28 June 2012

(ARC) YA Book Review: Once by Anna Carey

Release Date: 3 July 2012
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

Get a copy! AmazonB&N

Goodreads description:
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.
My Thoughts...

Last year, Eve was one of my favorite dystopian stories. Something about Eve's fierce nature combined with her "girly" one worked for me and created a character that I felt like I connected with. I enjoyed her adventures and gradual "awakening" (of sorts) to the realities of the world that she lived in. In my review last year, I ended saying "This book is a fabulous combination of action and sweet romance with an ending that will leave you speechless (and if you're like me, in tears)." Obviously Once was high on my list of sequels to read in 2012 and I'm happy to say that (thankfully) it lived up to all of my expectations.

Picking up a few months later, Once begins with Eve living in Califia. While it's not the haven that she expected, she's safe there and when Arden shows up unexpectedly, things are looking up. However, a series of events leads to Eve and Arden running away from Califia--but the escape doesn't go well and they end up separated: Arden back to the "trade school" and Eve carted off to the City. The unexpected twists that happen from then on out are something for you to discover on your own but suffice it to say that I was surprised and blown away by the events that Ms. Carey threw my way.

While Eve is still a bit naive in her understanding of the world, I felt like she developed a lot through this story (both in Eve and continuing in Once). The world has thrown her a lot of curve balls and she's still standing--still fighting. She has a strength of character that I sort of admired. She's fiercely loyal to her friends (her REAL friends) and she's most definitely a survivor. I loved watching her relationship with Caleb develop in little bits and pieces (my only regret being that we didn't get to see more of him) and her exploration of the things that the School told her were wrong and forbidden.

Ms. Carey crafted this sequel with utmost care and the ending (once again) left my speechless. My connection with this story and these characters was so intense that at times I had to put the book down because the emotions were too overwhelming for me (generally the sad and angry emotions!). The ending leaves you begging for the sequel, not just because it's an intense cliffhanger (which it is), but because I honestly don't know where the story is going to go next! The twists and turns of Once have left me with ideas about the many ways it COULD go but not a solid idea of what my dear Eve is going to do next! If you enjoyed Eve, Once is a must read that you should pick up as soon as it releases!

Eve is currently on sale for Kindle and Nook for only $2.99! Grab a copy and start (or relive) the adventure today!


Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Really interesting review and look at this book, Jessi! I do love Eve and I am proud of her for how much she's grown as a character. I had a big problem with this book though, because despite how much happened, it felt like TOO much happened with no pauses in between.

Danny Bookworm said...

I really loved the first book But ... I am not sure if I loved it enough to keep on reading... You now how it is with series. However, the sequel sounds like it delivered, which is so important for a sequel! I'm sad to hear though, that Caleb is not so present in this book!

Jessi said...

I definitely agree that there was a lot that happened in a short amount of time with this one. I think perhaps I didn't have too much of a problem with it because I did pick up and put down this book quite a few times. I look forward to reading your review, Molli!

Jessi said...

It was a little sad that we didn't see more of Caleb, but it made sense for where she took the plot. It also made every moment with him a little more special. The cliffhanger ending has me thinking maybe I would have preferred to wait for the final book to come out and then read them together, lol.

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