Friday, January 30, 2015

Book Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard (Splintered #3)

I so called the ending of this book.

Ensnared is so difficult for me to rate. I loved it because it was the ending to a series and it wrapped everything up but in the end, it felt like a cop out.

Starting with the cover...I hate it. Jeb's lips look far too big and the labret piercing looks like a massive zit.  The other covers had a bit of a thousand yard stare thing going for them but this felt bored and lazy.  It doesn't fit with the book of Jeb being portrayed as an elfin knight. He looks like a tired teenager.

The first 20% of this book was a disappointment to say the least. Alyssa is diving into rescuing everybody but there was a lot of talking about relationships and introspection. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it was kind of annoying to slog through. We want to start in action and not have to wind our way up to forward progress in the book. Instead, Alyssa and her father sort of meandered their way into getting things done and it too for...ever. 

After we run into the rest of the characters, things speed up a bit. I love the distorted and nonsensical world that Jeb and Morpheus are trapped in. Things that don't make sense seem normal. It reminded me a bit of Harold and the Purple Crayon where things that you need are only a drawing away.

The relationship between Jeb and Morpheus develops a lot more and part of that comes from necessity. I got sick of their lack of swear words (I mean, come on. These are flipping teenagers. They are going to cuss.) and their relative laziness when it comes to their escape plan. They seem to be just twiddling their thumbs going "Well hell...we'll just wait it out" before Alyssa gets there. Shouldn't there be a plan? Shouldn't they be more damaged? Or at least a little bit anxious to get out?

Jeb was thoroughly obnoxious in his self pity when we first run into him. I'd like to emphasize that these characters are recent high school grads. They aren't going to make the best decisions as far as relationships go and big mistakes are inevitable. Morpheus also doesn't help things and has said that he actively trying to steal Alyssa away from Jeb. So when we run into him and he is feeling sorry for himself, it's understandable at first. He is happy in his twisted little emo corner. I completely expected him to be growing mushrooms in a closet or tearing up paper to make himself a hamster home.

But you would think that he would be overjoyed to see Alyssa. Or at least *try* to win her back. Because you knew that Morpheus was going to do this. He screws with everybody and being in love with Alyssa only makes you a bigger target. I wanted to shake Jeb and tell him "Tough Shit".

Morpheus was wonderful though. He was pervy, charming, sarcastic, biting and all the things that makes us love him as a character. He never really gives into despair which shows his strength. Yes, he is supposed to be an unfeeling jerk in many ways but his attitude and characterization is consistent.

The plot line itself felt rushed. It didn't go into the detail that I would like personally from defeating evil and liberating a world. The ending was a poor wrap up and I felt cheated. It was all too easy and convenient. I never felt like the characters were in any real danger. 

I'm not going to give anything away as much as possible but I sort of relate to it like I do the Harry Potter series. We all have opinions about who whomever should end up with and we may dislike the futures that they have been given.  That does not mean that we didn't enjoy the journey it takes the characters up to that point. 
This series was a good read though and I don't want to take away from that at all.  It was unique and a completely different take on the Wonderland we all know.  The characters have depth and individual motivations that keep them all in the realistic realm, despite the magical atmosphere.  Relationships grow instead of just being there and the insta-love is nowhere to be found.  There is history, a story line and world building where everything fits together well.

So yeah, 3/5 stars as much as it hurts me. Lovely series with a poor ending.


  1. I can't read this review. I don't want to spoil things for myself, but seeing this makes me excited! I've been meaning to get my hands on Splintered. Any Alice in Wonderland retelling can win me over xD

    1. Go! Do! It is an excellent retelling and very unique. It's one of the best retellings I've read and it helped restore some of my faith in the genre.

      Thanks for commenting!