Title: Unhinged (Splintered, #2) by A.G. Howard
Author: A.G. Howard
Publication date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: e-ARC / physical ARC provided by publisher (Thanks to Laura of Abrams Kids and Tina of A&C Kids UK!)
Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
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.
*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads
Unhinged is pure magic. Darkness and mystique jump right off every page! The story is constructed beautifully. Events are all lined up in an orderly sequence so the fictional world was easy to navigate and understand. A.G. Howard’s writing took my breath away just like it did in Splintered. It oozed with brilliance, creativity, and life, infusing a magical feeling that lit up every part of me. Through the beautiful and vivid descriptions, I felt that I was in the story too, following Alyssa, Jeb, Morpheus, and the rest of the stellar cast in their thrilling escapades.
In this much-awaited sequel to Splintered, baffling dilemmas tremendously challenge Alyssa’s strength in making the right decisions for herself and for the people she loves. The choices she would make could change her life in ways she never thought of. Then things get further complicated when Wonderland weaves into the mortal world. The plot resembles a puzzle. Every mystery spins readers around until they find the right pieces that connect everything together. It’s an exciting kind of crazy! Oh and I won’t forget the unforeseen twists up ahead! WHOA. Madness tightened its grip on me in Chapter 19! That part! I can’t even. Hints: Alyssa. Future. Chances.
The conflicts in Unhinged magnify Alyssa’s powers and stretch her skills to their greatest potential. Readers will undoubtedly be stunned by what else she can do. Alyssa has more fire in her and I really like this improved version of herself. Alyssa’s boyfriend, Jeb, is as dashing and genuine as he was in Splintered. He loves Alyssa with all his heart and he doesn’t need magic to prove that. His deep love and selfless sacrifices are more than enough for Alyssa to love him just as much. And this time, Alyssa and Jeb’s relationship is more passionate and romantic. The intense and sweet moments between them burn brighter than before. THE FEELS! *flails* I’d read Alyssa and Jeb’s conversations over and over again and never get tired of them!
Then there’s Morpheus, the attractive and sexy moth from Wonderland who is still manipulative. And similar to Splintered, his motives are the fuel that keeps the book intriguing and unputdownable. So thank you, Morpheus, for spicing up things! I remember saying in my Splintered review that I have a feeling Morpheus is so much more than what I perceived him to be. Well, he is. His perseverance to win Alyssa is what made me appreciate him. I’m convinced that he’s clearly in love with the girl and I bet he’d even make several life-magic vows just to get her.
Alyssa’s mother, Alison, plays a huge part in Unhinged. She annoyed me at the beginning of the story but after all the revelations about her and Alyssa’s dad’s past, I have a newfound respect for Alison. I admire her for the sacrifices she did to protect her family. With a heart filled with so much courage, devotion, and love, she is one amazing woman who exemplifies what a mother truly is.
The ending is an absolute cliffhanger and I could only wish for 2015 to come faster! I can’t wait to go to *insert name of parallel dimension of Wonderland* and find out what happens next! Where are you, Ensnared? I need you NOW!
This dark, twisted, breathtaking sequel is tangible proof that magic exists even in reality. Thank you Anita for writing another unforgettable masterpiece. “You are Wonderland.” 🙂
“You’re our happy ending.”
“Is that not the true meaning of sacrifice? Giving more than you ever thought you had, to save the one you love?”
“This is what I want. It’s what I’ve always wanted. A future with you. A life with you, my fairy bride. Forever.”
“I never saw it coming. It was me all along. Me who would betray myself in the worst possible way.”
“You and me? We’re far from over.”
“I am mad, and I embrace it. Madness is part of my heritage.”