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.
Ooooh I knew I would love this, I am a huge Arthur legend fangirl. But throw in a gender bending, some amazing lgbtq+ rep, some humour and shouts to politics? Hells. Yes.
It actually took me a little while to warm to Ari as Arthur, but she rocked me as a character throughout. Sassy and headstrong is a weakness of mine, I admit it. I also loved her relationship with Kay, and felt that actually got a bit of a short shrift. Her relationship with Gwen was… interesting. I was routing for them, I honestly was, and I really liked them together, but the foreshadowing of their previous relationship didn’t really work for me? It felt like it was trying to be mysterious and failed but that’s also unnecessary. But I loved watching their connection play out.
And Merlin. Oh Merlin. And your beard 😂😂. I actually loved him throughout! It helps that we see him at was seems to be his best through a long life of being an ornery so and so, lol. I also ended up loving Morgana, but definitely wanted more initially from her. She felt like a 2-d villain and ended up so much more than that after the time jump with no real work to show how she got there.
Let’s talk about the time jump. I get why it had to happen, and I actually quite liked it, but think we needed a little more exposition on what happened in that year with certain characters. It didn’t really come across as a year.
I also want to rave about how the legend was so well incorporated into the story. So many familiar bits from all the many versions I’ve come across. I actually nearly dropped my book laughing when Merlin talks about changing Arthur into a squirrel. I do love the legend, and it made me want to go read up on it again, it’s been so long.
The ending is a bit evil as it’s a big set up for what must come next, but we do get great resolution of the main storyline for this book too. I am definitely excited about book 2, and will be pre ordering it ASAP!! Hehe.
This King Arthur retelling is amazing, and well worth a read. Fun, pithy, representative as hell, and bonus jousting for the lady’s hand. What’s not to love?
Buy Once & Future from Amazon UK.