Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Posted March 18th, 2014 in book review / 29 comments


Splintered Series #2

by A.G. Howard

Publisher: Amulet (Jan 2014)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC (400 pages)
Source: Free book from publisher (Netgalley) for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★☆ (4 stars)


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 A Glance
I am a little conflicted on this one but I did really enjoy it overall.

The Good
Morpheus. Morpheus. MORPHEUS! Oh sorry. Just had a bout of mad, lusty ramblings. Morpheus does that to me sometimes. It’s like I love to hate this guy and hate to love him. He is a bad itch that feels so good to scratch. I want to do naughty, crazy things to him as he wraps me up in his beautiful wings. I want my body to be his Wonderland! Okay, okay. I’m done.

I loved how Unhinged really had that feeling of unhinginess (it’s a word because I say it is). Everything is falling a part, nothing is going right, there is no right path, just stumbling around in the dark with your hands tied behind your back. I felt so out of sorts and I kinda liked it. The story is also really coming along. Huge things are revealed and people show their true colors.

Alyssa is like a chicken with her head cut off. She is conflicted, sporadic in her decision making, and doesn’t always follow the right path. And, really, it made sense for the theme of the book, even if it annoyed me sometimes. But by the end I actually felt hopeful that she may be getting her crap together. Even if she is still perpetually stuck between two men, I can see her being more decisive in the next book just by the little snippet we get in the end.

Poor Jeb. He is always the punching bag in these books. He is freaking chewed up like a squeaker toy over and over again, but he always comes back fighting, always for Alyssa. I respect him so much. But it’s Morpheus who is the star. I love his contradictory nature, his faithful devotion, and his constant devious scheming. Morpheus keeps you on your toes because you never know what he is going to do next. And all he really wants is Alyssa’s love. It breaks my heart. He NEEDS a happy ending.

The writing was good and the imagery was amazing. There is a HUGE cliffhanger ending, so be prepared. I was pissed at first but got over it. But now I literally can’t wait for the next book.

The Bad
The plot was sadly lacking. Alyssa spends most of the book running around like an insane person on a mission to nowhere. Almost none of the lead up plot points come to fruition. You spend the whole book thinking something is going to be resolved and it only gets worse. I know this happens in second books sometimes but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. 

We do not get any Wonderland time in Unhinged and I found myself missing it. 

Alyssa was a lot more whiny and insecure in this book. She was always unsure about a lot of things in Splintered but I don’t remember her being this stupid and annoying. I like my protags strong and logical. 

The Snuggly
Unhinged was drowned in romance, especially with the love-triangle, but I didn’t mind it. I always wanted more Jeb and Morpheus and I definitely got it this time around. Alyssa has a tough choice because both men are so tempting, but, of course, I am Team Morpheus. I’m crazy that way.

Kissing and touching but very suitable for a young adult audience.

Final Thoughts
Unhinged is between 3.5 to 4 stars. It was not as good as Splintered. I gave Splintered 4 stars but I would change that to 4.5 stars now. I wanted more plot and more resolution, but the story was still super fun and I always love me some Morpheus. Very recommended.


“All I have to do is set the power free. Escape the chains of humanity, let madness be my guide. If I forget everything but Wonderland, I can become beautiful pandemonium.”

“Of all the times you’ve undressed me in my fantasies, I never remember feeling this…unfulfilled.”
“Please, Morpheus,” I beg upon hearing Jeb stir in the background.
“Ah, but those delectable words,” Morpheus says with a provocative smirk, “those are always in the fantasy.”
I glare at him. “You’re unbelievable.”
“And that sentiment is reserved for the end.”

“Morpheus turns his face to the sky. “I’m afraid you’re the one who’s mistaken, if you think I’m going to let Wonderland fall to rot so you can play ‘pin the male on the virgin’ with your mortal toy.”
Splintered Series:
Book #1: Splintered
Book #2: Unhinged

book review

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29 Responses to “Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard”

  1. Melanie

    I am glad you enjoyed this one, Jennifer! I really needed a proper story line here but there wasn’t much of one 🙁

  2. Ashley

    Bahaha your first paragraph was awesome. Honestly, I’m not sure I’d like this book. I never liked Morpheus and I just don’t think this one would be for me. But I’m super glad you liked it!

  3. Jessica Haluska

    You know . . . I have never read an Alice retelling. I have this one b/c it got such good reviews (and I’ve never read an Alice retelling, so why not?). But–guess what comes next–I haven’t read it yet. I clicked on your Splintered review, and I’m glad to see that book 2 is living up to it (both got 4 stars), so that’s motivating. Great review! *looks around and tries to find a place to squeeze Splintered in*

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  4. Julie S

    I still haven’t read Spintered but everyone seems to love it. I wonder if this one has a bit of second book syndrome with the plot lacking. I notice this way too much. Great review!

  5. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I like Morpheus but as a good and complicated bad guy. Not a love interest. Honestly, he kind of creeps me out and I don’t think I could ever go for a guy with wings.

    Sad that we didn’t get any Wonderland time here. And poor Jeb.

    Alyssa drove me crazy! Her jealousy annoyed me so bad, especially when she was the one hiding things.

    I did love the ending though and I’m looking forward to book 3!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Yeah, Morpheus is not for everyone. I like his craziness.

      I did like the ending after I got over the shock of the cliffhanger. I can’t wait for book 3 now.

  6. Christy @ Love of Books

    Um, yeah, I would read this series just for Morpheus. I totally know what you mean about him. I lve characters like that, that make me hate to love them. It a frustrating, yet great feeling. I really need to get my butt in gear and read the first book already.

  7. Sarah Elizabeth

    I still haven’t brought myself to read this one. I was so confused at the end of the last one that I’d probably have to re-read it before picking this one up.

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