Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

March 24, 2014 Review 32 ★★★

Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Unhinged by A.G. Howard
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Amulet
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 400
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Series: Splintered #2
Genres: Bedtime & Dreams, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
three-starsthree-starsthree-stars
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.

alise

Honestly, UNHINGED was just an average read all around. After falling down the rabbit hole with SPLINTERED (total pun intended) and loving Howard’s unique and macabre retelling of Alice in Wonderland, I was not expecting a sequel. Nor, did I think the book needed one. However, I am happy with the path the series is taking.

Splintered
“A childish story take, and with a gentle hand, lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined in Memory’s mystic band…thus grew the world of Wonderland.”

UNHINGED explores all the characters of SPLINTERED that, without a sequel, we would have never discovered the depth of. Everyone has a backstory and secret pasts that they would rather stay hidden but this book fully explores all of them.

It’s great that we get to learn more about these characters, it would have been nice to see some fresh faces along with all the familiar ones. I hope ENSNARED introduces some new players to spice up the plot a bit.

Speaking of the characters, Alyssa kind of reverted to her naive, weak human side we saw in the beginning of SPLINTERED. So in this book was reading Alyssa’s journey of accepting herself all over again, which was a little bit repetitive and frustrating when we all know she has the ability to be something greater.

Unhinged
“Little blossom trapped in between,
wearing malice like a queen;

hide the truth, be cruel and tart,
still all the more, you rule my heart.”

Jeb held his own in SPLINTERED but now he seems so helpless and kind of unnecessary. In fact, he spends a good portion of his time in the novel unconscious/unaware/absent and I barely noticed he was gone. I really liked him in the first book because he seemed like the perfect fit for Alyssa, complementing her in every way. Now he just seems like a puppy trying to play with a pack of wolves, way out of his league.

Morpheus was my favorite character in the first installment and needless to say, I am Team Morpheus. His character continues to surprise me yet make me want to tear my hair out at the same time. He is so frustrating and I can definitely share Alyssa’s exasperation (and affection) towards him. Plus he does the stupidest things, even if they are right in his mind, that can be infuriating but you still manage to sympathize with him and even pity him.

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Plot wise, there isn’t too much going on but the writing and characters nudged the story along. The focus was definitely on the trio and the relationships they all have with each other. So while the first book worked on the world building and establishing things, this one was more character-driven, which I sometimes prefer because characters can be entertaining in and of themselves.

Overall, this is a great book if you are looking for more from the characters, especially Morpheus as he plays a major role, but is not vital if you are satisfied with the ending of SPLINTERED. A fair warning though, if you do read it, the ending cliffhanger will leave you mad for the next book. (Another total pun intended)

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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 3.1

32 Responses to “Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard”

  1. Kirsty-Marie

    I didn’t think it needed a sequel either, I was happy with how it ended. That said, I’m really glad there was and formed into a trilogy. Like you said, plot wise there’s not much going on, but it is kind of laying the ground for the final, and I did really love getting to know more of the characters. Wherein Splintered it was more focused on Alice’s past and Alyssa’s rightful future, it was fun getting to know the connections of Wonderland to the other characters and how it all does really connect together. Totally agree with you with Jeb though (after I read Unhinged I tried denying it, because I was totally Team Jeb) but he did annoy me more this time around (though, I do still like him, I’m just hoping he’s better in Ensnared)and made me more Team Morpheus because he’s extra sneaky this time. Morpheus really did up the game and Jeb just…didn’t. So can’t wait to see how it ends. :) Shame you didn’t enjoy it as much as the first, but Morpheus. ;)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Echo Boy

    • Alise

      Yeah! I was actually disappointed when I first heard about a sequel but I’m pretty happy with it too. Exactly! It’s a build up for sure. Oh, that just reminded me of another thing, we didn’t see a lot of Wonderland at all in this one.. Yeah, I tolerate Jeb, he’s not TOO bad. I can’t blame you because Morpheus had some killer quotes in this one too. :D

  2. Joy (Joyousreads)

    I didn’t think it needed a sequel as well, but for a completely different reason. I should say that I don’t care either way just because I never did enjoy the first book. I think you’re the second review that I read today who readily admit to loving Morpheus [and I still argue that he was a user in the first book (^.^)]

    Anyway, great review, Alise. :)
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

    • Alise

      Baha xD At least you’re honest! I definitely prefer Morpheus but he definitely doesn’t make the best choices. And to be honest, he’s still kind of a user in this one too, haha.

