Overall enjoyment: 5/5
“In this epic sequel to Once & Future, to save the future, Ari and her Rainbow knights pull off a heist…thousands of years in the past.
Ari Helix may have won her battle against the tyrannical Mercer corporation, but the larger war has just begun. Ari and her cursed wizard Merlin must travel back in time to the unenlightened Middle Ages and steal the King Arthur’s Grail—the very definition of impossible.
It’s imperative that the time travelers not skew the timeline and alter the course of history. Coming face-to-face with the original Arthurian legend could produce a ripple effect that changes everything. Somehow Merlin forgot that the past can be even more dangerous than the future… “
I’m so in love with book. I loved the first book so much that I was kinda scared to fully read this one, but I am so full of love and hope. If you enjoyed the first book I’m sure you will love this one just as much. This book puts us back in the time of Medieval Europe which you would think would be a horrible time for our characters, but the authors are well aware of that and give us hope and very blunt conversations at times about gender and sexuality. This book is not subtle in its support of the lgbtq+ community and its disapproval of mass consumerism though that isn’t as much a focus of this book as it was in the last.
We have are beautiful characters back! Ari is still our headstrong hero, Gwen is still our beautiful strong queen, Merlin is still a bit of a mess and Lam and Val are still smart and as sexy as ever. In this different period we experience new yet similar problems with these characters as they grow. I just love them. I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s a ton of growth or change for Ari in this book, but we get a lot more of Merlin and where he comes from. We finally unravel the mystery of where exactly he came from. I must say that until they hinted at it I didn’t expect it at all. O.o
Not a ton of time is spent on flushing out the whole of medieval Europe, but there is still the new creation of Camelot and enough difference that I still got syfy feelings rather than historical drama feelings.
I would say this is a character driven story. Yes, there is a big corporation that must be stopped, but as with the first book we are really focused on the characters, their feelings, their pasts, and how that is all coming together to create this great story.
There is so much! We got our intersectionality! Ari is a gay woman of color, Lam is a nonbinary character of color. We have LGBT+ characters everywhere with some discussions of gender throughout. It’s good stuff. This story definitely focuses on the LGBTQ+ aspects rather than than the racial aspects, but we got hints. I love this book so much and while I should have read it earlier I think I needed it more now than I did before. If you want to read a queer Arthurian retelling full of characters of color and LGBTQ+ than I think you will fall in love with these characters as much as I did!