by A.G. Howard
Publisher: Amulet (Jan 2014)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC (400 pages)
Source: Free book from publisher (Netgalley) for honest review
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Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 stars)
SummaryAt A Glance
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 am a little conflicted on this one but I did really enjoy it overall.
Morpheus. Morpheus. MORPHEUS! Oh sorry. Just had a bout of mad, lusty ramblings. Morpheus does that to me sometimes. It's like I love to hate this guy and hate to love him. He is a bad itch that feels so good to scratch. I want to do naughty, crazy things to him as he wraps me up in his beautiful wings. I want my body to be his Wonderland! Okay, okay. I'm done.
I loved how Unhinged really had that feeling of unhinginess (it's a word because I say it is). Everything is falling a part, nothing is going right, there is no right path, just stumbling around in the dark with your hands tied behind your back. I felt so out of sorts and I kinda liked it. The story is also really coming along. Huge things are revealed and people show their true colors.
Alyssa is like a chicken with her head cut off. She is conflicted, sporadic in her decision making, and doesn't always follow the right path. And, really, it made sense for the theme of the book, even if it annoyed me sometimes. But by the end I actually felt hopeful that she may be getting her crap together. Even if she is still perpetually stuck between two men, I can see her being more decisive in the next book just by the little snippet we get in the end.
Poor Jeb. He is always the punching bag in these books. He is freaking chewed up like a squeaker toy over and over again, but he always comes back fighting, always for Alyssa. I respect him so much. But it's Morpheus who is the star. I love his contradictory nature, his faithful devotion, and his constant devious scheming. Morpheus keeps you on your toes because you never know what he is going to do next. And all he really wants is Alyssa's love. It breaks my heart. He NEEDS a happy ending.
The writing was good and the imagery was amazing. There is a HUGE cliffhanger ending, so be prepared. I was pissed at first but got over it. But now I literally can't wait for the next book.
The plot was sadly lacking. Alyssa spends most of the book running around like an insane person on a mission to nowhere. Almost none of the lead up plot points come to fruition. You spend the whole book thinking something is going to be resolved and it only gets worse. I know this happens in second books sometimes but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
We do not get any Wonderland time in Unhinged and I found myself missing it.
Alyssa was a lot more whiny and insecure in this book. She was always unsure about a lot of things in Splintered but I don't remember her being this stupid and annoying. I like my protags strong and logical.
Unhinged was drowned in romance, especially with the love-triangle, but I didn't mind it. I always wanted more Jeb and Morpheus and I definitely got it this time around. Alyssa has a tough choice because both men are so tempting, but, of course, I am Team Morpheus. I'm crazy that way.
Kissing and touching but very suitable for a young adult audience.
Unhinged is between 3.5 to 4 stars. It was not as good as Splintered. I gave Splintered 4 stars but I would change that to 4.5 stars now. I wanted more plot and more resolution, but the story was still super fun and I always love me some Morpheus. Very recommended.
“All I have to do is set the power free. Escape the chains of humanity, let madness be my guide. If I forget everything but Wonderland, I can become beautiful pandemonium.”
“Of all the times you've undressed me in my fantasies, I never remember feeling this...unfulfilled."
"Please, Morpheus," I beg upon hearing Jeb stir in the background.
"Ah, but those delectable words," Morpheus says with a provocative smirk, "those are always in the fantasy."
I glare at him. "You're unbelievable."
"And that sentiment is reserved for the end.”
“Morpheus turns his face to the sky. “I’m afraid you’re the one who’s mistaken, if you think I’m going to let Wonderland fall to rot so you can play ‘pin the male on the virgin’ with your mortal toy.”
Book #1: Splintered
Book #2: Unhinged