by A. R. Capetta
ONCE & FUTURE is queer King Arthur in space and is one of the most unique and diverse books you will ever read. In this story, King Arthur reincarnates every few hundred or thousand years because he always dies before he completes his mission to unite humanity. It takes place far in the future when humans live throughout the universe on different planets, and Arthur reincarnates as a girl for the first time. It seems really exciting, but the world is actually ruled by the corrupt Mercer Corporation which is a major obstacle for anyone who wants to unite humanity.
Main character Ari and her brother, Kay, were born on a planet that challenged The Mercer Corporation. The corporation retaliates and she and her brother are forced to escape and get separated from their parents. They crash onto planet Earth where Ari finds a magic sword, as well as a strange orange-haired teenager who calls himself Merlin. Merlin, who strangely gets younger and younger each time King Arthur reincarnates, explains that Ari is the new King Arthur and drops the heavy news that it is her responsibility to unite humanity. It is Merlin’s job to assist King Arthur, and this time, he is determined to succeed.
Based on this short description, you can see just how out there and awesome the plot of this book is. One of the best parts, though, is that one of the planets in the world, Lionel, is medieval-themed. People there live just like they’re in the middle ages, but with modern amenities and without any of the racism, sexism, or homophobia. There, Ari, Merlin, and Kay meet up with Ari’s ex-girlfriend Gwen, and her knights, and they team up for an intergalactic takedown of the Mercer Corporation.
The book is told through Ari’s and Merlin’s alternating perspectives. Both bring different elements to the story and have very different voices. All of the other characters, though, make this book so special. There are so many identities represented in ONCE & FUTURE including gay, lesbian, non-binary, pansexual, asexual. It is beautiful to see a world where factors such as skin color and sexuality are not discriminated against. Everything in this book is the perfect example of the kind of diversity stories need. Teens looking for a fun space adventure will love this one-of-a-kind gender-bent retelling of one of the most well-known legends in history.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- “All hail this worthier-than-ever, fresh, and affirming reincarnation of the legendary king and her round table of knights which dazzles with heroic flair, humor, and suspense.”―Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
- “A marvelous mythology remix for teens who enjoy action-packed speculative fiction and genderqueer romance.”―Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
- “This epic space adventure… is a must-have.”―School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- Sword in the Stars by A. R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy, 2020
- Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, 2018
- The Lost Coast by A. R. Capetta, 2019