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.~From GoodReads
**I've managed to make this spoiler-free for ONCE (I think), but there may be spoilers for EVE.**
I don't even know how to write this review. I guess I could start by saying that I stayed up until 3am reading ONCE. And I'm exhausted from lack of sleep, but I have no regrets. There was no way that I could possibly stop reading until I finished. ONCE was that wonderful.
What can I say about ONCE without spoiling it? I honestly feel like nothing. But I'll try. Luckily the blurb does a lot to help me out, because it pretty much lays out the story. ONCE picks up three months after Caleb leaves Eve at Califia. Eve is managing, but her moments are spent wishing for Caleb, to simply be with him again, even if it means living in the wild. As it turns out, no matter where Eve ends up, she's always trapped. After ending up in the City of Sand, Eve is dealt the king of all shockers, spinning her into a whole new orbit. Determined to fight for her own future, Caleb's future, the future of all New Americans, Eve's sense of loyalty, love, and sacrifice are put to the ultimate test.
Many times, middle books in a series are a letdown, a filler. That is not the case in ONCE. This story had so much packed into the pages. The dramatic revelations were shocking. I seriously didn't see any of it coming. The action was intense. Eve is a continual force, never halting her search for an escape. What got me most of all was the love story. Sadly, Caleb and Eve are separated for most of the story, but he is always in her thoughts. When the are together, it is absolutely magical. I literally held my heart while reading several particularly beautiful moments. They were subtle, and breathtaking.
After finishing ONCE I had one single thought: My heart hurts. I won't say the ending was cruel. In fact, as far as cliffhangers go, it was quite brilliant. I am already counting down the days until April 2, 2013, the day book three, RISE, releases.
"I was convinced we would return to one another - it was only the how and when that had yet to be decided." (pg 56, ARC)
"I'd spent so many years preparing for this moment, just so I could steel myself against it. But it didn't feel like that. Not now - not with Caleb. He was asking for permission, his face mirroring all the nervousness I felt. I want to be closer to you, he seemed to say, as he bit down on his bottom lip. Will you let me?" (pg 183-4, ARC)
Expected publication: July 3rd 2012 by Harper Collins
You can purchase ONCE at:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.