Audiobook Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

Posted March 24, 2014 by Carmel in Audiobook Reviews, Carmel, Reviews, Young Adult / 67 Comments

Audiobook Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Series: Splintered #2
Published by Blackstone Audio
Published on: January 8, 2014
Genres: Young Adult
Length: 13 hrs & 12 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole. She was crowned Queen of the Red Court and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the boy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly appealing Morpheus. Now all she has to do is graduate high school.

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 at school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland - where she (partly) belongs.

Could she leave Jeb and her parents behind again, for the sake of a man she knows has manipulated her before? Will her mother and Jeb trust her to do what's right? Listeners will swoon over the satisfying return to Howard's bold, sensual reimagining of Carroll's classic.


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The phenomenal cover art by Nathalia Suellen and the ALICE IN WONDERLAND angle were the two main factors that prompted me to take-up this series last year. However, I had some concerns about its staying power after the first installment because there are only so many twists Howard can make on Carroll’s original tale. UNHINGED differs greatly from book one in that this story takes place in the human world, and the focus is more on the love triangle rather than on the wackiness of Wonderland. I enjoyed Rebecca Gibel’s narration and the ending will definitely leave you reeling, but this novel just didn’t manage to hold my interest the way that SPLINTERED did.

A.G. Howard’s descriptive writing style remains the star of this series with her detailed characterizations of the countless odd creatures that make up this bizarre universe. In this installment we get to meet the Sisters Twid, lots of creepy Tulgey Wood toy rejects, and too many creepy crawlies to count. I loved the author’s depictions of Al’s skater girl wardrobe, and Morpheus’ unique buggy fashion sense; even though at times I found that they did halt the momentum of the plot. I enjoyed the THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS references, and thought that Howard did a good job of incorporating them into her world.

The love triangle was definitely at the forefront of this story which I wasn’t overly thrilled about. There’s not much meat to this book’s plot line, and when paired with heavy descriptions and Al’s romance dilemma, I found that the novel lagged quite a bit. I can understand why UNHINGED received mixed reviews because if it wasn’t for Gibel’s narration, I probably would have struggled more with this one than I did. I liked the concept of Gardner having the chance at two lives but had a hard time understanding her commitment to Jeb. I understand that he’s human and that a lot was asked of him in this novel, but he definitely didn’t win any popularity contests with me.

Rebecca Gibel is undoubtedly a talented narrator because if she can make this Young Adult / love triangle cynic actually enjoy these elements—then that’s really a testimony in itself! She does a great job of handling all of the madness that the author throws her way while breathing life into this book’s lengthy details. I especially liked her rendition of Morpheus; I think Gibel does all of the characters justice, but him especially. If you’re considering reading this series, I’d advise you to listen to it instead because the narration makes a world of difference.

It seemed as though A.G. Howard left all of the craziness for the very end because after a rather uneventful twelve hours, the last stretch is one big “oh shit” moment. There’s a pretty major cliff hanger as well which leads me to believe that readers will find themselves revisiting Wonderland in ENSNARED. One can only hope!


Splintered Series

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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67 responses to “Audiobook Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

  1. bookaholiccat  

    This sounds good, but I hate love triangles. I really don’t get why 98% of YA authors have to use the over used “love triangle formula”.
    I think I’ll pass on this one.

    • Yeah, I hear ya. It’s one of the main reasons why I don’t read a lot of YA too. However, the appeal of the Alice in Wonderland story line is what hooked me, but I totally understand if this one’s not for you.

    • The first book is definitely better, but this one wasn’t horrible either. Every series needs at least one so-so installment, and I guess this one’s it for A.G. Howard.

  2. I definitely enjoyed the first story and love the cover art of the second. However, a love triangle, especially one that is at the forefront of the story, does not make me a happy camper. I swear, those triangles are like weeds, pop up everywhere, no matter how much I try to get rid of them!

  3. You know I love all the adaptations of anything and everything Wonderland based. So why? Why haven’t I started on this series yet? It’s been on my TBR! Gah! Going to get Splintered now and moving it up the read list 🙂

  4. Yes, the cliffhanger was huge! And I agree with you—I enjoyed SPLINTERED much more than UNHINGED. I’ve never listened to an audiobook before though…

    • That seems to be the general contentious on this series so far. I almost didn’t listen to book 2, but after I read that Ensnared is back in Wonderland, I couldn’t resist.

  5. Howard’s covers are amazing. I have not read these books, but have been drawn to them because of the covers and I do like all kinds of supernatural characters. Thanks for the honest review.

  6. I totally agree Carmel, I missed a lot elements that I loved in the first booK, I also do believe that my enjoyment had a lot to do with Rebecca’s narration….And I like bad boys!..LOL
    Great review 🙂

  7. This series has been recommended to me countless times because I’m a fan of Alice in Wonderland retellings. I’m going to follow your advice and listen to it on audio! After Unearthly and Hallowed I’m actually not as pissed of with love triangles as I used to so I’m okay with this series having one 🙂 Awesome review Carmel!

