Ensnared is the third book in a four-book series by A.G. Howard that delves into the dark and macabre world of Wonderland. This is a spin on the Alice in Wonderland story but takes a Tim Burton-esqe view and explores the darker side of Wonderland with all its fascinating creatures and magical abilities.
The same cast of characters returns in this book and few major players are added. The characters really pick right up from where the second book ends, so readers who are starting the series with this one are likely to find themselves lost. Alyssa’s dad is brought to the forefront and plays a much bigger role in the plotline. Howard also morphs Jeb a bit and while I didn’t see it coming, was a great twist. The interplay between Morpheus and Jeb now makes for page-turning fun.
Settings in this book are a little less detailed than in previous books. I appreciated that this was due to more of a deep dive into the character’s mindsets, but it did feel a little flatter than the past two in the series. The book doesn’t suffer greatly for it given the intricacies of the dialogue and inner monologues of the characters. Great attention to detail was given to the clothing characters were wearing, however, which was just as outlandish as the scenery in past works.
This book was a good read and will keep the reader interested until the end. I am eager to pick up the final book in the series as well. The ending was a little predictable in terms of wrapping up the love triangle, but it works for the plotline and the lead-in to a fourth book. As in the others, this is a dark and rather violent book, so younger readers should pass. Young adult audiences who are fans of complex love stories twisted into fantasy will find themselves enamored with this one.
Profanity/Language: 10 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 3 anatomical terms.
Violence/Gore: Feet are magically encased in sand, trapping character; characters attempt to drown each other; 2 page attack by bats; 4 page graphic/macabre depiction of games that are bloody, hurtful or harmful where characters are magically forced to repeat torture; characters battle zombie flowers and undead toys; woman is strangled; spirit possess character; report of eyes and tongue cut out (only blood on face is depicted); character threatened with knife held to neck; multi-page depiction of bloody, beating hearts being used as decorations in house décor and clothing; 6-page graphically bloody tirade of character slicing/cutting and killing all those around with destruction of buildings; numerous creepy/frightening characters or scenes; character smacked with rolling pin; numerous verbal threats; recall of rabbit being skinned; multiple minor cuts/scrapes/bumps; two fist fights/shoving matches; reference to physical abuse as child; mutated animals/people/paintings attack others; flying scorpions attack character.
Sex/Nudity: 4 caresses of face; 2 instances of holding by waist; bare chested male; 11 kisses; 2 instances of sexual innuendo or implications; 2 instances of hands on male chest; 3-page playful/sexually charged wrestling between male and female; 5 hugs of varying lengths; characters (male and female) depicted only in wet underwear; 2 instances of female sitting wrapped in arms on male’s lap; 2 instances of snuggling in bed (no nudity); undercurrent of sexual tension throughout book.
Mature Subject Matter:
Infidelity, death, stealing, abandonment, child/spousal abuse.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Smoking of hookah; drinking wine.