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5.0 out of 5 stars Imagine our world if the craziness of Wonderland ever broke through the rabbit hole...,
(NOTE - There will be spoilers from the first book included here, as I'm assuming if you are reading this then you have read 'Splintered'? Also, it's necessary for me to talk about some plot points during my review, but I will not give away anything major and will not spoil the ending! )
The aesthetic in me adores these books for their covers alone - seriously so beautiful! Although I have to admit that I picture MY (yes, MY) Morpheus looking just a little bit more rough around the edges than pretty boy on the cover here - but that's by-the-by :) Gorgeous coverart yet again.
'Unhinged' picks up a year after 'Splintered' ended. Alyssa has handed the crown over to Grenadine and Ivory to rule in her stead, and is just trying to get on with her human life. With her mother adjusting to life out of the asylum, prom and graduation coming up, and an overhanging issue of taking the 'next step' with her human boyfriend Jeb - Alyssa has alot going on.
The last thing she needs is for Morpheus to start edging into her life again. Visiting her dreams, sending her messages - until finally entering her world completely (disguised as enigmatic exchange student 'M'). There are problems in Wonderland - Queen Red is on the loose, gathering up an army and preparing to take back what belongs to her - and punish those who betrayed her.
Whilst Alyssa is trying desperately to live a normal life - the calling of Wonderland is too loud to ignore. With Morpheus on her back, the warnings in her artwork, creepy messages from an unknown sender - and all manner of Wonderland creatures spilling out of the looking glass and into the human world - Alyssa has no choice but to stick to her duties, confront Red, and defend Wonderland as their Queen - but at what cost?
I'll start off by saying that I really enjoyed this book - much more infact than it's predecessor. I mentioned in that review, that I found the pacing a little off. Sometimes it was slow, other times I couldn't keep up. I think Howard got the pacing bob on with 'Unhinged'. Everything moved along really well, and there wasn't one section where I became bored. I also found this book REALLY creepy! There was alot of tension throughout most of it, and I found myself holding my breath on more than one occasion. The creepy clown popping up everywhere, Wonderland nasties hovering on the outskirts - SISTER TWO....need I say anymore? (That woman/spider terrifies me!).
Alyssa takes quite the journey in 'Unhinged'. Whilst trying to ignore her netherling half and plan her future with Jeb - she still cannot deny that part of her, and Morpheus won't let her! When I read 'Splintered', I struggled to understand the 'pull' towards Wonderland that Alyssa felt - but in this book it becomes clear and I completely get why she feels torn between her two identities. From starting the book basically in complete denial, to re-discovering and owning her magic - Alyssa starts to develop into the powerful Queen of Wonderland that before was just a title. While she may seem indecisive and rejectful of Wonderland, as the book moves forward we see her begin to accept herself and become proud. I really enjoyed her development in this book.
Now for the love triangle...ah, the boys. You may remember that I was all Team Jeb when I read 'Splintered'....well now that's changed. Don't get me wrong - I still like him, but because he had his Wonderland memories wiped, he remains oblivious to Alyssa's struggles throughout most of the book and for that reason we don't really share this story with him as closely. Morpheus was the star of the show for me. He really won me round this time and I can say that my feet are firmly plonked on his side of the fence!
We see a whole new side to Morpheus in 'Unhinged'. When he enters Alyssa's world, he is vulnerable and we see it. His fears and feelings come to light more, and we discover alot more about him which helps to understand his motivations. But don't worry Morpheus fans - his cockiness, charming arrogance and cutting wit still remain - and let's be honest I think I'm a little bit in love. The feelings Morpheus has for Alyssa become more apparent throughout the book and more than once he drops his defensive mask to show what lies beneath (not literally ladies..calm yourselves!). He really does just want what is best, even if he goes about it in the most ridiculous of ways sometimes, and I love the way he challenges Alyssa to use and develop her magic. He believes in her.
As lovely as Jeb is, I would love to see Alyssa end up with Morpheus. I think both boys suit her best in different ways - and I understand her predicament, but I think that Morpheus has more to offer her and they just belong together really.
