Release Date: January 7, 2014
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.
UNHINGED. I still don't know exactly how I feel about Splintered 2. I know it's as fantastical as the first one and I still like Alyssa as a heroine. I love the ongoing battle between her and Queen Red, her mom is still kinda quirky and her relationship with Jeb just got a bit complicated. A lot of you have either read the book and/or countless reviews so I won't focus on being objective, instead I'll tell you more about my experience with UNHINGED and other subjective points.
It's expected that a character as notorious as Queen Red will be hard to vanquish, what I didn't expect is for her to bring the war to Alyssa and I love that little surprise. However I'm a little disappointed that I figured out Queen Red's disguise right away, I wish Howard made it harder for us to figure that part out to make it more mysterious and the big reveal jaw dropping. I enjoyed Alyssa's conundrum, as the reigning Queen Red, she has to choose between ruling her part of Wonderland or staying in our realm living as a normal teenager. That problem is semi-resolved at this point although with Howard, who knows what she'll pull from her mad hat next.
Next is Morpheus and this love triangle he's insisting on Alyssa. Alyssa already made a choice and she picked Jeb, I don't understand why this issue is still being pressed at this point. It almost feels like a forced drama just to create some romantic conflict between the characters. Also, Morpheus is one cunning and manipulative moth! I didn't like him in Splintered and I still don't like him in UNHINGED. As for Jeb, I feel bad for the dude with his memory is always getting messed up somehow. I won't be surprised if Howard gives him a mental condition down the road to justify Alyssa and Morpheus being together.
The big surprise for me is what Alyssa's mom, Alison, revealed about her Dad. I sort of love/hate Alison for what she did but I guess it's one of those situations where one's choice is picking the lesser of two evils. Alyssa's dad has been through so much at this point so in a way it's a blessing that Alison did what she did.
Loved this installment and the intrigue it left us with. Of course UNHINGED and Splintered is one of those series that leaves its readers wanting more. Obviously I'm looking forward to Ensnared, it's going to be mayhem and this is one family affair I won't want to miss.