Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Posted 15 April, 2014 by Gabbie in Review / 0 Comments

Review: Unhinged by A.G. HowardUnhinged by A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered #2
Publisher: Amulet Books on January 7, 2014
Source: Library
Pages: 386
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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.

reviewCheck out my review of Splintered (Splintered #1)

why I picked it up

I adored Splintered and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one!

plot

Unhinged starts up a year after the events of Splintered, and Morpheus is back at haunting Alyssa’s dreams, encouraging her to come back to Wonderland and save their world from Red. However, Alyssa refuses, choosing her human blood over her netherling blood. So, Wonderland comes to her. Morpheus shows up as a foreign exchange student, while Red and another enemy find their way to Earth. Cue the action!

This novel was not boring at all! Although not every section of the novel was fast paced, it was all interesting. We got to see more of Alyssa and Jeb living their human lives (with Alyssa trying to keep her netherling side a secret from him). We also get to see Morpheus on Earth! In addition to those things, we find out more about Alyssa’s mother, Alison, and her trip to Wonderland. And we learn quite a bit about Alyssa’s father as well.

The ending was the pivot point of the novel. So much happened, and it left me gaping like a fish in shock. I’m going to warn you now, there is a cliffhanger of epic proportions—veering towards EVIL! A.G. how could you do this to us?! But even though I’m mad about it…I couldn’t help but love it.

Leading lady

“I could do it. I could stand here amid the flames, let them lap at my skin, and laugh in a death-defying haze—because they belong to me. I could watch the world crumble and then dance, triumphant, in the snowfall of ash left behind. All I have to do is set the power free. Escape the chains of my humanity, let madness be my guide. If I forget everything but Wonderland, I can become beautiful pandemonium.”

Alyssa was our female protagonist. She was as stubborn as she was in the first novel. In this installment, we see more of her inner struggle to resist her netherling heritage. She was a very strong character and was determined to do what she thought was right. She even built up more of a backbone against Morpheus! She grew a lot in this novel and she actually eventually embraced her netherling side, which I know is going to be essential in the next novel, Ensnared.

leading male

We have two! Morpheus and Jeb.

Jeb: We see a lot of Jeb in this novel. There were points at which I loved him and hated him, even more so than in the previous novel. I can’t really say much about him because he really didn’t have any idea of what was going on Wonderland related over most of the novel, so he didn’t really have much of a role in it, except for parts that I don’t want to spoil. But he was okay, I guess…Kinda shady at first, but then we find out why.

Morpheus: I am still Team Morpheus, even more so after this novel. Sure, he’s the anti-hero, but there’s just something irresistible about his character. He’s bipolar, for one thing, but it becomes endearing as you see more of it. You can tell that he really cares about Alyssa, no matter how much he tries to hide it. And he’s always impeccably dressed…with a cockney accent! How can you resist that?! Regardless, I enjoyed seeing his more caring side, which definitely came out more in this book. He’s so much more real of a character in my eyes than Jeb. He has a story, layers, and not always the kindest of intentions, but I feel like that’s more realistic than the boy-who-doesn’t-really-do-any-bad. But man is he deceptive…it’s brilliant, really. His lies are so expertly spun…he’s an evil mastermind, but you can’t help but love him.

other characters

We definitely learn more about Alyssa’s parents, Thomas and Alison in this novel. I can’t say much, but what we learn definitely wasn’t what I was expecting.

romance

“‘Of all the times you’ve undressed me in my fantasies, I never remember feeling this…unfulfilled.’ ‘Please, Morpheus,’ I beg upon hearing Jeb stir in the background. ‘Ah, but those delectable words,’ Morpheus says with a provocative smirk, ‘those are always in the fantasy.’ I glare at him. ‘You’re unbelievable.’ ‘And that sentiment is reserved for the end.’”

Jeb and Alyssa are together in this novel, and they had been for the year between Splintered and Unhinged. However, I failed to see the sparks between the two of them. It felt somewhat forced to me, and I always found myself thinking that they were better off friends…but I don’t know, maybe I’m biased. Regardless, it was the complete opposite with Morpheus. There were sparks and undeniable chemistry. I love Jeb, I really do, but I think that Alyssa and Morpheus are the better fit. Alyssa brings out the good in Morpheus, and Morpheus brings out the strength in Alyssa. They’re perfect.

world buildling

“A childish story take, and with a gentle hand, lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined in Memory’s mystic band…thus grew the world of Wonderland.”

Although we don’t see nearly as much of Wonderland in this novel, the world building is still there, just intertwined with the life that Alyssa was leading on Earth. It was brilliant. It was interesting and unique, and we learned a lot more about Wonderland, regardless of it’s absence. And the way that Howard spun in Alison and Thomas’s past just made the world that much more intricate.

other

“He puts it on, and his gaze locks to mine. His jewels flicker between passion and defiance—an evocative and intimidating combination. ‘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.’”

If Morpheus and Alyssa don’t end up together in the end, I don’t know what I’m going to do. For once, can the anti-hero get the girl?

conclusion

Unhinged was BRILLIANT! A, dare I say it, better novel than the first, it proves as a perfect bridge between where it all begins, and the final battle for Wonderland and Alyssa’s heart.

5 Stars
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About A.G. Howard

AG Howard Author Picture

A.G. Howard was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.

When she’s not writing, A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

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