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When you're being hunted, who can you trust?My Thoughts...
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.
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!