Review 305. A.G Howard – Unhinged.

19430954Title: Unhinged.
Author: A.G Howard.
Pages: 387.
Published: December 17th 2013 by Scholastic Australia.
Sort: Splintered #2.
Review #1. Splintered.
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.
Rating:

It has been a while since I read Splintered, so I was sometimes confused when they referred to certain occurrences. That didn’t bother me too much though, but it might have played a role in my feelings about the story.  I was a little underwhelmed by this book. It felt a bit flat and slow-paced to me.

I fell in love with the dark twist on Wonderland that was created in Splintered. I liked all the problems Alyssa had to solve and how she was guided by Morpheus. In this book Alyssa is back in her real world, where she is trying to return to her normal life. It’s difficult when Morpheus keeps popping up, asking her to return to Wonderland to reclaim her throne before it is too late.


This sounded fantastic to me. Unfortunately it wasn’t. This book seemed to suffer from the middle-part-syndrome, where everything is a set-up for the conclusion in the final book. Alyssa is set on staying in the real world, where she can stay with the horrible Jeb. I’m still not a fan of him. He shows so little interest in Alyssa and I just don’t care about him or their romance. Their relationship doesn’t feel balanced to me, especially when Alyssa keeps worrying about his feelings for her. She is jealous and afraid he will cheat on her; bad signs in a relation that is still so new.

At the same time, I also don’t see Morpheus as a real love-interest. Yes, he is an interesting character and I like his ‘bad’ personality, but I don’t think he would be good to Alyssa. He lies, keeps important information behind and he is a great manipulator. Not the traits for a boyfriend if you ask me. It does suit him and it’s logical, because he is from Wonderland where everything is dangerous and twisted.

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Now that we have those negative things out of the way, I certainly enjoyed parts of this book. I liked the mystery around Alyssa’s mosaics and her mother’s + father’s past. Alyssa is also a good character. I don’t always agree with her choices and thoughts, but I like her and how realistic she feels. She isn’t perfect and I like how hard she tries to make the best out of the situation that is starting to spin out of her control. I can’t wait to see her come to her full potential in the final book, Ensnared, which will be set in Wonderland again. The ending of Unhinged definitely makes me want to read it as soon as possible.


31 comments

  1. Wow, I have heard wonderful things about Splintered, and while it may sound amazing, I was wary to start reading the series exactly because of what you highlighted up there, Mel.

    A love triangle, plus a love triangle where none of the love interests are worthy? I feel you. Also, I HATE the middle-book syndrome! It's excruciating! Nevertheless, great review, I'll be sure to look into this series in the near future :)

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    1. Yeah, when there is a love-triangle I at least want to ship one of the guys with the girl..

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  2. I had such trouble getting behind Jeb and I agree that Morph isn't the best option either. I do love him though :-) Do you think you'll continue with Ensnared?

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  3. I didn't care for this installment nearly as much as the first either mainly because the story took place in the human world which is no where near as fascinating as Wonderland. I have high hopes for the conclusion though, back down the rabbit hole we go!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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  4. Heard great praises for the first book so it's not surprising that readers would have high expectations. I'm so sorry to hear that this falls under the middle-book syndrome. Do you recommend this trilogy?

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    1. I've finished the last book and on a whole, I would say 'yes' if you are a fairytale fan.

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  5. Too bad this one had a bit of middle-book-syndrome for you. But hopefully an awesome finale will make up for it! I've had this series on my wishlist for a while, so hopefully the final book is better.

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  6. I agree that this one suffers from second-in-the-series syndrome. I really liked the cliffhanger but it was nothing like the perfection that is Splintered.

    I agree that Morpheus can be manipulative, but I feel like everything he does is for her own good. So yeah, I ship em. :p

    We're so close to Ensnared, I can't even IMAGINE how this will all come together!
    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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    1. I think he lovers her in his own way, but I'm not sure it's healthy..

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  7. Unhinged didn't work for me at all. Morpheus is so terribly obnoxious (and creepy - he has been grooming Alyssa since she was four, can someone say EW?!)

