I received this book for free from a blogger in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Splintered #2
Published by Amulet Books on January 7, 2014
Source: a blogger
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.
Words can’t begin to describe how amazing this book was. I don’t even know how I’m going to get through this review without fangirling and flailing. It was… epic. But that doesn’t even do it justice. First of all, I said it in my review of Splintered but I’ll say it again here: A.G. Howard is an amazing writer. Her writing is beautiful, vivid and descriptive. I can picture everything as though I’m there, living out the story with Alyssa, Morpheus and Jeb.
Going from Splintered to Unhinged, Alyssa really grew as a character. She’s so reluctant to embrace her Netherling heritage, yet she embraces her magic more so than she ever has before. She’s split between her loyalty to Wonderland and her loyalty to those in her human life. And ultimately, this is her undoing. Honestly, I made this observation near the very beginning of the book. I never realized how right I would be until almost the very end! In addition to being torn between her human side and Netherling side, Alyssa was torn between Jeb and Morpheus. She placed most of her love and loyalty with Jeb, of course, but she started to soften towards Morpheus.
Morpheus was so frustrating in this book! I am still 100% Team Morpheus – I’ll NEVER waiver on that – but he did some really conniving things this time around. He’s cunning; a master manipulative and a sweet-talker. He always has ulterior motives to everything he does. But I’ve never believed he would ever intentionally hurt Alyssa, nor would he let anything happen to her. Deep down, I know he loves her and wants to protect her, even if he has a funny way of showing it. And I mean, come on! His physical description (Brandon Lee as The Crow meets David Bowie as Jareth)… SWOON! And that accent of his? *Flails!!!* If this needs any further explanation, then just go watch The Crow and Labyrinth. Enough said.
Jeb… Oy! Where to begin? Like I said, I’m 100% Team Morpheus. But there were several moments in Unhinged where I felt terrible for Jeb! And then there were other moments where I just wanted to smack him over the head. He’s a hot-head and he gets way too jealous way too easily. He acts like he doesn’t trust Alyssa. I mean, I get it if he doesn’t trust Morpheus! But if he loves Alyssa as much as he says he does, shouldn’t he trust her more?!? Deep down, I know Jeb has good intentions and a good heart. He just needs to grow up and mature a little bit.
I do, however, love the banter between Jeb and Morpheus! I said it in my review of Splintered, but I’ll say it again: their banter reminds me of Xander and Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Anyone agree?? It’s hysterical!
Alyssa’s dad was sooooo frustrating in Uhinged! I just wanted him to trust Alyssa! I get that he went through a lot with Alyssa’s mom, but he let that color his judgement and he refused to trust his daughter, refused to let her explain. He just jumped to conclusions and got angry. He and Jeb are a lot alike in that sense. And then there’s Alison (Alyssa’s mom). I had a lot of trouble trusting Alison. I kept waiting for her to betray everyone to get what she wanted. I didn’t trust her at all. Honestly, I’m still not sure I completely trust her.
The revelations about Alison and Alyssa’s dad were MIND-BLOWING! It was like a puzzle, and all the pieces fell into place. It made me feel so bad for everyone involved, but so many things finally made sense. Even certain things with Morpheus and the way he treated Alyssa finally made sense!
The ending was… I can’t even. I seriously can’t even. I’m dying. I’m flailing. THAT EVIL CLIFFHANGER WAS EVIL! My mind is exploding and my brain is DOA. Seriously, Major Book Hangover! I NEED Ensnared (Book #3) ASAP! I can’t wait a year to find out what happens next! I can’t!
Overall (if you couldn’t already tell from my review), Unhinged was amazing. That ending broke me. And I can’t wait for Ensnared!!!