Thursday, January 15, 2015

Book Review: Ensnared

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?   Quoted from Goodreads


I have totally mixed feelings about this book.  In some ways I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it's possibly the best book in the series, absolutely better than book two.  However, there are aspects of the ending that really bothered me and dampened my enjoyment somewhat.  I'll talk more about that later on in a special spoilers section.

First, what I liked. In a sort of twisted way, I enjoyed the world building.  You know with anything Wonderland related theres going to be a sense of the macabre, and A.G. Howard certainly brought it. Wonderland was strange and horrifying in it's madness, but the looking-glass world was worse.  It was even more cruel and strange than Wonderland, which is kind of needed for a for the final book in the series.  It was crazy and chaotic and delightfully imaginative in a gruesome but occasionally beautiful way.

Second, Morpheus. Or maybe he should be first. Yes, probably first. Seriously, I love him. He's by far the best character in the series (and yes, I am team Morpheus).  He's crazy, unique, confident, inventive, and best of all, he's totally manipulative.  That sounds horrible, and no, that's not what I look for in a boyfriend, but it still makes him my favorite character. He literally plots circles around everyone else, and you never guess exactly how his plan will play out. He always knows exactly what he's doing, and when an obstacle stands in his way, he finds a brilliant work around. He's loyal, and would do anything for Wonderland and Alyssa.  Plus, he perfectly embodies the madness that is Wonderland.

All in all, (besides my upcoming little spoiler-filled rant) this is a satisfying conclusion to an interesting trilogy. There's some good action sequences and a few great twists I absolutely loved.  I'm giving it a nice 3.5 stars because despite my issues, there is a lot of good stuff here.  I loved the twist on Wonderland and especially her ideas about dreams and imagination and how important they are.   

Okay, SPOILERS ahead, so considered yourself warned!

My issues.  If the author decides to put in a love triangle, I believe the main character should, at some point, be forced to choose one boy over the other.  I hate this whole I love you both equally, and so spends two separate lifetimes with each boy, so in the end everybody wins!  Uggggg. One mortal life with Jeb, and after he dies, she fakes her death and spends the rest of forever with Morpheus in Wonderland.  I hate it.  The whole point of a love triangle is the different options each boy offer, yes, but also the anguish of choice.  This, just like The Clockwork Princess, eliminates that and sort of put me off the whole series.  Of course, I am team Morpheus, so I liked that he ended up with her in the end, but if the author had written the book well and explained why Alyssa was better with Jeb/chose a life with him, I would have accepted that as a better ending than this whole "I can't choose, so magically I'll get to have you both garbage.  There.  Maybe you like the "everybody wins" scenario. If so,  this book might be perfect for you, but that aspect really wasn't my cup of tea.

And while I'm ranting, I have one more little thing/SPOILER to add that bothered me.  When Alyssa thinks Jeb has been killed, she tries to kill Morpheus  Again, he's my favorite, so it makes me mad on principle, but I thought it was horrible that she would do that.  I get being furious and heartbroken.  I get banishing him or choosing to never love him again, but not murder.  It's not like he stabbed Jeb in the back himself, and even if he had, sacrificing one person for a whole nation would sort of fit with his MO.  She knows he would do anything for Wonderland. I hated that she told him she loved him then tried to murder him without listening to any explanation in a land where your soul turns to dust.  It made me like her a lot less as a character, and sure, maybe the whole Jeb reveal was more powerful, but really, did anyone believe that he was dead at that point?  I mean, the cover gives the whole thing away, so it just made Alyssa into a horrible person.  Still, beyond my few issues (and it's always easer to rant rather than praise, unfortunate) this book does have some really good points, like . . . Morpheus. 

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