Info: Amulet, copyright 2014, 400 pages
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.
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 for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.
"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Alyssa Gardner is most definitely not the person she was yesterday. She survived a rather harrowing escapade in Wonderland, finding herself Queen of this mysterious and tripped out lnd, but all she really wants to be is normal. Human. Anything but the half-netherling who still talks to bugs and creates terrifying mosaics made from blood.
The most awesome is the witty, sarcastic, seductive Morpheus who is trying to lure Alyssa back to the kingdom she reluctantly reigns over. He's beautiful and terrifying, mysterious and multidimensional. He's awesome. Howard has also created a story rich with history and back story that isn't distracting as back story can sometimes be. Alyssa's past is much like an ogre...it has layers :)
The Not So Awesome
Oh Alyssa, you poor angsty girl. I know that you love your human companion and you dream of a normal life, but it's time you get over yourself, stop whining, and cease being an annoying teenager. And where's Wonderland! I'm ready to go back to Wonderland! (I know we have more story coming, and now we have some fun teasers to keep things exciting, but I was just really hoping for some Wonderland...)
Overall, and excellent series continuation. The characters are original, the story is complex, and the pacing keeps you firmly entrenched in the book. I will justify my "not so awesome" responses with the fact that we are dealing with exceptionally angsty teens in the teen room at my library, and I'm exhausted. And it's to be understood. Alyssa is battling who she is versus who she wants to be...trying to plan an entire future as a young teenage girl. It's hard! Despite the angsty-ness, I love Alyssa and her wacky style. I love Morpheus and his seductive personality. And I love Jeb for his loyalty. So I will wait (not-so-patiently :) for the next installment!
If you're a fan of Alice in Wonderland, classic re-tellings, and well-written contemporary fantasy novels, check out Unhinged by A.G. Howard.