Melanie's Reviews > Once & Future

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta
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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 of her, ever.

King Arthur is a story about a king who was betrayed by the people he loved most in the world. He was trained and befriended by a wizard named Merlin, who helped guide him to become the king his people needed. He tried to fight for his people, and do what he believed was right for them, but in the end it was not enough for Camelot or his Knights of the Round Table.

Once & Future completely takes that tale and turns it on its head, making something really unique and really fun. Merlin and Morgana are magic wielders who sleep while waiting for the next Arthur to come and free Excalibur and to free them from their slumber, so they can try to change the world for the last time. This time, Arthur (42) is Ari, a girl who was rescued and adopted at very young age, but carries the scars (both externally and internally) of a past she can’t remember.

“Find Arthur
Train Arthur
Nudge Arthur onto the nearest throne
Defeat the greatest evil in the world
Untie all of mankind”

This book has so much good rep, that my queer heart was honestly living its best life while reading this entire book. From sexual and gender representation from all over the spectrum, to representation for disabilities, to mirroring the refugee crisis, to talking about how colonialism is a very real and very sad thing, to how important and simple it is to ask someone their pronouns and not to just assume. This is a very inclusive and very heartwarming book, truly. And so much of the rep I’m about to talk about is also ownvoices representation, and I believe this book should be completely celebrated upon release, because it is going to let so many kids see themselves in the badass SFF retelling of their dreams.

Ari - From Arabic descent, a refugee, and either pan or bi. (everyone is saying she is pan, but I didn’t read that word in my ARC copy, so… I’m not sure if it was added or not, but as a pan person you all know this would mean the world to me, so *fingers crossed*)
Kay - Ari’s big brother (adoptive)
Merlin - Wizard, aging backwards, gay, and set to train Ari.
Morgana - Also has a mission, but it might not be what Ari and Merlin want.
Lam - Black, gender fluid, missing a hand, and Kay’s bff.
Val - Black, Lam’s sibling, pan or bi.
Gwen - Pan or bi, and the new queen.
Jordan - Ace, and the black knight that protects Gwen. (Jordan is easily the best character, imo)

And this full (and super queer) set of characters come together and truly create a fun and fast-paced story where they are trying to push back against the Mercer corporation, who have a monopoly on the entire universe. But this book is truly about oppression, and how these kids are fighting a system that was built to keep them down. This may be a Sci-Fi retelling, but the parallels are so very real. And the unequal power distribution is a very real problem that impacts marginalized voices in every single walk of life.

Okay, but on to the not so great. I felt like this story really jumps around too quickly. It makes it hard to actually care about the characters and their situations, especially the side characters. And the timeframe feels very disjointed and abrupt because of the way the story is told. And, again, it makes it really hard to feel things, because the reader is just jumped to the next thing. Also, this has a trope that I personally really hate; where siblings have feelings for the same person, and it really hindered my reading experience.

“To wonder why your heart has turned into a hurricane and how love could be possible when you’re supposedly a cursed, dead king in the presence of a very powerful, very alive queen.”

Overall, I did enjoy this one, despite the trope I really dislike. But I still completely recommend this one and will support it with my voice completely. Also, this book is so sapphic, and the main f/f storyline and the side f/f of Ari and Kay’s moms really warmed my heart, too. And the m/nb romance also put a big smile on my face. I just think this story is so much fun and so unique and I honestly can’t wait to see where the authors take it with the second book.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for abandonment, talk of plague, talk of past rape, animal death, suicide, loss of a loved one, and war themes.

Buddy Read with Imi & Ellie! ❤
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Reading Progress

July 10, 2018 – Shelved
July 10, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
July 10, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
July 10, 2018 – Shelved as: retellings
July 10, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
July 10, 2018 – Shelved as: sci-fi
October 15, 2018 – Shelved as: arc
February 21, 2019 – Started Reading
February 21, 2019 – Shelved as: buddy-reads
February 21, 2019 – Shelved as: read-in-2019
February 21, 2019 – Shelved as: own-voices
February 22, 2019 –
page 228
67.86% "I am really enjoying this one! Like, give me all the queer Arthurian legend retellings, please! 💖"
February 24, 2019 – Shelved as: dragons
February 24, 2019 – Shelved as: magic
February 24, 2019 – Shelved as: lgbtqiap
February 24, 2019 – Shelved as: romance
February 25, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Paula (new) - added it

Paula Roussel (She Sniffs Books) This sounds so freaking AMAZING!

message 2: by Chris evans (new) - added it

Chris evans Aisha

Tonya Luttrull (Rustic Book Reviews) I received this ARC yesterday and I can not wait to dive into this book.

Crazy4Books Just started reading and its seems very promising so far. Hope you enjoy 😊 Look forward to your review

message 5: by Jay (new) - added it

Jay Nice! This is on my tbr, so I'm most definitely excited to hear your review for this so I'll know if to pick this up or not.

message 6: by Lace (new) - added it

Lace I'm curious what the trope is!

Melanie Paula wrote: "This sounds so freaking AMAZING!"

I hope you love it, Paula love! 💖xx

Melanie Tonya Luttrull wrote: "I received this ARC yesterday and I can not wait to dive into this book."

Yesss! Happy reading, Tonya love! 💖xx

Melanie Crazy4Books wrote: "Just started reading and its seems very promising so far. Hope you enjoy 😊 Look forward to your review"

That five star rating made my heart so happy, love! I hope you love the next thing you pick up, too! 💖xx

Melanie Jay wrote: "Nice! This is on my tbr, so I'm most definitely excited to hear your review for this so I'll know if to pick this up or not."

Review soon, my loveeee! But I for sure think this is worth checking out! And I hope you're currently having the happiest of reading! 💖xx

Melanie AniPendragon wrote: "I'm curious what the trope is!"

Omg, I love your name so much! And it is... (view spoiler) 💖xx

message 12: by Lace (new) - added it

Lace Melanie wrote: "AniPendragon wrote: "I'm curious what the trope is!"

Omg, I love your name so much! And it is... [spoilers removed] 💖xx"

Thank you! I'm quite fond of it myself. And ah geez. I'm not fond either. Thank you so much for replying!

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