Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Book Two of the Splintered series
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Hardcover copy won from a giveaway

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

Purple is my favorite color ^_^

Anyway. You all know my story with this series - I've been following this series since before Splintered came out. I didn't even give myself the chance to read these books until I won a giveaway of both books earlier this year. I saw how popular the first book was, and how popular the second book was, and I was turned off by the hype. However, it's close enough to the release date of book three, and I won that giveaway, so there is no time like the present, to read the first two books!

I was very pleased with this sequel! Sometimes, I find sequels unnecessary, like fluff to the series. Some authors love to drag out the series' plot with the sequel, and "set up" for the big showdown in book three. That was not the case with this book. I really liked this book, and found it an excellent and necessary sequel.

Alyssa is back in the human realm. Jeb remembers nothing from Wonderland. Allison is home, recovered. But things aren't right in Wonderland - the world is deteriorating. Red is hunting, searching, and won't stop until she gets what she wants - even if that means that she will enter the human realm. Everything and everyone Alyssa loves is in danger. It all comes down to prom - can Alyssa, Morpheus, Allison, and Jeb face Queen Red and her army, and save Wonderland?

So this book isn't spent in Wonderland, like the first book is. I really like this. We get to explore Wonderland in book one, and we get to explore Alyssa's human world in book two. In book one, she adjusts to being not-so-human in a not-human world. In book two, she adjusts to being human and not-so-human in a human world. She struggles to separate her two selves - something she shouldn't be doing at all. Alyssa is stubborn, and doesn't want to accept the fact that she is a halfling, she is both netherling and human, and that she belongs in and to Wonderland. 

I enjoyed the plot of this book - even if it's a little cliche (save the world! Or, worlds). Don't misunderstand: the plot itself isn't cliche, the general idea of it is. Alyssa must save Wonderland (and the human realm). But how she achieves this is very unique and original. Like book one, book two is fresh and creative. I love the amount of imagination and creativity that Howard puts into these books. I love how Howard bases many aspects of this book on those of the original story, but she spins them to her own use.

One thing I love (that I didn't expect to love) was the fairy aspect. I have to admit - I hate fairy stories. This ISN'T a fairy story though. Yes, Alyssa has wings and basically is a fairy. But this doesn't feel like a your typical fairy, and I like this. I like that Howard made the magic and fairy aspect and lore her own.

The romance... still a raging love triangle, guys. I hate love triangles. I still feel like Jeb is going to "win" this one, which pisses me off a little, because he doesn't belong in the netherling world. He really doesn't belong with Alyssa - and not because he's a bad, horrible person (he's not, he's decent). But I still feel like Howard likes his character more.

Which totally blows because I LOVE Morpheus, as a character, and as a love interest. Comparing the two, I am more intrigued by Morpheus than I am with Jeb. I honestly don't care about or for Jeb. He's great, the tortured artist, with a horrible past, blah blah blah, but I'm just kind of apathetic towards him. Morpheus, on the other hand, is twisted and deceitful and selfless and complex. I hate his guile and deceit, but I love his complicated being.

And as a love interest, dang. He's flirtatious and full of teasing. He's also very caring and kind when he wants to be, when he thinks no one is watching. Alyssa just doesn't get how much he cares. He's not human, so obviously he's not going to follow a human's guide to morals. Ugh, Alyssa. It's okay. THIS Alyssa likes you plenty, Morph. 

As much as I hate love triangles, I'm not *too* invested in this one (probably because I resigned myself to the fact that Jeb is "winning" this one). So I don't care. I do and I don't. I don't want to care, but I do, but I can ignore the feels right? Ha.

Bring on book three! I can't wait to read Ensnared - it's going to be quite a showdown. This book set up the showdown really well - but it did so much more! Unhinged took Wonderland and Alyssa's queenly responsibilities and the ROMANCE to another level. Me wants more!

What I Did Not Like:

I've already complained enough about the love triangle in my review of book one... but seriously, ugh, love triangles. I don't care for this one because Alyssa really doesn't deserve Morpheus, and yet, she doesn't necessarily deserve Jeb (not that I really like him or anything). It's one of those things where I wouldn't care if Alyssa ended up with either guy or alone. Just not with both (like I've heard about Clockwork Princess?). Because that's just WEIRD. And I would be FURIOUS if that's the route this author would take. It's just... disgusting to think about. And weird. And twisted. In my opinion.