  3. Tanja

    I was sadly never a fan of Splintered (I guess I jumped into a wrong rabbit hole. Still possibility!) I gave up on this one. Honestly I was a bit surprised when I saw that this book is getting a sequel but I’m glad it tells more about some characters. Anyhow sorry that this book wasn’t nothing special at the end. Great review, Alise :)
    Tanja recently posted…Mini-reviews: Cinder and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

    • Alise

      Haha, thanks Marianne! I always tend to like the villain in the love triangle, they always seem much more complex. There are some really interesting twists with Alyssa’s mom in this one! Fun that you reviewed Splintered today :D

    • Alise

      The first is pretty great if you want a darker retelling! As for this one, some people actually like it better so you never know. Thanks!

  4. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    OMG I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. AND I JUST REVIEWED IT TOO (but, hey, I use the word “review” loosely because I mostly fangirled). I’m so team Morpheus. I mean, why was Jeb there?! That’s exactly what I said too…he’s unconscious and annoying most of the time. And totally NOT even caring what’s happening with Al’s life. MEH. But some of those plot twists really surprised me. I don’t know what Ensnared’s exactly going to do, but I’m sooo excited to go back into Wonderland. OH. And the cover. I literally freaking cannot wait until I see the cover.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Unhinged by A.G. Howard (I still love the moth)

    • Alise

      Haha, it’s tough to write a review when you just have a menagerie of strong emotions about it :P Right? All he does is pretty much stand there, he didn’t have a huge part in the book at all. I liked most of the twists, the ones with her mother were kind of eh. I hear Jeb’s going to be on the cover this time, but I can’t say 100%.

  5. Wattle

    I haven’t started this series yet (it seems like there’s always a series I haven’t started. So. Many. Series!) but I’m sure I will check it out eventually. I do enjoy my fantasy based on other stories, retellings can be so fun :D
    Wattle recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #6

    • Alise

      Yeah and lot of them have ended recently which makes me feel even more behind! This one is a really great retelling because it’s so creative!

  6. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    I haven’t read this yet, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about it! Guess I should take the hint and put it on my TBR list, eh? ;) It’s awesome when a book has such strong, relatable characters!

    Thanks so much for sharing Alise, and, as always, brilliant review! :D
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Ashfall

  7. Samantha

    I just saw a review of this over at The NotebookSisters and it looks good. I will be adding this to my TBR list. I like the Wonderland idea, but Jeb sounds irritating. I dislike love triangles anyways. Sharp, point… someone always gets hurt.
    Great review!

    • Alise

      Yeah, her review was awesome! The retelling part is really great, especially since it’s such a creative take on Wonderland. The love triangle in this can be pretty frustrating, especially if you pick the “losing team” ha! Thank you!

  8. Andreea

    I loved the first book too and for a long time, I didn’t even expect a sequel, because like you, I don’t think it really needs one. So I don’t really know if I want to read this sequel or not. It’s on my wish list anyway and maybe I will read it some day.

    But I am glad to hear it was not a total disappointment and that the characters made up for the plot (or rather lack of plot).

    Great review!
    Andreea recently posted…‘Waiting on’ Wednesday (1): Hungry by H.A. Swain

    • Alise

      I know exactly how you feel since I was in the same boat. I would say if you want more from the world or characters, give it a shot.

      Yeah, haha, it wasn’t too bad at all.

      Thanks!

    • Alise

      There really are, so I don’t blame you at all. I think if you enjoy retellings in general you will probably like this one.

    • Alise

      Carmel, I know EXACTLY how you feel! The same thing happened to me with this book. It was so sad how we didn’t see any of Wonderland, which was my favorite part of the first book. Haha, right? Can’t wait!

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