion.
This gets 4/5 swords from me!