The ending of Eve, Book #1, was just unfair. The ending of Once, Book #2 in Anna Carey’s dystopian/post-apocalyptic trilogy–also unfair. Unfair for Eve, most definitely. It was an ending that left me speculating and in disbelief. Naw, that couldn’t have happened–could it?! We’ve still got a third book, people!
I loved Once. It wasn’t perfect–it meandered at times and was less original than Eve, but it was fast-paced, had plenty of twists and turns, and contained the adorable romance between Eve and Caleb. Anna Carey doesn’t shy away from the dark moments, though, some of which really impacted me, but yet the book isn’t a complete downer. It’s a great sequel that improves on a number of things: characters and world building, definitely.
Nearly all of Once takes place in the City of Sand (a rebuilt Las Vegas), the capital of The New America. Eve find herself suddenly forced into a different role than she’d ever imagined, and she gets to see the country from a different view–though it doesn’t necessarily change her original opinion. She is fiercely loyal to her friends from the wilderness; she doesn’t let the new circumstances she finds herself in the middle of brainwash or overwhelm her. And… (SPOILER FOR EVE coming up:) she is reunited with Caleb, who introduces her to the secret plans of rebellion. (END OF SPOILER.) This is where Once lost me, slightly.
Nearly every single dystopia I’ve read, generally speaking, has an uprising, a rebellion, a people’s revolution, or something along those lines. Those who run the world are running it badly, and the people take a stand. This plot point gets very old very quickly. That’s not to say the books with this point aren’t good; a lot of them are excellent books, but it just so happens that it’s not original anymore. It’s a formula. And the formula works, but it’s not new and it becomes harder and harder for authors to make the formula different from all the other variations. So I lost a bit of interest when I realized Once was going to become that sort of book… Yet this is a minor problem, and might not even be a problem for you.
I liked Eve a lot in this book. She risked her neck and the necks of her friends many times, but she was loyal and very protective. She learned to play a new game, a game of politics and wits. She won in very few instances, and lost hugely in others. She learned to accept some life-changing information, and matured past being a frightened, fragile girl alone in the wilderness. Eve has grown so much from the first book already. I want to see her happy–I hate the horrible predicament she’s in at the end of Once… The supporting characters were a mixed bag. Some I liked, some I didn’t, and the ones I did like weren’t in the story that much. I hope that the third and last book, Rise, brings Arden into picture a whole lot more. Arden’s the greatest. I hated that she didn’t have much page time in Once. I’m just scared, though, that Arden’s going to be emotionally a different person in Rise…
Once is such a great book, an excellent sequel to the excellent Eve. I highly recommend this series.