(Beware of spoilers in the summary! My review is spoiler-free for the entire series, but don't read the summary unless you've read the first two books in the series!)
Rise by Anna Carey
How far will you go when you have nothing left to lose?
When she lost her soul mate, Caleb, Eve felt like her world had ended. Trapped in the palace, forced to play the part of the happy, patriotic princess of The New America—and the blushing bride of her father's top adviser—Eve's whole life is a lie. The only thing that keeps her going is Caleb's memory, and the revolution he started.
Now, Eve is taking over where Caleb left off. With the help of Moss, an undercover subversive in the King's court, she plots to take down The New America, beginning with the capital, the City of Sand. Will Eve be able to bring about a new, free world when she's called upon to perform the ultimate act of rebellion—killing her father?
In Rise, Eve must choose who to leave behind, who to save, and who to fight as Anna Carey's epic tale of romance and sacrifice in the chilling dystopia of The New America comes to a stunning conclusion.
I'd put off reading Rise for quite some time, not because I had no interest in reading it, but because I didn't want the series to end. Rise is the last book in the Eve trilogy, and over the years, I feel like I've formed a deep connection with this series, so I knew it would be hard to say goodbye to these books.
What impresses me most about this series is how each book takes Eve to a totally new place. In the first book, Eve is innocent and naive and a little clueless at times, but as the book progresses she begins to grow and learn and transform into a stronger person. In Once, she continues to transform, becoming even stronger and tougher. And by the time she gets to the place she is in Rise, she's seen it all, and there's nothing she can't handle. I don't think I've ever seen a series feature such a dramatic transformation for the main character as this one. The changes Eve experiences are subtle and gradual, and it's fascinating as a reader to watch those changes happen. In the first book, I wasn't a big fan of Eve at all, but by the time I read Rise, I was so proud of everything she's been through and how well she's handled it that I could cry for her.
Each of these books has a wildly different setting from the others, which is another thing I think is done really well in this series. Rise begins at the King's palace, where Eve gets a taste of true comfort and luxury for the first time since she left the School in the first book. But as the book goes on, Eve leaves the palace and ventures into the run-down, abandoned part of the country where she has to work to get food in her stomach and some kind of shelter over her head on a daily basis. There is a stark contrast between these two lifestyles, and it's especially fascinating to see how well Eve adjusts to both of them. She's gotten so used to having to adjust to a new lifestyle every time she arrives at a new place, and it's almost like she doesn't even notice the difference between living in a grand castle and being on the run in the woods.
There are several side characters in this book that are featured prominently, including a few new characters that hadn't appeared in the other books. Readers get to see a little more of Charles, and a lot more of Clara. Clara was a character I didn't think all that much of before Rise, but she proves to be a strong and brave character that is extremely likable. Eve and Clara's friendship becomes really strong during this book, and I was happy to see Eve have a friend like that, after she's lost so many of her friends. Pip and Ruby, Eve's old friends from School, make an appearance, and it was wonderful to see them. Beatrice is one of my favorite characters. She becomes like a mother figure to Eve, who needed a mother figure so badly. And then there are all the girls Eve saves from the School. She drags them all along with her into dangerous and rough conditions that they'd never experienced before, so naturally they all have a hard time adjusting. This is another excellent example of Anna Carey's ability to show characters experiencing a gradual transformation. The girls start out naive, whiny, and confused, but the journey Eve takes them on transforms them into strong and mature young women.
Since this book is the last of the series, the ending is really important. And let me tell you, the ending is completely epic. It does not answer all of the unanswered questions from the series, nor does it give all the characters a happy ending. I'm glad it doesn't though, because this book is about a dystopian society, and it would feel like a lie if everything was wrapped up nicely. The ending is perfect, in my opinion. It's open-ended but hopeful, and it hints at the possibility of a (somewhat) happy ending for Eve at some point in her future. This is one of those books that I would love to read an epilogue about, maybe something that takes place years after the end of the book, just because I want more of this story and I want to know that the characters are in a good place. But I'm content with the ending, and I think it's the only way the story could have ended.
Rise is my favorite book in the Eve trilogy. It's darker and more serious than the others, and Eve is the strongest and bravest she's ever been. This entire series has impressed me so much, and I consider it to be one of my favorite dystopian series. The books in this trilogy each stand on their own really well, but together, I think they're just brilliant. I'm so sad the series is over, but I'm satisfied with the way Eve's story ended.