Mar 14, 2014
Title: Unhinged (Splintered #2)
Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: From Publisher, For Review (via NetGalley)
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.
That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.
As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.
If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.
Coming out of her Wonderland experience, Alyssa has two things she never could have dreamed of: her dream guy and the crown to Wonderland itself. Except… Jeb doesn’t remember anything about their adventures in Wonderland, and her fresh from the asylum mother is more on guard than ever when it comes to Alyssa’s life. Alyssa just has to get through the next few months of senior year, and she and Jeb can start the life in London that they’ve both always dreamed of.
That simple plan changes when Morpheus returns, her Wonderland childhood friend who is a master in both manipulation and making Alyssa feel things that she really shouldn’t be feeling. Morpheus brings the news of the reappearance of the formally dead Queen Red in the Wonderland realm, and the fact that she is after Alyssa’s crown… and stronger than ever.
It’s hard to fight a battle when the details are lost to you. Alyssa needs to find out what really happened with Red all those years ago, and fast. And she somehow needs to reveal to Jeb their previous quest to Wonderland. And she needs to somehow deal with Morpheus, who she may be coming to see in a new light. It’s a lot to deal with, but as a queen, Alyssa cannot break under the pressure. Or her life, as well as those of the ones she loves the most, will be risked.
I love Alyssa Gardner. She is brave and loyal and a little hard headed, but she does what she has to to protect Wonderland and the people who are closest to her heart. If you’re my friend on Goodreads and happened to see my updates throughout reading Unhinged, you’ll probably know that Morpheus owns my heart and for that I’m probably incredibly biased when it comes to Jeb as a character. For what it’s worth, I like the traits that Howard has given him. He truly loves Alyssa and he is willing to do anything and everything to keep her safe, despite his jealousy issues. Morpheus. So much character development. I just liked him even more after reading Unhinged. Alyssa’s mother was awesome as well, it was nice to see their relationship grow throughout the book.
The storyline was… a bit confusing. I thought that there was way too much going on. Too many antagonists and too many back stories being revealed. There was even MORE world-building in Unhinged, and I was just getting more and more confused with Wonderland and the different parts of it. There were a couple of times while reading that I just wasn’t interested, it took at least a quarter of the book for me to get back into the story. The climax fell flat to me – but I really liked the last chapter and I am definitely intrigued on how Ensnared (book #3) is going to play out.
Once again, I liked diving into the Wonderland world. A.G. Howard does a great job of balancing character growth with storyline development, and that is a really important skill to have when writing books based on such legendary stories such as Alice in Wonderland. Not only that, but she makes the world her own. I definitely look forward to reading the next book in A.G. Howard’s Splintered series, and I will surely look towards her other works as well. For readers who enjoy retellings of classic stories and young adult fantasy, the Splintered series may be for you.