Once (Eve #2)
By Anna Carey
Published: July 3, 2012
Hardcover, 368 pages
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. --Goodreads
After reading Eve, I was at a sort of a loss. Eve ended with such a perfect ending to keep the reader dying for Once, I remember reading an excerpt of this book and thinking "Meh...." There was nothing truly spectacular about Eve. After all, many of its themes and plot devices were ones already used in dystopians for years, and all of the characters bugged me. So now I really wonder why I read Once because honestly, it was worse than I expected.
Once begins a few months after the epic cliffhanger we were left off on. Eve is kind of off on her own in the women's haven, Califia, and suddenly, she discovers that the women there are willing to betray her for the safety of the rest of the women. OMG! Big shocker, isn't it? I mean, sacrificing one girl is an awfully cheap price for the safety of at least 100 women, so anyone with common sense can understand. The girl's new, doesn't really contribute much to Califia society, but Eve treats this news like it's the end of the world. Like, 'WHO DOESN'T LOVE ME ENOUGH TO KEEP ME?' Everyone, Eve, everyone. Basically, I just hate the protagonist of this series with a burning passion, which kind of causes my hatred of the series.
I know I'm being a little harsh (OK, extremely) harsh on Eve. For most characters, I'm willing by bypass the sudden case of selfishness. However, for Eve, this has been a ongoing issue from Day 0. By now, I've been hoping for some form of her maturing, to make her seem relatable. Unfortunately, this just never happens. Throughout Once as well, Eve is still the same bratty girl who ran away from school the previous year. Not thinking anything through and believing that she's faultless when she causes tragedy to strike others.
Additionally, the plot of this book sort of fell flat as well. We find out the secret behind Eve's past, and it's not that shocking. Many plot devices overused and repeatedly used in YA are used in Once. While I was reading this book, I felt like the plot was flowing similarly to how Torn by Amanda Hocking did. (Kind of a spoiler). Although there genres were different, Torn and Once are similar in plot and building up momentum for a sort of deadpan climax. The plot is almost identical to Torn, yet I loved Torn way more than Once, surprisingly. The thing is, Wendy in the Trylle trilogy matures and becomes a competent ruler over her people. Good luck with Eve managing to lead anyone, let along to not lead them into a trap, which she does repeatedly.
There was just something crucial missing in Once that didn't allow me to appreciate anything. The writing was decent, but just couldn't hook me to this book. Many times, I nearly gave up on reading this because I was so frustrated with Eve, as you probably have guessed. Now, I'm just really disappointed with this series and the author, and really just can't imagine myself trying to finish the series with Rise.