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Once & Future

Review

Once & Future

The authors of ONCE & FUTURE have both published books previously. Amy Rose Capetta’s most recent release is THE BRILLIANT DEATH, along with the upcoming THE LOST COAST. Cori McCarthy most recently released NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE in 2018 and YOU WERE HERE in 2016. ONCE & FUTURE is the authors’ first book together.

I first heard about ONCE & FUTURE back in the fall, and each time it got brought up I got more intrigued. I finally got a chance to read it over winter break, and I dove in. I read the book back in December and I honestly think I needed until March to get my feelings in order enough to write review. This book both takes the reader on a whirlwind adventure and plucks at a bunch of heartstrings. While the basic premise is King Arthur in space, ONCE & FUTURE is so much more than that.

"ONCE & FUTURE has it all. It’s got sci-fi, fantasy, mythology, a great cast of characters, great representation and so much that can’t be put into words."

One thing I absolutely loved about this book was the diverse representation. In this far-flung future, sexuality and gender identity aren’t a big deal, and that shows with the characters. Off the top of my head there are bisexual, gay, genderqueer and asexual representations…and there’s definitely more. There are also characters of different races and ethnicities, but since it’s so far in the future and so different from life on earth today, many of the biases we have today aren’t there. The one major exception to that is Ari and her home planet of Ketch. But to know those details, you need to read the book!

I loved the main character Ari. She is headstrong, stubborn and loyal. It’s clear from the beginning that although she may not always see it, she has the building blocks of a great hero. I also loved the books’ two ancient magical beings --- Merlin and Morgana. Merlin has the other point of view in the book, and it’s fun seeing him as a backward-aging wizard. We don’t see as much of Morgana, but I had a sense from the beginning that she was going to be awesome. Having both Ari and Merlin sharing their points of view was very helpful in understanding the story. Ari places the reader in the world, and Merlin shows us how it’s different from the world we know. Merlin also helps both the reader and Ari place this story within the larger context of the King Arthur myth.

Along with Ari, Merlin and Morgana, ONCE & FUTURE has an amazing cast of side characters. They made me laugh and cry, and more than once I wanted to stab a specific someone. Let’s just say there’s a thing that happens that will cause many uncomfortable emotions to arise (at least if you’re anything like me). The thing has to do with relationships and drama, and I can’t say anymore because I really don’t want to spoil it for you!

Throughout the course of the book, I felt like there was an undercurrent of something else going on. I don’t know exactly what it is, but there are definitely larger forces at play. My theory is they have to do with the Lady of the Lake, the evil Mercer Corporation and some other force or forces we have yet to meet. While most of the book is the characters adjusting and moving through the universe, they also start to realize that something bigger than themselves is at work.

I’ve said it before, but ONCE & FUTURE has it all. It’s got sci-fi, fantasy, mythology, a great cast of characters, great representation and so much that can’t be put into words. There’s been a bunch of great sci-fi books being published recently, and if you’ve enjoyed those, I highly recommend ONCE & FUTURE. This is also great for fans of books like AVALON HIGH by Meg Cabot and other mythology/fairy tale retellings. One thing to note is that it does lean towards the more graphic side of things when it comes to language, sex and violence, so it’s best for older YA readers. ONCE & FUTURE is a wonderful adventure that will leave readers wanting more!

Reviewed by Isabel Coyne on March 19, 2019

Once & Future
by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta