Audiobook Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard

Posted January 16, 2015 by Carmel in Audiobook Reviews, Carmel, Reviews, Young Adult / 78 Comments

Audiobook Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard
Ensnared by A.G. Howard
Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Series: Splintered #3
Published by Blackstone Audio
Published on: January 6, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Length: 13 hrs
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audiobook Jukebox
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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?


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Before I launch into my review, I feel that it is important to mention that I LOVE all things ALICE IN WONDERLAND, so even though this trilogy contained certain elements that I normally find intolerable (i.e. love triangles), I’m not holding it to my usual standards because of my Lewis Carroll bias. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my final trip down A.G. Howard’s rabbit hole, or rather through the looking-glass, and was satiated by the ending, but ENSNARED also wasn’t without its faults. The last 1/4 was 5-star worthy with its creeptastic Netherlings, sharp plot twists, and original resolution; however the 3/4 that preceded it was slow paced and disorganized.

After the discoveries that were made in UNHINGED, I was happy that ENSNARED opened with Alyssa’s dad’s back story, although I could have done with more recap because I’ve read over one hundred novels in the year long lull between books 2 and 3, so understandably I was a bit fuzzy on the details. I actually listened to the first two hours TWICE seeing how I dozed off a few times, and thought I’d missed it, but no, the earlier chapters were just plain sluggish. Once I got past that hurdle, my jaunt in AnyElsewhere was fun; I loved meeting all of the Wonderland outcasts, and was delighted by Jeb’s fall from grace because it leveled the romantic playing field.

I’ve had the damnedest time picking a team in this series due to both suitors being kinda offensive, so I was somewhat hoping that Aly would go all Red Queen on their hides, and proclaim “Off with their heads!” Unfortunately, Young Adult typically doesn’t believe in bloody HEA’s which means that that option was out, but Howard’s solution was the next best thing. I liked her unconventional ending to this trilogy’s love triangle, although it didn’t come as a big shock because it was kind of hinted at in the previous installment. This book was also in desperate need of an epilogue, and the author was gracious enough to deliver, so amen to THAT!

I started this series in audio, and it was only fitting that I finish it that way too. Rebecca Gibel is a savvy narrator who was more than up to the task of bringing the SPLINTERED world to life for the third time. I loved how committed she was to the characters, especially Morpheus, and her range of Netherling voices never ceases to amaze, in both their diversity, and ghoulish pitch. Alyssa’s progression from insecure teenage girl to immortal monarch was just as evident in the writing as it was in Gibel’s delivery. I will definitely be seeking out other audiobooks that have her listed as the narrator after reaping the benefits of this threefold performance.

ENSNARED wasn’t all that I was hoping for, but it’ll do.


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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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78 responses to “Audiobook Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard

    • It took me a while to get into the narrator too; she reads at a pretty slow pace, so I found it helpful to speed up the audio a bit. I understand that it’s not for everyone though.

  1. Admittedly, the love triangle is what turned me off this series right off the bat. I’m glad that I did, because for me, it’s an unforgivable offense. It’s right up there with cheating. I used to feel a bit bad about missing out on AG Howard’s writing, but after reading this, I’m more than convinced that I made the right choice. Good on you, for not letting that love triangle get in our way. 🙂
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[480]: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

    • This is one of those rare exceptions where I was able to look past the love triangle, and that’s mostly thanks to my obsession with fairy tale re-tellings of Alice in Wonderland. Plus, all of the teams make out alright which is unusual.

    • The ending was rather convenient, but the author did a good job of setting readers’ expectations, and it made sense given the heroine’s dual natures. I totally get why so many peeps were pissed though.

    • I struggled with book 2 because it takes place in the mortal realm which is super boring when compared to Wonderland and AnyElsewhere. For some reason I gave it 4 stars…

  2. Hm. Unconventional ending to the love triangle you say? That has me a little worried, but then again, if you weren’t really on board with either suitor then it was clearly and ending that worked well. It’s a shame this one wasn’t quite the outstanding conclusion you were hoping for, but I’m glad it worked well enough!

    • Yeah, I think being unable to pick a team actually worked out in my favour because I wasn’t really invested in Aly’s choice either way. Unlike in Kresley Cole’s Dead of Winter where I was PISSED.

