Published by Harry N. Abrams on January 6th 2015
Genres: Adaptations, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, General, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2015 Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
"Yes, we will quarrel incessantly and fight for dominance. And yes, there will be ravishes of passion, but there will also be gentle lulls. That is who we are together."
- A. G. Howard, Ensnared
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?
Review: Caution! There will be spoilers from first two books. Proceed at your own risk!!
In her third installment, A. G. Howard wraps up her Splintered series with the action packed conclusion, Ensnared. In the third novel, Alyssa and her father journey to the looking-glass world, AnyElsewhere, to save Jeb, Morpheus, and her mother after the disastrous prom. I loved Alyssa’s father finally getting a chance to get in on the action, because the two had such a wonderful relationship in the other two novels. Thomas is a pretty cool guy, and it was nice seeing him move a way from being a parent, towards Alyssa’s partner in crime. I also loved learning more about their family history, which helped weave new threads of mystery in this third installment.
Alyssa continued to battle her heart, and while the indecision seemed to drag on longer than I anticipated, it still managed to fit her character. There were many heartbreaking moments in this book, but there were also many that made me swoon. I found myself falling in love with Morpheus as a character, as I felt like I just “got” him in this book. Like Alyssa, I was torn over who she should end up with in the end. While the book concludes the way I predicted, I was still happy with her final decision, as it felt truly earned.
Once again, Howard weaves Lewis Carroll’s landscape in such a fashion that makes it feel new and wondrous, and her own. The “new” characters we meet were quite fun, and I enjoyed Alyssa & Co.’s journey through AnyElsewhere more than Wonderland. The twisted outcasts than inhabit his strange place added more danger, but also didn’t make me feel like I was re-reading Splintered.
As much as I loved this book, there were a few things I wished were handled better. One thing was Alison. While I loved reading about AnyElsewhere, I feel let down when it comes to Alyssa’s relationship with her mother. The two had many great scenes in Unhinged, and I was hoping to see more of that in this book. I won’t give specifics since this book just came out five days ago, but it would have been nice to see their relationship get as developed as the one with her father.
I hate that a book I loved so much that I devoured in a day is the first to get a write-up in this new review category, but it has to be done. While I was a bit disappointed with the treatment of Alyssa’s relationship with her mother in this last book, I don’t believe the lack of it damaged the book. What did? The Epilogue. While the book ended as I envisioned it would, I have to admit that I expected a lot more. Visions of the wonderful Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows epilogue swam in my head as I was reading, but as I got closer and closer to the end I realized my hopes were about to be dashed. Sadly, they were. Three pages were not enough for an epilogue. Instead of “showing” us what happened to these great characters, and who Alyssa chose, A. G. Howard “told” us. This epilogue felt cheap coming from an author who painted such a wonderfully elaborate fantasy. And quite frankly, I believe the characters, and fans, deserved better. Despite being happy with how Alyssa’s life turned out, I hate how it was delivered. Tsk! Tsk!
Do I Recommend?
Yes! Despite the lacking epilogue, the rest of the book was worth every page, and every hour I spent reading it. Enough of the loose ends were tied up to make me feel satisfied with the conclusion, and those few left hanging are enough to keep this story alive in my imagination. However, like me, you may find the conclusion a bit lacking.