Author: A. G. Howard
Series: Splintered, #2
Genres: YA, fantasy, retelling, romance
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 really enjoyed the first book in the Splintered series, and while this installment was okay, I didn’t really feel like it lived up to that.
I felt like the plot took too long to really get going and even once it did, it felt like the second in a series. Obviously the book bridges Splintered and Ensnared (#3) but I didn’t feel like it really stood up well on its own as a story.
The revelations about Alyssa’s parents were really interesting. It was nice to see the development of the relationship between Alyssa and her mother (understandably strained) and how this affects her existing relationship with her father.
I was deeply disappointed that we didn’t go to Wonderland this time but Chessie and Rabid made for wonderful cameo appearances and I loved the memory train scenes.
I said last time that I couldn’t see either of the boys as particularly swoon-worthy. This time round Jeb was even worse, irritating me each time he appeared. Morpheus, on the other hand, was much more compelling in this story, possibly due to being taken out of his element, and showed some vulnerability and nuances of character.
Alyssa herself was a big disappointment. After her victory against Red at the end of Splintered I was hoping she would prove a stronger character in this story. Instead, she spends most of the book ignoring everything that’s happening around her, wasting precious time whining or pandering to Jeb’s male ego.
Finally, for such a compelling villain, Red felt completely underused and unthreatening this time round. She has so much potential both for moving forward and for exploring her complex back-story. I’d like to hear more about Red and her motivations in the next book.
Overall, while I have some gripes with Unhinged, I did enjoy it. However it’s definitely reliant on the character building and story that was built in the first book. I’m keen to read Ensnared, and hoping that the build-up from this will pay out there.