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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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Alyssa, the protagonist of the series, is in a bit of a love-triangle, if that wasn't made clear before. And, I think because of my preference towards one of the boys, and because it wasn't so clear that that's whom Alyssa has the strongest feelings for, I kind of ended up putting this book down more than I did with Splintered.
Here's the thing, though, it's also probably because less of this story takes place in Wonderland. So, maybe that's what I love most about this story--the Wonderlandness, if that's a word. :)
Don't get me wrong, however. I'm still madly in love with all of the characters. Alyssa, Jeb, and Morpheus are all excitingly interesting personalities to read about. And the pacing of the story is never lacking. In fact, I can't think of a single slow part in the book. Howard is an expert at reeling in a reader. And she also knows how to include side characters and make them integral to the story.
And, the ending... Well, the ending is why I immediately started reading Ensnared.
Doing her best to ignore her Wonderland side, Wonderland is far from finished with Alyssa, entrenching the one closest to her in a web that forces her to stop ignoring a side of herself she's more than fond of, despite her insistence to keep it hidden.
The mother is incorporated much more in this installment, but I felt she was written more as a peer, rather than a generational voice. I wasn't a fan. For me, the way she was integrated cheapened Alyssa's character, and I felt the story was complex enough that this alternate possible source of drama was unnecessary. Her necessity as a tool to help tell Morpheus' story, and to lead into the father's story, which is integral to book three, I could see, but there were so many things about it I just wished were less.
Also, the ending was a bit underwhelming, though another fantastic setup for book 3. Having already finished the final installment of the Splintered Series, Ensnared, I can appreciate this second of the series better as more of a bridge from book one to three, rather than a fantastic story on its own. It's not that I didn't like this book, it was simply better when looked at through the scope of the whole, hence its lower rating than book one.
Morpheus, back to his old tricks, is intent on showing Alyssa how much of her Wonderland side she really does miss, even if it means upping his manipulation to a whole new level. Jeb, the same lovable and genuine guy from book one, is again caught in the middle, and I found my heart crying for the young couple's trouble, so typical in its non-typical context.
If you liked Book one, this book is worth the read, especially as book three is well worth getting to.
It was SO awesome to be back into this world and all of it's madness!! As always, A.G. Howard takes us through a world like no other; filled with insanity, madness, chaos, and LOTS of fun. And I LOVED every minute of it!!! ;)
I was quickly pulled back it to this world like I never even left it. Granted, I did read UNHINGED shortly after I read the first book, SPLINTERED. But the author was able to tie everything in nicely, allowing the reader to feel drawn back into the world and characters, and made me fall even more in love with it all!
Alyssa's finally made it out of Wonderland and back home to the human realm, but it's a far cry from "Getting back to normal," like she's ever had a normal. But now her mother is freshly out of the asylum and controlling her like she was still five years-old. And her father is still in the dark about their heritage, and that her mother was never really crazy at all. And Jeb still doesn't remember what happen in Wonderland, because "Technically", he was never really even there. But to make matters even more insane, her blood is doing crazy stuff, and acting images out in her paintings. So between having to continue to lie to Jeb and her father, and having no one to turn to about what's really going on in her life, besides her overly protective mother, and having blood with a mind of it's own, yeah, it's enough to drive anyone mad.
But just when Alyssa starts to think her life can't get anymore complicated, Morpheus, the frustrating and extremely sexy Moth Man from her past shows up and throws her life back into the chaos and madness she left behind in Wonderland. And now he's demanding she return back to Wonderland, because Red is up to her old tricks again, but this time, it's not only all of Wonderland in danger, but the human realm too...
Now Alyssa must decide if she's really willing to let Wonderland fall under the destruction that Red will surly bring, or if she's ready to go back down the rabbit hole and into the same place that almost drove her utterly mad. Because Red is coming, and she wants revenge, and if Alyssa doesn't bring the fight to her in Wonderland, then Red will definitely come to the human realm and bring the battle to her. One way or another, Alyssa must face Red in this upcoming battle for the crown she's already won.
But before Alyssa can make her move and head back into Wonderland to gear up for war with Red, Wonderland literally walks into the human realm bringing tons of netherlings with it. But something isn't right, and Alyssa knows Morpheus knows more then he's letting on. But with so much going on, and all the crazy netherlings pouring in through the portals, her paintings turning up missing, and the scary little toys coming to life and following her around, and the bugs warning her that trouble is finally here, she realizes she may be to late. Red might already be here, and she's not leaving unless it's inside of Alyssa's body, possessing her forever...
I really thought UNHINGED was a great sequel with lots of drama and tons of action and twist that I didn't see coming. Which I loved, but at the same time, had some issues with! One being that the whole entire book was plotted in the human world. Which is okay, I guess, but I really missed being back in Wonderland, and thought at least some of the story would be plotted there. But it wasn't, and I really didn't like that aspect at all. Another small issue I had with UNHINGED was that it felt like there was way too much going on at once. I mean the whole plot was so fast, with things changing and different lies being revealed almost every other chapter. And it just got to be a little overwhelming. It wasn't too bad, but sometimes I had to go back and reread a chapter that I just previously read to make sure I didn't miss anything or read it the wrong way. But besides that, I thought it was a great sequel that I absolutely adored!
Overall, UNHINGED delivered on many levels and prepared us for one hell of a sequel, that I can't WAIT to dig into soon!! A.G. Howard is just full of awesomeness, with a mind that can conjure up the most fascinating and intriguing plots that I have ever come across. And I would definitely read ANYTHING this author writes! So overall, I would highly recommend UNHINGED and this complete series to anyone looking for a book that's thick-plotted, with sharp and developed characters, and a world that is full of utter maddens and pure chaos. Then UNHINGED and this series is definitely for you!!
NOTE: I received a physical ARC from Amulet Books for reviewing purposes! All opinions express are my own and are not influenced in any way!