Now, from the reviews I have read of 'Unhinged', alot of people are unhappy that the action takes place completely in the human world. Apart from a few dreams, and trips down memory lane - we don't see much of Wonderland. I personally didn't mind. I loved how the two worlds collided in this book and how Alyssa desperately tried to maintain her normal life with Wonderland creeping in at every turn. I know we will be back in Wonderland for the third book, so it honestly didn't bother me as much as it did for everyone else. Howard's writing is so beautifully descriptive that I can follow a story by her no matter where it is set. She really knows how to create a rich scene in your mind, whether it's in the Red Palace from Wonderland, or Alyssa's plain old highschool gym.
Despite the lack of Wonderland, some of our favourite crazy characters do make an appearance. Helpful little Chessie saves the day on more than one ocassion, Ivory shows up in all her grace and good nature - full of good advice and pointers, Rabid White is just adorable. I really don't know how such an ugly little creature can be so endearing but I really do just love him. Of course, Red and Sister Two rear their ugly heads too, but I will talk about that in a minute. The characters of Wonderland are so well written and I can see Alyssa's pull to be with them, protect them, and rule over them as their Queen (with Morpheus by her side *le sigh*)
The one thing I didn't enjoy as much were the baddies we love to hate. Like I mentioned, Sister Two gives me more heebie jeebies than I care for (seriously! She is SCARY) - and I was really happy to see her play a more prominent role in 'Unhinged'. I couldn't be quite as afraid of Red though. I understand that she is dangerous, and her soul is a formidable force to be reckoned with - but she just chooses the most unthreatening thing to put her soul into and I could not be scared of her - I just couldn't. Also, the fact that she uses Sister Two's army of toys filled with demented souls as her army just wasn't threatening either. I understand the idea behind it - but when the final confrontation happens - without the presence of Sister Two it would've been a little underwhelming.
Again, the secrets in this book kept me reading. Unlike 'Splintered', I felt like everything was spaced out really well, and revealed at exactly the right moments. There is SO much more to Alyssa's family past than she knows - and waiting for those secrets to be revealed makes this such a suspenseful read. There is always something that she doesn't know. We find out even MORE about Alyssa's Mother, some secrets from Morpheus, and even her Dad's life isn't so innocent as it always seemed. Everything makes a little more sense the more it is revealed - kudos to Howard for keeping me gripped.
To talk about the ending (no spoilers) - I did really enjoy it. I loved how our characters teamed up despite their differences to confront their enemies head on. There was a bigger sense of foreboding considering that everything was taking place in the human world. Alyssa, Morpheus, Jeb and Alison had to be more discrete and that made everything more tense. Like I mentioned, Red and her army were a little less terrifying than I had hoped, but Sister Two owned her creepiness! Just like 'Splintered', the ending is left open for a sequel - but is much more of a cliffhanger! I am dying to know the repercussions of Alyssa's actions on the final page!
Overall, I did really enjoy reading 'Unhinged'. I feel like the writing just got better with this book, and I was pretty much gripped from start to finish. If, like me, you liked 'Splintered' but you're not sure if you want to carry on reading the series - I would strongly recommend that you give this book a go. Before long you will be desperately waiting for the final installment, just like me! Although there were a few little faults, I am going to give 'Unhinged' a top rating.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sequel!,
This book is a worthy successor to the previous book Splintered and continue the trials and tribulations of Alyssa Gardner, ancestor of Alice Liddell, the original Alice from Lewis Carroll's classic tale.
It takes place a year after the events of the first book and Alyssa is happily back in the human world and is blissfully dating her crush Jeb, which a freak accident starts a whole new set of unfortunate events to test her and her loved ones.
I liked that this book takes place mostly in the human world rather than in Wonderland, although Wonderland is very present throughout the book. It's fantastic to see how Alyssa deals with the intrusion into her human world by the netherlings and how she is forced to deal Morpheus in her own world. I am happy that Morpheus does grow as a character in this book and with the twist that comes from Ivory's vision of the future you get a much better understanding of him and his motives for his many, many actions which was well needed after the last book.
