Review: Ensnared by A. G. Howard


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 the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world — a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final instalment 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?

It’s done. It’s over. I can’t believe it.  Finishing a series you love really is bittersweet and it took me a while to process what I had just read. This review is written as though you have already read Splintered and Unhinged so if you haven’t, I suggest these reviews:

Splintered_AG_Howard    unhinged

And as always, those covers! They’re so hot it’s like nobody’s business.

Now for the actual review. Is it possible to write ‘wow’ and leave it like that? No? Okay then.

Let’s start with Morpheus because we have to because he is my absolute fav. In my head he sounds like Niklaus from ‘The Originals’, walks with a swagger (not swag, because he isn’t some fourteen-year-old try-hard), and he has so much chemistry I don’t know how Jeb stood a chance. I love how Howard brought out a little vulnerability with my favourite moth man and yet left his twisted and neurotic side untouched. He was made weak by Wonderland standards but was never a victim.

Alyssa is still cool, still trying to retain her human side, and still annoying the bright pink, leopard-print pants off me with all the detailed descriptions of her apparently funky outfit choices. Her human and netherling sids both take a mad bashing as the book progresses but I would have loved to see her slip right over to the dark side. It’s something that has been played with and hinted at so many times that I think I was just expecting to see more manic madness. Also, quit upsetting Morpheus, Alyssa. Sheesh.

Jeb. *Sighs* He’s nice, and sweet, and really comes in to his own strengths in Ensnared but he’s just no blue-haired, netherling freak. I get why Alyssa was leaning towards his corner of the ol’ triangle but I can’t help but feel if there was no history, there would be no choice. That said, I HATE when love triangles are easy to pick OR someone dies just to make it simple so I’m totally glad Howard was too awesome to let either of those things happen.

Right from the first chapter Howard’s plot was as fast as a caucus race. It was very clear to me that this book was planned out and structured well in advance as there were things happening in AnyElsewhere that had been set up in previous books without me even realising it. Jeb’s world was detailed and intriguing, AnyElsewhere was mangled yet alluring, and Hart’s castle and the things that happen there were just twisted. So, so, twisted. Howard’s writing and imagination really brought this book alive and blended it so perfectly with the world Lewis Carroll created, while at the same time coated the world with Humphrey’s innards and left it as morbid as Rabid White.

As for the climax, I think I would have liked to see more. What happened at Hart’s castle was great (totes picked the Jeb twist, BTW) but when it came to finding her mom and saving Wonderland the job was pretty much done for Alyssa. Though I suppose having your heart literally torn in two kind of exempts you from participation. While reading, it didn’t feel like anything was missing, it was just when I started to think back on it that I realised those doldrums just weren’t as troublesome as they should have been.

Then there was the epilogue. And it was exactly as it should have been. *Sniff*

If you’re a fan of the series, there’s just no way to be disappointed. Ensnared was a complete storyline in it’s own right, while still managing to close up all the plot pieces we were waiting for.

AOaR_4star (3) (and a half)

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 2 47 47 PM (3)

Heather is a strange little human whose eyes are officially square from all the screens she’s been staring at lately. You can follow her on twitter if you are a fan of useless ramblings and semi-functional nonsense. During her pesky sane periods she looks after the cutest boy on earth (umm… biased?) and his equally cute father.

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