(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Abrams on January 7th 2014
Genres: Adaptations, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, General, Young Adult
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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.Praise for Unhinged
“’Little blossom trapped in between, wearing malice like a queen; hide the truth, be cruel and tart, still at the more, you rule my heart.’”
Alyssa Gardner has managed to escape Red and return home, leaving Wonderland behind, but it’s not ready to leave her. Her heart is torn between the two worlds she belongs to, including her artistic boyfriend, Jeb, and her sly Wonderland guide, Morpheus. But when Wonderland starts invading the mortal realm, her haven, she has to save all those she loves from the disastrous fate of Red.
Alison, Alyssa’s mother, returned home after the events that took place in the first book, but Alison had secrets of her own that she didn’t share with her daughter. Determined to protect her mother from the dark things she saw in Wonderland, Alyssa hid the events that took place that Morpheus tried to convince her meant Wonderland was facing turmoil in this book. The relationship between Alyssa and her mother in this book went from a mother and daughter trying to get reacquainted to strained. Seeing Alison in a new light helped progress the story along and threw in twist and turns that added to the captivating writing style Howard has eloquently developed. I enjoyed seeing how this once torn family tried to come back together and the rips that would remain in such a tenuous fabric.
Since Jeb’s memories were wiped clean in the first book, acting as if he had never been to Wonderland, he was not aware of why certain changes were taking place in Alyssa—if he had the time to notice. His art career skyrocketed from his fairy drawings, and Alyssa began to doubt his commitment. My heart remains torn on which guy I like best for Alyssa, Morpheus or Jeb. Whereas I saw a different side to Jeb, the driven artist in love with a girl he only partly knows, I saw Morpheus under a different magnifying glass, too. Because I saw a side of Jeb less desirable than the one in the first book, I began to sway towards Morpheus. Even though Morpheus is seen as the egotistical manipulator, Howard addressed the reasoning behind some of his actions, which nearly ripped my heart to shreds. It gave a beautiful look into the blue-haired Netherling’s mind that I found it hard not to fall for—and those wings! Every time Morpheus exposed his true affections—and his true form—to Alyssa and she misinterpreted them, I got about as irritated as he did. Yet, like Alyssa, there remained a part of me that loved Jeb as well.
“’Alyssa, you’ve been given a chance at two lives, two loves. That is nothing short of a miracle. I shall see you soon, in Wonderland.’”
A whole new level of certifiable insanity is introduced in this installment, and I enjoyed reading as Alyssa slipped deeper into her role as Queen of the Red Court, even though she had trouble accepting her fate. That’s to say that a lot of the book I was irritated with Alyssa, but also could see why she made certain choices, especially when Jeb and Morpheus were involved (it’s going to be such a hard choice—I’m not sure if I’m ready for it!).
The writing remained as magnificent as the first book, drawing me in from the first page and having many evoking, heart-stopping scenes. And the ending! I grasped at the pages, eyes flickering at an unrealistic pace till the very last word. After I finished it, it took a high level of restraint to not dig into the next book. It’s an intoxicating book with enough romance and Netherling antics to keep you on the edge of your seat.
“’Nothing can break the chains you have on my heart. For you are Wonderland.”