*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a free, honest review.
All opinions are my own. ***
“I’ve been chased my whole life.” “Now I’m done hiding.”
– Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy, Once & Future
Once & Future Review
Welcome to a gender-bent retelling of the Legend of King Arthur.
King Arthur returns… for his 42nd time? 42 times of mistakes, deaths, lies, secrets, and other juicy details that are hinted at. There is face-palming, joy, heartbreak, success, and failure. When Arthur’s – again 42nd reincarnation – is a girl: what happens to the cycle? Will it be completed or broken or forced to continue?
Let me just say I was not disappointed upon finishing Once & Future. My original apprehension steams from my own disinterest in all things space; only for this disinterest to be laughed at and then forgotten the moment I got swept up into Ari’s story. While space is central to the setting, along with a mix of all the things space requires – from equipment, ships, and so forth – there are touches of the old world (specifically Old Earth) that warm my heart and flow beautifully to contrast the elements of this story.
Speaking of the story’s contrast: good vs. bad. Rich vs. poor. Corporation vs. the people (rather one MC that stands for freedom). All classics; all told countless times in countless different ways. Yet, even as the plot for Once & Future unravels, it isn’t the fight itself that gripped me – nor the retelling of Arthur. It was the characters that I adored.
All of the characters, while maybe forced into their roles based upon their original characters and positions of power from the origin story of King Arthur, breathed new life and inspired me. Each identified with a different culture, personality, sexuality, and it just worked. I laughed with them, cried with them, and wanted to fight with them when the time came. Sure they may have been squeezed into their roles. Sure they could have been different people, gone different ways. But their stories mattered, they had their own choices, and there is more to come with the sequel – I hope at least!
Side note: The humor. I adored the humor. 😊
I also have to take a moment to fangirl over Merlin. His POV and overall story arc was beautiful. I’m very greedy for more. From aging backwards, to lost love, to the feeling of identity loss and loneliness. I just wanted to hug him multiple times and tell him it was going to be “okay.” Also, don’t even get me started on Morgana, the fighting between her and Merlin, and the awesomeness that I felt transpired as she evolved.
Upon seeing other reviews: I do agree that the plot jumped around a bit. And yes the main goal of Ari was completed early on and then the conclusion fell a bit flat. I also agree the characters relationships moved fast and yet they were explained to be pre-set to the point readers know their strong ties were established prior to Once & Future’s beginning. I can see where the emphasis of the retelling of Arthur, (want to say more on Arthur by can’t without spoilers), can cause some hiccups with feeling that Ari gets caught up in her “fate.”
Overall though, I give Once & Future 4/5 stars from its humor to awesome characters and anxiously anticipate the sequel. Have you grabbed your copy yet?
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to rave about Merlin.