  3. Nicole from Feed Your Fiction  

    Okay, well I was wondering if she was going to end the love triangle the way I thought she was going to end it after the last book, and I guess it’s okay that she does. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it, but I’m reserving judgement until I read it. I’m disappointed that the rest of the book was slow, though – that’s kind of how I felt about the last book too. Ah well, I’m definitely still planning to read this one!
    Nicole recently posted…ARC Review – Inked by Eric Smith

    • I don’t know why these books are as slow paced as they are; that’s really this trilogy’s major downfall IMO. As long as you go in with realistic expectations with regards to the love triangle, you should make out ok.

  4. I confess that I haven’t really tried real Alice retelling but I’m quite curious to try. I herd a lot about this series but I should try one day too to see how it is. Sorry though that it wasn’t as good as you thought it would be.

  5. I pretty much devoured and loved Splintered, but held off on book two due to some not so positive reviews and the fact it was in the human realm. I’m glad you finished it and got to the amazing ending. I’m a bit worried about my HEA though. Because I enjoy her descriptive writings so much I plan on keeping this series on my tbr. Being a Alice in Wonderland fan and all 🙂

    Thanks for the thoughtful review and have a great weekend, Carmel!
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…New Adult Book Review: Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    • I didn’t count the days between releases, but I did make listening to each installment somewhat a priority. The author’s descriptive writing style is out in full force in this book thanks to Jeb.

    • I think knowing what you’re in for going in definitely helps. I’ll be curious to see how you feel about the ending. We’re usually on the same page, but this book might change that!

  6. Bummer that the reviews for this one are lackluster. I enjoyed the first two books, but I am so not happy that we have to go the love triangle route. I have yet to read a glowing review for this, so I am going to shove it down the pile and wait for a library copy.
    Heidi recently posted…Friday Forecast: January 18th-24th

    • The love triangle wasn’t overly surprising, it’s been present to a lesser degree since the beginning. I’ve only read a couple of 5-star reviews for Ensnared, and they were by die hard YA readers who never seem to have anything negative to say, so…

  7. Now I don’t feel as bad missing this. My fault really, I thought I snagged an arc only to find out last minute it was a sampler!! $%^&*!!!!

    Anyway, I dislike the (non) love triangle here. I thought it was resolved in the first one then she revived it in book 2 and now it seems she’s muddying the playing field with both suitors being offensive. Maybe Ally should just abstain or go dip in the lady pond for a while
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Quick Hits: Dictatorship of the Dress by Jessica Topper & Prohibited! by Delancey Stewart

    • So, the ARC on NG was only a sampler? In that case, I’m happy that I skipped it in favour of the audio, not that I had planned switching to reading to begin with, but the temptation was there when I saw it.

    • It’s Wonderland, right? So there are bound to be a few cray-cray characters, and even the human went off his rocker in this final installment. At least all of the books are out which means no waiting when you finally do get around to ’em.

    • Had the full second half been better than the first, I probably would have given it 4-stars, sadly it was only the final 1/4 that was top notch. Yes, asswipes, this is why I wanted Aly to chop their heads off. LOL!

  8. I really adore all things Alice in Wonderland as well. I have yet to check-out this series though. After reading this, the Splintered series has def. moved up on my TBR pile. 🙂

  9. I’ve put off this series for a long ass time and didn’t have any plans to read it soon but I heard so much about the unconventional ending that I just simply want to read all three books in one go to see it! Everybody is pretty much talking about it since this has been released and I wanna know why!
    Faye M. recently posted…ARC Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

    • I’m sure that if you trolled the internet long enough you’d find spoilers, but the best approach is always reading it for yourself. Plus, it’s only 3 books, so not a crazy commitment.

    • Understandable. I’m kinda surprised that this one didn’t bug me as much as it should have. Maybe it was because I listened to Dead of Winter prior to this audiobook, so this love triangle had nothing on Cole’s.

