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.
Where SPLINTERED was lush and whimsical, UNHINGED was darker, more sinister, and all the more seductive. Let it be known that A.G. Howard is a master storyteller.
While I was a die-hard fan of Jebediah Holt all through SPLINTERED, in UNHINGED, all I wanted was for him to disappear so Alyssa and Morpheus could be together. It didn’t help matters when Ivory shared a vision with Alyssa.
UNHINGED was just as good as SPLINTERED. There were no second-book-syndrome symptoms in A.G. Howard’s sophomore novel, and I was extremely pleased. Unlike SPLINTERED, however, the ending is somewhat a cliffhanger. With it’s twists and turns, increasing as I neared the end of the book, I was flooded with anguish as I realized the story was far from over, despite the fewer and fewer pages I had left.
With descriptive prose full of vivid imagery and depth, A.G. Howard’s writing is one to admire. We get smooth character arcs, a splendid plotline, and perfect scenes. Mind you, A.G. Howard aces all of this while managing to keep us from spiraling into confusion. Because one thing is for certain, the real Wonderland is far from normal, even to Lewis Carroll’s standards.
Cover note: despite my dislike for this cover, as opposed to my undying love for SPLINTERED’s, I understand it more, now that I’ve read the story. It’s perfect! Even if I’m not in love with it.
All in all, UNHINGED is worth every page and minute you’ll spend on it. If you haven’t read SPLINTERED, you’ve missed out on one gem of a story you shouldn’t have. So do yourself a favor and pick up SPLINTERED, and if you’ve already done that, do yourself an even bigger favor and pick up UNHINGED. Tut, tut!