Let’s Talk // Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

Hey y’all! Back with another book discussion for ya. This one is probably just going to be me gushing about how amazing this book was and how important all of the messages and themes are. It was action packed, witty, intense, and so damn good.

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

“We are the truth the universe has to see”

I’ve been going over and over in my mind about how to properly describe this book but the only phrase that comes to mind is safe space. The authors (who are the cutest partners EVER) really made sure that this story was inclusive and full of characters that stood their ground for the people that they loved. There was one scene where Merlin misgendered Lamarack and from that point on he was careful and considerate enough to either ask or not assume at all. The surrounding characters didn’t cancel him but accepted that since he was from a different time that he would need to get used to the lack of conformity of the future. Let me get back on track though because I’ll ramble all day. Let me first mention the trigger warning of suicide and attempted suicide, Parental Death, Mention of Sexual Assault

We open up on the main character Ari Helix who is an immigrant from Planet Ketch whose parents were killed by The Mercer Corporation which ultimately left her abandoned and traumatized. Ari suffers from loss of memory due to PTSD which is clearly shown within her passages. Ari is the impulsive, clever, and enduring 42nd reincarnation of King Arthur and has proven without a doubt that she deserves the title. Yeah she can be hard to deal with and trouble seems to follow her every where but she means well and that has to count for something right? The parallels to the original tale of King Arthur were amazing and the use of old world references mixed with the futuristic setting made for some smiles.

Did I mention this book was diverse as hell? Like literally beyond diverse. And the most refreshing part was that it was diverse because the characters truly embodied every single facet of their identities and not because the authors wanted to hit a list. There was Asexual representation, Non-binary, Gay, Disabled, diversity of races you name it. (If anyone can confirm that Val was or is trans/genderfluid please let me know!) This was truly a story where you could find any part of yourself represented and represented well. The connections between Ari and her knights were great and the conflicts and struggles that they went through had me a lot more invested in their stories than I thought I would be. This is a bookish safe space people!!!!! Every single one of the “Knights” in Ari’s round table were fully developed characters with their own personalities and desires and I loved them all. Gwen and I have beef though. No, I won’t elaborate.

While of course the story had its lulls I think my only criticism would be the transitions between parts of the story but it didn’t affect my overall understanding of the book. I was truly surprised by how dark this book got at times and it was so out of line with how happy the story was making me I was like oh baby no what are you doing?! The jabs to the societal standards that we hold today, the way we treat each other and our earth and everything in the universe did not go unnoticed. These authors took a stand and had some things to say and the way they delivered them in this book?!! Honey they get all of the awards from me.

This is a story of acceptance, breaking cycles, shedding societal norms, finding love and loyalty in the hard places and saving humanity damn it. I cannot stress how much I loved this story and I can’t wait for The Sword in The Stars to come out. Like seriously do I have to wait that long?

The strong female representation was amazing as well like these women refused to yield to any bullshit. I was living for all of the “down with the patriarchy” feminist rally in here. They even said at one point that out of 42 Arthurs the female Ari was the most competent and I was like uh…we been knew. This was just a wonderful wonderful story and I could gush all day but I encourage everyone to give this book a chance no matter if they’ve heard that it could be slow. Slow parts happen in every book and the message of this book is worth it to read to the end.

“That’s what resistance looks like. It’s not one glorious, shining, victory. It’s a torch that you keep burning no matter what.”

A Bookstagram photo that I snapped

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

Overall I rated this book 4.8/5 🌟 I did find the relationships to be very insta-love trope-y which is fine, just obviously very sudden. The relationships portrayed were very genuine and the story was spot on and the creativity with the world building was great. The writing wasn’t complex and it was easy to get through while still hitting hard issues. It’s definitely of my top recs of the year so far on message and execution of diversity alone.

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

Thank you for reading!

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