I’m thrilled to be part of the Once blog tour, and share a review, playlist and giveaway of the book.
About Once – Spoiler alert for Eve:
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.
Once is the middle book in the Eve trilogy by Anna Carey. If you haven’t read Eve yet, you can still follow along with the events in Once, but as always it will be a better reading experience if you start from the beginning.
I found Once to be even more enjoyable and surprising than Eve. The story picks up a few months after the events of Eve, and Eve is getting acclimated to her new life in the safe haven of Califia. She’s missing Caleb though and plotting to see him again. Things are going pretty smoothly but it’s not long before there’s a game changer that moves the plot in an unexpected direction that throws Eve off balance.
The new setting and characters are an exciting change of pace and I liked how I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next. Sometimes middle books can be a disappointment and feel like they are stalling for the final book. But Once is intense and so much happens that got me invested in the story and wanting to know more.
I liked all the references to California locations, and the City of Sand/ Las Vegas. The new characters kept things interesting and surprising but I was glad to see familiar characters pop up too. The story is very much about Eve’s journey though, and she has grown a lot through all her experiences. I enjoyed learning more about her and her past this time around.
Once the emotional story gets going it’s hard to put down. The pacing is good and a nice mix of action and romance. The romance is surprising and bittersweet, and the cliffhanger ending will have you dying for the last book in the trilogy, Rise (April 2013). If you like romantic dystopia, give this series a try.
Anna Carey put together a playlist for Once, and after reading the book I think these songs are a great fit for the emotional story.
The Eve Trilogy: Once playlist
Bon Iver, Skinny Love
The novel opens with Eve living in Califia. She’s spent months thinking about what happened to Caleb, wondering if he’s alive and where. This song reminds me of that churning, torturous place she’s in—wanting to be with him, but hating the pain of the situation.
Ani DiFranco, Swan Dive
There’s a moment in the beginning of Once when Eve sets out to find Caleb. This song perfectly captures the risks inherent in loving someone. Eve knows it’s dangerous, but cares about him more than she does herself.
Jose Gonzalez, Crosses
The imagery in this song reminds me of the first night Eve goes to meet Caleb in the City, how the streets are dark, how there are shadows in the windows above. His is the reassuring voice that sees her through.
Ryan Adams, So Alive
This song is all energy. There’s a scene in Once that takes place under a bridge, and I could nearly hear this song playing as I wrote it. It speaks to how exhilarating it is to be in love.
Passion Pit, Sleepyhead Acoustic version
Sleepyhead was originally one of my favorite dance songs, but when I heard the acoustic version it nearly made me cry. Slowed down it’s so tender and intimate, and the lyrics capture this simple, private moment between two people.
Iron & Wine, The Trapeze Singer
Eve makes several painful decisions throughout the course of the story. In one, she says good-bye to Caleb indefinitely. This song is one of the most painful and beautiful love songs I know. “Please, remember me” is repeated eight times.
Sia, Breathe Me
There’s a scene at the end of Once where Eve is in intense pain, and can’t fully comprehend what just happened to her. This song articulates that confusion and loss.
Florence and the Machine, Seven Devils
This song builds to a slow, simmering rage, and reminds me of the last chapter in Once. I can’t say more than that for fear of giving too much away…