Author: A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered, #3
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 5+ / 5
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?
-- As seen on Goodreads
Oh, how do I begin! I’ve been avoiding writing this review for DAYS because I don’t want to burst the bubble and face the reality that the Splintered series is really over. I loved this trilogy so much (except for one person – I hate his guts.) This will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done – talking about this book without including spoilers. But I will do my very best. I promise.
I love the characters in this series – and one in particular above all the others. If you’ve read my Splintered and Unhinged reviews (and have seen my proudly displayed Team banner), you will know I have a severe dislike (OK, hatred) for one character in particular. I’m sorry for those on Team Jeb, but going into this book I was secretly hoping for his demise – preferably painfully. I could just about tolerate him in Splintered, but in Unhinged, his controlling, standoffish, over obsessively-protective ways firmly cemented my hatred. Well, I didn’t think it was possible, but I’ve found a new path for my hatred – Alyssa’s father. Oh. My. GOSH! What a judgmental, arrogant, snobbish, Jeb-carbon-copy, ANNOYING father he turned out to be! I was really looking forward to seeing a father/daughter bond develop, but instead Thomas Gardner turned into a self-serving, self-centred control freak! At one stage I swear I had to put the book down and move away or else I would have DNF’d.
I think my hatred for Thomas Gardner allowed me to be a teeny tiny bit more… tolerant… toward Jeb. But, still, his double standards are absolutely sickening. He’s grown an awful lot since the first book. This growth was desperately needed in my opinion, but I still have absolutely no idea what Alyssa sees in him.
But, I have a HUGE confession. I did something I NEVER do – when I reached page 103 and I was FUMING mad with Alyssa’s father… I skipped ahead and read the last page. I couldn’t take the suspense anymore – I needed to know! Then I couldn’t stop there. I read the entire Epilogue. Moving on before I start chatting about stuff I shouldn’t…
Alyssa grew on me a lot more in this book. I was a bit doubtful of her in Unhinged, but she had moments where she really blossomed into a fabulous character in Ensnared. She trusts herself a lot more, and doesn’t base her decisions totally on outside influences, but takes her own opinions into account. But, she also had moments where I wanted to shake so much sense into her! Her indecisiveness was quite pitiful at times. Alyssa is two parts of a whole. She is human, but she is equally netherling. The previous books felt like a battle between each half, whereas Ensnared felt like she finally accepted both halves of herself, and that each half has a different set of desires and beliefs. For a while I’ve felt her feelings for Jeb were borne out of habit, duty and guilt, not love. I’m of the opinion that both her human and netherling halves love Morpheus, while only her human half could love Jeb… but then again, I’m not Alyssa, just an observer!
It's no secret that I will be forever Team Morpheus! In Ensnared, Morpheus is nothing short of brilliance. His dialogue is flawless, his intentions impeccable, and he is the main reason why I love the Splintered trilogy so much. Morpheus is simply… perfection. He is so imperfect, he becomes the perfect character. He is the prefect duality: light and dark; cunning, yet open; confident, yet unsure. He is kindness, and maliciousness. He is gentle, and ruthless. He is mischievous, and caring. He is manipulative, and trusting. And simply, his most precious trait, he has a heart of gold. I loved falling for this psudo-bad boy with a heart of gold over the course of three books. Morpheus captures EVERYTHING I look for in book characters, and in particular, male characters. I am sick to DEATH of goody-two-shoes, cardboard-cut-out, ‘bad-boy’ wannabe male characters. Please, can we have more uniquely imperfect male characters like Morpheus?! PLEASE!! The term book-boyfriend gets thrown around so often between us bloggers, but for me, Morpheus will forever be my numero uno, and sitting happily at the top of the list. No other character can compare. It will take one hell of a character to capture everything I love in one place again – but I like a challenge, so… bring it on!
I love A.G. Howard’s writing style, and I clicked with it in the first two books, and it stays true to style in Ensnared. I love her descriptions, and the dialogue between characters is fabulous. I loved that the world building was back to its best, just like it was in Splintered. Seriously, that book has some of the best and most beautifully twisted world-building I have ever read, and to see it matched here was amazing!
The ending… ooh the ending. I have a feeling that this one will cause lots of heated debates. Personally, after I’ve thought about it for a while, I think it’s fitting. Looking back over the three books in hindsight, I think it makes sense, and we could see it coming. Overall, I loved Ensnared. While in my heart I would have like things to be slightly different, I’m satisfied with it. When it comes to a rating, I have no idea what to give! It has elements that would warrant a 4 star rating… and each of my ratings up to New Favourite! My official rating would be “Unrateable”… but we’ll go with 5+… because, well… Morpheus!! (It’s a perfectly legit reason! *Grins*)
PS. For those curious folk who already have read the book, and would like to see a perfect gif reaction of how I felt when I cheated and read the last page… click this link ;-)