Series: Splintered, #3
Author: A.G. Howard
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Published: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Genres: Young Adult, Retelling, Paranormal
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After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—-a parallel dimension filled with mutated and sadistic netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But even if everyone succeeds and comes out alive, can they all truly have their happily ever after?
Starting back up after the disastrous prom, where Alyssa's mother, Jeb, and Morpheus were taken to Wonderland by Red. Alyssa is now in an asylum, where she’s finally decided to embrace the madness. Her father has placed her there, as he has no clue what to do, especially since she’s following in her mother’s footsteps. However, Alyssa is doing nothing during her time there. She’s planning to escape, and she’s not afraid. After trying to explain everything to her father, she takes him to Wonderland, where she starts her journey to saving Wonderland and those she cares about.
When Alyssa and her father get to Wonderland, they find that Red is destroying everything, and essentially killing Wonderland. Alyssa must figure out how to save Jeb and Morpheus from AnyElsewhere without hurting them, as it's dangerous there. Needless to say, when Alyssa finds them, things are pretty tense, especially with Jeb. But somehow, they need to find a way to work together and trust each other to save Wonderland and themselves.
A lot of the book revolves around Alyssa, Jeb, and Morpheus, especially the romantic aspect. It didn't bother me all the time, but there were times that I grew tired of it. It sometimes became the main plot, and I can't stand it when that happens. However, the book would then start focusing on Wonderland a bit more, so that helped. I'm Team Morpheus, so I was obviously annoyed by Jeb the entire time. Jeb is just so controlling in my eyes. He seems to think that he knows what's best for Alyssa, or at least the "normal" part of her. But she's not normal so he's not going to completely understand her. On the other hand, Morpheus encourages Alyssa to embrace her madness and understand it. Sure, he can be a bit pushy at times, but he allows Alyssa to be her true self. And then Alyssa is finally accepting who she truly is, but is still conflicted between the two parts of her. She just needs to accept what's best for her.
This trilogy is definitely a creepy retelling of a childhood classic, and this one was even creepier. And I loved that! There were some scenes that completely grossed me out and made me shudder. The descriptions were fantastic, even though they were a bit grotesque. But it's great how A.G. Howard took a strange classic and turned it into a twisted tale for young adults.
I found the ending to be a little strange. I've never read a book where the ending ended up like... that. While it didn't completely sit with me, I do think that that was probably one of the only ways to close this story well. I was surprised by how emotional it got me, well, this entire book actually. It was a very happy, yet sad, way to finish things. I don't want to give anything away, so I might as well just stop now. I know lots of people have been unhappy with it, but with anything, not everyone is going to love it. I can't wait though to see how things will be in Untamed, and if we'll get a short story of life after Ensnared.
Overall, this was a fantastic ending to a creepy series. While the romance occasionally became overbearing, the saving of Wonderland did remain the focus. There were so many twisted characters and moments, it kept me at the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. The ending was definitely different, but wasn't terrible. I can't wait for the companion book, Untamed, which will be out in December!