ARC review, book review, young adult

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (ARC Review)

Title: Once & Future
Author: Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Retelling, LGBT
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
(Hachette Book Group)
Date published: March 26, 2019

A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

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.

Raphy transparent super smallcroppedRaphy transparent super smallcroppedRaphy transparent super smallcroppedRaphy transparent super smallcropped

Well, this book definitely ended up being completely different from what I pictured when I read the synopsis! And what I mean by that is that the synopsis did not do Once & Future justice! The world was a lot more complex than I first assumed, and I found that reading about it was thoroughly enjoyable. But, let me tell you about my first impressions first. I remember being excited about not only getting a King Arthur retelling but a science fiction King Arthur retelling. (And this should make complete sense to those of you who have read my reviews for the Lunar Chronicles books.) I was also excited over King Arthur being retold as a female! Once I dove into Once & Future, I was delighted to find that the reincarnation of Arthur was not only female but a POC female!

To sweeten the deal, even more, the characters in this story live in a world advanced enough that discrimination based on sexuality no longer seems to exist. There is an acceptance for all sexualities, and gender fluidity is also common and embraced! And all of this was woven into the narrative quite seamlessly by the author duo. Unluckily for the characters in Once & Future, discrimination based on other things (such as which planet one hails from) still exists in their world (and this actually plays an important role in Ari’s life). There were quite a few twists and turns in this story (some that I really enjoyed, and some that were a little strange for me), but I have to say that I enjoyed this book overall and greatly look forward to seeing where the story will take the re-told Arthur, Merlin, Gweneviere, and Co. in the next book!


Amy Rose Capetta [she/her] is an author of YA fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery. Her first novel, Entangled, was a BEA Buzz Book and along with a sequel, Unmade, comprises a space duet. Echo After Echo,a queer love story wrapped in a murder mystery and set on Broadway, earned two starred reviews and was a Junior Library Guild Selection. The Brilliant Death, an Italian-inspired fantasy novel, also received two stars and was a chosen as a JLG selection and a Kirkus Best YA Book of the Year. Upcoming titles: Once & Future (co-written with Cori McCarthy, March 2019), The Lost Coast (May 2019) and The Storm of Life (sequel to The Brilliant Death, Fall 2019). Amy Rose holds a BA in Theater Arts from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. She co-founded the Rainbow Writers Workshop, the first-ever workshop for YA and middle grade LGBTQIAP writers. She lives in Vermont with her partner, author Cori McCarthy, and their young son.


Cori McCarthy is the author of six young adult books, four released and two on the way, as well as a forthcoming nonfiction picture book about Kahlil Gibran. Cori is an Irish-Lebanese American who resides in New England and spends most of their time playing guitar, reading poetry, and raising their son. Like many of their characters, they are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Cori started writing at the age of thirteen. After earning a BA in Creative Writing from Ohio University, focusing in memoir writing and poetry, they completed UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting and earned an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Click the image below to be redirected.


20 thoughts on “Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (ARC Review)

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this, I’ve read some mixed reviews so I’m not sure whether I’ll read it or not. But the cover is one of the best I’ve seen this year

    1. Yeah I can definitely see why it could have gotten some mixed reviews. But I did like the majority of what I came across in this book, and I think that the authors will have improved a lot of things in the next book 🙂

  2. I’ve been pining over fan-made videos of the ​​British tv show Merlin latel​y, and this just hits the bullseye! I’ll defin​itly check out this book.

    1. Oh my gosh I was just talking about that show with a coworker the other day! I need to finish it but I’m not sure if my heart can handle it lol

      1. I purposefully avoid going past season 3 so I don’t finish the series, but I have recently seen the spoiler and I have been watching Merlin- Arthur fan made videos on YouTube ever since!!

        1. Ohhhh gotcha! I don’t think I got past season 3. Will have to check, hehe. And now you’ve got me wanting to look up Merlin-Arthur YouTube videos! Hahaha

Leave a Comment