Friday, July 6, 2012

Once by Anna Carey

Anna Carey
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: July 3, 2012
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 320
Source: Accepted from publisher
Series: Eve #2
When you're being hunted, who can you trust?

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America.

But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America.

Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves . . . or risk losing Caleb forever.
I really enjoyed Eve when I read it last year, and I eagerly awaited the sequel. I haven't always loved dystopians, but I have been blown away by a few - namely, The Hunger Games and Divergent. The key for me has been great writing and great world-building, which really should be found in every genre, it just might be trickier in the world of dystopia. I thought Eve was a pretty good addition to the genre, and it's been one that I continue to recommend when dystopian fans ask for suggestions.

Once picks up where Eve left off with Eve living a relatively safe life in Califia. She misses Caleb desperately, but she knows what awaits her if she leaves her safehold. The king is still after her with warrants out for her arrest, but Eve must leave when she learns the women of Califia are only keeping her safe for leverage. That along with the fact that Caleb is injured out in the wild pushes Eve to escape. She is soon captured through a trap and brought to the City of Sand.

I am going to try really hard to get through this without any spoilers. The relationship between Eve and the king was extremely well done. It would have been easy to go in another direction, but the direction the author took left much more possibility in my opinion. I really really appreciated that. I loved that Arden found her, I loved the few friends (and enemies) Eve made in the city, and I loved that Eve was able to visit her past through actual encounters and flashbacks. I still didn't feel Caleb. I thought he honestly loved Eve and she him, but I unfortunately didn't feel the chemistry between them. I had a problem with this in book one, and I had hoped it would have improved in this book.*

There is one thing that I am dying to talk about which would be a major spoiler, so I'm going to leave it to you to highlight here: Okay so... I don't think Caleb is really dead. I think Moss told Eve this so that she would be forced to play princess and kill the king. Thoughts?? Answer agree or disagree in the comments, but try not to spoil it for anyone else!

My only complaint was that I didn't reread Eve before diving into Once. My memory was a little hazy, and I forgot a few of the characters (Arden). I would at least skim the last few chapters of Eve if it's been a while because Once takes off right where the first book ended. This is definitely not the fault of the book nor the author, just my crummy memory.

*I truly think it's a personal thing because other readers LOVE Caleb, and this didn't deter me much from the whole of the book.

FTC: I received an ARC of this novel from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.

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