Review: Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

once and future
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Retelling
Pages: 336
Pacing: Normal to very fast
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Published: March 26th, 2019





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, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.
No pressure. – synopsis from Goodreads


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

When I first heard about Once & Future I was so excited. King Arthur is one of my favourite legends. I’ve read books, seen movies and TV shows and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book, that promised me a genderbent, sci-fi King Arthur. Unfortunately, for me this version didn’t live up to the hype.

Ari is the 42nd reincarnation of King Arthur, when she retrieves Excalibur, that action sets the world into motion and puts her on her path to reunite the universe and at the same time waking up Merlin and his nemesis Morgana. While this new King Arthur (Ari) puts together her own version of the Knights of the Round Table, they will all have to come together to fight off Mercer, this all controlling corporation. Once & Future does touch on some very relevant subjects for example corporatocracy and illegal refugees. The parallels between the books and actual events cannot be ignored and it was very clear that the authors wanted to say something about what is happening today and I thought they did a very good job in passing a message.

I also want to give mad props for the amazing diversity that resides in Once & Future. The LGBTQ+ and racial diversity representations are probably one of the best I’ve seen in a YA book or any genre for that matter.

My main issue with the story was the execution. Once & Future has constant action, it seems to really never stop and it makes the story confusing and overwhelming. We find ourselves always moving and not really getting a lot of depth from the story or the characters. The timeline seems to be always jumping fast forward without any real reason, explanation or necessity – we just find ourselves propelled months or years in the future. For me, everything felt too rushed and gave me a sense that I was reading three books in one. By the end, I found I didn’t care for any of the characters (though I might have a soft spot for Merlin) and found myself very confused by the story. I prefer books that take their time, builds the plot and take us on a journey. With Once & Future I just felt out of breath and struggling to keep up with what was happening.

I wanted so much to love this one since it was on my most anticipated list for this year but it just didn’t work for me. I guess I will have to continue to wait for the return of King Arthur.



16 thoughts on “Review: Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

  1. I’m happy to see another dissenting opinion! My review for this comes out today as well, actually, and I was disappointed by it. The positives you named were what I thought of, too. And the negatives are the same as well. I was just very unimpressed in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I could see that the authors were skilled but I just feel that it would’ve been better if they would have taken their time a little more with this. Just so many things happening I just felt out of breath all the time. I’m sorry it didn’t live up to what you expected either.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Once & Future was one of my most anticipated books of 2019, but I keep seeing really negative reviews of it. I’m still planning on reading it, but it’s disappointing that it didn’t live up to what it could have been.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well it’s all very subjective. One very close friend gave it a 5 stars. Sometimes, I fear when it’s such an anticipated book for yourself you kind of build it up and it becomes this amazing thing in your head so when it doesn’t live up to what you made it to be it just shatters everything. It’s kind of a catch 22 I guess. I do hope you like it, I’ve seen some great reviews for it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry this didn’t work for you! I haven’t read it, but it does worry me when I hear nonstop action – I love quiet character-focused moments just as much. I’ll still probably check it out though. Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice review! I’m sorry it wasn’t for you though — especially since it was one of your most anticipated reads this year. It is for me too, but I still haven’t managed to get my hands on it yet! Looking forward to see which side of the reviewers I fall on 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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