Once – book review

Once by Anna Carey

Once is the lovely second book in the Eve series, written by Anna Carey.

Finally, Eve can sleep at night knowing she’s safe and away from the frightening things that happen in The New America. But being in Califia comes at a cost. Eve had to abandon Caleb and now she finds out that he’s in trouble. Eve ventures into the wild to find him, but is captured by soldiers and brought to the City of Sand where the King is waiting for her.

Inside the city walls, a shocking truth is revealed to Eve about who she really is and why she is here.  When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve will do anything to see him and they can escape together. But if they are caught, the consequences would be deadly. Will Eve sacrifice Caleb to ensure the safety of them both, or will she risk everything to be with him?

I enjoyed reading this book. The book starts off pretty much where the previous book ended, making the transition from book one to book two very smooth. After ending the first book on such a cliff-hanger, I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages and I’ve finally got around to it. Again, I was immersed in Anna Carey’s beautiful writing. I love the way she weaves images into my mind and how everything is really clear. Another thing I loved about this book was the world building. Anna Carey explained what the City of Sand looked like and it made me feel like I was walking the streets beside Eve. The only thing I don’t understand is why there aren’t any skyscrapers left in the City of Sand and why they have to rebuild everything. Did the plague kill buildings too? Did the skyscrapers just fall over one day? Seriously, what happened? I understood the general idea of the plague killing heaps of people, but I would have liked a little more back-story about how the plague affected the City and why they must rebuild.
There were lots of new characters introduced in this book. I was upset that Eve never saw the boys she met in the wind in the first book. I loved those characters and I didn’t feel as close with the new characters that were introduced. I didn’t really know whether I liked Charles or not. He’s kind and nice… but he’s just not Caleb. This has nothing to do with the book, but I kept wishing someone would call Charles ‘Charlie’ to see what his reaction would be. Charles just seemed so formal all the time and there wasn’t really anything unique about him. I missed Caleb so much and I felt like I hardly got to see him in this book. Eve only saw him a few times for a short time. I didn’t feel as though the time they had together was enough. I know they couldn’t have been together the whole time, but I feel like Eve and Caleb have become different people to what they were in the first book. Eve is willing to do anything to get what she wants, but she also seemed to spend a lot of time feeling sorry for herself. Feeling a bit sorry for yourself is okay, but I hate it when all characters can do is think about all the things they’ve lost and how terrible their life is. The thing that bothered me about Caleb was that he was so happy when he saw Eve that he suddenly didn’t care about anything else, including getting caught. It was frustrating how he thought he’d never get caught and the whole time I was sitting on the edge of my seat, hoping all the soldiers would miraculously turn the other way when he walked past. It was scary how close they came to getting caught and how careless they could be. I liked most of the minor characters and I felt really connected with Beatrice especially.
The plot in this book wasn’t as spectacular as the first book, however I was still very interested to find out what was going to happen. There were twists in the plot that I never expected and I was pleasantly surprised when something I never expected to happen jumped out at me. The book ended on another massive cliff-hanger and I will definitely be reading the next book to find out what happens. I didn’t think this book was as good as the first on in the series, but I still really liked it. I enjoyed reading Once by Anna Carey and I’d give it a score of 7.5 out of 10. Once wasn’t as good as Eve, so if you’re planning on reading Once, don’t get your hopes up too high, that way you won’t be disappointed if this book falls short of your standards.