Actual rating: 1.5/2 stars. Still undecided.
"You do anything for the person you love," she said finally. "And then when you don't think you can give any more of yourself, you do. You keep going. Because it would kill you not to."
Although it held much promise, Once
suffered with the very well known Middle Book Syndrome
. It tried to be exciting and fast paced, but sadly fell flat.
It was so slow, in fact, that at 20% I gave up for a few days, and I must admit that once you surpass the initial hurdle, it's a fast (as in short) and easy read. Once
begins with Eve's life in Califia, the women's refuge. Instead of working hard and keeping herself out of trouble, Eve decides to follow the rumours (an obvious trap) to where Caleb was, and is immediately captured by the King's guards, and taken to the popular City of Sand
the City of Sand was described as a city of riches and promises. Unfortunately, the descriptions left much to be desired. The writing itself left much
to be desired -- Carey easily falls into the 'tell' category rather than the 'show', which is rather upsetting because Eve
had been very well-worded, exciting and action packed, which only adds to the disappointment.
In the City of Sand, Eve discovers she is the King's daughter and rather than do all that is possible (with her princess title) to help save her friends and Arden, she decides to be as foolish as always and meet 'secretly' with Caleb in the Outlands -- a patch of land still under construction where the poor live. She makes ONE half-hearted attempt to save Pip and Ruby, whom she abandoned ruthlessly in her escape from the School, before steering all her attention to Caleb's soft lips, strong back and ropey muscles.
Eve: In Once
, I lost half of the respect I had for Eve. Rather than becoming stronger and more intelligent, or even more considerate of her actions, she becomes petulant, whiney and dumb.
She has no thought for the consequences -- as long as she gets to kiss Caleb, who cares what happens? This results in Caleb's capture twice
and his (suggested)death at the very end. Not only does she become spoilt and silly, she also spares no thoughts of her friends apart from passing memories and a single visit to the School when a half-hearted plan that was never going to work hatched with the rebels. I wholeheartedly believe she wanted to save them, but Caleb must always come first.
Even though she grew up
with Pip, Ruby and Arden, her boyfriend that she's only known a month must come first. I believe that if she'd left well enough alone, Caleb wouldn't have been hurt at the end. She's a selfish immature little brat, who cannot understand the word 'no'.
The King: In Eve
the King had been described as a sloppy, dirty (not physically) old man who wanted Eve to birth his child. Of course we find out that Eve is actually his daughter, so never mind that. However, in Once
I really came to like him. As a human being, he seemed to hold his people's best interests at hearts, whilst sacrificing others, but this is understandable considering it happens everywhere. I wouldn't classify him as a cruel, cold-hearted man for trying to fix what is broken. Eve however holds no respect for him, no matter what he does, and continuously defies and embarrasses him. The King honestly seems to love Eve very much, and tries his hardest to begin to make up for his absence for the better part of 17 years. Eve uses his fatherly love to manipulate him and get what she wants, which only sets her foolishness and bratty attitude in stone.
The City of Sand: I couldn't wait to read about the grand CoS. However, it was only described in a couple of sentences and left a lot to the imagination. In some books, this kind of tactic works well, but when Once
was already suffering with a thin plot and nothing to hold your attention, better descriptions would've fit in rather well. Instead, all we get is pages and pages and pages
of what dresses Eve wears, of how hot it is, how dry the land, how loved she is by the people...
The Plot: It's thin and there really isn't much to it. As the second book in the trilogy, it worked mostly as a filler. I think if Once had been incorporated with either the first or last book, it would've worked better. Even as a filler, it didn't do much for me. I was expecting action, a bit of excitement, but unfortunately it was far too predictable for my taste. I could envision what happened next before Eve did, which is embarrassing. The tone of the book itself was so bland and boring
that I did lose interest in it before I was even a quarter of the way through, but curiosity took over and I finished it quickly. It was far too short and easy to read, far too boring. It might have worked well as a novella.
Overall, I was left quite disappointed. I will without a doubt read Rise
, and hope it makes up for the appalling work in [b:Once|12924253|Once (Eve, #2)|Anna Carey|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1321127130s/12924253.jpg|18079694].