Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tori's Review: Once by Anna Carey

Once by Anna Carey
Series: Eve #3
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: ★★★
Pages: 354
Published by HarperCollins on July 3, 2012
Date Read: September 16, 2013
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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.
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.

Our girl Eve has been captured and is now inside the City of Sand. She learns a lot about herself and her past while in the City of Sand as well as the King of New America (I think that's what they call it? Don't quite remember). She meets a handful of new people as well as interacting with people from Eve. The minute she is entrapped in the City of Sand, she wants to escape and go and find Caleb when one day she's giving a speech and she sees Caleb in the crowd. Now with a location to meet up at, Eve is finally reunited with the one she loves. But being with a wild boy that has committed several New American crimes does not win her any brownie points in her new home.

Basically, it's really hard to summarize this book without spoiling parts of the book, which I don't want to do. There were a number of reasons why I didn't like this book, but let's start off with what I liked.

I really liked Eve as a character. In my opinion, Carey does great with her characters. Some of Eve's choices throughout the novel are stupid, yes, but doesn't everybody make stupid decisions? She made the choices that she did because of love, and that's all that a reader can ever hope for. I can relate to Eve, and I'm pretty sure that I would make the same choices if it were up to me.

Along with Eve, I really enjoyed reading about the other characters in Once. It's a rarity that I love all the characters in a book, but this book's cast just blew me away. I don't know what it is, but just like in Eve, I loved the characters in this book. I get that the King is bad and all that, but seriously. He's a douchebag, but he has his reasons. And I can see where he's coming from, so that does help a bit.

I love the idea of a resistance in dystopian novels (there always is, so yay) but I particularly love the Trail idea. The system runs smoothly, and the way that they communicate is through codes, which I love. I love codes. And all the undercover people in the palace and such create such a great cast in the book, and I just loved them all. This sort of ties in with my love for the characters, but whatever. The Trail idea was just brilliant. It sort of reminds me of Harriet Tubman and how she helped the slaves get to safety.

So many people thought the ending was sad, but I found it impacting and great. Carey ended her second book amazingly.

The other thing that I loved was just the trilogy's plot overall. Carey is just making it better and better. I have to admit that I did see a few of these things happening before they happened, but I wasn't too disappointed. I didn't guess the ending, and that's the main point (endings are a big deal to me. They pretty much affect what I thought about the book at least 75%).

Even though I like a number of things, there were still problems with this book.

The pacing of the plot is a big one for me, and that's mainly why this is three stars instead of four or five. As the middle book, it needs to nail it (at least in my opinion) and Once just didn't do it for me. There were so many parts that made me want to stop reading while there were other parts that made me just want to read more and more. I was reading like four other books at the time, and I constantly found myself switching to a different book to read because Once was getting slow and boring. That is not a good thing.

The other thing I didn't like was Eve and Caleb's relationship. (I didn't like it in Eve either. It just didn't feel right.) Understand that I'm not saying that I didn't like Caleb, because I did. I just felt like it was a bit instalove for the two of them. They'd only known each other for a short amount of time, and now they're willing to die for one another. Sorry, not buying it.

Another thing was character development. I'm contradicting myself, I know, but that's besides the point. I liked the characters just fine, but I do think that a couple of them could've used a bit more of character development. But nonetheless, I still liked them just the same!

That's really all that I have to say about this book. Since finishing this book almost two weeks ago (I'm just writing this review now on September 28, 2013) I've started Rise, but I'm only on chapter two. That's says a lot about the book, and it didn't instantly hook me, but hopefully the finale in Carey's Eve trilogy will pick up the pace and make me fall in love all over again with the plot and characters.

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