Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: Ensnared by A. G. Howard


Author: A. G. Howard
Release: January 6th 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Retellings, YA
#3 in the Splintered trilogy
Series: Splintered (#1), Unhinged (#2)


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 violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular 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 if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?


All in all, a solid and satisfying finale for a solid, satisfying trilogy. While the second book was a little disappointing, ultimately this is a very nice and creative retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

The best feature this novel had was actually the pace, the action and the suspense. Looking back on everything, there wasn't that much happening, but at the time of reading, it just felt like there was some new revelation, some new twist of some sort after every other chapter and that in turn just kept me up all night. Seriously, I messed up my driving lesson yesterday big time because I was so tired as I stayed up reading this all night. I'm kinda glad it's over now so that I can finally sleep again.

The characters also really, really surprised me this time. Alyssa has finally grown stronger, and most of all, determined, which I loved to see. Her constant indecisive state has bugged the hell out of me the first two books, and while she's still in denial concerning her feelings about the two guys for the first half, at least she made up her mind about what's important to her and how to deal with her warring human and netherling sides. She made reasonable, good choices and she had a strong personality, especially as a narrator was Alyssa a really great protagonist.

The other main characters also matured or developed in some way, Morpheus coming to terms with Alyssa's love for Jeb and both of them starting to respect and tolerate the other boy in her life, Jeb in turn becoming a bit darker which I loved so, so much because his constant sainty holiness really frustrated me a lot. I mean, he goes back to being a selfless, sacrificing altruist in the end but at least for a while, it was nice seeing him acting differently. The real shocker was Alyssa's dad, though, because even if he only plays a minor role, he still simply had presence.

The relationship "drama" was actually kept in check, mostly anyway, and I wasn't even all too annoyed whenever Alyssa had a romantic moment with Jeb, because it was finally balanced out evenly. I hate nothing more when there's a  supposed love triangle but one of the guys never even gets a fair chance. Why bother with a triangle in the first place then, if it's already obvious who's going to get the girl? So, the equilibrium was good.

In conclusion, I am very pleased with what I got. I did have my doubts and fears about it, but it ended up being a perfect ending to a trilogy I have truly enjoyed and would definitely recommend.

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