Author: A.G. Howard
Publishing Information: January 7, 2014 by Amulet
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings
Series Information: Book 2 in the Splintered Trilogy (review of Splintered)
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
Recommended For: Fans of darker fairy tale retellings, and yummy kissy scenes!
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.
You may remember that I really enjoyed the first novel in this series, and I was very impatient to get my hands on Unhinged. I am sorry to say that though Unhinged was enjoyable, it fell a little short of my expectations.
I have a few issues with this novel, the first being the world building, or lack of world building in Unhinged. One of the things that made me fall in love with Splintered was the magic and darkness of Wonderland. I was completely enthralled by the macabre way in which Howard shifted the setting from childhood fantasy to twisted nightmare. This element was nearly missing from Unhinged, with the exception of flashbacks of Alyssa’s childhood in Wonderland. Instead, the novel took place in the human realm which made the shift from world building to follow the relationships of the series more, which brings me to my second problem with Unhinged.
I had a very hard time with the relationships in this novel, and frankly, I struggled deeply to relate to Alyssa. I found her to be spiteful, and childish, and not only do I think that she has outgrown Jeb, and is keeping him around for selfish reasons, I completely think that he has outgrown her, and deserves better. Prior to reading Unhinged I was all for Team Morpheus, and I can still see why he should be with Alyssa over Jeb, but in truth, I think that Alyssa has a lot of self discovery and maturing to do before she deserves either man in this love triangle.
These negatives aside, the plot was driven, the intrigue was there, and there were many reveled secrets that kept me interested. I enjoyed every scene with Morpheus, he stole the show in this novel and my favorite parts of Unhinged were those that included Chessie, Rabid White, and any Wonderland elements. I will say that the ending of Unhinged was especially interesting, it gave me a glimpse of who Alyssa is becoming, and if this glimpse into her character then I think she is going to grow into someone fantastic. At this point, though I was still interested enough in the story, the ending really reestablished my need to follow the series through to the end.
Admittedly, I did find this novel to suffer a bit of a sophomore slump, but it was still an interesting enough read that I look forward to what is to come in Ensnared.
I agree with you about the Jeb relationship. Things just weren’t working with them this time around. And, oh, Morpheus. Stealing the show once again and the hearts of every girl, as well.
I’m maybe a chap-and-a-half away from the end (would’ve finished last night but, bleh, bedtime), and was wondering how I’d articulate my so-so feelings about the book. I think reading your review may have given me a starting place. Thank ye.
I really like Unhinged while I was reading but the pacing of it did bother me. I missed Wonderland (A LOT) and I don’t see any appeal in Jeb at all. I can’t stand when the heroine of the story refuses to be open-minded in regards to her own feelings. I think Morpheus is by far the most interesting and fleshed out character but I’m hoping, like you, that Alyssa grows up a bit. Morpheus needs a happily ever after 😦