I don’t know why I had such high hopes for this series ender. I didn’t love the first book. It was simply interesting. I liked the second book quite a bit more because of the increase in the presence of Morpheus. Also I liked the way the plot played out as it felt different than the previous book. Ensnared however, just felt like a lump of a mess as I read.
Let’s start with my biggest issue of the book, it was disjointed. I know one of the charms of an Alice in Wonderland retelling is to feel a bit disoriented, but this just felt too abrupt. It had been a while since I read the last book, but it certainly wasn’t the year that most people deal with between books. Still as I picked up the book, I had no idea what was going on. I thought the last book had ended with Al in the asylum her mother had been in. Yet this book she is not, but racing toward her goal already. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I there was a bit orientation. It took quite a while to get an understanding of what was going on, why they were there, and why I cared. I could have looked past this if there weren’t a few other spots that also became a little disorienting.
Again Jeb remained rather insufferable throughout the story. He was brooding and cruel to Alyssa upon encountering each other. It was frustrating to see Alyssa so heartbroken. He was not being a nice guy. He was being manipulative. She watched as he dangled and controlled Morpheus to an extent. He became all powerful and he seemed content with it. He was a jerk, but his characterization made sense. After what he had been through I would have been surprised if he was chipper and happy because he was never that kind of guy. What didn’t make sense was the sudden shift. His perspective and willingness shifted in such a way that it was jarring. It didn’t make total sense. However, it enabled a shift in behavior that could signal the kind of change for Alyssa to forgive him. Not that even that was a struggle.
Which leads to another big problem I had with the novel. One of the things with love triangles is that there is give an take between the participatnts. Sometimes one may be in the lead, sometimes things get screwed up and another slides in front. This book though devised a plan where Alyssa didn’t have to choose. She got to have both. It frustrated me because as a YA book this is targeted at a younger audience and not choosing is bad news bears. I’ve been in the situation enough to know that it hurts way too much. Yet in this book everyone is perfectly fine with the situation. After the tension between Jeb and Morpheus throughout all the books, I just don’t know how this is possible or healthy. So that just bothered me.
The plot felt more akin to the first book, but with the pacing of the second. I quite enjoyed that because we really got to see things play out rather than immediately bouncing to something totally new. That said it still had that manic wonderland rationality. Things were bizarre and strange and the only way to understand was just to go along with the logic. I did like that the goal again was very clear. Save Wonderland and stop Red.
Overall, I just didn’t love this book. I wanted so much more from the story. I wanted to not be frustrated as I read. Heck, I just wanted to be so engrossed in the story that I didn’t constantly realize how many pages I had read. In the end it was a lackluster end, but not all bad. It gave a solid ending that not all series do, even if some of the elements of that ending bothered me.