This book is the first YA book I have read in a while (since Hunger Games most likely) that didn't make me want to stick my fingers deep inside my thr...moreThis book is the first YA book I have read in a while (since Hunger Games most likely) that didn't make me want to stick my fingers deep inside my throat until putrid yellow bile came spurting out. Most YA books try to keep things so tame that they literally bore me to tears. I am so sick of the build up, the love triangles, and the resulting nothing ending that leaves almost everything unresolved because the writers have to drag everything out into at least a trilogy nowadays. It's sickening. I've mentioned before my hatred for the cliffhanger ending and the being held hostage by the author...Roth doesn't do this to us.
Even though I wasn't the hugest fan of the first book in this series, Eve, I was curious about what had happened to some of the secondary characters I had grown attached to. I had been patiently (not really) waiting for many months when I saw this on Edelweiss and decided to take a chance at requesting it. I hadn't had much success with Edelweiss prior to this, so I wasn't holding my breath. But thankfully, HarperCollins was awesome enough to accept my request and be my first acceptance on Edelweiss. I realized there were only 5 days left before the title would be archived so I rushed to download and read it. I didn't make it all the way to the end before it expired, but that's OK. My loss is your gain, because I had to obviously go out and buy a copy so I could finish the story, and now I want to share that with you. At the end of my review I will have a Rafflecopter form where you can enter for a chance to win my hardcover finished copy of Once.
My main complaint with Eve was Eve herself. I thought her to be wimpy, wishy-washy, and just not a stand-up character at all. I much preferred Arden, who ended up disappearing towards the end of Eve, which really annoyed me. But I have to admit that in Once, Eve has obviously gone through a period of growth during her time in Califia. It's nice to see her sticking up for herself and standing up for what she believes in, even if others don't completely agree with her methods. Also, the amount of emotional stress that Eve endures throughout this book is a testament to her growth, and how much more she is obviously going to continue to grow in the final book in the trilogy, Rise.
I have to admit that the storyline I was expecting to come out of this book did not actually happen. It was completely twisted and was a surprisingly intriguing touch, and I quite enjoyed reading it. I can't wait to see how it evolves by the end of the series.
I also fell in love with many of the new characters. The King was quite the enigma. You want to hate him for all that he has done that has caused the suffering of these girls and boys and the less wealthy people of his "Kingdom", but when he speaks about his reasoning behind his actions you can almost understand why he did it, or at least understand why he thinks it is necessary and not malicious. There are so many other characters I want to rave about, Beatrice, Charles, and so many more...but to tell you much of anything about them would give too much away. The one things I can tell you is the depth that Carey gives to each and every one of her characters is amazing. People are not just good and/or evil, they have motives, they have emotions, they make bad decisions, and they question themselves along the way. They are not perfect, and they all have flaws. They are realistic.
I also loved the setting for Once. The City of Sand, which is now the name of former Las Vegas is an amazing place to set up a new city. The many hotel suites are renovated and refurbished as living quarters (which is ingenious), and the logistical reasoning of choosing this city also makes a great deal of sense. It was a great touch!
The only issues I had with Once were typical of a second-in-a-series book, and that is primarily pacing. Although I enjoyed the story and the characters quite a bit, I did find it to be quite slow and sluggish in many sections. Also, I really hate when a story throws in an animal of some sort just for the added emotional anguish of taking it away at some point. I often want to stop reading a book (or watching a movie) at that point. It's not really adding much, if anything, to the story. All it does is upsets me, and for no good reason. Just don't do it.
It was great seeing so many familiar faces, even if just for short glimpses throughout the story. Some closure was given, but by the end even more was left up in the air. What will happen next?
And OMG, the end? Damn you cliffhanger of DOOM! I am not amused...not amused at all...is it April 2013 yet? /sigh(less)
I'm totally the type of person who often picks books based on cover first, and synopsis later. This stunning cover and synopsis had me hooked right fr...moreI'm totally the type of person who often picks books based on cover first, and synopsis later. This stunning cover and synopsis had me hooked right from the start, I just had to read it. Unfortunately the warning "Don't judge a book by it's cover." is something that should have been considered here. The sad thing is that I really wanted to like it, I really did, but I just couldn't.
First off, the term Blood Heads really threw me off. I kept thinking back to Vampire Academy for some reason and the "feeders" that voluntarily provided blood to the vampires. It never was explained very well and I can still only assume that Blood Heads refers to the blood red hair of this specific group of students. But a little more clarification would have been nice.
One of the main reasons for my dislike of this book was the over-complication of the writing. It was heavy and often felt like work to read, and often I had to go back and re-read sections multiple times to figure out was happening (and sometimes I just gave up and moved forward unwilling to fight with the wording any longer). It was also very confusing with constantly switching viewpoints, making it hard to tell who was saying/doing what. I often just wanted to give up on the book altogether, but I pushed myself to the end hoping it would get better.
The character and world building however were magnificent! I instantly fell in love with Angela Mathers, a young woman who dreams of angels and wants to be with them so desperately she tries so hard to end her life to be with them, but someone (or something) is protecting her from succeeding. The friends Angela meets at school are also intriguing and exciting! Nina and Sophia are so unique and alive they almost jump right off the page at you. The characters are truly the crowning achievement of Sabrina's writing.
The world building is also incredible. The weather, the atmosphere, the creatures, all stunning work. At first I was put off by the unique interpretation of the angels as these evil and nasty selfish creatures, but it really worked for the book and it was mostly explained. It was nice to see the angel idea from a new angle. Also the addition of demons and jinn and other such interesting creatures really increased the excitement level of this book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to put the effort into reading such a heavy piece of writing,the characters and world building really do make it worthwhile, but it just wasn't for me. I doubt I will be reading any more in the series.(less)