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I Belong

Early Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Title: Unhinged

Author: A.G. Howard

GenreYA Fantasy

SeriesSplintered (Book 2)

Publication DateJanuary 7, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-101419709712 (Amulet/Abrams)

ISBN-13: 978-1419709715 (Amulet/Abrams)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: This morbid and magical world is filled with amazing characters, hot boys, adorable romance, and captivating writing.  This series is hands down the best retelling I have ever read.

Opening Sentence: My art teacher says that a real artist bleeds for her craft, but he never told us that blood can become your medium, can take on a life of its own and shape your art in vile and gruesome ways.

Excerpt: No

The Review

Alyssa Gardner barely escaped Wonderland with her life, but she didn’t leave unaffected.  It has been a year since she went down the rabbit hole and you could describe her life as complicated.  She wants nothing more than to live a normal life, graduate high school, attend prom, and go to college, but her past is starting to catch up with her. She has started having disturbing dreams about Wonderland being destroyed, but soon her dreams bleed into reality.  She left the cunning Morpheus behind, but now he is back and part of her human world.  Causing trouble is second nature to him and Alyssa’s fragile life is about to break.

Things would be much easier if Alyssa didn’t have her fanatic mother always breathing down her neck. Ever since Alyssa’s mother got out of the Asylum she has been overbearing and untrusting of everyone in Alyssa’s life, especially her boyfriend Jeb.  Jeb and Alyssa saved Wonderland together, but unfortunately Jeb doesn’t remember a thing about it.  For the last year Alyssa has lied to him about who she really is, but she is afraid if she tells him the truth she could lose him forever.

Alyssa is such a perfect heroine that I love and admire. You get to see a new side of Alyssa that is much darker and untamed. She has been torn for a year now between her human life and her place in Wonderland. She has lied to her boyfriend, contained her magic, and ignored warnings that Wonderland is in danger. But things are about to unravel and Alyssa doesn’t know what side is going to shine, her human side or her netherling side?  I find her so relatable and easy to connect with.  Her sense of style is beautiful and her spunky personality is fun.  Her internal struggles are realistic and I found myself sympathizing with her. I don’t envy her choice between her two knights, they are both amazing and totally swoon worthy.

Morpheus was left behind in Wonderland. The girl he loves picked another, but he is far from giving up. His home is in trouble and he needs his queen to make things right. Morpheus is a twisted person that will go to great lengths to get what he wants, at least that’s what he wants you to think. But underneath that entire mysterious persona he is an amazing person. He is snarky and full of awesome puns (one of my favorites is in the notable scene at the bottom.) He has sacrificed a lot for Alyssa’s happiness and he draws out a side to her that is wild and free. They have a connection that runs deep and is undeniable. He really shines in his element and together Alyssa and Morpheus make a magical couple.  Morpheus seriously won me over, and I totally fell in love with him, but I am still Team Jeb all the way.

Jeb is sexy, sweet, honorable, protective, and just plain perfect.  He seriously had me at hello, from the first moment I met him, I knew he would steal my heart.  His relationship with Alyssa is very different in Unhinged, they have been together a year and he can’t remember anything that happened in Wonderland.  There are a few times where he gets his priorities a little mixed up but he always come through in the end. Even though there are times he seems to neglect Alyssa he is always there for her when she needs him.  He loves her and will do anything for her, and he has proved that time and time again.  He brings out the best in her and if given a chance, I think he can prove to be her equal in all aspects of her life. Their love is the forever kind, and I am really rooting for them to end up together.

This is the best retelling I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Splintered was magical and captured my heart from the get go. Unhinged just increased my love for the series.  It is more morbid and dark, but it fit the development of the story perfectly. From the first page, I was enticed into Howard’s magical world and addictive writing. This book has everything: brilliant three-dimensional characters, sizzling tension filled romance, and a captivating magical setting.  Howard’s writing is descriptive and very entertaining. The plot was engaging and the pacing was perfect. This book really left me speechless, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.  I can’t say enough good things about this series. If you haven’t read it yet, you really need to pick it up. It will be so worth it.

Notable Scene:

“Shh.” I squeeze his hand. His palm feels clammy. “We have to try to keep it down, okay? We don’t want my dad coming in.”

He grits his teeth against more shivers. “Always knew I’d end up in your bed…and hear you say those words one day.” He manages a smirk.

Splintered Series:

1. Splintered

1.5  The Moth in the Mirror

2. Unhinged (January 7, 2014)

3. Ensnared

FTC Advisory: Amulet Books/Abrams provided me with a copy of Unhinged. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Early Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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