Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: Amulet Books
Length: 416 pages
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 sadistic netherling outcasts.
In the final installment of the 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 even if everyone succeeds and comes out alive, can they all truly have their happily ever after?
Protagonist: Once again Alyssa's character development lies in her struggle between her human and netherling halves as she tries to figure out what is best not only for herself but for the people and world she's come to truly care about. I loved how this was handled, though I could have done with less of her struggle being entwined with her romance and more with her desire to live a human life as well as protecting her Wonderlanian subjects. It was great to see her finally figure out what she wants and take the initiative needed to accomplish what she needed to do.
Romance: Since I have in the past stated my disdain for Morpheus I've decided to omit the conclusion to the romance as an influencing factor over the rating of this book, but that doesn't mean I won't still talk about it. With both of Al's love interests caught in the mirror world known as AnyElsewhere I was interested to see what and how that would affect their characters and if we might see new sides to them when and if Al should reunite with them. One of my biggest problems with both love interests is their intense insecurity with the other and how they handle it pressuring and sometimes manipulating Al into making a choice, instead of giving her the time she needs to figure out her heart. I will say that everything in this book serves a purpose that eventually and sometimes agonizingly comes to light.
World-Building: Since we didn't really get a return to the madness and beauty of Wonderland in the previous installment I was hoping and praying for a great adventure in AnyElsewhere to sort of make up for it. Unfortunately while the adventure, when it finally began was fun and exciting, most of this book took place in one location. I still feel like there are hols in my understanding of AnyElsewhere and would have preferred a moving journey through the landscape to get a better understanding of this fairly iconic setting.
Predictability: I have to say I wasn't to surprised by this book, or rather I was surprised by some of the twists. For the most part I knew what was going to happen, I may have known all the little details, but I knew they would happen. There was a lot of things that happened that we either got major foreshadowing for or fit in with classic YA tropes. Am I sad or upset about this? No, it didn't detract from the entertainment of this book, just kind of streamlined it a bit more.
Ending: So going into this book I had heard rumors that the ending of this book isn't all that satisfying. Well, I don't know about you but I found it very satisfying, again excluding the romance which I won't give an opinion on here because spoilers, but even if there wasn't a forthcoming epilogue-esque novella coming out next year I would still be satisfied with this ending. Everything is really tied up nicely while possibly leaving a window open for a possible spin-off, though I may be looking for something where there's nothing to find.
While this book was fantastic, I still can't get over the fact that I wanted more fantasy and adventure from this book, and while the romance was important to the story and protagonist it took up too much plot where I would have loved a bit more adventure.