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Unhinged (Splintered Series #2): Splintered Book Two Hardcover – January 7, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—The sequel to Splintered (Abrams, 2013) continues the adventures of Alyssa Gardner, a descendent of Alice Liddell, Lewis Caroll's inspiration for Alice and Wonderland, who has inherited her ancestor's connection to Wonderland, and her madness. Alyssa is back up from the rabbit hole but still not safe. Having made the decision to renounce her title as Queen of Wonderland to live in the human world with her boyfriend, Jeb, she is still enticed by the mysterious netherling Morpheus to return to the magical realm, or otherwise it will be destroyed. Much to Alyssa's horror, Morpheus manages to come to the human world and even enroll in her school. Fans will be pleased that Morpheus plays a more prominent role in this book, since he is more intriguing as a romantic figure than Jeb. Alyssa's mother, newly released from a mental institution, is also given a larger role, and the teen's relationship with both parents is fleshed out. Like Alyssa's half-mad, half-sane world, this installment feels unbalanced at times, but stays entertaining. The cliff-hanger ending will leave readers eager for the next entry in the series.—Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA
When Morpheus shows up at Alyssa’s high school as a glamorous goth rocker, she is furious; he has invaded her real world. Things become tense when he threatens to harm those she loves if she doesn’t return to Wonderland to fight the Red Queen. Once again, Howard expands the Alice in Wonderland fairy tales to imagine a terrifying backstory full of sinister toys, talking flowers and insects, and a Jeb/Morpheus/Alyssa love triangle—made more interesting with the addition of wealthy Ivy Raven. The Wonderland magic and perverse violence is nicely juxtaposed with a typical high-school senior year. Eventually, Alyssa enters battle with the Red Queen, which will hopefully be resolved in the third volume. Grades 8-12. --Frances Bradburn
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Top Customer Reviews
Save yourself some trouble, and don't be one of those who falls for it.
Oh, wait a minute…that was just a dream…perhaps. A very vivid dream. Actually, Alyssa nearly drowned in a storm drain, and she wakes up three days later in a hospital, uncertain of what is real. She soon learns that Morpheus has inhabited a human form, and he’s posing as a foreign exchange student at her school. This serves as the source of enormous frustration for Alyssa and fun for us, the readers. Morpheus is the master of gentle tormenting, and he doesn’t hold back in dishing it to out to Alyssa and Jeb. Even though I’m firmly Team Morpheus, I enjoyed Jeb a lot in Splintered. But he definitely suffers here in comparison to Morpheus, although Morpheus is so charismatic and intriguing, that would probably be the case for any guy. It’s starting to seem that the main thing Jeb has going for himself is his muscles, and I suspect (and hope) that Alyssa will sever this love triangle soon.
Splintered gave us an incredibly imaginative look into Wonderland, but in Unhinged, the action takes place in the mortal world. Thanks to Howard’s writing, it is no less exciting, and there is still danger (and a CLOWN) lurking around every corner. I also love that some very surprising secrets involving Alyssa’s parents were revealed. It’s interesting how these secrets compare and contrast with Alyssa’s life, and I get the sense that there is still so much more to uncover.
Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Unhinged is the sequel to last year’s phenomenal debut Splintered by A.G Howard. I fell in love with Splintered; captivated by Howard’s dark re-imaged telling of Alice in Wonderland. I couldn’t wait to dive back into Alyssa’s world when Unhinged arrived in the mail, expecting to be swept off my feet once more with a terrific story. Sadly, Unhinged didn’t live up to my expectations and had me wondering what happened to all the loveable characters?
In Splintered we traveled alongside Alyssa to Wonderland but this time Wonderland came to Alyssa in the human world. While I would have like to see more of Wonderland, I didn’t mind the change of scenery so much. Alyssa is about to graduate high school and prom is just around the corner. I actually liked seeing Alyssa’s normal life because we didn't get to see it much before. But things start to change when Alyssa has visions of Wonderland (it’s been a year since she traveled down the rabbit hole) and suddenly Morpheus shows up disguised as an exchange student at her school…asking for her help because Red is back and has her sight on destroying Wonderland.
Howard’s vivid details of Wonderland are just as beautiful and sinister as I remembered; which is probably my favorite aspect of the novel. Now, the not so lovely part…the characters. I remembered how much I loved the characters in book 1…but it seems like everyone did a complete 180 especially Alyssa. My annoyance with Alyssa almost made me want to stop reading, but I’m not one to quit so easily.
So, Alyssa has a bunch of vision of wonderland, the bugs and plant warns her of something coming and Wonderland’s possible destruction then she start seeing Red in her artwork…she automatically jumps to the conclusion that Morpheus is behind it. For a good 2/3 of the book, anything bad that happened she would ASSUME Morpheus did it, not trusting anything he says…because, well, he’s Morpheus…he only does things that is beneficial for him. Alyssa would assume and yell how she doesn’t trust him, apologizes/guilt ridden, assumes again and says she can’t trust him, apologizes/guilt ridden…repeat-repeat. Bipolar much? It was ridiculous how one second she’s scolding herself for her actions and cruelty and the next second she’s lashing out again. Let me tell you now that Morpheus isn’t blameless, but the point is that she doesn’t wait to even give him a chance to prove his innocence or say anything to defend himself. Also Alyssa did a lot of really immature things. For example, she drove wreck less in a residential area to scare Morpheus and almost hit a child! Not cool. Alyssa didn’t understand the gravity of the situation that was occurring around her…although she see Wonderland seeping into the human world and hears the ominous warnings from Morpheus, the bugs, and the plants she refused to acknowledge it because she wants to have a normal life.
Then there’s Jeb her boyfriend. Jeb wasn’t in the picture much because he was so busy with his art career. Every time Alyssa tried to get in contact with Jeb, he’d blow her off because of something art related. I didn’t like his excuse saying he needed to attend the business meetings because he’s doing it for THEIR future when it’s really for him. As for Morpheus, he is his typical self, so secretive/scheming…it’s no wonder that Alyssa had a hard time trusting him (but I think she still would have acted the same way regardless knowing the truth).
The only part I truly enjoyed was the last few chapters because Alyssa wasn’t acting like an immature brat (much) and it totally made up for the rest of the book. It is where the action is and where the truth about Alyssa’s mom comes to light. I also liked the twist with Alyssa’s parent (even if it was a little predictable). The last two chapters was the biggest surprise, and has me eager to find out what happens next. The first 2/3 of the book is more like 2 1/2 stars in my opinion but because of the ending I’m rounding it up to 3 stars.