Rating: 5 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
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?
Bloody brilliant, I’ll say.
Now, I realize this book has become a hot topic in a hate/love war. I get it. I do. And after reading the book, I understand the angst, anger, and everything in-between.
But let me say this, because I realize that I won’t be able to write this review without possibly seriously offending some people and/or making them question my morals in life: I just don’t really care.
Feel free to disagree with me. (I’m being completely serious.) That’s totally fine, but I’m just giving ya’ll the heads up: this is a very, very positive review.
I’m going to write this spoiler free, BTW. Just so you know and aren’t scared of being COMPLETELY RUINED TO THE ENDING OF THIS TRILOGY.
Sorry. As you can probably guess, this is what happened to me before I even got my hands on the book.
Which might have had something to do with how I’m handling the ending now, since I’ve just finished it. Had I not been spoiled, maybe I’d be reacting differently.
When I first learned of the ending (again, I strongly encourage you NOT to be spoiled, however tempting it may be) I didn’t really know what to think. I knew right then the ending was going to be one of the best things to ever happen or one of the worst and will completely ruin the series for me.
But, alas, I find I’m very happy with how it all ended.
As if waiting for that signal, he releases my hands, cups my face, and whispers in my ear. “My precious Alyssa, share reality with me. Give me forever. We will wreak such beautiful havoc together.”
Am I still a little confused? Sure, a little. But also, I get why Alyssa made the decision that she did. I really do and my opinion of her has changed because of it. I don’t see her as being selfish, but I do understand why so many readers now see her that way.
The ending is very, very unique, and, honestly, one heck of a gutsy move. I can only think of one other book that had a very similar ending, and just as I did not have a problem with it then, I do not have a problem with it here.
What I think is this: the decisions Alyssa makes in this final novel weren’t made alone. Jeb and Morpheus were right there next to her and gave her their blessing. Not because they were tricked into it, not because they didn’t understand everything they were agreeing to. They saw their options, and all three of them of them understood and were okay with their choice.
I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan (read: obviously). If you didn’t know that about me, you really should. (Again, how is this not obvious?)
So I don’t say I’m happy with how this series ended lightly. Alice is one of my favorite childhood characters and if an author ever tries to do a retelling of it and fails, I have no mercy. None. I will rip that book apart with my teeth.
“Jebediah has given up on you, but I never will. I can offer you the security you desire. If you’ll but be mine, your heart will forever be sheltered in my care. Yes, we will quarrel incessantly and fight for dominance. And yes, there will be ravishes of passion, but there will also be gentle lulls. That is who we are together. You’ll never need fear that your love is not reciprocated. For although you’ve made me feel things I am not equipped for . . . I cannot stop feeling them.”
I love Morpheus. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. He’s one of my favorite male leads.
He’s just so wicked.
I was really prepared for the worst going into this book. Partly because I was spoiled and partly because I wasn’t as impressed with Unhinged as I was with Splintered. I saw this series as starting off amazingly great but then going downhill.
I am so pleasantly surprised.
“You opened Pandora’s box within me. Set loose the imaginings and emotions of a mortal man. And there is no closing it ever again.” The jewels under his eyes twitch between dark purple and blue. “As much as I abhor being anything akin to human, Alyssa, I wouldn’t dare try to close it. Because that would mean losing you.”
I love that Alyssa is able to love both Morpheus and Jeb equally (as much as I abhor Jeb). There is no choosing between them. I love that Alyssa understands that there is no changing Morpheus, that to love him is to love even the downright cunning, most wicked parts of him. She does not make him gentle, docile. She makes him even more crazy and cunning. Just as he does to her.
I even love that Alyssa loves Jeb without ever wishing he were a little more like Morpheus – magical and unruly. She loved them both for the things that make them differently, but she’s able to love them equally, which is no small thing.
And that’s so glorious.
So bravo, Ms. Howard. Bravo, indeed.