Review: Once & Future (#1) by Cory McCarthy and A.R. Capetta

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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 was one of the weirdest and quirkiest things I’ve ever read. And I kind of loved it. Ari is the 42nd reincarnation of King Arthur, and she is a woman who lives in space. Merlin is destined to be her teacher, as he has been to all of the Arthur’s who went before her. And if he goes by the past reincarnations, Ari is pretty doomed.

This was fantastically strange and I really enjoyed it, despite having very little knowledge of King Arthur’s story that inspired Ari’s. It takes place on various planets in space, with our current world being referred to as Old Earth. At the start, I was a little worried I would find it hard to get to grips with the story, as it has a lot of different strands. However, as we went on I followed it easily enough and knew what was happening.

It’s true, I’m no murderer. 

One of the best things about this book is the characters. The queer rep in this was amazing, but also discussed at points, which I really liked. For example, one of the characters was enby, and at one point Merlin got their pronouns wrong, and it was addressed straight away by another character. This not only was a great, and very real discussion, but it made the characters feel very genuine too.

Their interactions were light and funny in places, and solemn and serious in others. It actually made me chuckle a few times, which I find happens rarely with books for me. My only complaint with the characters would be that the romance feels a tad forced and rushed at times, especially in certain situations. I was still rooting for the main couple though!

But I do have an impulse control problem. And a sword.

Overall, this wasn’t perfect but I really enjoyed it. It was inventive and clever and queer and funny. But it was also a great discussion of sexuality and friendship and relationships and family. I admire Cory and Amy a lot for what they’ve created, and I’ll definitely be reading The Sword in the Stars!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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2 thoughts on “Review: Once & Future (#1) by Cory McCarthy and A.R. Capetta

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