    I hope you enjoy Ensnared (:

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  8. I enjoyed Splintered, but for some reason I haven't picked Unhinged up yet. Although your review is a bit concerning. I didn't like Morpheus in the first book for the same reasons you listed & I disliked the focus on the love triangle; so it's a shame there's the same intensity of focus on it here. :| Nonetheless, looking forward to seeing what you think about the 3rd book!

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  9. I had the same experience with this one actually. It'd actually been a while since I read Splintered, so I was going off of what I generally remembered. I thought Unhinged paled in comparison. Don't you hate the dreaded middle-book syndrome? Not as good as the first, not as good/bad as the last. I'm hoping Ensnared does the series some justice.

    Matilda @ Characterized

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  10. I don't like Jeb either. At all. While I had less problems with Unhinged than you have (probably because I do like Morpheus, a lot, even though he can be a manipulative asshole *excuse my language*). I did however think that Splintered was better than its sequel (I love splintered something fierce) and I really hope Ensnared will be just as good!

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    1. Morpheus as a character is amazing! He just doesn't do the trick as love-interest for me :(

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  11. I LOVED Splintered, but like you, I wasn't exactly wowed by the second book. You're right, this totally and sequel syndrome. The plot just completely slowed down. Kind of unrelated but I saw someone comparing the arcs of all three the other day and gah Ensnared looked tiny. Which had me wondering, how do you wrap up all these loose ends so quickly, huh?? Lovely review, Mel! x

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    1. She did it pretty nicely, although I'm still trying to decide whether I liked it or not :p

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  12. Amazing review Mel. <3 I'm glad you enjoyed this book. But aw, I'm sorry you had some issues with it :\ I had more issues though, lol. Just not for me :( Which makes me so sad, because I found the plot to be pretty exciting. If only there had been zero romance, lol :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3 I hope you will love book three :)

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  13. I find it hard to see Morpheus as a real love interest too. I mean don't get me wrong, I really like his character because of how interesting he is, but a boyfriend? I don't know. Jeb, on the other hand, I agree is completely horrible. The only things that really keeps me reading this series are Morpheus and curiosity. I must know how it ends!

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    1. Yes! He is complex. He is interesting. But is he the right one for Alyssa? Meh..

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  14. YEEES SOMEONE WHO AGREES WITH ME! I loved Splintered but this one? meeeeeh. I definitey didn't agree with Alyssa decisions either, I really do hope the last book is good so I can finish this series on a good note.

    Fantastic review as always, lovely! <33

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  15. Ah, looks like second book syndrome right there! I still haven't read Splintered but I'm so sad that the sequel turned out be weaker than the first book. Also, I've noticed that those who love the books really love this Jeb guy so it's interesting to see someone who isn't a fan. Makes me wary. *side-eyes* I'm glad to hear you liked the MC at least! :D

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    1. I guess that would make the book much better!

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  16. I often have that problem with sequels - even if I read it right when it comes out I always forget details that are mentioned or even who certain side characters are. I didn't love the first book but it sounds like a very middle-book book. I remember not liking Morpheus at all as a romantic interest in book 1. I didn't like either boys actually >.< Great review, hun!

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  17. Awww what a shame, it does sound like this one had middle book syndrome. I'm curious to find out what all the fuss is about especially with Morpheus though, chances are I don't think he's for me because I've never been one for bad boys. Thanks for the review Melanie, hopefully you enjoy Ensnared.

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  18. I am definitely going to make reading the first one a priority this coming year! Cause you know...I had a wonderland wedding and adore all things related our themed with it.

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  19. Great review. I have to admit that I was one of the few people who didn't love Splintered. It wasn't bad but it was just a bit too strange for me. I didn't really know how to review it because I couldn't seem to think of a good way to explain why it didn't work for me. You've made me glad I didn't continue the series though, this doesn't sound like an amazing read that would rescue the series for me. I didn't really like Jeb or Morpheus, so I would have grown tired of Alyssa struggling with her Jeb romance.

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    1. It's a good thing you decided to quit the series. I was also annoyed by the struggle :)

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