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Once & Future

(Once & Future #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  3,600 ratings  ·  1,123 reviews
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,
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
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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.…moreYES. LGBTQA inclusiveness is a baked-in, implicit part of the universe, to the point that anything else is jarring to the characters. (less)

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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,600 ratings  ·  1,123 reviews

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Emily May
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, arc, 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
Chaima ✨ شيماء
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 interpretations
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
full review to come

This book was................not as good as I hoped

There was so much representation. Gender rep (fluidity, they/them rep), Merlin is gay, King Arthur is a girl + she's *****PAN!!!****** (feels the feeling of being represented in a book c: c: c: c: c: ) and this book basically flips off capitalism with a magical middle finger. I mean. The MC is an undocumented immigrant ready to defeat evil or die trying.

And that's just. I felt like whooshing into outer space with my love for
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
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
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
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
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
Apr 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction, 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
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 to read
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Okay, wow, this was SO much fun and SOOOO very queer. Love.
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
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
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 ...more
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
Max Baker
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
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
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.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full review:


Overall, actually-in-love Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta (their engagement video made me cry) have written a perfect YA novel that’s fun, diverse, and meaningful, with plenty of magic and swords to keep it interesting. While a reincarnation of King Arthur may not seem like the most original idea, the way Amy Rose and Cori have written it is completely unique and fantastically surprising. Once & Future is neon bright and
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
Nov 15, 2018 marked it as to-read
lmao “crash-lands on Old Earth” “the newest reincarnation of King Arthur” “Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager” this synopsis just got wilder and wilder ahahahah count me in
Vicky Who Reads
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
Jun 24, 2019 marked it as not-going-to-finish
Anyone else feeling like sci-fi is the new dystopian for YA novels? I grow weary of them.
Also, doesn't matter how you match it, YA angst is still YA angst.
A very intelligent and cheeky retelling of the King Arthur legend. Merlin has been recalled more than 40 times to train various versions of Arthur and since he is aging backwards, he better get it right this time, as he’s soon going to be far too young to be taken seriously! This time, his student is a girl and he is beginning to hope for a breakthrough.

Written by two people who identify as enby (non-binary) and demigirl, their characters are a delightful mix of male, female, and several other
This book is not without its flaws, but it is so lovely that I forgave all that immediately.

First of all, the DIVERSITY and REPRESENTATION in this book is incredible. I have never read a book like this. And the best part is that it is not forced in any way and it feels completely natural. Bravo for that.

Second, the characters are super cute and to die for, I want to hug them and become their best friend. Especially with Merlin, who became one of my all-time favourites.

And at last, ok, the
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Amy Rose Capetta, the author of Echo After Echo, holds a master of fine arts in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Vermont with her partner, author Cori McCarthy, and their young son.

Other books in the series

Once & Future (2 books)
  • Sword in the Stars (Once & Future #2)
“It's true, I'm no murderer. But I do have an impulse control problem. And a sword.” 13 likes
“A girl they couldn’t control, who wouldn’t stop talking. That’s the scariest damn thing in the universe.” 6 likes
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