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Once & Future

(Once & Future #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  7,070 ratings  ·  1,832 reviews
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.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
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Isaac Fate isn't about reincarnation, Artoria is literally the original Arthur, but while she was alive she disguised herself as a man.

This sounds nothing …more
Fate isn't about reincarnation, Artoria is literally the original Arthur, but while she was alive she disguised herself as a man.

This sounds nothing like Fate, what the hell are the rest of you on?(less)
Courtney Tobin YES. LGBTQA inclusiveness is a baked-in, implicit part of the universe, to the point that anything else is jarring to the characters.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.56  · 
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Emily May
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, young-adult, 2019, sci-fi
He apologized for breaking his promise not to use magic as he took down the guard with the needle. Then another apology -- "sorry, quite sorry" -- as he zinged the one holding Hex.
"Why are you being so nice to them right now?" Hex asked.
"I'm British!" Merlin cried.

It's times like this when I really wish I'd never started leaving star ratings for books because it just doesn't adequately express all that I want to say. There were some moments of comedy gold in this book, and so much wonderful
chai ♡
If you aren’t someone an evil capitalistic corporation wants dead for being the on-the-run refugee who ignited a galactic revolution with the help of a cranky wizard, a mythical sword and a group of knights.... are you really living?

So, what’s this book about?

When Ari, a refugee from an Arab-settled planet, draws Excalibur from a tree on Old Earth and an ancient cycle shudders to life, that was only the tinder. The spark comes when Ari is dubbed the 42nd incarnation of king Arthur by Merlin,

ARC provided by Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

“Buried in the trunk of the thousand-year-old oak was a sword.”

I have a very big soft spot in my heart for Arthurian legend and I will never turn down a retelling of the epic tale. And when I heard that we were going to get an ownvoices series, written by a couple, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist. Also, Morgana is one of my favorite villains of all time, and I actually think Once & Future is one of my favorite interpretati
Ok, so this book was hilarious. I had a stupid grin on my face the entire time. I was literally laughing out loud while reading, a very rare thing for me.

And maybe that was the problem?

This book was extremely funny and I absolutely loved that. I also really loved the writing. I honestly didn't expect to like the authors' writing this much. It was fluid and fun and just felt good to read. Another thing I really liked was the characters, especially Merlin. Seriously though, Merlin deserves a hug.
Charlotte May
Apr 05, 2019 marked it as dnf
DNF @ page 68

You know when you take a bite out of something and immediately go “ugh, I don’t like that” and pull a face? Well that’s how I’ve felt reading this.
I love a good retelling and I’m all for mixing stuff up, but sometimes it’s too much.
Merlin is ageing backwards so he is currently a teenager (like really? What a stupid YA thing to do), I liked the idea of Ari (a girl) being the new Arthur. But the whole Sci Fi aspect was again, just too much. I like the old story, this one messed with
Whitney Atkinson
DNF at page 100

I'm still considering finding this on audiobook and finishing it because I didn't hate it, but my time outside of work is so limited that I don't want to spend my time on this book if I don't think I'm gonna love it. To be frank, I was making faces at it more than I was enjoying it. The plot of it is so fast and under-explained, but the writing style was funny. I just vastly preferred Merlin's chapters to Ari's, and I don't want to skim read this book for the parts I enjoy, so I g
I've put off writing this review for a long time because I feel so painfully disappointed by this book. You only have to look at my excited squeeing below to know how much I was looking forward to reading this. Seriously, a gender bent, sci-fi King Arthur reimagining should be a winning book for me so it pains me to say I was so bored I couldn't even finish reading it.

To start with the positive I love what the authors were trying to do by creating such a diverse cast of characters, we people of
Mohammad Ganaim
Mar 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Literally No One
I feel this will be more rant than review, I was so hyped for this book. I held so much hope that there was going to be a good story on Arthur and Merlin, a story I love so much, a story I've followed through books and the TV Show.