    • I hope you enjoy the audiobooks! I was surprised to read your comment about love triangles, but every now and then, I do come across one that isn’t that bad. Hehe

      • I think it’s mostly because I’m still floating from my fangirl high of Unearthly and Hallowed lol…it will past and will be back again to my usual disdain of love triangles. 😉 I’ll this series out still though!

  8. This one wasn’t as strong as the first, but i still liked it. The world building is terrific. But I didn’t like so much time was spent on the love triangle and then that cliffie…. argh!

  9. I never enjoyed the first book in this series, somehow I never connected with it. That’s why I gave up on this one. I’m glad you enjoyed it and needless to say the fact you enjoyed it despite love triangle and cliffhanger – it speaks volumes about it. Great review, Carmel 🙂

  10. Pabkins  

    Do you turn commenting off on your posts after a certain amount of time? Just curious cause I couldn’t comment on the SPLINTERED review which I hopped over to since I haven’t read that book yet. Anyways in regards to THAT review – I prefer my stuff on the darker side as well so I’m pleased to hear thats the direction that this series goes. Luckily i picked up the first book on a deals this month! woots

    • Yes, the comments are turned off after 15 or 30 days, not sure which because I’ve found that older comments are mostly spam, so it’s just not worth moderating them. Glad you were able to pick-up book 1 for cheap! It’s hard to turn down a good deal. 🙂

      • Pabkins  

        That’s my problem I never can freaking turn down those deals….and then the books on the e-reader just grow and grow. Its the thing I hate about e-readers you can’t just glance and quickly see in one swooop all the books you have on your shelf like you can a real book shelf.

  11. Oh lord you made me spew my coffee with this comment, “left all of the craziness for the very end because after a rather uneventful twelve hours, the last stretch is one big “oh shit” moment” My oldest loves this series. Of course they are on my wishlist and I realize book one was stronger.

  12. Eeek. I don’t like love triangles so that’s been my number one reason for avoiding this series .-. Love triangles end up making me rage more than anything else. It’s a pity because those gorgeous covers O_O *happy sigh*

    Great review, Carmel!! 🙂

    • Love triangles annoy me to no end as well! It wasn’t too overbearing in book 1, but book 2 is pretty much all over the romance which killed this installment a bit for me.

  13. I heard great things about the first book and I love the 2 covers, but I confess I was a little anxious about this one because I saw a lot of mixed reviews and it’s the reason why I haven’t tried the series yet. It looks like it was a mistake because it’s finally really good too!

  14. Ugh! The love triangle is the reason why this is still on my TBR. I thought that was resolved in book 1 and I was happy how it turned out. Now that the triangle is sort of revived, I’m unsure because I believe it’s a bad idea to do so. She should’ve kept that tension in book 1 if she was planning to keep it, I think it’s an afterthought or maybe her editor suggested it or something. Typical YA shiznit

  15. I picked up Splintered, because it was on sale on Amazon. I am excited to give this series a try, but the love triangle thing worries me.

  16. Sounds like a pretty solid sequel even if you didn’t love it as much as the first. The triangle is what I didn’t like at all from the first book – among a few other things – so it being on the forefront would likely make me not like this one so much. but it’s awesome that she at least does it well though! I’d love to see the new characters and creatures we get to meet in this one though!

  17. Aw, sorry to hear that it focused too much on the triangle for you and that it lacked a bit. But I’ve heard good things about Morpheus, and think that is where my heart would lie.

  18. For some reason Alyssa really grated on my nerves in this story. I listened to the first book on audio and read an ARC of the second one. If I would have waited for the audio version I probably would have liked it more.

    • I actually read your review before starting this one, and I believe you mentioned that you wished you’d listened to it instead which is why I waited for the audio.

  19. Faye M.  

    I’ve never read the series (despite it being on my Currently Reading Shelf for like a year now), but I do hear a lot of its wonderful word and beautiful writing. So many people seemed to look forward to this one but was left a tad bit disappointed. I hate it when more effort is given to the romance aspect (a love triangle again?!) at the expense of the plot. A slow-moving book can sometimes work if its character driven, but if it largely focuses on the romance, I’m not sure I’ll be able to endure that. I’m still glad you enjoyed it as a whole. Look at those 4 glowing paw prints! 🙂

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  20. I didn’t read your whole review, Carmel, since I haven’t read Unhinged yet myself. I don’t know why! I had it on pre-order, and I loved Splintered. It’s good to know that the audio-book was good, too, though, as I’m starting to get more of those, and I’ve enjoyed quite a few.

    Have a terrific Thursday!

  21. I loooved this one…because Morpheus!! <3 But even though you weren't a fan of the love triangle, I'm glad you still enjoyed it! The ending was killer so I can't wait to see how it all ends 🙂

  22. This is one of those series I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. I’m a little discouraged that book 2 isn’t living up to book 1, you’re not the only person I’ve heard say that. But 4 paws is still pretty darn good – and I’m not a love triangle fan either, but seems like it didn’t kill the book for you – so I’m keeping it on my must read soon list!