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Everything Alyce: 'Unhinged' (Splintered #2) by A. G. Howard

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

'Unhinged' (Splintered #2) by A. G. Howard


*This review will contain spoilers!*

"If you won't stay and save Wonderland, I shall bring my own brand of chaos to the human realm."

If you haven't read my review for the first book in the Splintered series, 'Splintered', you should go and read that first! Because this is the second book in the series, I'm not going to be going too much into the establishment of the plot and characters, so if you want any back story you can get it there!
I didn't love the first book in the Splintered series as much as I'd been expecting to, because I had my hopes set insanely high for this series. However, I was certain that it was going to improve over the following two installments, so I couldn't wait to dive into the second book, and boy was I not disappointed.
'Unhinged' focuses much more on the human realm, starting straight off when Morpheus interferes with the human realm and partially drowns Alyssa, forcing her to use her netherling powers to free herself from the situation. He knows she cares about Wonderland, but because she won't admit it and worries much more about the people in her human life, Morpheus decides to take on a human glamour and start attending her school. Meanwhile Red is still causing problems in Wonderland, so Morpheus wants to persuade Alyssa to deal with her once and for all, despite the fact that all she really wants to do is get through prom next week and then move to London with her human boyfriend, Jeb.
The main thing that made me love this novel more than the first installment was definitely the fact that it was bringing Wonderland to us. Instead of trying to reimagine the famous Lewis Carroll scenes, it was brilliant to see the characters in our world, and how they affected the dynamics. Morpheus as a student was such an insane juxtaposition that it completely embodied the ethos of Wonderland, and the craziness just kept going from there. A. G. Howard has such a brilliant imagination, and seeing evil toys wandering in the school corridors and wraiths flooding into the school gym just kept me on the edge of my seat with every page.
However, even with everything that was going on it never seemed busy, which was another big positive. At a couple of points in the first novel I felt rather confused, because there was so much going on that I couldn't get my head around it, but that didn't happen with the action in this second installation. Yes, some of the secrets and lies were difficult to untangle - there was so much deception and confusion! - but because Alyssa didn't know what was going on either it didn't lock anyone out from the development of the plot.
While not much happened in the first half of the novel, it definitely wasn't boring; even though there didn't seem to be much going on, the characters were so compelling that even their developments and interactions were worth reading, and I would have been happy if this book had been longer. Finally getting to meet Alison, Alyssa's mum, properly was great - while at the start of the novel she seems like a terrible character, when her and Alyssa start bonding and opening up they are a badass team! It definitely feels as though we know all of these characters well. I'm finding myself caring about what happens to them and understanding the motivations behind their actions, which is something I can find hard to do! Similarly, love triangles really annoy me in ordinary situations, but the conflict that Alyssa is feeling with the decision between Morpheus and Jeb is completely understandable, and I actually feel sorry for her that she's stuck in the situation - first time for everything!
I am really anticipating the third installation. But I do have the terrible habit that when I'm really enjoying a book I read it really slowly, because I didn't want it to end, but the fact that I was waiting a couple of weeks between sittings of 'Unhinged' and I still didn't forget what was going on is a huge credit to how absorbing this world is. The dialogue is convincing, the characters are all three dimensional and completely unique, and the plot is unpredictable. If you're looking for a book that's going to keep you hooked, this is definitely the one.
I already have my copy of 'Ensnared', but knowing it's the final book in the trilogy makes me want to hold of on starting it - I just don't want this story to come to an end! But the ending of 'Unhinged' is a complete cliffhanger, and I need to know what happens, so I don't think my willpower will last for too long!
If you like retellings, read this book. If you like crazy, unconventional happenings in an everyday setting, read this book. If you like books, read this book! I can't think of anything that would make anyone dislike it, because it's so brilliant. 

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