Friday, 11 March 2016

UNHINGED by A. G. Howard

Publication date: 7th January 2014
Published by: Amulet
Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher's synopsis
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.

My Review

This is the second book to the SPLINTERED series. 

I was disappointed with SPLINTERED - it wasn't as good as I thought it would be - so I probably should have stopped there, but I didn't hate it and I wanted to give Unhinged a chance.  Things can only get better, right?  Wrong!

 I'm really perplexed by how heavily focused the story is on the banal lives of these teenagers (Alyssa, her boyfriend Jeb and his sister, whatever her name is).

Alyssa's mother has been freed from an asylum.  She is free at last to enjoy life.  And what does she spend her time doing?  Apparently being fixated with the lenghth of the hem of her daughter's skirts and keeping her as far away from the boyfriend as possible - at least not without a chaperone.  She may have left the real prison but clearly not the one that exists inside her head (where a women's place in society is as it was back in the 19th century). 

I feel misled by this book since it suggested that, at some point, it would develop and become a fantasy novel, all the while indulging itself in unashamed gratuitous romance for teenage girls. I persevered to about 40% and then gave up. 

If I were to offer a suggestion as to what is fundamentally wrong with this series it would be that it is being drawn out longer than the central plot requires, so instead - at least in the case of Unhinged - is being filled with 'padding' to compensate for it's short comings.
Like Splintered it is easy to get taken in by the attractive cover, but you know what they say about judging a book by it's cover..
My verdict: all fluff and no substance. 

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