- Publisher: Abrams
- Format: Paperback | 400 pages
- Dimensions: 140mm x 210mm x 27mm | 417g
- Publication date: 1 January 2014
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 1419710478
- ISBN 13: 9781419710476
- Sales rank: 14,786
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole. She was crowned Queen of the Red Court and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the boy she loves and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly appealing Morpheus. Now all she has to do is graduate high school. That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting more protective than she needs to. 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. Could she leave Jeb and her parents behind again, for the sake of a man she knows has manipulated her before? Will her mother and Jeb trust her to do what's right? Can she trust herself to make the smart decision?
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Anita Grace Howard was a library clerk at a middle school when she wrote Splintered, her first novel. She lives in Amarillo, TX.
By Pilar Albarran 07 Jan 2014
After Splintered that was one of my favourite debuts from last year when I found out that Anita was planning to write a sequel, I was very excited and very intrigued about how was she planning to continue the story!
I preordered Unhinged quite ahead of time and for once, The Book Depository shipped it quite in advance, so much that it arrived well ahead of release date (Jan 7th), it could have been a Xmas present even, because it arrived on Dec 26th!
As usual I will be trying to keep the review spoiler free, cause I wouldn't want to spoil any of the shocks for you! But be warned since there will be spoilers for Splintered.
Unhinged was what any good sequel should be about. Full of twists, shocking revelations, unexpected information and constant surprises. The stakes are getting higher with every turn of the page.
Alyssa chose to leave Wonderland behind and return to her normal life with Jeb and her parents, to try and save her mother from the curse of the Liddells. But Red is still on the loose and Morpheus is not giving up one his claim on her.
Unhinged focuses in Alyssa's fight with who she is. Her human half and her netherling half. She doesn't realize her strenght and seems to be scared of accepting who she is. She keeps on fighter Wonderland and herself and despite understandably not trusting Morpheus, she keeps on venting her frustrations on him.
Wonderland keeps on creeping into Alyssa's "normal" life cause quite a lot of trouble for her. And she keeps on finding out that most of what she thought she knew isn't right, and she has to face loads of revelations about Morpheous, Wonderland, her mum and her parents.
Sometimes I must say I wanted to shake Alyssa when she kept asking Morpheus for help and then treating him like vermin. I agree that he deserves quite a smack here and there and eye rolling more often than not, but you can't just automatically blame him for everything! But you cannot fault Alyssa for not trying her best to protect those she love from harm, even at the cost of her own sanity or appearance of it.
Alison, Alyssa's mum was quite a surprise. I had no idea of her side of the story and I'm so glad that we get to know about it and she and Alyssa finally have an honest talk! The lack of trust and truth is one of the main obstacles here in Wonderland, too many secrets leave Alyssa and the other vulnerable to Red and other enemies.
Anita Howard's writing is immensely visual, she brings to life every scene in my head in a way very few books can, and her Wonderland has what I call a Burtonian Wonderland quality: vivid, extra creepy and full of madness! And if you add to it a creepy clown toy, wood that can eat you and a zombie prom... Sometimes I fear to think what else she can concoct!
For all of you, yes, there is a love triangle, Alyssa is getting torn between her two natures and Jeb and Morpheus, but for once I was not feeling aggravated about it! I don't find Morpheus so irritating at all, but so far, I remain Team Jeb.
The ending... well that ending was freaking cruel and heartbreaking with a proper evil cliffhanger. But Anita redeemed herself with the final pages of Alyssa taking charge of her future, embracing herself as she is, human & netherling! I just cannot wait to read the next book NOW!!
More than well deserved 5 stars!
By Iona 04 Jan 2014
This is a review for the second book in a series and as a result may contain spoilers for the previous book.
Let me first say this, there was not nearly enough Wonderland in this book. Just putting it out there that the next book needs to include more Wonderland (I actually understand where Howard is taking the series and that the 3 books will be set in 3 different worlds but I still love Wonderland so much that I miss it).
Unhinged takes place a whole year after the events of Splintered and Alyssa is in her final year of High School, about to graduate. As the novel starts Alyssa is firmly in a relationship with Jeb, who does not remember the time he spent in Wonderland and doesn't know about that part of Alyssa's life. She's thinking about loosing her virginity to Jeb on prom night & worrying about other teenage things, but Alyssa is not a normal teenager and soon finds out that 'normal' is a luxury she can't afford.
The novel progresses as Morpheus warns Alyssa that Red is seeking to take back Wonderland and kill her, and that if Alyssa doesn't come into Wonderland to stop Red then the fight will be brought to her world. Alyssa wants to save Wonderland but is scared of the person she could be in it and more importantly she chose to go back to her world and be with Jeb, so she thinks it shouldn't be her problem any more. On the other hand, Morpheus is determined to make her the Queen he thinks she was born to be. Morpheus decides to become part of Alyssa's world in order to provoke her into action and enrols in her school as a student. Hijincks and other things ensue and Alyssa is dragged back into the Wonderland conflict.
Unhinged was equal parts about the love triangle and the power struggles going on in Alyssa's life. This sequel completely did a complete 180 on me and changed everything I thought from the first book. In the first book I was 100% team Jeb and all for Alyssa staying in her world, however the way Howard wrote Unhinged had me questioning all that until I was team Morpheus/ Wonderland.
The first part that changed my mind was they way Jeb was acting. In the book he's so desperate to prove that he's not a bad guy like his dad that he's often neglecting Alyssa to do it. Don't get me wrong he's all for the big gestures, like painting his blood on white roses, but he's so desperate to kick start his Art career that he ends up leaving Alyssa alone after she almost drowns and is rushed to hospital. It just didn't make sense to me and left me hurting for Alyssa every time she felt insecure or abandoned.
On the other hand Morpheus is there for her, in his usual way of not being fully honest with her, but still standing by her side and lining things up so that she can be the victor. In Unhinged you definitely get to see a more vulnerable side to Morpheus and you realise he's not going away.
More than that we find out that every moment of Alyssa's life has been influenced by Wonderland. She can't escaped it now she is Queen, and it has always been a constant in her life, even before Morpheus would play with her as a child. It seems inevitable that she will end up there. Also, Howard really throws a spanner in the works by showing us a possible version of the future. How can Alyssa pick one life when she knows eventually all roads lead to Rome, assuming they all survive long enough for her to decide?
Overall, Howard has written an amazing sequel to an amazing first novel. The characters have only gotten stronger and the way Howard describes the hauntingly bizarre Wonderland creatures is just amazing. The ending though was heart wrenching, I can't see a future for either of her potential loves after what they're about to go through, especially not Jeb who's already broke enough. I just need the third book right now damn it!
If you haven't checked out this series yet then what are you waiting for?
"I highly recommend this series to you all. Take a tumble down the dark brightly coloured rabbit hole, play with devious and alluring Wonderland creatures and put your mind to the test and see if you want to resurface from this read." Big Book Little Book Blog "The perfect continuation from Splintered, Unhinged was madness and crazy combined into a pocket of badassery encased with gruesome creatures and magic. Suspense and a cliff-hanger that'll leave you wanting Ensnared the minute you finish reading, Wonderland really was only the beginning." Studioreads Blog