Wednesday, February 19, 2014

ARC Review: Unhinged (Splintered #2)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Title: Unhinged (Splintered #2)
Author: A.G. Howard
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Released Date: January 2, 2014
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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.

My Thoughts:

I devoured Unhinged like I'm in the influence of Tumtum juice and the only thing that could quench this hunger, is not a handful of Tumtum berries but a little sneak peek from Ensnared. The magic and madness of Wonderland was overflowing in every page of this book and I willingly drowned myself in it.

“One does what one has to do, to protect what they love.”

A lot has changed since Aly's Wonderland adventure in Splintered. Her mother, Alison, who has been recently released from the asylum, makes up for the lost time by being overly involve in Aly's life. Jeb and Aly's relationship is still going strong after almost a year of being together. Aly has stopped her bug mosaics and found an equally morbid new medium for her creativity - her blood. And Morpheus was bugging her (pun intended), not only in her dreams but also at school. Something bad is happening in Wonderland and Aly can feel it in her blood. But the question is, is she willing to give up prom, graduation and Jeb in the human realm, to enter the rabbit hole once again and face a battle she has little chance of winning? Find out.

"But now, more than ever, I realize how important every memory is, bad or good, because they shape who we become."

Anita really made the anticipation and waiting for this book, all worth it. I had to admit, I was a little bit worried at first, because I had a lot of expectation for this book and the fact that it wasn't set in Wonderland, makes me more worried it won't be as magical as Splintered. But I have never been so glad I was wrong. The sceneries of Wonderland might not be present here but the enchanting/disturbing atmosphere of it and its bizarre inhabitants will always be with Aly wherever she goes.

"Ready for what?" I ask.
"For you to wrap me in your wings," he answers, voice gruff. "And for me to show you how to fly without ever leaving the ground."

And speaking of Aly, she's fighting two battles in this story, one is with the Queen Red and the other one is with herself. She's afraid to embrace her netherling side, afraid to let the madness that is in her blood, to take over because she wasn’t sure if she can control it. Eventually, she realized that suppressing her powers will not help her defeat Red and so she finally let her magic free.     

"There is nothing black-and-white about Morpheus. He's a chaotic portrait made of every shade of gray."

I terribly hate to admit it but hanging out with Morpheus proved to be very beneficial to Aly. He really stepped up his game and showed his vulnerable and endearing side. I can see now what Team Morpheus fans see in him. He might be cryptic, a bit selfish and most of the time, frustrating but he’s a pretty decent moth, I mean, guy who will do whatever it takes to protect the one he loves, even if it means manipulating others. I’m impressed with his dedication but I still don’t like his methods. 

Just an artist. You painted my freedom with your blood. Just a skater. You flew across a chasm on a skateboard made of a tea tray to get me to safety. You don’t need magic, Jeb.”... "You’re my knight. There’s nothing left to prove anymore."

Jeb wasn’t as present here in Unhinged as he was in Splintered but I still love him, no matter what. He also has a really emotional moment with Aly in the memory train which tugs at my heartstrings. The sacrifice he made painting the roses with his own blood in order to save Aly is the most selfless and morbidly romantic thing I’ve ever read. That is the only proof I need, to know that he is the best guy for Aly.

A lot of surprising revelations happened here about Aly’s parents and her future. Oh, and watch out because the cliffhanger ending feels like getting hit by Sister Two’s poisonous pincers. It will slowly kill you as you wait for the last book in the series.

Overall, Unhinged is an equally awesome read that will give you all the feels (depending on who you root for). I will gladly recommend this to everyone who likes magic, madness and anything related to Alice in the Wonderland.

My Rating

*An advance review copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review (Thanks, Abrams and Chronicles!)
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