Once by Anna Carey

Once by Anna Carey(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

For the first time since escaping from her School, Eve can finally sleep soundly.  She is living in Califia, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America in the year 2041.  But she was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at Califia’s 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.  Trapped inside the city walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past and must confront the harsh reality of her future.

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.

It’s very, very rare for the second book in a trilogy to be better than the first, but Anna Carey pulled it off in Once, the sequel to Eve.  There were some times throughout the novel where I had my doubts, yet things aren’t always what they seem.

In Eve, we have a protagonist who is *gasp* completely loyal to her love interest, with no confused feelings about another attractive man! And, most shocking of all, she has more political instincts than a lemming.  That’s incredibly rare in YA, trust me.  Especially since we find out who the King of The New America really is and what he really wants from Eve.  What’s surprising for me in Once is Eve’s growth as a character as she becomes more mature and realizes that yes, she truly does love Caleb.

The whole forbidden love aspect is often overplayed in YA books, but it really doesn’t feel that way in Once.  It’s more of a sweet, very passionate first love for both Eve and Caleb and it feels more genuine than a lot of romances you’ll encounter in YA literature.  Being in the City of Sand, things get a lot more complicated for Eve and Caleb, but I like how their love remains strong and they seem to trust each other.

Aside from the decent romance, what I really liked was the glimpse of a rebellion against a tyrannical king and the rebuilding efforts after such a devastating plague.  I found it hard to believe there were no rebels yet when I read the first book, so the introduction of rebels in Once was quite satisfying.  The Eve Trilogy is dark in general, but it’s uplifting in that (although using slave labour) humanity is starting to rise and rebuild once more.  It’s sort of a testament to the strength of the human will, even if it is the will of a dictator who wants to conquer more territory in his rebuilding efforts.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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