Saturday, October 20, 2012

Review: Once - Anna Carey

Once by Anna Carey
Series: Eve Trilogy #2
Genre: YA, dystopian, romance
Published on July 3, 2012
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 354
Read From: 10.5.12 - 10.6.12

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.


Cover Blurb: I like that you can’t see Eve’s face, and I like the colors. Like with the cover of the previous book, I like how the tunnel is in fact a subtle reference to several things in the story. The book title, however, is very nonspecific, and even after reading the book, I really don’t get it. Why is it called Once? It’s highly vague.

What I Liked: I at first thought the book moved too quickly, and I still wish Eve had spent a bit more time in Califia. I mean, the whole first book was spent with her trying to get there, and then about 20 pages in to Once, she leaves it. Seems like Califia should have played a bigger role. But the story might have dragged its feet if Eve had spent too much time there, so I changed my mind about that. I did like this one better than the first book. Its pacing was better, the romance was absent for a good portion of it, and there were a number of plot twists that surprised me. Eve has learned some survival skills in this one, so she’s not as helpless as she was in the first one, which is nice.

What I Disliked: There are some rather important plot flaws that can sort of be accepted, but they personally drove me up a wall. One: Eve and Arden being captured by the King’s men. This, Readers, is why characters should never have animal companions. Something bad will always happen to the animal companion, and the character will always do something rash to save it. Eve and Arden might have escaped if Arden hadn’t been so concerned for her dog Heddy. That sort of thing bothers me to no end. Problem two: Eve and Caleb mess everything up later all because they have sex (see content). If they hadn’t gotten carried away with their emotions, Eve would have gotten back to the palace in time and would not have been discovered, and this whole stupid mess could have been avoided. Now, all of this can be marked down as, “Well, the characters just made some bad decisions. That happens in real life, too.” Thus this plot holes can be excused to an extent. But they bothered me, especially since the Author really could have come up with other ways for things to go wrong without it being the characters’ fault.

Believability: The King still isn’t a convincing tyrant, there’s a very slight hint about secret police, but I don’t get the feeling that they are anything like the SS or the KGB, and Eve comes accepts who her dad is very quickly. I’m not saying that she should spend the rest of the book in a state of denial - that just gets annoying. But she does come to terms with it pretty fast even for a novel.

Writing Style: It actually seemed to be an improvement from the previous book. There weren’t any nasty microscopic descriptions of dried vomit, dried spit, encrusted snot, and other wholesome stuff. So thumbs up for better writing, even if the Author did find it necessary to give every single superfluous character a name. I maintain that unless the character is somehow important to the plot itself, we Readers really don’t need to know their name. You don’t want to overload your Readers on names.

Content: Caleb and Eve do have sex (pg. 219-221). It’s detailed enough to be an issue; we read about Caleb undressing her and feeling her up and the like.

Conclusion: It both did and didn’t surprise me, though that doesn’t mean it wasn’t exciting, because it was. Very exciting, and I have rather high hopes for the sequel. But I also suspect some serious issues with it as well - namely, that Eve is going to become a seriously reluctant participant in the rebellion. Though if I were her, I would use my new-found position as much as possible. As a whole, Once was better than the first one, even with the content.

Recommended Audience: Fans of the series I don’t think will be disappointed. Definitely a girl-read, older audience due to content.

Others in This Trilogy:

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