Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Published January 7th 2014 by Amulet Books
Review copy received from the publisher
I was on the fence about Splintered. Having read Unhinged, I know for sure: A.G. Howard just isn’t the writer for me.
After returning from Wonderland, Alyssa thinks she’s done with anything netherworld – until Morpheus shows up again, and she discovers that Red is trying to destroy Wonderland. Alyssa has to choose which is more important to her: her netherling side, or her normal side?
Jezus Christ did this story drag. I don’t know if it’s just the writing style or the story itself, but I was incredibly bored. We can’t get through one simple scene without Alyssa angsting over life, the universe, and everything. I’m a frequent reader of young-adult books, and I’m quite used to their teenage meanderings, but Alyssa is the Queen of All Angst.
And maybe I could have handled Alyssa – but in Unhinged my already low esteem of Morpheus and Jeb get even lower. Jeb is inconsiderate and just plain weird. Morpheus is the same self-centered asshole he has always been. And somehow Alyssa is attracted to both of them, even though they do nothing at all to deserve her attention.
As always, Alyssa kind of ping-pongs through the story like a bumper car, running after the facts. Almost all plot points in Unhinged are told in dialogue. Alyssa bickers with Morpheus. Wonderland creature shows up, tells news. Alyssa and Morpheus bicker some more. End scene. Rinse and repeat. Again, Alyssa is so incredibly passive – she just lets everything happen to her, and watching her taking hundreds of pages to get to a conclusion she could have gotten to in two good conversations with key characters is just tedious.
Alice in Wonderland is awesome, but I’m done with this rendition of it. I never knew one could make such a rich and interesting world so boring.
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.
- Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard (2 Stars)
- Review: The One by Kiera Cass (4 Stars)
- Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen (4 Stars)
- Reading Classics: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll