cover image Once & Future

Once & Future

Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy. Little, Brown/Patterson, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-44927-4

Set in the future, this inclusive, refreshing take on the Arthurian mythos by Capetta (The Brilliant Death) and McCarthy (Now a Major Motion Picture) stars an impulsive teen female incarnation of Arthur who faces a heartless intergalactic commercial monopoly. While escaping the Mercer Company’s flagship, Ketchan-born Ari, 17, and Kay, her adoptive elder brother, crash on Old Earth, where Ari draws an ancient sword from a tree. With that act, she awakens backward-aging Merlin—now a teen—from his crystal cave and gives him his 42nd chance to vanquish Morgana and mentor Arthur’s efforts to unite humanity. Ari takes little interest in the Arthurian cycle until it collides with her personal quest to rescue her imprisoned mothers from Mercer. On Lionel, a medieval recreation planet and sole holdout against the corporation, others, including Queen Gwen, join the team, leading to a political betrothal that turns into something much more. This and other nonlethal stratagems and romances among people of various gender identities and ethnicities drive the plot, alongside desperate battle scenes and a well-rounded round table. A marvelous mythology remix for teens who enjoy action-packed speculative fiction and genderqueer romance. Ages 13–up. [em]Agents: (for Capetta) Sara Crowe, Pippin Properties; (for McCarthy) Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (Mar.) [/em]