Publisher: jimmy patterson
Publication Date: March 26th, 2019
Page Count: 368 (hardcover)
From the Jacket:
King Arthur as you’ve never imagined! This bold, sizzling YA retells the popular legend with the Once and Future King as a teenage girl — and she has a universe to save.
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.
Once & Future is Arthurian legend fantastically reimagined in space–hilarious, sexy, endlessly creative, and marvelously gay. In Capetta and McCarthy’s retelling, Merlin is a newly minted teenager stuck in a tormenting cycle of failed Arthur reincarnations as he ages backwards. Ari is the newest and 42nd reincarnation, the first female Arthur, and quite possibly Merlin’s last chance to get things right and break the cycle before he ages backwards into infancy. Gwen is the queen of Lionel–a medieval planet straight out of a Renaissance Festival–and Ari’s old flame from Knight Camp. Rounding out the group are a vibrant and incredibly diverse cast of characters who make up the rest of the knights of the round table. Together they must figure out a way to defeat Mercer, the evil corporation controlling the entire galaxy, rescue Kay and Ari’s moms who have been illegally imprisoned, figure out how to lift the barrier that’s keeping Ari’s home planet in exile, and unite all of humankind in peace.
This book ticks almost all of my boxes–magic, badass female protagonist, diversity, romance, spaceships, witty banter, unforgettable characters, compelling world building, and even a little bit of smut. There is so much to love about this wonderful gem of a book. I went in knowing almost nothing about it apart from what I know of arthurian lore, which is in no way essential, but did heighten my reading experience by adding an element of nostalgia. It was a delight from beginning to end and my only complaint is that there isn’t a whole lot more. Once & Future is enormous is scope, and the authors have jam packed so much plot into a story that seems too brief by comparison. Given another 50 to 100 pages to really flesh out some of the larger plot points would have made this absolute perfection in my opinion. I know that this is the first in a series, so I have really high hopes that many of these details will be elaborated on in the next installment.
Once & Future will be out at the end of March and I cannot recommend it enough. There is a little something for everyone here, especially for fans of young adult fiction, space operas, and romance. I hesitate to make comparisons because this is such a unique reading experience, but for me it was reminiscent of The Wayfarer Series and the Lunar Chronicles. I am so incredibly lucky to have snagged an early copy but also will have to endure an even longer wait than most for the next one. Not until I read the author’s note at the end did I realize that Cori and Amy are a couple and Once & Future is their first intellectual love child. Be still my heart. The biggest thank you to them as well as jimmy patterson books for this copy in exchange for my honest review.