Genre: YA, Fantasy (retelling)
“Little blossom trapped in between, wearing malice like a queen;
hide the truth, be cruel and tart,
still all the more, you rule my heart.”
― A.G. Howard, Unhinged
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.
*Warning this may contain spoilers for the first book in the trilogy*
I mean I do not even know if I can form a review worthy of the greatness of this book (and really the whole trilogy.) I did find that there were a couple parts of personal annoyance for me within the story, but I loved where Howard went with this story and the greatness that continued from the first installment, Splintered.
I was extremely happy with this sequel and thought Howard did a fantastic job of not succumbing to the second book syndrome. There were some points where there was a lull for me, but it was all working to create the drama and built up for the end. The ending was absolutely amazing and I was happy I didn’t have to wait long for the next book to come out. Howard continued to provide a whimsical world with fabulous imagery and details. I loved the writing and the consistency of style that followed the first book. Using the original story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for inspiration was still seen throughout this book and I really enjoyed that Howard used different parts from Splintered while still incorporating the fantastic ideas and creations from the other book. I could not get enough of this world and the craziness and nonsensical situations that take place. I never knew where the story was going to go and there were surprising shocks and twists!
The character development was a big part of this book in my opinion. You got to learn a lot more about Alyssa, her parents, the boys and of course the Wonderlandian creatures. I did have a problem with Alyssa in this book. I felt like she got whiny and dependent on the male characters. I know she was still figuring out her life and finding herself, but she was so set on making her own choices and doing what she wanted in Splintered that I felt like she got so engrossed with the boys. ( Like being so hard on Jeb about him doing his work and trying to make a life for himself etc.) She got so jealous and controlling and it was just hard for me to get through some of those moments because it was annoying. Of course Morpheus and Jeb were amazing ( I am leaning more towards Morpheus, but wasn’t completely sure which one I liked more) The love triangle got frustrating and I thought there were some times that it bordered on taking away from the story. Both of the boys have such different quirks, but both share a snarky attitude that I really enjoy.
Overall, I thought this was a superb second book! It left me completely shocked and needing to pick up Ensnared immediately. The events and situations fit into the crazy, mad and nonsensical world of Wonderland. A.G Howard does a wonderful job with the imagery and creation of Wonderland and the dark creatures that inhabit the world. This book for sure follows the dark and twisted take on the original story the was found in Splintered. I do not know what else I can say, but that I highly recommend this book and the trilogy as a whole to everyone. It has quickly become one of my favorite trilogies. So I might not be able to say it in this review, but that was a beautifully dark and whimsical story with twists and mad, nonsensical creatures!