Having waited for this book for a while, before the cover was even released I loved the goodreads description, going around telling everyone about this SCI-FI FANTASY. Alas we get to the book and we are already hating it within the first few chapters. We are introduce
Apr 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
I'm going to preface this review by saying that I have been waiting for this exact book, a queer, genderbent, space fantasy/science fiction retelling of King Arthur for over two decades. I have wanted it so badly that I've tried to write it myself a few times. I was the key target for this book. This book is my dream book. The moment I heard about it I preordered it. And I am so disappointed to say that it was kind of a train wreck.

Spoilers below.

The characters were flat, filling their stereot
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁
A sci-fi retelling of King Arthur where King Arthur is a GIRL?!

alana ♡
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Gender-bent King Arthur reimagining set in space with a cast full of LGBT+ rep, what more could we possibly need in 2019?

Not a damn thing.

When I received an e-mail from the publisher asking if I would be interested in a receiving a copy of this book the screech I let out would have been loud enough to send my neighbors into a panic that there was a serial killer in my house. But alas, no one was home so no need for anyone to lose their minds EXCEPT ME, because King Arthur has always been one o
So I have the actual book but I still ended up listening to it. LMFAO - I'm evil. Or lazy.

Once & Future was a pretty funny book to dive into. Which wasn't what I was expecting - yet, I thoroughly enjoyed. I absolutely loved every character that was introduced within this book - Merlin might have been my absolute favorite. Besides him, there's Ari and she was nice and all.. but Mer was my guy. Ya know those King Arthur films? Doesn't matter when they were made or nothing - I'm a total geek for th
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, lgbtq
This just jumped from here to there and back again.

I couldn’t keep up with the storyline beyond the basics of the legend I know and what the authors were trying to create here.

Random sentimental scenes would be dropped in and then suddenly you are transported to another planet in another character’s POV that no one explains to you until you realise it’s a year later in book’s universe.

The characters didn’t connect with each other - their actions and emotions made no sense chapter to chapter. You
Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
I never knew I needed a queer feminist King Arthur retelling in space until I read this book!

I only know the basics about King Arthur.  I haven't really read anything to compare this to, but this book makes me want to learn more now.  Now I worry that it won't compare though.  This book is so modern and has such amazing rep.  I don't know that  I can handle the original story now.

My favorite thing about this book is the characters.  These friends who are a found family.  That's something I love
Charlie Anders
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book a while ago and have been meaning to write a review, but life kept getting in the way. But in the meantime, I've kept recommending it to everyone I know, especially people who want more queer heroes, space action, fantasy adventure, and just plain fun. What I generally tell those folks is: "It's the future and King Arthur is reincarnated as a brown girl who's pansexual, and she still falls in love with Guinevere. And meanwhile, Merlin has aged backwards until he's a teenager ...more
Nov 23, 2020 marked it as to-read
*weak laugh* the cover was pretty...?
Danika at The Lesbrary
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m not even sure how to approach writing about this book, because it is so ambitious. Once & Future is a queer, sci fi retelling of the Arthur myth, with a female Arthur. It’s somehow simultaneously dystopian, sci fi, and fantasy. Also, it's SO QUEER. Almost the entire cast is queer! m/m and f/f relationships, a non-binary character (they/them pronouns), and an asexual character!

I loved this book. It is epic and feminist and queer. It’s about resistance and survival, making connections and ref
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
A super fun sci-fi retelling of the Arthurian legend! So much happens in this book; it's packed with drama, adventure, heartbreak, and battles, and I think I'll definitely be reading the sequel.

- Follows Ari, a fugitive refugee from an Arab-settled planet, who pulls the sword Excalibur from a tree - and discovers that she is the 42nd reincarnation of King Arthur.
- All the characters were wonderful - interesting, fun to read about, and the dynamics between them so intriguing and integral to the
Tori Kiersten Frost
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Do you wish BBC's MERLIN had been a lot gayer? Do you wish there were ten more seasons of Netflix's SHE-RA? Do you want a squad of LGBT+ knights to go on epic quests IN SPACE? Then this book is for YOU!

A wildly entertaining LGBT twist on Arthurian myth smashes headfirst into fun, stellar science-fiction in ONCE & FUTURE.

