This is one of the books I actually paid for at the Romantic Times Convention Book Fair last Saturday. I was lucky enough to get the first one that I’d read as an e-galley, Eve, at the Avon Red Slipper party the night before for free. And then, I got the third and final book in the series, Rise, for free at the Teen Party Saturday night. I snapped this photo with the author when I purchased Once at the Book Fair.
Let me start off by saying that this book in no way fit into what I kind of call the sophomore slump of a lot of book sequels. It was one that grabbed me right away and kept me reading. It sucked not having the time I wanted to read as fast as I wanted to finish. To give you an idea just how good it was, I took it with me when we took our students on a field trip to a local amusement park, and I sat and read part of the time because it was sooooo good! If you haven’t read the first one, you may want to stop now though, before I let out any spoilers.
We meet back up with Eve in this book, in Califia, with all the other women in a “safe” place for women. Caleb, her true love, couldn’t stay, because men were not allowed in. But Eve is worried about him, because when he left he had been injured pretty bad. Very soon in the story her friend Arden, who she escaped with in the first book, shows up, with a dog she named Heddy. Heddy saved and protected Arden in the wild. Word comes that Caleb has been seen, but also that the King is looking for Eve. While Eve is warned not to go, she and Arden know that there is no way Eve can not go to find Caleb. And so they sneak out. Unfortunately it is a trap. And what seals my dislike of the soldiers and the King is that they kill Heddy. Anyone who kills or injures a dog like that is a horrible person in my book. When they’re caught, Arden is taken back to the “trade school” which they’d learned was really just a baby factory that the girls from the schools went to and were just impregnated and used to have as many babies as possible. Eve is taken into the City of Sand where she finds out that the reason the King wants her so bad, is not to be his wife, but because she is his daughter, illegitimate, but all he has left. And he wants to present her as the Princess and have her marry one of his right hand men. A younger, handsome man, Charles, Head of Development, but still not Caleb. When she is first introduced as the Princess to the city, she sees Caleb in the crowd, and she is elated. She is given a message on where to meet him, and she is able to sneak out and see him. She and Caleb fight to be together and to try to help the rebels. But of course there will be obstacles, the King catching on thanks to Clara, her cousin, who is not at all happy that Eve is there, as she is in love with Charles. But Caleb and Eve will have help from many unexpected sources, who I won’t list, I’ll let you find them out as they appear. And the rebels won’t just accept Eve right away, knowing who she is. She must do something to prove herself, and she does. In the end, as this is the middle book, it isn’t a happy ending for Caleb and Eve. But we can only hope that Eve can be happy and find her way in the 3rd book, which is my current read!
A great dystopian series, and the 2nd was as good, if not better than the first one for me.