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Sixteen years have passed since a deadly virus wiped out most of the Earth’s population. After learning of the terrifying part she and her classmates were fated to play in the rebuilding of New America, eighteen-year-old Eve fled to the wilds and Califia, a haven for women determined to live outside the oppressive rule of the king of New America. However, her freedom came at a price: she was forced to leave Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. Eve quickly learns that Califia may not be as safe as it seems and soon finds herself in the City of Sand and the palace of the king. There she uncovers the real reason he was so intent on her capture, and the unbelievable role he intends her to fill. When she is finally reunited with Caleb, they will enact a plan as daring as it is dangerous. But will Eve once again risk everything—her freedom, her life—for love?
Brimming with danger and star-crossed romance, and featuring a vivid dystopian landscape, this electrifying follow-up to Eve, which bestselling author Lauren Kate called “a gripping, unforgettable adventure—and a fresh look at what it means to love” is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes adventure of The Hunger Games and the irresistible love story of Romeo and Juliet.
This is a difficult review to write. Most of the things I want to talk about (good and bad) involve giving away huge spoilers. ;Once has a pretty big plot twist early in the story – one that I’m almost ashamed to admit I didn’t see coming – making it close to impossible for me to adequately express my thoughts. But I’m going to try really hard to give a nice little run down of the book without ruining it for you.
Once picks up a few months after the events in Eve and our protagonist finds herself miserable in Califi, missing both Caleb and Arden. In this installment Eve, despite her best efforts, ends up in the King’s clutches in the Sand City. There she is reunited with Caleb and members of the trail, who is now a wanted man for murder of New American soldiers. However, this doesn’t seem to deter Eve and Caleb from stealing moments away together. But little does she know that the King has other plans for her. Big plans.
As always, I’d like to start with the good. I was really looking forward to reading Once due to the crafty little cliffhanger at the end of Eve. I hate that nagging feeling of needing to know how things end because it bothers me over and over until I know. Thankfully, I got to find out my burning question of why the King wanted Eve so badly within the first 20% of the novel. Yay for me, but boo for you since you’ll be reading a review where I attempt to skate around all the plot twists and revelations this book seemed to be chock-full of. ;One thing that I really liked about Once was the setting. The City of Sand is in essence a restored Las Vegas and I could definitely visualize the different locations. Carey succeeds at painting the mental image of the city and bringing it to life. I expected no less considering I did enjoy Carey’s writing in Eve. I also felt myself warming up to Eve this time around too. That is partly due to her making a better attempt at helping the friends she left behind and showing more concern for others.
Unfortunately, I didn’t quite enjoy this one as much as I did Eve, but I think that is mainly because I connected with the minor characters, who for the most part, are absent in Once. (I missed the dugout boys!) Instead we are introduced to a few newbies including the King, Beatrice (Eve’s maid), and members of the trail. But most of the novel focuses on Eve and her constant struggle to break free from the hold the King has on her. And while I did start to warm up with her, after a while I found her actions to be a little too reckless (as they were in Eve) and I started feeling genuinely frustrated with both her and Caleb. It almost seemed like their decisions were intentionally poor just to move the plot in the direction Carey wanted it. For example, when Eve sneaks out the palace to meet Caleb, she’s very concerned that he may get caught, but Caleb shrugs all concerns off. I understand that some teenagers feel invincible, but this felt like he didn’t have any common sense. That surprised me because he seemed like a smarter character in Eve. He was much more cautious, but here I found him throwing all caution he used to have to the wind. By the end, he was practically flaunting a sign around his neck that read, “HERE I AM!”
Despite my bigger disappointments with this installment, I didn’t hate it and did find myself enjoying the interesting relationship between Eve and the King. And c’mon, that ending! I felt like Carey and HarperCollins punk’d me when I went to turn the page and all I saw was: ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. Cruel, I tell you!
I’d recommend this book to fans of the first book, Eve. But if you disliked Eve, chances are Once will have little to offer you.
ARC was provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss. Thank you!
This month I had the pleasure to attend a signing featuring the lovely Anna Carey along with Veronica Rossi and Tahereh Mafi during HarperCollins’ “Spring Into the Future” tour. It was a lot of fun and those ladies were a blast to meet!
I happened to snag one of the last copies of Eve and Anna Carey signed it.
One lucky winner will receive that and… ;a poster signed by Anna Carey, Tahereh Mafi and Veronica Rossi!
And since I received three posters at the signing, two runner-ups will get a signed poster too! Hooray and all that jazz!
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