This is the second book in the Splintered trilogy (and you can see my review of the first book here) and going into it, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d loved some aspects of the first book but really disliked others, so I was really unsure about what to think. Happily, I can say that everything I disliked about the first book was fixed in this. The mushy description was definitely more stylish and engaging and the dynamic between the characters was 100% better. I really love the whole world which this series is set in – I think it’s very clever and very well put together – although plot-wise, this book just wasn’t as exciting or action-packed as the first in my opinion. I’ll definitely be continuing on with this one – I mean, I can’t stop now, can I? – and I really hope that the concluding novel manages to capture the fire of the first book with the structured-ness of the second.
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. 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.
As you might already know – or not – I haven’t actually read the original Lewis Carroll works. I do own the book, and plan to read it very soon, but I found that this really didn’t affect my reading of this book, or this series. Yes, I’m sure that I’d probably get more out of the series if I had read the stimulus for it, but the story and the plot and the characters still make perfect sense without my prior knowledge. This book – in my opinion – was a really good continuation, but felt just a little too safe. The first book felt almost dangerous and spunky and dark, whereas this book just felt a little too organic and planned out. And, I really missed the absence of the somewhat far-fetched mental hospital. However, I did really enjoy Alyssa being a lot more in control of herself and seeing her make her own decisions and learning the truth about everything. This book gave us a lot of answers where they were due, and probably pleased a lot more people than the first did.
A G Howard can certainly create complex and interesting characters – and even though they might not be the most relatable or realistic – they are all very intriguing to read about. Alyssa is growing on me, although she still can be annoying at times, and I do like her confident and spunky new nature. Jeb is still awesome and I really like where his relationship with Alyssa went in this book. I still want more development on his part though, and I don’t really think the writing does him much justice. Morpheus is still a prick and we still don’t know where we stand with him, though I’m scared that he might actually be endgame for Alyssa (and that is a team that I’m NOT on). All the other Wonderland characters are amazing and fascinating and I’d quite like an entire series about them, rather than with Alyssa and her mother mucking everything up.
Overall, I’d give this installment a 4 out of 5 stars and I really can’t wait to see how the story is going to finish up. I hope we get more Wonderland action and I’m really liking a slightly more deranged Alyssa. I hope we get more fire (and reunions with some familiar faces) but still keeping the story flowing and exciting all the way through. Fingers crossed 🙂