Monday, January 05, 2015 06:00

Review 307. A.G Howard – Ensnared.

23068265 (1)Title: Ensnared.
Author: A.G Howard.
Pages: 384,
Published: January 13th 2015 by Amulet books.
Sort: Conclusion in the Splintered series.
Splintered #1. Splintered.
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher.
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?
Rating:

This book was not what I expected and that’s in a positive and negative way. I enjoyed it, but at the same time I’m still not sure how I feel about the conclusion when it comes to the romance. The plot is a bit slow, but I was happy they returned to the dark Wonderland and all it’s creepy creatures. It’s a solid story.

The review is spoiler free for Ensnared, but contains small spoilers for the previous books.
Alyssa’s journey started in Splintered and finally comes to an ending in this conclusion. I liked how she developed and accepted her new role as Queen. She’s no longer just a human, but she has learned to embrace her Wonderland side and responsibilities. The insecure girl from Splintered has grown into a woman with an important role for both worlds – and Howard handled that with care. I wouldn’t say that I always appreciated her choices and her continuous struggle between Morpheus/Jeb got on my nerves, but she’s an overall good character.

Morpheus stays true to his manipulative and sassy nature. I’m going to stick with my previous opinion; I like him as a character, but not as love-interest. He is complex and unpredictable, which adds a great touch to the story. I definitely believes he loves Alyssa in his way, but I don’t find it healthy or shippable. He is still a better choice than Jeb, who continues to prove why I dislike him. I could understand why he acted so distantly, because Alyssa made some poor decisions, but he wasn’t fair. He could accept Morpheus as a new friend, but he never gave Alyssa a chance and he has a nasty attitude that made a bigger mess in an already out-of-control situation.

Unhinged was a bit disappointing because I missed Wonderland, but that’s not the case in Ensnared. We get to see Wonderland from another angle when Alyssa and her father go on a quest to save Jeb and Morpheus. The two of them are working together to survive the darkness that is taking over. Their new-found friendship was refreshing and I liked Jeb ‘magical’ powers.

The only thing that let me down was the plot. It’s slow. It struggled to move forward and got stuck in some situations, which provided me with some boring moments. I felt there was too much emphasis on Alyssa’s feelings towards the guys instead of the destruction of Wonderland. I still like the concept and the basics of the plot, but it could have used some more work in my humble opinion.
That leaves the ending. MINOR SPOILER: I’m not giving away details, but don’t read it if you want to know nothing like Jon Snow. I’m seriously still inconclusive how I feel about this. One part of me likes the creativity, because I don’t think this has done before. One part of me feels like it’s an easy way out to keep everybody happy. I just.. don’t know.




So, I have mixed feeling about this series as a whole. I'm not blown away, but I appreciate what the author tried to do with the original tale. Would I recommend this series to everyone? I would say I've read better retellings, but hardcore Alice in Wonderland fans might approve of this series.




author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

36 comments:

  1. Great review, Mel! I didn't read this series past the first book, and though I liked it, I was not a fan of either romantic option. I do remember liking Alyssa, though! And I love how creepy and creative the wonderland characters were. Sounds like it came to a curious end---I may pick this series up someday and finish it. ;)

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  2. I was hoping this would say me one way or the other about continuing with the series, but I'm still insure, Splintered was an okay read for me, I was hoping for some big signs really one considering Unhinged, but hey, this is a good middle ground review, sorry you felt so unsure about it though Mel..

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    1. I'm not sure I would recommend reading the rest of the books if you feel okay about Splintered.. That's definitely the best book in the series to me.

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  3. Series enders are so hard to get right! I haven't read a lot of good ones so far. :( I have yet to read unhinged too. :P

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  4. Nice review! True, series enders can be hard to get right. There's always someone who ends up disappointed with the series. I like this one so far, and look forward to the ending, but have the feeling I'll be doing a little hair pulling when it comes to the romance! Great review!

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  5. I didn't read the whole review because you said there were spoilers for the first two books, but I really want to read this series. I can't resist a fairytale retelling and I don't think I've ever read an Alice in Wonderland fairytale retelling, let alone a series.

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  6. Thanks for the spoiler-free review, Mel! I haven't started this series yet, but I plan to as soon as the finale book is out. You definitely made me even more curious about this series now because of your very cryptic sentences about the ending. If you say it's something that hasn't been done before, now I feel even more inclined to find out what happens. Sucks that the plot was slow, though... I noticed that series get bulkier and longer after each installment, tending to make the plot grow stagnant D: Was it the case here?