Ari is an undocumented teen on the run from the brutal galactic corporation that tore her away from her planet. When the wizard Merlin - now a teen, too - dubs her the next King
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
> 3.5 stars

Full review to come, but this was essentially a really fun novel with incredible diversity (an almost entirely queer cast, a central sapphic romance, an enby character, PoCs) but rather haphazard plotting with irregular jumps in the narrative that weren't easily overlooked, and twists towards the end that I didn't like as much. (But either way, some of these things might be fixed in the final copy and it was a brilliantly diverse book with interesting worldbuilding & I would recomme
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Okay, wow, this was SO much fun and SOOOO very queer. Love.
Thank You Netgalley for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest review

Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy are HUGE voices in LGBT+ YA and looking at this book from a purely objective standpoint I can appreciate what they did here. This is a Sci-Fi book that incorporates multiple sexualities and gender identities into a story without relying on the "we're all oppressed" or "it's there but in a vague sense" tropes you see in the genre. This is a wide cast of characters with their
That was somehow even queerer than I dared hope?? Fun and adventurous and sexy and sometimes just weird, and I'm so looking forward to the next one. ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* I read this as part of the OWLs readathon as the Arithmancy prompt *

This book is one I picked up based almost entirely on cover and blurb alone as there were nearly no reviews about it when I saw it in the bookshop. However, I am so very glad I did pick it up, because although retellings aren't usually my thing, and although trying out new authors can be good or bad, I think both of the things I was skeptical about really paid off for me here. This is a queer space-based gender-flipped retelli
i have many questions (34) and no answers

(view spoiler)
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once & Future, a retelling of the legend of King Arthur and set in space, is a great read, although it wasn't quite as gripping as I'd hoped. I feel this will be a book you'll either love or hate with little to no middle ground. It certainly has a lot going for it - magic, romance, love, corruption, the obligatory evil corporations and a diverse and wonderful LGBTQ+ cast. All the famous characters from the original tale are here but are given a makeover - for instance, Merlin is gay and King Art ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Lots of interesting and unique ideas are happening in young adult sci-fi and fantasy right now, and when the author can pull them off while being diversity-minded and still nail the trifecta of characters, story, and world-building, it can be incredible thing to see. However, I’ve also found these cases to be extremely rare. To wit, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve come across a book with amazing representation
Reread for #WickAndJaneBookclub Sept pick!

I freaking love this retelling of King Arthur. And I definitely picked up some more Easter eggs rereading it this time. Ari is still my impulsive pansexual goddess and I am HERE FOR IT. Also this book is SUPER GAY, there is so much good queer rep in it and every time I read it, it feels like coming home. Can I please have more societies that are queer-normative like this? Because it is honestly the best, also there's no misogyny and ITS SUCH A BREATH OF
Jay G
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my YouTube channel:

*I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

This is a retelling of the King Arthur tale, following Ari, an illegal space immigrant who just so happens to be the 42nd incarnation of King Arthur. After finding Excalibur, Merlin, a great Wizard meets up with her to try and overthrow the tyrannical corporation known as Mercer.

I was very excited about
Vicky Again
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars

I came into Once & Future with as few expectations as possible. And I walked out with so many high expectations for the next novel (!!!).

Before starting this, I saw some mixed ratings floating around, and made the wise decision of scrolling past them on Goodreads as quickly as I could to stop that from harming my reading experience. (My mood is very impressionable, unfortunately.)

And although I think Once & Future had its flaws—it was also pretty damn good. I had fun, and there was so m
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A. R. Capetta (all pronouns), the author of Echo After Echo and The Lost Coast, has lived in Austin and worked as a professional baker and holds a master of fine arts in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. A. R. Capetta is married to author Cory McCarthy, and they live in Vermont with their young baker.

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Once & Future (2 books)
  • Sword in the Stars (Once & Future #2)

Articles featuring this book

When looking for the best recommendations in the young adult genre, we decided to turn to YA authors themselves. Narrowing...
123 likes · 19 comments
“It's true, I'm no murderer. But I do have an impulse control problem. And a sword.” 25 likes
“A girl they couldn’t control, who wouldn’t stop talking. That’s the scariest damn thing in the universe.” 16 likes
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