I must admit that this review is hard to write without giving too much away for those that haven't read this yet as there are several key pints I would love to mention but they are points that would spoil so I feel I can't. The presences of Alyssa mother in this book is wonderful and she is key to events that unfold and there is a second major twist to the tale that will changes things for the final book for certain and will affect the Gardner family as a whole. I did feel that Jeb was slightly under used in this book but I think he needed to be so that Morpheus could have a moment to shine and so Alison could take a step forward too.
As with the previous book this one is printed in the gorgeous purple text and matches the first book completely but I must say that the rendering of Morpheus on the front cover is totally gorgeous, not how I envisioned him in my head but gorgeous anyway!
In conclusion, this is another great book by A.G. Howard and a must read if you liked the first book, the wait for the final book next year is going to kill me and I really hope it doesn't disappoint!
5.0 out of 5 stars UNHINGED,
UNHINGED is an amazing sequel to SPLINTERED. Alyssa is trying to detach herself from Wonderland, despite all the things that pull her back toward it—her art, her dreams and, of course, Morpheus. But Wonderland doesn’t wait for Alyssa to make up her mind, it brings the madness to her until she has no choice but to act. And there’s plenty of madness! Everything is described so incredibly. It is clear how much care has been put into each word chosen, weaving beautiful sentences that sweep you away with the rest of the story. In particular, the action scenes were chaotic and exciting, and the romance sizzled off the page. There are lots of twists in the story as we get deeper into this world and get to know the characters on a whole other level. And THAT ENDING! Oh wow. You just know you’re being set up for something big. ENSNARED is going to hit it out of the park with its awesomeness!
5.0 out of 5 stars this book is a fab sequal to Splintered,
I loved this book but I do think you need to read Splintered first to understand it - the ending had me crying and feeling there should be more I cant wait fro the next book
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.25 dark and seductive stars,
UNHINGED is the second storyline in A.G.Howard's exotic and dark retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Advancing the storyline one year, our heroine will discover that Wonderland is only a mirror away and there is more to her familial connection than she could ever have imagined. While life begins to settle down at home, Wonderland is dying; destroyed by Red and her minions; waiting for Alyssa to return and face her future.
The premise follows Alyssa as she prepares for graduation and prom. Her love for Jeb is unfailing but Morpheus's return finds Alyssa wavering between a future with Jeb or a future as Queen of Wonderland. A.G.Howard pulls the reader into a journey of twists and turns with some of our favorite Wonderland characters who are barely recognizable beyond their previous incarnation. Skeletal rabbits; a garden of flesh eating plants; and enough insects to give the ick factor a shiver or three are pulled into the real world to wreak havoc in Alyssa's less than orderly life. Add a possessed clown that could rival `IT' on the creepy scale, and you have the premise for a storyline straight from a hellish nightmare.
UNHINGED is a less complicated storyline than SPLINTERED; easier to follow as the sights and sounds are more familiar than the dark fantasy of Wonderland but less complicated does not necessarily mean less entertaining. We follow Alyssa as she is once again pulled into a war to save Wonderland-where the Ivory Queen has been imprisoned in silk and the Red Queen awaits a dual for the crown.
The love triangle, a prerequisite in most YA storylines, is framed by a look into a future and the possibility of a happily ever after. Where Jeb is Alyssa's perfect love match in the real world, Morpheus is the man of her dreams-literally- through the looking glass. We watch as two men vie for the affections of a less than typical seventeen year old girl but a girl whose destiny has been foretold. Where Morpheus's reality and understanding of love is skewed to the upside down world of Wonderland, Jeb's reality of life with Alyssa will begin to fall apart when Wonderland opens the door to welcome Alyssa back home.
