Author: Anna Carey
Release Date: July 2012
Published By: HarperCollins
Goodreads Rating: 4.18 stars
Review: In this sequel to EVE, for the first time in months, Eve is able to sleep soundly in Califia, a haven for women. But her safety comes at a price: she had to leave Caleb, and when she finds out he's in a trouble, she leaves to rescue him. Captured and without Caleb, she's brought to the Capital of New America where she discovers a shocking secret about her past. Now, forced to confront her future, she must choose the ones she loves... or risk losing Caleb forever.
I enjoyed EVE but was not particularly impressed by it. However, to my pleasant surprise, I ended up liking ONCE even more, which is not often the case with sequels. In this case, I felt the storyline was more compelling, and as a result, I had a lot of trouble putting the book down in certain areas. The tension was racheted way up, more than it as in EVE, and I loved that aspect.
The ending itself was perfect. This might just come down to personal preference since I know a lot of people absolutely detest cliffhangers, and there are cases where I'm not such big fans of them either, but I thought that the cliffhanger used here worked very nicely. After those tantalizing last few pages, I'm itching to get my hands on the next book.
What did disappoint me, though, was that there was still a huge focus on the romance between Eve and Caleb, to the point where the whole book was largely their romance. I wanted to see Eve undergo more development and have more self-reflection, particularly in light of the secret she discovers, and to highlight more the citizenry's state of unrest. This felt less like a dystopian with an important romance element and more like a romance set to a dystopian background.
All in all, I liked ONCE quite a bit, more than I liked EVE, and loved the higher levels of suspense. The plot line as well was more intriguing and certainly kept me flipping pages. However, I did wish there was less of a focus on the romance since I felt it took up too much page time and plot time. Still, I look forward eagerly to the next novel and recommend this one to any fans of EVE.