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. The first book is good, the plot comes almost to a stop in Unhinged and it picks up again here, but not with the speed from Splintered :)

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  7. I haven't started this series at all so I had skim through the middle part but I'm definitely intrigued with the story line. I loooove retellings so I feel like I gotta read the first book soon.

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  8. Haaaah. Don't think this has been done before? Oh, it has. And in the book it was done? It was done perfectly. I would say the ending for this book is a rip-off of that other one. And I don't like it one bit. Which is why I will not read this one. Sigh. I'm so unhappy with how it ends. Feels.. cheap. Yeah. ANYWAY. Amazing review Mel. <3 I am glad you still enjoyed this book, despite the issues with the romance :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

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    1. OH. I didn't know! Could you DM me on Twitter which series you are talking about? :)

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  9. I've been planning to skip this one for now and eventually get to it later on this year, and now I'm sure I'll do that. I enjoyed Splintered, but still haven't read Unhinged, so I guess that means I won't die if I don't read them ASAP :P

    By the way, I completely agree about Morpheus. He's a great character, but romantically it just won't work; he's too flighty.

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  10. I only skimmed your review because I plan on listening to the audiobook later this month. I know, I know, it comes out tomorrow, but Cole's Dead of Winter takes precedence. Doubly so now that I see that you only gave it 3-stars. And, I had such high hopes for this conclusion. Bummer!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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  11. I enjoyed this one but less so than the prior two in some respects. The ending left me unsure about how I felt. I did love Wonderland and how dark Howard took it. I also actually liked Jeb in this last book! I was excited that I finally enjoyed him, haha. I'll be curious to see what everyone thinks about the ending.

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    1. I guess that part is also necessarily if you want to enjoy the romance. I sort of felt sad at the end and I didn't hate him as much as before, but mweh.

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  12. I still CANNOT believe I haven't picked up this series! So much hype over it, I need to ASAP!

    Happy Reading Mel :)
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

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  13. This is not a series I plan on reading (you know me and love triangles), but I'm sorry this was a disappointment for you. :/ It's no fun when the plot is disappointing.
    I heard about how it ends, and I have to say that it creeps me out. I'm sure I don't have the whole picture, but how could anyone in their right mind in real life be okay with that scenario?! It's so weird to me! But I'm glad you found other things to love about it.
    Lovely review as always, Mel!

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    1. Yeah, it still strikes me as odd. And yes, I know how you feel about them and I think you would hate this, haha.

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  14. Bahh, I slow plot, they seems to be the bane of my existence lately :( I have yet to try this series, I was debating since book one seemed to get really good feedback! Sorry this one was a but of a let down but at least not terrible!

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

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  15. Hmm. I think I'm one of the few people who wasn't blown away by Splintered, and it's definitely made me way less interested in the rest of the series. And knowing you weren't fully satisfied makes me even less interested. I might just be bad and see how it ends without reading the rest of the series... Great review, though, Mel!

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    1. If you want, you can DM me and I'll let you know how it ends :)

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  16. Oh no, I'm sorry you had problems with this one. I had to skim this review since I haven't read the other books. Sometimes a slower plot isn't always as bad. This creepy wonderland sounds cool. Lovely review!!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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  17. I kiiiind of skimmed this because I NEED TO READ ENSNARED SO BADLY AND I AM LITERALLY FLAILING MY BRAIN OUT FOR IT. I cry though, because it only gets 3-stars from you? But then I did love Unhinged so there's hope for me! XD

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    1. I think you'll like it more than I did in this case. I can't wait to see what you think!

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  18. Oh noooo. Nothing like a less than perfect final book to kill the mood. :( I haven't read Splintered yet, but several people have been pushing me to and it's on my wishlist, but this makes me question if I should even start the series, now that I know that the last book isn't as good. What do you recommend I do, O Mel, the Great Fairytale Expert? ;D

    So yeah, I skimmed your review too because I'm afraid of spoilers (even the minor ones -- I'm that picky), but I'm glad that even though it wasn't as good a conclusion as it could've been, you still managed to enjoy it. For some reason, I'm not surprised that the romance was the one that ruined it all, in a way. T_T

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    1. Let me look in my crystal ball *puts on serious face* I find it really hard to predict whether you would like it or not.. but if I think about all your reviews and your taste, I have the idea this isn't the series for you Meg. I think you'll be too annoyed by the endless love-triangle and how it resolves. It's a shame really, because the world-building is fantastic and I quite liked Alyssa.

