Thursday, January 29, 2015

[Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard]

Author: A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered #3
Pages: 384
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Fairytale Retellings
Date Published: January 6th, 2015
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format Read: Purchased hardback


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?

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Ensnared:

Parting is always such sweet sorrow and leaving you behind is kind of like that. I have loved the books that fill your series and even though some of your plot points bugged me. We can't love everything about each other. That's what makes a real friendship and you, book, seem to be a good way to end ours. That is until I decide to read all of you and your companions again. Thanks for doing you and all the creepiness that that implies. 

-The White Unicorn

I've had this weird, uncontrollable love for A.G. Howard's Splintered series from the beginning. The imagery is some of the best that I've read in a long time, and you get pulled into the dark, twisted world that she builds, without even realizing it. That being said I've also had issues with the whole series, namely a dude named Jeb, but I have to admit that I might have felt something like love for him in the last installment of this series. All in all I have to say that this has been a fun ride and I'm pretty bummed that it's over. I'm totally okay if Howard wants to write a few more novellas to go along with this series, that's all I'm saying. 

Ensnared is full up of all the adventure of the last two novels in the series. This time Al has to sneak through the cracks in a mirror to see if she can save the people most important to her, with the help of her father. Howard uses this chance to examine a different realm of Wonderland. This time we are in AnyElsewhere. It's where all the broken creatures of Wonderland come to play, so the creatures held within will make your skin crawl. The world building is once again top notch, and I love that Howard gives us a different view of her Wonderland. It really does play out well. 

I also adored the fact that we get to see more of Al and her father interacting. The family aspect of these books has always been something that I admire and Ensnared delivered on that front. It was also awesome to see what the whole story behind Al's father's family was. Howard even introduced us to a few new characters this way. And of course, getting Al's mother back was all a part of the plot. I do wish that we would have gotten to know Al's mom better in the scheme of things, but this is a small complaint. 

Of course there were also many of the original characters in play. Chessie has a rather large role and I love this version of him, so it's always delightful to see him out and about. We had a new fairy bouncing around by the name of Nikki and Rabid shows his face a few times as well. Throw in the evil Queens that we've come to know so well and the whole cast (plus some) were there. 

The reason why this book isn't getting 5 unicorns comes from the conclusion of the love triangle that Al has been in the middle of all this time. As a story teller I think that Howard was really clever with the conclusion. From a story telling POV, I can't really fault her with her choices and I think they fit well with the story that she has established. That being said, I selfishly wanted a different conclusion. I wanted something more definitive to happen. Al has always seemed a bit weak in her relationships to me and the end game didn't make her feel any stronger. I wish I felt differently, but I do not. 

I'm so glad that I delved into this world that Howard created and that I got to meet Morpheus, who still wins, out of all the characters she pinned, in my book anyway. He was perfect in this final chapter and I couldn't have asked for more. I mean except the one thing I wish would have happened for him in a nicer way. But what am I saying. I'm just showing favoritism, which I think he would approve of.

If you have ever been a fan of Alice in Wonderland, you need to read this series. The books are beautiful even if they are a bit flawed. But isn't that how all the best things in life are?

4 Unicorns = Close to Perfect!

1 comment:

Tammy Sparks said...

I think this is the first review of Ensnared I've read, probably because the publisher didn't seem to hand out review copies this time. I'm glad it ended well, and I hope I get the chance to finish the series, as it's been one of my favorites as well!