book reviews, spoiler free

Once and Future

36233085Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Rating: XXXXX

Published: March 26th by Rock the Boat

“So tell me, forty second King Arthur, do you believe your fate is to unite humankind?”

“My fate…” Ari gasped, “…is mine.”

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.

So this is the part where I usually quite calmly talk about how I discovered this book (I was stalking the Rock the Boat Twitter feed for news about Aurora Rising arcs) what interested me about and made me want to read it (all of the things) and occasionally how and where I received it from (drooling over it via Twitter, thank you so much to the lovely people at Rock the Boat for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review) but honestly I just want to yell SWORDS, JOUSTING, SPACESHIPS, STRONG QUEER WOMEN, TEENAGE MERLIN, GORGEOUS FLUIDS AND NON BINARIES, MAGIC, ANGST, SEXUAL TENSION AND DID I MENTION THIS IS MOSTLY SET IN SPACE BECAUSE YES.

I’m genuinely not sure where to start with this review because as I suspected this is a book I really want to scream and shout about. The characters are all so unique and different with different strengths and beautifully tragic flaws. On the back of my arc copy one of the things this book is likened to is Mass Effect (my favourite game series) and I can totally get behind that because Ari and her ‘knights’ feel like an amazing, dysfunctional family in much the same way as the crew of the Normandy in that they all have their own goals and most of the time those goals line up but not always and that can make things messy, especially when you know each other but you’re not really sure you know them enough to trust them as much as you should. The differing interactions between the characters here feel just the right kinds of tense and it really gives weight to those moments.

I hate to say it so bluntly but this book is hot. Honestly, there are some fantastic moments that pretty much took my breath away but without being crude or even bordering on erotica. I love that pretty much everyone is a little “thirsty” because honestly they’re all beautiful and fairly confident with their sexualities and there isn’t much of any pussyfooting around these moments apart from one AMAZING almost kiss that blew me away. I’m obviously not saying that everyone needs to be like this in their day to day lives but there is certainly something very liberating and refreshing about how comfortable these kind of moments we see in this book are.

While on the topic of sexuality one of my favourite things about this book is how diverse it is, the main character is pansexual and as someone who is pan themselves I cannot explain how pleased I am and how much it means to me to see this kind of rep as we’re often just lumped into gay/straight/bisexual and it’s exhausting, we’ve been totally spoiled with Ari, she’s such an interesting, complex bad-ass and I’m honestly pretty much in love with her myself. Not only do we have a wide range of sexualities it’s also not made a huge deal out of and it isn’t used as any kind of plot point, they just are because that’s how real life works. This book is chock full of amazing characters that are gay, pan, straight, disabled, fluid, cis, non-binary, black, aromantic, mixed heritage, lanky, muscley and curvy and it really makes me yearn for something like this kind of acceptance for all – just without the evil mega-corporation, please.

I immensely enjoyed that Once and Future is not only a kind of parallel of sorts to the King Arthur tale but it also manages to completely turn it on its head and look at from different perspectives. I know the story of Arthur, Merlin, Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table is something that has been done and done and done again but honestly, you will never find another story like this, it feels so fresh and unique, not just because of the gender twist but the heart of the story just feels so very new.

The plot is an absolute ride, although I do think there are certainly some pacing issues and moments where I found myself thinking, “huh…what…how did we get here? How did this happen? Did I miss something?” as well as feeling like there were a few plot holes here and there but having spoken to Amy and Cori, I’m told there were A LOT of copy edits due to the ARCs needing to be done and sent out so early so I’m really looking forward to having another read through when my finished copy arrives today (if it hasn’t already because I’m writing to you from the not so distant past) because even WITH the small issues I had I loved this book to the stars and back so I can only imagine how I’ll feel about the complete finished product.

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Once and Future absolutely blew my mind, it riled me up, it crushed my heart then it brought me back, shoved a sword in my hand and it told me to go save the world.

Once and Future is out RIGHT NOW and just in case you hadn’t already preordered it or ordered it today then may I just say again…SWORDS, JOUSTING, SPACESHIPS, STRONG QUEER WOMEN, TEENAGE MERLIN, GORGEOUS FLUIDS AND NON BINARIES, MAGIC, ANGST, SEXUAL TENSION AND DID I MENTION THIS IS MOSTLY SET IN SPACE BECAUSE YES.

