Thanks to NetGalley and JIMMY Patterson for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Synopsis: In this epic sequel to Once & Future, Ari and her Rainbow knights pull off a heist…thousands of years in the past—without destroying their own destinies.
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 not 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 know. I know. You’re probably thinking: “Not ANOTHER Arthurian retelling!” But, if you love the legend of King Arthur, trust me, you’re going to want to check out The Once & Future duology.
Where the first book was a rollicking adventure set in space, in this sequel, Ari, Merlin, and the Rainbow knights travel back to Camelot to stop the endless King Arthur cycle of reincarnation and to defeat the evil Mercer corporation. In addition, they’re still dealing with Merlin’s curse which causes him to age backwards whenever he uses magic. And if all that isn’t enough, they find themselves smack in the middle of a time period which isn’t exactly known for its tolerance. The diversity introduced in Once & Future is just as prevalent here, only having queer folk from all over the spectrum touch down in the Middle Ages, makes for even more interesting reading.
The story has absolutely brilliant moments of hilarity, with its Monty Python references and witty banter. These perfectly balance the more serious themes of homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and racism.
My major complaint about the first book was the pacing, which I thought was uneven and jarringly awkward at times. That has been mainly remedied here, which makes for a much smoother reading experience. The book finishes on a hopeful note, and in my opinion is a picture perfect way to bring this epic duology to its conclusion.
In summation, The Sword in the Stars is a spectacular sequel that retains all the wonderful elements of its predecessor, while managing to surpass it. I HIGHLY recommend both books to readers who are looking for a creative and utterly unique retelling of the ubiquitous Arthurian legend, that’s filled with diversity, romance, adventure, and excitement.