I'm going to be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to this one very much, especially given the fact that I wasn't really very impressed with the first book in the series, Splintered. But when I saw this chapter sampler on NetGalley I thought, why not? I am so glad I requested it, or I might not have ever picked this book up at all.
From the get-go, the reader is dropped into an action-packed, exciting, suspenseful ride that doesn't really let up until the end of the sampler. And while I found Morpheus unbelievably annoying in the last book, he's started to grow on me a little bit. This chapter sampler beautifully showcases his dark, sinister side in a way that is almost endearing. I can only cross my fingers and hope that this trend continues throughout the entire book.
I loved this sampler and I want this book now, now, now!!
After reading "Splintered" and not liking it very much, I was a little hesitant to start "Unhinged", the second in the series. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised. After reading the chapter sampler I was so pumped to read this book.
The star of this installment (and what makes it work at all) is by far Morpheus. This is ironic because I absolutely hated him in the first book. The second book, however, we get to see that he is not just an insufferable jerk, that there is more to him than flashy clothes and snarky, suggestive comments. Unhinged shows true emotional reactions from him, and gives us insight into the reasons behind what he has done to Alyssa and her family. Another happy surprise in this book was the information we get regarding Alyssa's parents' past. While this was a side story, I feel like a novella told from Alyssa's mom's point of view would be a fantastic idea so readers could learn even more.
While this book was filled with tidbits of information that help us to get a better understanding of Howard's characters as a whole, she still keeps with the habit of describing wardrobe choices in minute detail in hopes of giving characters personality and this absolutely drives me crazy. Holly Black is really bad about this, and it is disappointing that with a story and cast as interesting as the "Splintered" novels have, Howard feels compelled to fall back on this tactic. It simply is not needed--Maggie Stiefvater's characters are proof of that hands down. Morpheus and Alyssa could stand as fleshed out characters on their own account--we don't need to know that Alyssa dresses in punk rock clothes. Give me a break. That being said, when Morpheus's hat flies apart and comes back together because it is made of moths--that is pretty freaking awesome. These are the kind of quirky, inventive wardrobe details we need as readers. The rest of it just feels like noise to me.
The story wrapped up pretty well, and the cliff hanger is interesting but not intolerable like some are. I'll be looking for the final installment once it comes out, in hopes that Morpheus continues to take center stage and the characters' personalities continue to grow.
If you love books about magic, faeries, or Wonderland spin-offs, you should pick up Splintered if you haven't already. And don't worry if you're a little disappointed in the first book, I was too, and I promise it gets better if you give the second book a chance.