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  19. Awe. I often don't like series enders but I'm still exited though. Thanks for your lovely review

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  20. drats not as strong of an ending as you'd hoped for romance wise well and I just hate seeing when an ending gets a middle of the road rating then it steals my thunder a bit on reading it. I just grabbed the second since its on monthly kindle deal. I'll still keep my eyes peeled for if this ever goes on deal but now I'm not in such a rush to read the series this year. We'll see.

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  21. I really want to start this series.Well,I'll admit that I kinda actually skimmed through your review,mostly because I want to try out this series and the review of the 3rd book means,spoilers!:)
    But I just read your review for the first book.It has tempted me even more:)

    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales

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  22. I also really missed Wonderland in the second book, I think the author really shines in that setting and I found that much more enjoyable so I'm glad that this book shows that more! Plus the fact that the plot is somewhat overshadowed by the romance...meh. I'm even more curious because you said you didn't like how the romance issue was resolved ;)

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  23. I'VE BEEN SEEING SO MUCH OF THIS BOOK AND THIS SERIES OVER BLOGS AND BOOKTUBES. I bought the sequel, thinking it was the first novel which I haven't read yet -- but I'm still gonna read your review so I know what I'm getting into.

    "The insecure girl from Splintered has grown into a woman with an important role for both worlds – and Howard handled that with care. I wouldn’t say that I always appreciated her choices and her continuous struggle between Morpheus/Jeb got on my nerves, but she’s an overall good character." -- I LOVE that. I think the thing I love the most about any series is the character development and not always agreeing with the character's choices but feeling like it's an appropriate struggle that balances into, as you said, an overall good character.

    "Morpheus stays true to his manipulative and sassy nature. I’m going to stick with my previous opinion; I like him as a character, but not as love-interest. He is complex and unpredictable, which adds a great touch to the story." -- Yeah... if he's manipulative, I can't imagine him making a good romantic interest, but I could see him being a fun chracter to follow. "I definitely believes he loves Alyssa in his way, but I don’t find it healthy or shippable. He is still a better choice than Jeb, who continues to prove why I dislike him." -- Ooh. Wait, does this not have a good choice between EITHER romantic interests? That's not good o.O. "he has a nasty attitude that made a bigger mess in an already out-of-control situation." -- Nasty attitude? whaa--? Oh no. So I've read and heard a lot of good things about the series, but I must admit, this is making me more curious than any of those good things.

    "We get to see Wonderland from another angle when Alyssa and her father go on a quest to save Jeb and Morpheus. The two of them are working together to survive the darkness that is taking over. Their new-found friendship was refreshing and I liked Jeb ‘magical’ powers. " -- And her father? That sounds really cool! So often the parents are absent. That's a cool sounding blurb too: 'working together to survive the darkness that's taking over.'

    "The only thing that let me down was the plot. It’s slow. It struggled to move forward and got stuck in some situations, which provided me with some boring moments. I felt there was too much emphasis on Alyssa’s feelings towards the guys instead of the destruction of Wonderland." -- Ahhhhhhh. Yeah. This is why I often dislike love triangles. Because then they end up swallowing the real plot of the book :/.

    "Would I recommend this series to everyone? I would say I've read better retellings, but hardcore Alice in Wonderland fans might approve of this series." -- Ooh, I've never read AiW so I'm not a hardcore fan, but I'm so curious. Which Alice retelling is better than this series you think? Do I give away Unhinged :O?

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    1. -> Character wise it's an interesting series. Complex characters, likable MC.
      -> Yes, Jeb has an attitude I really don't appreciate and Morpheus is too twisted to be seen as interest (for me)
      -> Her father (and mother) both play a role in her life and that's nicely done.

      Pooooh. Let me see. Based on everything I know about you I don't think you will fall in love with this series. You might like it, but more like 'okay, that's not bad.' I liked Colleen Oakes - The crown better.

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  24. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I'm a bit sad now because Splintered is my favorite Alice retelliing. Besides the inconsistent pacing, it seems like the love triangle really bogged down this story, which I guess I should have seen coming. ):

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  25. Hmmm, it's a bit of a shame that this was a bit of a let down because I know everyone is really excited about the trilogy. I had to skim some of the spoilers because I haven't read the first one yet and I'm intending to, but great review Melanie, it sounds like a great twist on the Alice fairytale.

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  26. I'm sorry this wasn't an amazing read for you. I think it always hurts more when the last book is disappointing and you can't quite puzzle out your feelings about how the series ends. You have made me feel better about not continuing the series after Splintered. I thought it was okay, but it didn't make me want to read book two. I wasn't the biggest fan of Morpheus, Allyson or Jeb so... haha. But I am really curious how she ended it, especially since you said it's something you haven't seen before. Great review :)

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