by AG Howard
Splintered, book three
*Spoiler Alert - This IS the final book in the trilogy!*
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? (Description taken from Goodreads.com)
As this is the final book, I'll be somewhat cryptic in my review to try to keep from spoiling things for you who may not have read this yet... This was one of those books where I was SO excited to read it that I almost couldn't pick it up at all. I don't know if you ever experience that as a reader (I know my friend Jen from Yabooknerd shares this with me), that feeling where you just can't bear for a series to end and you're terrified that the book won't live up to your expectations and so you just keep putting it off and putting it off and suddenly you realize you've owned the book for YEARS and still haven't finished the series... (I'm eyeballing my copy of the last Vampire Academy series book as I write this)
Well, that's how it was for me with this book, until I finally put my proverbial foot down and forced myself to crack open the first chapter...and immediately got swept away into Howard's fabulously dark and twisted world once again. I love how deliciously twisted both Howard's settings and characters are in this series. She takes the familiar pieces from my childhood and manages to give them such an unexpected and creative twist, that though the idea behind the series is a classic, it really does take on a completely wonderful life of its own. I never find myself actively comparing these books to Carroll's as I'm reading, only after the fact as I'm describing them to others. They exist in and of themselves.
There had been some controversy, I guess, about the ending to this series. In today's readersphere, where everyone pits one romantic lead against another in the never-ending line of love triangles, there were readers who had pinned there hopes one way or another and inevitably some readers found their hopes dashed...in an interesting way. In fact, as a reader who loves both a romantic and a realistic ending, resigned to the fact that often one cannot find them together, EVER, I was happy with this ending. In fact, it's what I wish would happen more often in the books that I read.
Then, just after I finished reading, I was even more excited to find out that Howard will be releasing a novella set in this world, a collection of three short stories! I don't have to give up this Wonderland just yet. Oh Frabjous Day!