Hi! I’m trying to make this “post-every-second-day-thing” an ACTUAL thing, at least for the time being. I wasn’t going to post this particular review, because it’s not a positive one, but I have requested a sequel for this book (I’m not sure why I’m trying to keep the title of it a secret when it’s clearly up there in big letters) just before I started reading it, in hopes of loving it, and I just got approved for it. And so, now I need to commit.
- Publication Date: March 26th 2019
- Publisher: Oneworld Publications
- Genre: YA Sci-Fi
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.
Disappointed is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about Once & Future.
There were so many things I thought I’d love going into the story that did not deliver in the slightest. Once & Future is a King Arthur retelling set in space, where Arthur is a girl and her knights are incredibly diverse in all the meanings of the world. It was blurbed by Amy Kaufman, for crying out loud. It had to be good, right? Wrong!
Once & Future reads like it was written by a horny teenager (or, more accurately, 2 horny teenagers, though both authors’ voices seem indistinguishable). There, I said it. You couldn’t go a couple of pages without someone taking, thinking or in some way referencing kissing or sex.
The book tries to talk about important things with the main character being an illegal immigrant on the run from a big and greedy corporation called Mercer, which controls the universe, but all the meaningful aspects are lost in the terribly paced narrative. The conflicts arise fast and are resolved even faster, with a convenient time skip just as we reach the climax (see what I did there?) to the aftermath of what just happened.
The tone changes constantly, too, every single important and serious issue is broken up with a stupid joke or a make-out session. It doesn’t relieve the tension, as intended, instead it makes the reader not take the world and the characters seriously. *spoiler alert* There are a few deaths, some more and some less important, and I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of them because of the way they were presented.
I love diversity in my books – the more, the better. But Once & Future reduced all its characters to their sexuality and gender. Not a single character has a personality – Ari, the main character, an incarnation of King Arthur, is bi, Merlin is a gay wizard who ages backwards, Jordan, Gwen’s knight and protector, is ace etc. That’s all there is to all those characters. There are things mentioned here and there about the characters’ past and their hardships, but all are soon forgotten and replaced by info who wants to sleep with whom.
It’s great to include all this diversity in a YA book, but assuming sexuality or gender identity is all that there is to a person is just not okay.
If I didn’t have such high hopes the book might somehow get better, I would’ve DNFed it at 100 pages, but instead I pushed myself to finish it. Some books have really great premises that just aren’t executed right, and unfortunately Once & Future is one of them.
Sword in the Stars is out on April 7th and you can expect my review for it on the day!
I’ll speak to you soon! Please stay safe and take care.