Contains mild spoilers for Splintered and Unhinged
Ensnared Splintered Book Three
Written by A. G Howard
Published January 6th 2015
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?
Time is running out for Alyssa to not only save her mother Wonderland, but her beloved Jeb and Morpheus who are trapped behind the looking glass. Having destroyed the only way in, Alyssa enlists the help of her father who is still coming to terms with his daughter being a a halfling and belonging to the mythical Wonderland that destroyed her mother's sanity. The Red Queen is now in possession of the Queen of Hearts body, and has unleashed a terrible fate upon the fantastical landscape. Wonderland is dying and has been temporarily saved by the Ivory Queen, who has cast a spell to freeze the decaying process. Wonderland residents are roaming free and blame Alyssa for the destruction of their home.
Entering Anyelsewhere, at least one of her loves still has faith in her, with the volatile Jeb turning his back on their relationship after seeing Alyssa and Morpheus sharing a passionate embrace. But where the surrounds mute magic from being used, Jeb embodies the power of the Red Queen, his paintings being brought to life, literally. To survive, Morpheus and Jeb have needed to work together, putting aside their differences and the quest to win Alyssa's heart. The Red Queen wants to take back her crown and rule Wonderland once more, but only by inhabiting Alyssa and vowing to heal the magical landscape once more.
But as Alyssa is torn between her love for Wonderland and her mortal realm, she will need to choose. Wonderland and Morpheus, leaving her family behind. Or Jeb, leading Wonderland to a fate worse then death.
Ensnared has been one of my most anticipated releases. Even though I have a paperback on it's way, I couldn't wait and also bought a copy on Kindle as well. Unhinged left readers on tenterhooks, with Alyssa's ultimate choice between her Mortal Knight in Jeb, or the fabulously manipulative Morpheus.
Each guys occupies a different side of my dual heart. Together, they bridge my netherling and human worlds.
But before Alyssa can make a decision, she has a wonderland to save. Yet again, the world building is phenomenal. The morbidly fascinating creatures that have now been driven from their homes blame Alyssa, and rightly so. She halfheartedly invested in their world, then left them all to deal with the consequences of a Queen gone mad. But the underlying storyline still remains her decision on which suitor she will choose.
I was enthralled from the opening chapters, revisiting the world of Splintered with the verge of Wonderland being all but destroyed. The royal politics at play, the deception and manipulation were delicious. Alyssa is forced to become the heroine, or risk the lives of her family and the two men in her life. Her wicked streak was enchanting, on the verge of becoming the cruel tyrant Red Queen once was, while trying to hold onto her own humanity. So where did Ensnared begin to fall apart? The romance.
It completely engulfed the second half of the storyline. Now kids, this is where I'm kicking off with the complaints. The romance was strung along throughout the storyline, Alyssa's inner thoughts and soapbox speeches teasing readers, while teasing both Morpheus and her Mortal Knight as she fluttered between the two. She would be pinning over Jeb, who was still angry at her deception, while allowing Morpheus to flirt and she willingly accepted his advances. It was irritating. It turned the suspense and intensity into a mockery. I don't usually buy into love triangles, and rarely ever support one side over the other, but Morpheus left me no choice.
He's manipulative, deceptive and incredibly dreamy. He's made of imagination and I was adamant that I'd be flipping tables and readying myself with a fork if I didn't get my way. But did I enjoy the ending? The short answer is yes.
Readers will see it coming. But overall it's a worthy series finale, although may hint at further installments in the series. We can only hope.
The in depth answer is that I thought the ending was softened to please all fans. No difficult decisions were made. A conclusion was reached, but it felt more so that the author couldn't commit to taking the plunge and we end up back at the same dilemma of Alyssa having the best of both worlds.