Monday, 17 February 2014

Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Title: Unhinged (Splintered #2)
Author: A.G. Howard
Release date: January 7th 2014
Publisher: Amulet
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 387
Source: Won

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.

I'd been waiting for this book ever since I finished Splintered last year and found out there was going to be a sequel! This has got to be one of my favourite YA fantasy series, mostly because I've never read anything like it before. I love the creepy yet magical elements, and all the Alice in Wonderland allusions. Unhinged definitely does not disappoint, and it'll leave you begging for the next book.

This book starts off about a year after the events of Splintered. So Alyssa has been dating Jeb for a year, and everything's been going great. Especially with her mom out of the asylum. But when Morpheus shows up in the human world asking for Alyssa's help to restore Wonderland to its former glory, she's torn between the human side she chose and the netherling side she secretly adores. There's danger at every turn, and Morpheus will stop at nothing to make sure Alyssa does her duty to Wonderland. Even if it means posing as a new student at her high school and staying in her world until she relents.

One thing I was disappointed about was that we don't get to see Wonderland in this. The entire book is set in our world, so I missed a lot of the magical-fantasy stuff we saw in Splintered. But I'm very excited for Ensnared, because there will undoubtedly be some new settings and a lot of intensity in that one!

You can see the change in Alyssa from the previous book - she's way more confident about herself and people are more accepting of her in a way. She stopped her dead bugs mosaics, thank goodness! But she's started new ones, which can actually tell the future. Yeah, Alyssa's powers are getting better, and that made things really interesting.

But Morpheus is definitely the one who stole the show in this book. We get to see so many sides of him, and I still don't know what to think! One the one hand he's manipulative and can be cruel, but he has a softer and vulnerable side that we get to see a lot of, too. I really loved him throughout the book. In fact, the relationships between Alyssa, Morpheus and Jeb remind me of Juliet, Warner and Adam from the Shatter Me series. Morpheus brings out the best in Alyssa, and Jeb seems to be holding her back.

Speaking of Jeb, he's very different here. I was sad that he has no memories of the adventure he had in Wonderland with Alyssa in Splintered, and therefore doesn't remember the huge sacrifice he made for her. It's obvious he really cares for her, but he's also giving too much attention to his career, and that's not the Jeb I remember. Jeb's also sucked into Alyssa's Wonderland problems - unknowingly, of course. But that means Alyssa has to battle with herself about telling Jeb the truth.

There are a lot of twists in this book - it's like Howard thinks of all the things that we'd never imagine and then embeds them in Unhinged. Alyssa's family has a key role to play, and there are secrets within it that shocked me when I figured it out. The ending is kind of a cliffhanger, so it feels like torture to have to wait another year for the conclusion! But I know it'll be worth it.

Rating: 4/5


  1. Oh man, I loved this one so much. As much as I want to hate Morpheus, I really can't. He's just...yum. And pretty evil, the manipulative moth. I was surprised with Jeb though, though I still think most of it had something to do with the darker forces behind the scenes,I didn't like him as much as I did in Splintered, since I loved him there. Maybe, if we saw a bit more of what went on in the year before to see those changes, I might've accepted it more, but the end made me love him again. I missed Wonderland too, but it was still perfectly twisted all on it's own. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

  2. Question: is there an annoying love triangle here?

    1. There is kind of a love triangle, yeah. But it's done really well so it didn't bother me like love triangles usually do :)


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