Sunday, 18 January 2015

Once by Anna Carey

The Eve Series
Eve, Once, Rise 
Published: July 3rd 2012
Publisher: Harper Audio
Website: Author’s Website
Series: Eve
Format: Audiobook, Unabridged 
Narration by: Tavia Gilbert

Quick Review 

            Eve and Caleb made it to Califia, but only Eve was permitted inside to safety. Even though Caleb was wounded, he was turned away, and Eve is haunted during her time in Califia.
One day she hears a rumour that a boy fitting Caleb’s description is holed up outside of Califia, and Eve seizes the chance to save him. Instead of living happily ever after with Caleb, she ends up in the City of Sand. From here, the unexpected revelation of why the King wants Eve is revealed.
With everything changing for Eve in the City of Sand, she sees someone who couldn’t possibly be in the city’s streets – it’s Caleb, and the rebellion against the King is underway.

            For the people who couldn’t stand Eve in the first installment, she gets better in Once. She’s still not a “take-charge” girl yet, but she is on her way. She takes risks, though she is largely following orders. Still, considering her position, that takes bravery. Does she still make mistakes? Yes, and again, her mistakes lead to people dying. This mistake, to me, doesn’t seem likely to occur considering how much Caleb and the rebels are aware of how not to get caught. But it does, and I can’t change it, but I can’t agree that it would happen in reality.

            Oh, Arden, why weren’t you in this book more? She’s still an independent survivor and for that, she is still my favourite character. What happens in Once with her is heart wrenching, but you know that though something bad has happened, Arden will know how to pull herself out of danger. You just have to wait for Rise to find out what happens.

            The best part of this book is that the rebellion is rising from within the City of Sand. If you are the kind of person who gets goose bumps from rebellion stories (like me), I recommend Once, though the rebellion is just getting started. Throughout Once you can feel the rebellion gathering steam and momentum, and you can feel that it is about to burst into action soon. Eve is there, helping where she can. For the most part, though, she is in love with Caleb, and that drives most of the story.

            Where this book differs from Eve is where Eve and company travel and stay. In Eve, she and Arden had the agency to go where they pleased, and basically, they stayed where they pleased. In Once, it is not the case. Eve is in Califia, then captured in the City of Sand. Once she is in the City of Sand, her agency is greatly reduced, and she can only travel (almost) freely within the palace, and she can sneak around the city. Although I usually like to see more travelling characters exploring and moving in worlds, the City of Sand was much better than listening about the dug-out in Eve.

Final Verdict
The book series is rising above the first installment. In the beginning, Eve wasn’t the most independent or strong character, and she didn’t even have a character arch in Eve. In Once and Rise, Eve begins to evolve and change the world arwiound her. This series only gets better, so I highly recommend reading Once and Rise even if you thought Eve was just ok. This book lacks some of the greater themes that the first book has. Yes, the women’s rights issue is still present, but it isn’t treated the same way as in Eve. Arranged marriages are an issue in Once, but not on as a grand scale. The theme of government rebellions can be discussed using this book, but Rise would be a better candidate (though there are better books for that, such as The Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman).