Book Review: Once and Future


by Payal Mugunda, Editor

“Once and Future” is the latest book by award-winning authors A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy, whose previous works include “The Brilliant Death” and “Now a Major Motion Picture”, respectively. It’s a YA adaptation of Arthurian legend, set in a distant future where the entire universe is controlled by a single company: the Mercer Corporation. 

Our main character, Ari Helix, is both a fugitive and an outlaw, who also manages to pull Excalibur out of a tree on Old Earth, revealing herself as the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Ari and her brother, Kay, who were already on the run from the Mercer Corporation, are joined by a teenaged Merlin, who is required by the terms of the reincarnation curse to be a mentor to every single version of Arthur.

And from this point on, I found the pacing to be too slow and meticulous. The first half of the book focused almost entirely on relationships between characters and sidequests, all of which, despite being extremely important later, just made the book drag on in the moment.

Thankfully, about two-thirds of the way in, we had a twist and a time jump, which pulled me back into the story. All of the little details from the beginning snowballed into an ending that tied everything together and left you wanting more, perfectly setting it up for the sequel. They also managed to make it the kind of book that I wanted to stab and throw at a wall for the amount of betrayals, deaths, and general pain they put the characters through.

If you can look past a slow start and a few too many convenient coincidences, this is a book you’ll enjoy. Overall, I’d give this 4/5 stars.