My TBR list is out of control and is more of a pile now so this month's (technically February's, don't mind me being way late) book review is of a randomly selected book. Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy.
My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start. 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. 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.
Review: First of all, I love the concept of this book. King Arthur in space You can't get much cooler than that. The world was fantastic to dive right into, from the tyrannical Mercer company ruling the literal universe to the ancient, wild Old Earth, combining the expected sci-fi interplanetary adventure perfectly with the magic of Arthurian legend. Throw in some absolutely incredible LGBT+ representation, a kick of comedy, and a Merlin who I want in the same way I want a puppy, and Once & Future was just so fun and exciting to read.
Writing-wise it didn't get off to the strongest start, unfortunately. While not unpleasant to read, the writing itself isn't anything exceptional and there's a disappointing lack of detail within the action that you really need when it comes to King Arthur, so if you're looking for that this may not be the book for you. Things did improve as the book went on, but never reached the truly engaging standard I was hoping for. Once & Future's real strength is the story it tells. It shines with diverse and rounded characters and a thrilling plotline that kept me dying to know what twist on the Arthur formula was coming next. If you're looking for an easy, exciting read it's a good option.