Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard (Splintered Was Honestly Better As A Stand Alone)

Posted September 14, 2015 by Sophia

Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard (Splintered Was Honestly Better As A Stand Alone)Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Splintered #2
Other Books: Splintered
Published by Amulet Books on January 7, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Retellings, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Physical
Source: Library

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, the second book in the Splintered trilogy, is set an entire year after the events in Splintered. With the curse broken, Alyssa finally hopes to have as much of a normal life as possible, despite the fact nothing is actually the same.

I personally thought that Splintered was better off a stand-alone when A.G. Howard first takes us to her dark version of Wonderland. The ending definitely could have taken two turns – the book could have expanded into multiple books, or it could have been left alone.

With Unhinged, I just didn’t feel as passionate as I was with the first book. Though Alyssa believes she has left Wonderland behind, Morpheus and Wonderland eventually come back to haunt her through dreams and violent paintings – something bad is going on and Wonderland needs Alyssa back now that she’s taken her place as the Red Queen. The sequel isn’t as adventurous or dark – it just felt like something I would normally see in a novel.

I don’t even know how to phrase it – Unhinged focuses a lot in the human world; Alyssa’s conflicted feelings between Morpheus and Jeb, and where she actually belongs. I hoped the book would bring us back to Wonderland, but I don’t even think we even entered Wonderland – it came to Alyssa and it just wasn’t as exotic or enchanting or amazing as it was back in book one. Am I sounding whiny now?

That’s not including Morpheus and Jeb. Much as I like Morpheus and his sassiness, I just don’t like him for the life of me. I still don’t like Jeb [for the life of me]. If I really had to choose between the two, I would probably pick Morpheus simply because he just seems to have more personality than Jeb. (Have I mentioned Morpheus has sass?) All Morpheus seems to really care about is Red and how to finally get her out of his wings. Alyssa is just… convenient enough to be used and he ends up falling in love with her in the process of “using” her.

Now I don’t know if that’s true. I’m sure he actually cares about her greatly considering their history, and I’m sure Jeb cares about her as well, even though he is overprotective and it probably seems endearing. They don’t fight as much as they did back in Splintered, but I just don’t feel anything for the corners of the love triangle. I just don’t. I feel completely indifferent about Unhinged altogether and I’ll read the last book simply for the feeling of closure.

Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

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