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I Belong

Review: Once by Anna Carey

Title: Once

Author: Anna Carey

Genre: YA Dystopian

Series: Eve (Book 2)

Publication Date: July 3, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062048546 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13:  978-0062048547 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Emmy


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.

In this breathless sequel to “Eve,” Anna Carey returns to her tale of romance, adventure, and sacrifice in a world that is both wonderfully strange and chillingly familiar.

Quick & Dirty: With an unexpected plot twist, Once is guaranteed to go in a direction you aren’t expecting–but if you didn’t love Eve, this installment doesn’t have a lot to offer you.

Opening Sentence: I started over the rocks, clutching a knife in one hand.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I looked forward to reading Once after the almost-cliffhanger at the end of Eve where we left Eve in Califia. Picking up a few months later, we notice right away it’s obvious that Eve is miserable in the safe haven, missing Arden and Caleb. And this is where any sort of plot description becomes tricky, because about 20% into Once there’s a huge twist. When Eve leaves Califia to find Caleb she ends up captured and carted off to the City of Sand. Where we come to the plot twist that made me groan aloud — though to be fair, I didn’t see it coming.

The best part about Once, in my opinion, was the fact that I could actually like Eve this time around. She worries about the friends she left behind and attempts to help them, while last time she left them with hardly any second thoughts. However, most of the secondary characters that I was hoping would be fleshed out in the sequel were completely absent.  Caleb, who was our paragon of hotness and survival skills, seemed to lose all his common sense in this book. It felt like the characters were making intentionally bad decisions just to move the plot along in the direction Carey needed it to go. So while Eve redeemed herself a bit in Once, Caleb’s character turned stupid.

For most of the novel Eve’s thinking about Caleb, and while they manage a lot of making out for two prisoners, I needed more to their relationship. Most of their bonding happened while on the run, so I can understand the fact they grew together quickly, but I really wanted their story to develop beyond the physical. It was important to me that Caleb keep caring about the rebellion — which is barely mentioned — and the kids he left behind with Lief. For the most part, he just shrugs off the danger to himself when he meets with Eve, and I had to wonder where the great survival instincts from the first book went.

City of Sand is not the glowing beacon of hope for New America Eve was raised to believe. Carey’s descriptions do a brilliant job of conjuring up the different spots in the city — think, restored Las Vegas. It’s not her writing that causes issues for me, but the way she uses her characters. It feels as if she has no regard for the groundwork she laid in book one, because it conflicts with how she needs them to act in Once. Caleb felt, in many ways, like a totally different guy.  If you loved Eve, then Once will have some great aspects for you to dig into while you wait for Rise to come out. If you didn’t, then Once doesn’t have a lot to offer you.

Notable Scene:

We need help, I’d said, as I took a few tentative steps into the living room. Then I saw his remains on the couch. His skin was gray, his face partially sunken in from decay.

“You left us,” I said, unable to hide the anger in my voice. “She was alone, she died alone in that house, and you could have helped her. I was waiting for someone to save us.”

He covered my hand with his own, but I pulled away. “I would’ve, Genevieve–”

“That’s not my name,” I snapped. I clutched the picture to my chest. “You can’t just call me that.”

Eve Trilogy:

1.  Eve

2. Once

3. Rise (April 2, 2013)

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Once.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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One Response to “Review: Once by Anna Carey

  1. Jen GreysonNo Gravatar

    This sounds really interesting — I may have to go grab the first one now, so I can read the twist!

    Thanks for the review.

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