Unhinged (Splintered Series Book 2)
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 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. 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? Readers will swoon over the satisfying return to Howard’s bold, sensual reimagining of Carroll’s classic.
A much slower read than Splintered, it was still fun following Alyssa’s torn soul through another Wonderland adventure. Though Unhinged takes place on this side of the mirror rather than in Wonderland itself, more characters are introduced, and reintroduced, to invade the normal life Alyssa has (mostly) decided to lead.
Doing her best to ignore her Wonderland side, Wonderland is far from finished with Alyssa, entrenching the one closest to her in a web that forces her to stop ignoring a side of herself she’s more than fond of, despite her insistence to keep it hidden.
The mother is incorporated much more in this installment, but I felt she was written more as a peer, rather than a generational voice. I wasn’t a fan. For me, the way she was integrated cheapened Alyssa’s character, and I felt the story was complex enough that this alternate possible source of drama was unnecessary. Her necessity as a tool to help tell Morpheus’ story, and to lead into the father’s story, which is integral to book three, I could see, but there were so many things about it I just wished were less.
Also, the ending was a bit underwhelming, though another fantastic setup for book 3. Having already finished the final installment of the Splintered Series, Ensnared, I can appreciate this second of the series better as more of a bridge from book one to three, rather than a fantastic story on its own. It’s not that I didn’t like this book, it was simply better when looked at through the scope of the whole, hence its lower rating than book one.
Morpheus, back to his old tricks, is intent on showing Alyssa how much of her Wonderland side she really does miss, even if it means upping his manipulation to a whole new level. Jeb, the same lovable and genuine guy from book one, is again caught in the middle, and I found my heart crying for the young couple’s trouble, so typical in its non-typical context.
If you liked Book one, this book is worth the read, especially as book three is well worth getting to.