Book Review: {Unhinged, Splintered #2 | By: A.G. Howard}


Unhinged_-_CoverTitle: Unhinged
Series: Splintered #2
Author: A.G. Howard
Edition: Paperback
No. of Pages: 416
Published: January 6, 2015
Source: Purchased
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Retellings
Links: Goodreads 
Amazon B & N
Rating: four-stars

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.Bee is an orphan, alone in a poor, crumbling kingdom. In desperation, she steals a bun from a bakery. To Bee’s surprise, the baker offers her a place at his shop. As she learns to bake, Bee discovers that she has a magical power. When a new friend desperately needs her help against an evil mage, Bee wonders what a small orphan girl with only a small bit of magic can do. Bee’s journey to help her friend becomes a journey to save the kingdom, and a discovery of the meaning of family. ― Publisher

ReviewHeader_2016

Title: Unhinged Series: Splintered #2 Author: A.G. Howard Edition: Paperback No. of Pages: 416 Published: January 6, 2015 Source: Purchased Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Retellings Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B & N Rating: 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…

My Assessment

Plot - 6
Characters - 10
Worldbuilding - 10
Mood & Tone - 8
Writing Style - 9
Storytelling - 8
Cover Art - 10
Overall Impression - 8

8.6

I Really Liked it!

Having finally recovered from a horrid reading slump, I decided to take my destiny into my own hands and read A.G. Howard's splendidly delicious Unhinged ― the second book in the Splintered series. Withal, I must confess that I was quite reluctant to pick up the book at all, simply because Splintered didn't quite satisfy my thirst for a Wonderland escapade. Boy was I ever thankful I gave into my netherling instincts, not only did this steampunk fairy tale retelling satiate my cravings, but A.G. Howard's vision for Wonderland left a lasting impression; I am hooked!


WHAT I LIKED

thumbsup_purple_2016 The approach to detail in the Wonderland A.G. Howard has fashioned for us goes beyond perfection. I often marveled at her uncanny ability to mesmerize and reel me into places my imagination has not dared to venture. Albeit, the character designs, the hairstyles and outfits, the dark elements and characters from Lewis Carroll’s original books are all twisted in a hypnotic mesmerizing style, yet while initially jarring, they quickly grow on you and add a whimsical flavor to the overarching prose.

thumbsup_purple_2016 The interplay and developing relationships are truly what makes this series unforgettable. Like, the eccentric relationship between Morpheus and Alyssa (which is an obvious highlight and sordid obsession of mine), the whimsical humor which is often upheld by underestimated wit and a perfect sense of timing which you rarely see executed with such charisma and deftness, but more impressive still is how the banter and dialogue were given special care and attention to detail to boot. This is evident in how the friendships and relationships between our trio consistently evolve. It goes without saying, Morpheus is the pick of the cast, and serves as a case in point. He’s perfectly complex, plucky, full of wit and snark; needless to say, his propensity to make recklessly awesome comebacks makes him an even more endearing and masterful creation.

thumbsup_purple_2016 Speaking of our trio, in my previous review of Splintered, I expressed my resentful distaste for the tug-of-war love triangle found in this series. While essentially mentally draining in the first book, I actually quite enjoyed the rivalry and tension found in Unhinged. Granted, I was extremely irked 90% of the time with Alyssa’s vexatious and petty plot choices, but my afflictions were appeased as we neared the end of the story. View Spoiler »

 

THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMMM. . .

unsure-smiley-face-md Sadly for me, the plot in Unhinged found itself occupying an awkward middle ground between a series of random misfortunes and a consistent storyline. Not only that but the compromise to make these two components actually work resulted in a somewhat winded storyline with no real focus. Granted, the story does lurch toward the direction of the plot development, but most of the momentum is swallowed down by the sideways motion. In retrospect, there is nothing essentially bad with the plot’s trivial tangents (on which Alyssa gaily embarks on); in fact, they make up most of the story’s engrossing and enjoyable moments! Nevertheless, their presence alone did stymie the flow of the main story and bogged down most of the chapters.

 

AFTERTHOUGHTS 

Though reluctant to read Unhinged at first, I was taken by surprise by the seemingly augmented and vivacious development of the story. To boot, this book did not suffer from the second book syndrome at all! In fact, seeing how it had the perfect amount of eccentricity and madness contained to keep me fully engrossed, I felt it superseded its predecessor and that’s saying a lot about the book.

“Fair warning, I intend to make good use of that time. I will be gentle, but I will not be a gentleman. You will be the center of my world. I’ll show you the wonders of Wonderland, and when you’re drunk on the beauty and chaos that your heart so yearns to know, I will take you under my wings and make you forget the human realm ever existed. You’ll never want to leave Wonderland or me again.”

 CONTENT GUIDE
Violence Minor Mild Moderate Heavy Extreme
Profanity Minor Mild Moderate Heavy Extreme
Sexual Content Minor Mild Moderate Heavy Extreme
Drugs & Alcohol Minor Mild Moderate Heavy Extreme
RECOMMENDED FOR OT 16+

Mentions of smoking and drinking, moderate sexual references but nothing explicit; character’s talk about losing their virginity, battle sequences

ALSO IN THIS SERIES:

Splintered
I Liked It!

 

10 thoughts on “Book Review: {Unhinged, Splintered #2 | By: A.G. Howard}

  1. It’s interesting because I’ve read the first two in this series and I really did enjoy them – they are fun and the world is so exciting and imaginative. I wouldn’t say they are the BEST books though. Thanks for sharing! I still need to read the third book, so hopefully we’ll both like it!

    -Lauren

    1. You’re right, they aren’t the best books I’ve read per se, but they are certainly the best Alice in Wonderland retellings I’ve read to date! I just got my copy of Ensnared! I hope I am able to read it soon

    1. I can see why this series is so dear to you now ha! I couldn’t get enough of Morpheus and his engrossing banter How I wish some Japanese anime studio would pick up this series and turn it into an epic anime adaptation or animated series!

  2. I’m glad you still tried this one even though you were kinda hesitant about it! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just skipped a second book in a series because I was so nervous how it was all going to turn out and I was secretly afraid that I wasn’t going to like it… But kuddos to you for trying it out anyway! I'm glad you still loved it even though some things had you scratching your head.

    xoxo! and God bless!

    1. You’re not alone Keionda, I’m always leery about picking up second books in a series too! I’m so glad this one was better than the first book, Splintered was difficult to get through – I’m still crossing my fingers and hoping that Ensnared will live up to my expectations

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