Series: Splintered #2
Author: A.G. Howard
No. of Pages: 416
Published: January 6, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Retellings
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B & N
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
WHAT I LIKED
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.
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.
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 »Alas! Alyssa has at long last embraced her netherling call and I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds in Ensnared – which I am eagerly awaiting. « Hide Spoiler
THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMMM. . .
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.
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.”
|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
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