Book Review – Unhinged by A. G. Howard

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Beautiful pandemonium.

Morbid, sensual and surreal – the reflection in this looking-glass is disturbing.
While Splintered was more of a wild, quirky adventure, Unhinged is a romantic nightmare, the horror gradually surfacing from the background as the netherworld begins to collide with the mundane world above.

Alyssa is caught in the crossfire of many different sorts of madness, having to keep secrets from her friends and relatives while at the same time evading the monsters that keep spilling from the underground, threatening to expose them. While its heart is made of painted blood on broken glass, Unhinged is also somewhat of a drama – a mother and daughter who constantly have to lie to each other and those they love to preserve their sanity. A small evil for a good purpose.

Like the Alice it’s based on, the sequel is much darker than the first. I appreciate the creativity in this retelling – rather than simply make a dark version of Wonderland, this series uses the original as more of a skeleton to build its own gruesome, bizarre form around. Unhinged makes stylish use of the cruel side of Wonderland’s non-logic and hallucinations.

The writing is lush and polished, the pacing is a bit fractured at first but I never found it boring. Something that wins it points is that the author pulls off the very improbable feat of making an enjoyable, well-written love triangle. That’s not a popular trope for a reason, but it actually works here. I think why it succeeds is that it does share a stage with the story, but runs smoothly with the plotline rather than clot it up as love triangles tend to. So don’t let the triangle keep you away.

Writing – 5/5
Characterization – 4.5/5
General – 4.5/5

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