Title: Unhinged (Splintered #2)
Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: YA Supernatural
Release Date: January 2014
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.
At this point, I don't know if it's even fair for me to review an A.G. Howard novel. I had minor reservations about Splintered, but Unhinged had no problems because Morpheus plays a larger, if possible a more seductive role. I don't care what happens in this series: Morpheus is my muse.
I mean, have you seen that cover?! He's perfection on a book.
Alyssa Gardner has spent a year in her human realm, now preparing to go with Jeb to the prom and soon after London to be an artist. Unfortunately, the bugs and flowers won't let her forget Wonderland as they, and her art, warn about an impending war on the horizon with Red. As soon as Morpheus shows up and family truths are revealed, Alyssa has no choice but to face Wonderland.
I normally hate love triangles, but in the first book it wasn't really a love triangle: it was a love/lust/crush triangle. Alyssa was mainly tempted by Morpheus because she wasn't sure if Jeb would be hers, but by the start of this novel it's obvious they are serious and committed. In Unhinged, the triangle expands as Alyssa's netherling side is forcing its way out and Alyssa is driven to accept that no matter what happens, Morpheus won't leave so easily.
The mother/daughter dynamic is what the first book was really lacking, The fact that Alison can now speak to Alyssa creates a deeper dimension to the history of Wonderland and what really happened between her and Morpheus (which to my relieved surprise is not what Alyssa feared). The downside is that now poor Dad is left out of the action and trust circle. It becomes a game of who can know what to formulate a how at getting back at Red. Between Alyssa's fear, Jeb's protectiveness, and Morpheus' secrets, nearly every plan falls apart somewhere down the line.
I was worried about the entire novel taking place in the human realm because let's face it, Wonderland is super awesome cool. However, Howard makes sure that enough netherlings cross the plane into our world to create enough of an uproar until we return to Carroll's creation. Something I should have seen coming but never do is the fact that Red is not the only one powerful enough to bend the rules of Wonderland and Earth to get what she wants.
Overall, this second novel was everything I could have wanted. The plot was deepened, the twists more jarring, and Morpheus was even sexier a second time around. This is the kind of series that makes me not want to read the final book because once it ends, Morpheus will be gone forever. If you like Wonderland, not quite love triangle messes, and hot moths hitting on underage girls (which is not as terrible as it sounds), this series is definitely for you.