Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Retelling
Page Count: 381
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.
That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.
As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.
If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.
Although I won’t talk about spoilers for this second book, I may mention a few elements that happened in the first book of this series, so be warned if you haven’t read the first book and would like to avoid possible spoilers. You can also read my review for the first book here.
This second book in the whimsical Alice in Wonderland-inspired series (I won’t call it a retelling because that wouldn’t exactly be true or accurate) is, let’s be honest, a victim to the second book syndrome. We are all familiar with this by now, and it’s not uncommon, nor does it mean the series or author are bad. This book suffers from being less interesting than it’s processor. This book tends to drag on a bit in some parts as well.
It’s not all bad, though, because although I was bored for a large chunk of the book, it really picked up pace towards the end and things actually started happening. Once events started to unfold I was invested in the story and felt worried about some of the characters, something I wasn’t sure I was able to feel since I’m not much of a fan of any of the characters in this series.
Before I delve into the plot, I would first like to talk about the characters. In my review for the first book, I talked about how I was happy about Alyssa finally being a YA female heroine that I enjoyed reading about. Well, in this book I’ve grown to hate her guts. She doesn’t exactly do anything wrong (besides y’know, giving into Morpheus too many times to count and then turning away from and completely forgetting about Jeb at other times…) but she just really bugged me (haha, get it?) in this book. She kept on screwing up when there was literally only one or two things that she had to remember to do. I know that these things are supposed to make her ‘flawed’ but I honestly don’t know how she’s still alive! Oh wait, she’s only still alive because she has Morpheus, right?
Now let’s talk about Morpheus. Morpheus is the only character in this series I semi-like (excluding side characters that get pushed to the side way too often). The main problem I have with Morpheus is that he cares too much about Alyssa, someone who pushes him to the sidelines and has thoughts of leaving him behind for dead. I’m sorry, but you need to get yourself a better woman, Morpheus!
I don’t even know what to say about Jeb at this point. I have the same thoughts about him in this book as in the first book.
For a long while I thought that this book had no plot. Alyssa was basically just going to school, and talking about dating Jeb. For a large part of this book I wasn’t sure what the goal was or what Alyssa (and the rest of the character’s) end game was. Save Wonderland, I guess, but we didn’t even know who the antagonist was until the last couple of chapters! That might’ve been the point but I still don’t know how I feel about that. Actually, I’m still not sure how I feel about this book as a whole. I finished this book on March 26th, so about two and a half weeks ago and I’m still unsure whether I should give this book 3 or 3.5 stars.
There were things I liked about this book but there were also some things that made me want to put the book down and not pick it back up again. I honestly don’t even know anymore… I will pick up the next book though because of the darn cliffhanger at the end and I will probably enjoy it as a whole, but so far this series is ‘eh’ for me.
- The writing style
- Alyssa battling with her inner Netherling
- Alyssa’s mother (just put her back in the asylum where she belongs!)
- The plot that took forever to get to
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Overall this was an okay sequel. I am interested in seeing how the next book goes and what events arise, as well as the character development.
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