Monday, January 12, 2015

Book Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard

Title: Ensnared (Splintered #3)
Author: A.G. Howard
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 384
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Reviews for book 1book 2, and book 3.5

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?

When the final chapter of the Splintered series arrived on my doorstep last Tuesday, I was feeling a lot of different feels. I was super stoked that it had finally arrived, but I was really sad that such a wonderful series was going to end. I didn't know what to expect and, as a diehard member of Team Morpheus, I was terrified of not getting the ending I so desperately wanted. As I cracked open the beautiful cover and dived in, I kept my fingers tightly crossed in hopes that A.G. Howard wouldn't let me down.

And she didn't.

Ensnared is just as perfect as the previous two in the series - maybe even more so. The book begins as Alyssa and her dad prepare to enter the looking-glass world in search of Jeb and Morpheus who they hope are still alive, whole, and sane (well, as sane as they ever were). But that's not all Alyssa is looking for there... She has a plan to beat Red once and for all. She just has to keep it a secret from, well, everyone. Once they find Jeb and Morpheus (obviously), things are not as they should be, though they did manage not to kill each other in the meantime, and Jeb has discovered a new side of himself that Alyssa isn't sure she likes.

While I'm obviously not on the Jeb train, I did enjoy watching Alyssa and Jeb continue to discover the limits of their relationship. Even more than that though, I enjoyed Alyssa and Morpheus! Morpheus is up to his old devious ways, trying to constantly one up his competition (and succeeding, in my opinion). Favorite Morpheus quote:
"If you'll but be mine, your heart will forever be sheltered in my care...For although you've made me feel things I am not equipped for...I cannot stop feeling them...You opened Pandora's box within me...and there is no closing it ever again."
-Ensnared, page 212
Simply stated, this book is beautiful. The characters are beautiful. I loved watching Alyssa grow and find herself, becoming the mad queen that she was born to be. The worlds and landscapes are as beautiful and mad as ever. I loved the looking-glass world despite the fact that it was supposed to be an ugly, terrible place. Even the story itself is beautiful. Ensnared is much like Splintered and Unhinged in that Alyssa is constantly pulled back and forth between her two lives and the two men she cares about, though now there are more serious consequences for her indecisiveness. The madness is real with this one and I found myself with head spinning more than once as some scheme or another came to light.

And then there was the end... I've seen mixed opinions on the ending of Ensnared. I, for one, was not quite sure what I would think once I had a good idea of where it was heading. Without giving too much away, A.G. Howard did a perfect job of wrapping up the series and the love triangle in a way that really worked for me, although I can see why it might leave some people a little peeved.

I can't find anything I didn't love about this book! I'd give Ensnared a million stars if I could! My only real complaint is that it ended when it did. I've recommended this series to everyone and now, after reading the series ending, I have no regrets about doing so (unlike some other series I loved until the ending let me down). Seriously, if you haven't picked up this series yet, I don't know what's stopping you. You're going to regret waiting so long!