 

 

 

#SixforSunday

#S4S – Favourite LGBT Reads

Happy Six for Sunday! This weeks prompt from the wonderful Steph over at A little but a lot is Favourite LGBT reads and I’m ashamed that despite being a member of the LGBT community myself I’ve read precious few LGBT books myself. It doesn’t seem to be something that’s focused on much in fantasy which is one of the two main genres I read, Science Fiction is a little better but I’m not sure I can think of many books that I’ve read that would be considered “LGBT” books so I’ll do my best to list the ones I would consider to feature LGBT elements in them. Feel free to reccomend all the good Fantasy and Sci-Fi LGBTQ+ books though, especially f/f or bi/pan/poly rep.

Just another note actually before we begin, a thought perhaps but what do you consider an “LGBT” read? Although they are important for those who need them I am often not at all interested in stories where characters “queereness” is the be all and end all of the story. As I’ve said those kind of books do need to exist because there are people out there who they will help and that will find themselves in those books but I really prefer the books where there are characters who are LGBTQ plus but it’s a normal natural thing and is not a pivotal plot point, obviously this is only personal opinion and everyone enjoys different kinds of books but I wanted to make that clear that is one of the reasons my list of “LGBT” reads probably aren’t considered as such because the sexuality of the characters aren’t the only plot point and I don’t want to diminish others love for books where that is the case at all but rather just wanted to explain my choices.

1. The Last Begining by Lauren James
This time bending book feautures Clove and her sometimes girlfriend Ella and was one of my favourite reads last year, I can’t say too much about why I love their relationship throughout this book without giving away spoilers but lets just say

2. Jem and the Holgrams by Kelly Thompson
I was a big fan of the Jem and the Holograms TV show when I was younger (showing my age!) and became a little obsessed with it. I was so excited to find out it was being made into a comic (we don’t talk about the “film”). The artwork is bold , beautiful and full of colour and the story is compelling and very much in the feel of the original show while still feeling updated and I’m gutted that it wasn’t a show instead but I’ve still loved every minute of it. Among some of the new changes I’ve enjoyed is the relationship between Kimber and Stormer, a star-crossed lovers tale with each being from rival bands. They are an absolutely adorable couple who adore each other but find it hard to be together with the tensions building between the two groups. They are easily one of my favourite couples in fiction.

3. The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
I feel like this one may be a little controversial somehow, purely because despite the relationship between Alec and Magnus Bane being one that really touched people, a lot of others feel it’s “over done” now somehow and that Cassie is just “milking it” to get positive attention. That’s not how I feel personally, although Alec and Magnus is a great step forward, especially at a time where same sex relationships were not often featured in YA for me I loved the fact that Magnus Bane was (at least) bisexual and this really helped me at a time where I was confused that I liked girls but I couldn’t be gay because I liked boys as well. Magnus sort of became a window to realising I didn’t have to be gay or straight as it wasn’t something I had ever really known or talked about. Now in the Dark Artifices we have all sort s of characters and relationships including trans and poly which I think have been done well and really appreciate seeing normalised in fiction.

4. Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Betty the smidgen is pretty much my favourite member of the Rat Queens (although I do love them all) and as with most of these on my list I love how easy and seamlessly her sexuality is introduced and plays out in these books. It’s very simple and sweet with just the right amount of fluff for my tastes.

5. Vicious and Vengeful by V.E Schwab
This might sound like a strange one but I was convinced during Vicious that Victor and Eli were besotted with each other even if they wouldn’t act on it or show it. The way Eli became obsessed with hunting down Victor just really seemed to have this…edge to it. In Vengeful it became apparent and although not done as smoothly as it could have been done, it was canonical acknowledged that Victor was Asexual (ace) and this felt like it made so much sense to me.

6. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
By the looks of this list I read and enjoy a lot more LGBT comics than I do traditional books. Nimona is probably my absolute favourite on this list for many many reasons but one of them is the way it handles LGBT relationships so well. We often see LGBT couples possibly going through some kind of hardship and then they get back together and they live happily ever after. In Nimona we. See a huge variety of couples, some who are very happy together but also those who fight, or break up or flirt or just want something casual or different and I think thats another really important angle that needs to be shown as well. This book is absolutely a must read. Its a masterpiece.

Thank you for checking out my six for Sunday post! I think this may have inspired me to do a longer post. On a similar subject so keep an eye out for that coming soon! I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week and don’t forget to let me know if you’ve taken part in todays prompt as well so I can check it out!

P.S Wanted to give an honourable mention to Carry On! I haven’t finished it yet but I feel like if I had it probably would have made this list.