  10. I read the first book this summer and it didn’t work for me – but I think its a great series for diehard Alice in Wonderland fans like you. I’m glad you enjoyed it and were even able to overlook some of your big no-nos for it. I do agree with you that Rebecca is a fantastic narrator, she was my favorite thing about the first book!
    Berls recently posted…2014 Book of the Year | Finals

    • I thought the author did a good job marrying her story with the original fairy tale. However, if it’d been longer than a trilogy, I’m not sure I would have stuck it out until the end.

  11. I didn’t end up picking this series up when it first came out since I wasn’t completely in love with the idea of retellings (since then I’ve grown to like them, occasionally) that being said, I don’t think this one was a ‘me’ series, my main reason being the love triangle. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about this one (although I hear the plot and writing is fantastic) so kudos to you for being able to look past the love triangle.
    Lily recently posted…Never Never #1: Review

  12. This book has been EVERYWHERE. It reminds me that I do need to read the original Alice in Wonderland at some point since there are so many retellings! The one thing that slightly puts me off from reading this series is the love triangle, but I should put that off as you have.

    It seems like the whole “1/4th was awesome!” and “3/4th was slow and all over the place!” is a thing observed in so many last books. Also something I’ve seen a bunch about this book. People to seem vary widely on whether or not they like it, huh?

    If you find yourself not remembering much of what happened in previous YA novels, this site (http://recaptains.blogspot.com/) has a lot of recaps. They don’t have it for this series, but since that problem for this series, I figured I’d mention it :).

    “I’ve had the damnedest time picking a team in this series due to both suitors being kinda offensive” — This this is what keeps bothering me about the reviews I’ve seen. So many of them discuss the love triangle and so few mention the idea that either interest is good, so I’m kind of wary. (Oh, hahaha, I see that you liked Red Queen. That did handle the LT elements well, I’d agree.) And it is a bit unfortunate that YA doesn’t end up upping the game too much re: bloody HEAs or super unpredictable no-hold-bars sort of endings. It’s good to hear though that the author did experiment a little. I like unconventional endings.

    I’m glad you at least enjoyed some of Ensnared even if it wasn’t everything you wanted :).
    Christina recently posted…The Bias Against YA (+ Best Books of 2014)

    • This is the second YA novel that I’ve listened to in a row with a love triangle where I was hoping that the heroine would say no to both boys, and go the badass route. I think this is a sign that I read too much UF. LOL! Thanks for the link to that website; I’m sure that it’ll come in handy.

  13. You liked this one a bit more than I did Carmel. I couldn’t properly put together a review for this one (my thoughts were all jumbled) but I do have “discussion” chat about it scheduled for tomorrow. I do agree that there was a giant lull at the beginning, most times I started tuning out the story because i wasn’t interested.

    Rebecca Gibel sold this story for me, and I must find more books that has narrated. I just adore how she voices both Morpheus and Rabid White.
    Amber Elise recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up: January 11-15, 2015

    • You might be on to something there. I like that the author thought outside of the box, although some readers saw it as cheating. You’ll have to make up your own mind!

  14. I’m so happy you enjoyed this final installment, Carmel. This is a series I’ve wanted to read but refrained by buying for some reason. The covers are gorgeous and that was my initial draw. Anyway, I’m glad Howard kept you engaged with the story – even if 3/4 was slow – and that Gibel narrated well.
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…Travel by the Book #1 ~ Savannah

  15. Pili from In Love With  

    I feel like I didn’t manage to enjoy this one so much for my own emotional states because I had to detach myself from the whole thing a bit in order to continue to read it, so I’m not sure what I think of the ending yet…

    I simply adore Anita’s writing and the world she has created, and how she had plot twist after plot twist and the creepy creatures… So there’s a lot I loved in the book, but also left me a bit of unease.
    Pili recently posted…One Year Celebration: Happy 1st birthday to A Mad Wicked Folly!!

  16. AH! I need to find a spoiler review of this. I listened to the first book, actually read a little too because I disliked it so much I wondered if it was just the narration. It wasn’t. The narrator is actually pretty good, I just couldn’t stand the writing – Splintered was one of the only 1 star books I read last year.
    That said, I am interested to know what happens. The story was interesting enough, I just disliked the writing so much I couldn’t keep going.
    I’m glad you liked it though, the kids at the library LOVE this series. I might actually be one of the few people around who didn’t enjoy it.
    Great review!