BOOK REVIEW: ENSNARED / AUTHOR: A. G. HOWARD / PUBLISHER: AMULET BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 13TH
Ensnared is the third and final entry in A. G. Howard’s Splintered Trilogy, which saw the Texan-set author putting her own fevered spin on Lewis Carroll’s tapped-out nonsense novel. Although Alice in Wonderland should be off-limits to the next generation of creatives, Howard’s book is a sly and cunning end to an interesting series.
Having embraced madness after a battle at her prom, Alyssa Gardner (an ancestor of the real-life inspiration behind Carroll’s novel) must journey into a realm of magic and mayhem, and challenge Queen Red. Together with her compadres Jeb and Morpheus, it falls on Alyssa to save Wonderland from destruction.
The archaic quality to the prose harks back to the Victorian source material, but provides a wonderful respite from the loud-but-lazy voices of the genre (read: Stephanie Meyer et al). It’s obvious that Howard has a love of classic literature and language itself, infused throughout the novel, which is a great way to introduce impressionable readers to the magic of the written word, and we’re all for that.
There’s a teenage fanaticism to the story, an embarrassing romanticism of madness, and Alyssa can be an awkward narrator but she’s still one of the finer heroes to emerge from the YA literary pool for years.
One of the Howard’s greatest strengths, certainly with this series, is the exaggerated darkness extracted straight from the source material and blown up to near farcical extremes, and it’s pretty darn entertaining.
The front cover may mark it out as one with the dregs of the dark fantasy genre, but inside is an impassioned ode to Alice in Wonderland; an obsessive’s love letter. Ensnared bids a fond farewell to readers and puts two fingers up to naysayers.