Reviewing: Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

LOOK AT THIS COVER. LOOK AT IT. IT’S FUCKING MARVELOUS.

A copy of this book was provided by netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

Content Warnings: Genocide, mentions of sexual assault, suicide attempts

My Rating: 5 Books out of 5

Highlights: 

  • It’s queer King Arthur in space, what’s not to like honestly? 
  • Merlin is amazing and I love him 
  • Such a fantastically diverse cast of characters
  • Who wouldn’t want to live on Lionel tbh 
  • It’s just great

“It’s true, I’m no murderer. But I do have an impulse control problem. And a sword.”

Right, let’s get it out of the way, I have never read the original King Arthur legends, or anything approaching them really. I watched the BBC show though, so I’m basically an expert, I’m pretty sure. I know the basics, but that’s about it to be honest. This book requires very little pre-existing knowledge, so I don’t want you to worry that because you’re not an Arthurian scholar, this book will be confusing. 

Also I’ve been playing a lot of Mass Effect Andromeda lately, and I was craving some found family space shenanigans. If you too are feeling this craving, may I suggest this book? 

Ari is an orphan and refugee, plucked from the wreckage of a spaceship by her new brother Kay and his mothers, and on the run ever since from the Mercer corporation – a company that has been slowly taking control of everything, and who is responsible for trapping Ari’s people on their planet, unable to escape. When their mothers are arrested, Ari and Kay continue living on the run and fighting to survive, a fight made all the more difficult when Ari finds a magic sword on Old Earth. The sword by itself she could cope with, but the scrawny ginger teenager claiming to be a wizard, chasing her across the universe and trying to train her to be the next King Arthur is a bit much to be honest. Then there’s the witch who keeps appearing and trying to kill her, and also the fact that she’s apparently meant to save everyone? 

It’s a rough few days. 

This book is AMAZINGLY diverse, there are characters who use they/them pronouns, characters who shirk gender and all its restraints to just be uncontrollably awesome, there are queer relationships aplenty, the characters aren’t a sea of white faces but are as varied and wonderful as their stories, and honestly it was fantastic. I am and will always be a big believer that ‘forced diversity’ is bullshit. Queer characters don’t need to justify their existence, just as Queer people don’t need to justify our existence, and as a reader who is pretty damn gay I just find it so wonderful to open a book and know that somewhere in there is a character that young, depressed Charlotte would have wept to find in her reading material. Representation changes and saves lives, and there is representation aplenty in this book! 

I never really had a moment where the book dragged at all, it’s a very fast-paced plotline and it kept me reading because I JUST HAD to know what was going to happen. There’s another book (which I WILL be reading once my TBR is wrangled into behaving, damn you and your many amazing books netgalley, you know what you did) and I personally am a huge fan of duologies. I get lost with long series sometimes, especially if I’m reading them as they come out because by the time book two is out I’ve read so many books since book one I can’t actually remember much clearly, so do I re-read or plough ahead? Two books is a good length for a series, and I am super excited to move onto book two. 

Also I have to give a shout out to scrawny gay teenage Merlin battling both evil and his raging hormones, in space. 

This book made me very happy, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a space adventure welcoming to all! 

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