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Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Review: Once by Anna Carey




Once (Eve #2) by Anna Carey
Genre: Young Adult (Dystopian Romance)
Date Published: October 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen


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 second book in the Eve trilogy by Anna Carey. There is lots of stuff that happens in this book, so I'm going to keep it short to avoid spoilers. Eve finds herself pretty much held captive by the King, She is forced into situations she doesn't want to be in, and she's trying to escape with Caleb. Eve has more sense this time around. She's come a long way. Poor girl. There are some shocks, surprises, and then some! I'm a little sad at the moment to be honest. I'm hoping all is not as it seems. I've got the final book right here, and I'm off to read it!


When I reached the seventh floor a bag sat waiting for me, as Caleb had promised. Inside was a Palace uniform. I changed quickly, pulling the cap over my eyes, and continued down the staircase. The stairs opened into a wide hallway, metal doors on either side. From one of the small windows I could see the Palace mall. The ceilings were painted blue, white spongy clouds stretching out across them. The shops were all closed, one reading TIME & AGAIN JEWELRY in fat letters, another GUCCI RESTORED. A soldier paced the length of the stores, his back to me. Two others stood watch at the revolving doors.

I moved down the wide hallway to the EXIT sign. The knob gave easily. Outside, the air was cooler, the wind covering everything with a fine layer of sand. The route Caleb had marked was just in front of me. Troops were stationed at the Palace’s front entrance and along it’s back. I could see them through the narrow trees, five soldiers huddled together, only occasionally glancing behind them. I took off, ducking behind the fountain, half covered by the high wall of shrubs.

I turned back every now and then to make sure the troops weren’t following me. My insides were twisted and tense. I felt like someone was choking me. Clara had seen me. At this very moment, she could be waking the Palace from the top down, alerting the soldiers stationed on each floor. I kept my head low, calmed by each steady step. I was out, moving through the City, already on my way to Caleb. It was too late. What was done was done.

The streets were dark, the high buildings casting an eerie glow on the pavement. I heard the Jeeps patrolling the other end of the City center. High above me, windows were dotted with light. I crossed the overpass as the map showed, keeping close to the buildings on the other side. Dried-out palm trees lined the narrow street. A few of the buildings still hadn’t been restored. A restaurant sat abandoned, tables and chairs gray with dust.

Every time I heard a Jeep on the street beside me, the map would show a turn, and I would head in the opposite direction, the noise of the engine fading into the background. The building Caleb had marked was nearly a mile east of the monorail, the entrance in an alleyway behind a theater. As I neared it my steps were lighter, my body floating along, every ince of me awake and alive.

The alley was empty, the air thick with the smells of rotting garbage. I entered through a door marked on the map. Inside it was pitch black. I felt my way along the wall and down a narrow set of stairs, into the building’s underbelly. Smoke lingered in the hall. Somewhere, someone was singing. The murmurs of faraway voices swirled around me. I crept along, Stumbling over the last few steps, until I was at the bottom of the staircase, in front of another door.

A woman was on stage, clad in a silver-sequined gown, a three-person band behind her. She sang into a microphone like the one the King had used at the parade. A sad, slow song drifted to the back of the room. A man on a saxophone leaned forward, adding a few low notes. Couples spun around on a cramped dance floor, a woman nuzzling her face into a man’s neck as he shifted his weight back and forth, his hips sway in time with the music. Others huddled in cozy booths, laughing over half-empty glasses.

The walls were covered with painted canvases. One showed the City’s buildings dotted with blood red lights, making each skyscraper look sinister. A massive painting hung behind the bar. Rows of children Were shown in crisp white shirts and blue shorts just like the ones the Golden Generation wore, but their faces were flat and featureless, each one interchangeable with the next. I scanned every person in the room, looking for Caleb at the bar, or in the pack of men huddled by the door. In the back, to the right of the stage, a figure sat alone in a booth. His face was hidden under the brim of his cap. He was twisting something between his fingers, lost in quiet concentration.

The song ended. The woman in the sequined dress introduced some of the band members and made a joke. A few people behind me laughed. I stood rooted in place, watching him play with the paper napkin, How he bit down hard on his bottom lip. Suddenly, as if sensing me there, he looked up, his gaze meeting mine. He stared at me for a moment, his face brightening in a smile.

Then he was up, closing the space between us. As the woman started singing again, he reached me, pressing his face into my neck. He wrapped his arms tightly around my shoulders, pulling me so close my feet lifted off the ground. We stayed there as the music swelled around us, our bodies fitting together perfectly, as though they were never meant to be apart.

Check out my review of the other books in this series!


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author
Anna Carey has been a gift wrapper, face painter, nanny, horrific cocktail waitress, sofa saleswoman and children's book editor. She graduated from New York University and has an MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where she can be found writing, reading, and telling elaborate, only moderately interesting stories about her dog. Look for her new series, Blackbird, in Fall 2014.

To learn more about Anna Carey and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

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