Here's the summary from Goodreads: 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.What I Liked: 1) Whoa! I was not expecting the twist that came in this book. What an interesting place to take this book. Eve's life was changed when she leaves Califia in search of Caleb and stumbled upon some news about her past. Miz Carey gets props for surprising me so thoroughly! 2) Eve - I mentioned in the first book that she didn't have much of a personality. That has been fixed very well in Once. She really comes alive as she learns more about herself and realizes that she is stronger than she once thought. *NAILED IT* 3) A more solid villain. In the first book, Eve and Arden were on the run, hiding from an unknown threat. Well, he was "The King" but he was completely faceless, and so the fear was more about the unknown and the assumptions of what was to come. But in this one, the villain gets a face and a name. It's so much easier to root for the good guys when you know who the bad guys are. 4) Caleb. There are many, many good things about this guy. He's so determined, and also very faithful to Eve, and it really made me like him. Caleb is different than other male MCs. Mostly I find that you like male MCs from the beginning. But with Caleb, I slowly warmed up to him. It wasn't that I disliked him in the beginning, but he definitely had to grow on me.
What I Didn't Like: There was more in Once that pulled me into the story, though I am still missing a little of the emotional connection that I usually get when I really fall in love with a story. But I get more into it with each new book, so I'm hoping that the next book will be even better.
Overall Thoughts: Once was a really good continuation of Eve's story. The characters seemed to be more in sync with the plot, and the action is at a good pace. I like the appearance of the King so the good and bad guys are more easily defined. The books in this series seem to each be better than the first, so I'm expecting Rise, the final book of this trilogy (releasing April 2013) to be even better.
My Rating: 4 shots