Otherwise... I'm really happy with this series. So far?

Would I Recommend It:

I would highly recommend this book, as well as this series. Unhinged is an EXCELLENT sequel to a brilliant start to this series, so if you enjoyed Splintered, you'll enjoy this book. And in my opinion, this is definitely a series to read! Of course, I haven't read Ensnared, so I can't speak for the entire trilogy. But so far, I'm enjoying the ride!


4 stars. It's officially official - I can't wait to read Ensnared! Thank goodness I decided to binge-read the series, because I can't imagine waiting so long in between books, and for the final book. Pure torture, especially for a book with such vicious love triangle. I NEED TO KNOW ALL THE THINGS!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. I love this series, too! I think AG Howard has done an excellent job and I'm so excited for the third book (Ensnared, I believe it's called). And I agree completely with you on the whole love triangle thing. I adore Morpheus and really feel like he and Alyssa make a better pair than her and Jeb but I feel like the author is favoring Jeb at this point :( Hopefully the next book will change that!

    Nice review!

    Ashtyn @ Wonderland’s Reader!

    1. I hope Ensnared goes the way you and I want it to go! Unfortunately, I agree, the author does seem to be favoring the "safer" choice. Cross your fingers, girl!

      Thank you so much!

  2. YAAAAAY!! I'm so so so happy that you're enjoying the series!! =D
    I agree that this one was a fantastic sequel full of twists and surprises and oh my goodness how I adore the world that Anita has created!!
    You know my dislike for love triangles and I'm Team Jeb mostly, but this book made me like Morpheus sooo much more!
    I love how very visual these books read and I love the Burtonian feel the imaginery in these books feel!
    The wait for Ensnared is gonna be long but I'm pretty sure it'll be worth it!!

    1. YES! I hate love triangles, but I love Morpheus as a character and love interest. I'm rooting for him despite the fact that Howard is pro-Jeb (or so it seems). I definitely need to catch the Burton version of Alice in Wonderland :D Happy reading, Pili!

  3. MEH. I did not like this book much at all, lol :D But I do like your review. <3 Thank you for sharing sweetie :) I'm glad you mostly loved this book. Pfff. Kind of :D I just didn't like it :( which makes me so sad. I am curious about the third one, though ;p

    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, Carina! And thank you ^_^ I know what you mean - after reading the first two books, even if you dislike one or both, you want to know what will happen! Happy reading!

  4. DUDE I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THE LOVE TRIANGLE WILL END. On one hand, I totally expected Jeb. But I am such a Mothling I would demand Anita write a second ending just for Morpheus. She said that both mothlings and Team Jeb would be happy with the ending sooooo o__O IDK MAN. BUT I NEED TO KNOW. NOW.

    *coughs* Great review? :D

    1. If she does what Cassandra Clare did in Clockwork Princess... then I am NOT going to be happy, I'm going to be PISSED.

      Just saying ;) Thank you, Nikki!

  5. I just read another really good review for this! Y'all are killing me, because each time I read another review I want to put everything else down and pick up Splintered! I like the idea that you get to know both worlds... DANG IT NOW I WANT TO READ THEM. Why did you do this to me Alyssa??

    1. Woohoo! You should definitely read this series - maybe binge-read the books when Ensnared comes out!


  6. Great review!! I haven't yet read this one but I really want to! Like you I'm not a huge fan of love triangles and that is what's really putting me off reading the next one :/ I want to read this one BADLY but then on the other hand... Aah, so conflicted. Anyway, thanks for writing such an awesome review!

    1. Thank you, Zareena! As far as the love triangle goes, it's a pretty deep one, and not in a good way (in my opinion). But, this is why I binge-read this series so "late", so waiting for the third book wouldn't be too bad.

      Thank you!! <3

  7. As interesting as the magic and world sounds...continuing, "raging" love triangle? :( Plus, the cover kind of creeps me out. ^^;;

    1. LOL I actually really love this cover - it's really Morpheus! The cover designers have really captured all three protagonists perfectly.

      And as for the love triangle... well, it's one of the "worst" I've ever seen. Except maybe with the Infernal Devices, but I hated Tessa and everything about those books and I never read the last book but I know the ending and HATE it so... anyway. Rant over.



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