Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Splintered series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
This is the second book in the Splintered series by Howard. This series has been the best retelling of Alice in Wonderland I have ever read, I really love it. This book was even better than the first book in the series, Splintered. The third book in the series, Ensnared, is scheduled to release in 2015.
Alyssa is back in the real world and trying to graduate high school, get into a prestigious art school in London, and ignore her position as a Queen of Wonderland. Things have been hard though. Jeb has forgotten about his time in Wonderland and Alyssa is constantly having to lie to him. Then scenes from Wonderland start bleeding into Alyssa’s work. Also for some reason Alyssa’s mother (who is out of the asylum) is being incredibly paranoid about everything Alyssa does and she absolutely hates Jeb for some reason. When the bugs start talking to Alyssa and Morpheus shows up begging for her help in Wonderland, things really get crazy.
I really enjoyed the second installment in this wonderful series based off of Alice in Wonderland, this series does such an excellent job of staying true to the original Alice in Wonderland story while giving the whole world a darker and more twisted spin.
The characters in this series are spectacular. I love Alyssa’s style and spunk, she is so fun to read about. She struggles a lot in this book with trying to balance the sane and the insane in her life and the light and the dark. She loves Jeb, but constantly having to lie to him about Wonderland and, coupled with Jeb’s budding career as an artist, this is really putting a lot of stress on their relationship. Suppressing her magic is also putting a lot of stress on Alyssa. She fights to do what is right but desperately wants to be able to live her normal life before she gets drawn back into Wonderland’s struggles.
We see a darker side to Alyssa in this book. She is so worried about turning out like the Red Queen or going insane like her mother did. It was amazing to watch her walk this line between light and dark.
Jeb is an excellent character as well. He is a bit distracted towards Alyssa at the beginning of the book, his artist career is taking off and he is trying to juggle shows and commissions. He wants to be able to support him and Alyssa when they move to London for art school. He is a sweet guy that does end up being there for Alyssa when it really matters. That being said, he is not my favorite character in this book…that would be Morpheus.
Morpheus is such a complicated blend of things. He is incredibly loyal to Wonderland, he has a dark sadistic streak and is very mischievous, he obviously loves Alyssa but will do what is best for her in the long run…even if it makes her hate him. Morpheus allows Alyssa to unleash her magic and brings her darker and more wild side out. Just about everything Morpheus has forced Alyssa into has ended up saving her life or helping her to deal with events in the future. He is in it for the long haul and will do anything to make sure that Alyssa, his Queen, will be able to do what she needs to do to save Wonderland. He is also very punny (get it?), has some very witty dialogue throughout the book and is just an amazing character.
As you can tell from the above there is a love triangle in this book. I am not a huge fan of love triangles, however for this book it works spectacularly. Jeb and Morpheus represent the two sides of Alyssa’s world; the normal and insane…the light and the dark. The tension between the three of them is spine-tingling. I am, of course, hoping that Alyssa choses Wonderland and Morpheus. However, there was some foreshadowing in here that says she might not have to choose either way…
Oh and I should mention Chessie (The Cheshire Cat) plays a much bigger role in this story! I love anything to do with the Cheshire cat…
All the characterization aside…I also loved this world. We don’t get to spend as much time in Wonderland as in the first book, which was a bit disappointing. However, the world is still incredibly creative. The plot was very intriguing…there is lots of intrigue…traveling through mirrors and adventure. The story ended up being absolutely engrossing. There is some high school drama in here…the kids are getting ready for prom and for a while Morpheus attends Alyssa’s school. The high school drama never gets too overpowering though, so I think adult readers will enjoy this book just as much as teen readers.
Overall love the characters, love the creativity of this world, and thought the story was absolutely engrossing. This is one of my favorite series right now! Highly recommended to Alice in Wonderland fans and to readers who don’t mind their urban fantasy a little dark and twisted. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.