Author: A.G. Howard
Published: January 7th, 2014 by Amulet Books
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.
First of all, if you ever have to choose between being human and being a netherling Queen in Wonderland, ALWAYS choose to be queen. Being human is so boring. If it isn’t, no one would be reading Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Lord of the Ring, etc.
In Unhinged, a year has passed after Alyssa returned from her adventure in Wonderland. Her mom is home, Jeb ( 😦 ) is her boyfriend and all is well until she starts having nightmares and her art shows horrible visions about Wonderland. Queen Red is back and she’s out for revenge, secrets are revealed and once again, Alyssa must fight a battle with the help of Morpheus, Jeb, her mom and her friends from Wonderland.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think this book could be shorter. I didn’t think it was boring, just that I wouldn’t mind if it’s a bit shorter because most, if not all, of the action, happened towards the end of the book and nothing really happened at the beginning. I was hoping that Alyssa would go back to Wonderland and all the action/battle would happen there, but sadly, that did not happen. Although, I do like the parts where Wonderland merged with our world. The creepy Wonderlandians (that’s what A.G. Howard calls them. I checked on Goodreads 🙂 ) joined Alyssa in the world of prom and high school and it’s very nicely done. We got to know more about Alyssa’s parents, and even though I like their story, I don’t really like Alyssa’s mother. She kept a lot of secrets that she shouldn’t have. The writing is beautiful and descriptive, and just like the previous book, I could easily picture the scenes in my mind. The story is highly imaginative and in my opinion, it’s a very good retelling of Alice in Wonderland.
Alyssa annoyed me a lot in this book. Her relationship with Jeb made her insecure and I don’t know why she’s determined to stay in the human world because of him.
“Sure it was a mistake for Jeb to take me to get a tattoo behind my parents’ backs. But he didn’t do it to make them mad. He did it against his better judgment because I pressured him. Because I was trying to be rebellious and worldly, like the people he hangs out with now.”
She’s very determined to stay human even though she wanted to unleash her netherling powers, to fly, etc. If she wants to stay human because of her parents, fine, I get it. But the only reason she’s rejecting Wonderland is Jeb. Sigh. Even though she knows that Wonderland is unraveling and in danger, and no matter how many times Morpheus told her to go back to Wonderland to fight Queen Red and set things right, she waited until the last possible moment because she always needs to find Jeb. I really don’t like the way she’s always giving Jeb the benefit of the doubt but always thinks the worst with Morpheus. Every time something bad happened, she just goes “Oh, this must be Morpheus’ fault!” However, I did like her at the end, when she embraced her madness. Hopefully, she’ll be much better in the next book.
Morpheus is great, as always. He has the best lines :D. He’s always pushing Alyssa to be better, challenging her to be stronger and although he protects her, he also knows that she’s capable of taking care of herself. I know that Morpheus always has a hidden agenda or a scheme to help him get what he wants, but at the end of the day, he would always do something selfless if it meant saving Alyssa from harm. I don’t understand why there had to be a love triangle in this book, because to me, there shouldn’t even be a choice. Jeb is holding her back from her potential, smothering her and keeping her trapped in the human world for no reason, while Morpheus is always helping her become a more confident, powerful version of herself.
So to sum up, I like this book. I don’t know if I like it more than Splintered, but I like it. The story was interesting and I want to know what happens next, the writing is beautiful and easy to read, and I love the ending. I’m looking forward to reading more about Wonderland so I’m going to read the next book. I hope Alyssa will be a better character in Ensnared :).
“All I have to do is set the power free. Escape the chains of humanity, let madness be my guide. If I forget everything but Wonderland, I can become beautiful pandemonium.”