A.G. Howard's concept of the dark and seductive world of Wonderland is filled with imaginative and deadly creatures; colorful and descriptive narration; and a cast of characters that will leave an imprint in your psyche-you will never again see Wonderland through the eyes of the Disney version. Gone are the sweet Alice, singing flowers and complicated hookah pipe smoking caterpillar replaced by a young girl determined to save the people she loves while a passionate but misdirected Morpheus opens up Alyssa's mind to the possibilities of a happily ever after in Wonderland-with Alyssa at the helm.
copy supplied by Netgalley
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, with a fantastic twisted plot, but I personally wish the love triangle had played a smaller role.,
Review also published on my blog, StudentSpyglass.com
You may remember that I really liked Splintered, but that my issues with the love triangle meant it got a 4/5. In Splintered, I didn't particularly love either Jeb or Morpheus, but the love triangle wasn't too big of a block for me because of the fantastic world-building going on as well. Unfortunately, the love triangle felt like a huge part of this story and by the end of Unhinged I had a definite preference for one side of the triangle.
The imagery in Unhinged is beautifully done, just as it was in Splintered. A.G. Howard has a knack for making scenes come alive, for evocative, powerful writing that never feels forced or flowery. Although we don't get to see much of Wonderland, we do see Wonderland slowly invading our world, which was new and exciting. It's really interesting to see some of the strange features of Wonderland surrounded by normal everyday things, rather than surrounded by the bizarre landscape of Wonderland, and somehow that only emphasises their strangeness. Yet again, I loved A.G. Howard's writing and I can say nothing but good things in that regard!
The plot was great. It took me a little time to get into Unhinged, and I didn't race through it the way I did with Splintered, not because I wasn't enjoying it so much as because I was savouring it, trying to piece things together before they happened. The plot is absolutely filled with twists, turns and revelations. Although a YA book, A.G. Howard doesn't feel the need to spell things out for you, and though you might see a twist or two coming, the book will still keep you guessing about something else, which I absolutely loved.
I really liked Alyssa throughout Unhinged. Although I didn't love her wavering between the love interests (or some of her decisions regarding them), I did love the way she grew throughout the story. Alyssa was determined to put Wonderland behind her and concentrate on her real life, but eventually she's forced to face her responsibility. She explores her netherling side, treads dangerously close to overstepping a few lines and tries to come to terms with the fact that she's not 100% human. She goes from sticking her head in the sand to fighting for her life, and she discovers some uncomfortable truths about Wonderland, about herself, and about her mother.
My real issue with Unhinged was Morpheus. He is a huge part of this book, and of the love triangle, and I just didn't like him overly much. He felt too extreme - sort of like if you crossed (a small part) Spike from Buffy with (a large part) Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter. He had lots of characteristics I'd normally like in a bad-boy ish character (see Spike, above): the cockney accent, the coats, the ego...but when you add in all his netherling traits as well, and make him change from good to bad every hour, it was too much for me. It felt like a lot of this book was taken up by Morpheus does bad thing, Alyssa hates herself for trusting him, Morpheus turns out to have done good thing (or bad thing for good reason), Alyssa hates herself for doubting him. Repeat.
I understand the need to have a character who's not black and white, and even to have a character whose allegiance you're not quite sure of (Snape, anyone?), but in Unhinged, it felt overdone to me. By the end of the book, I'd sort of expect Alyssa to either a) have decided once and for all whether Morpheus can be trusted or not or b) have ditched him because his constant changes are exhausting.
Jeb, the other side to the love triangle, really grew on me throughout the book. He's got some faults, and he's occasionally overly concerned with his career but his motivations are good. He's desperate to do well, yes for his own sake, but also so that he and Alyssa can afford somewhere to live in England next year, and to impress her dad so that he'll see Jeb as responsible and allow Alyssa to go. He's swept up in the sudden buzz and increased interest in his artwork, and although it does make him act poorly at the beginning, I do feel like that's an issue that could be easily resolved. He's determined to do well for Alyssa, to make her happy and he just wants to go off and study together in England. He has no memories of their previous trip to Wonderland, and it's very sad to see his (justified) suspicion of Morpheus, even though he has no idea who he is. Jeb is sometimes a jerk, but he's also sometimes sweet, and romantic. He goes through some real ups and downs throughout Unhinged, but he remains protective and loyal, and for me, that makes him a winner over Morpheus.
I know I'm in the minority for not being a Morpheus fan, and I think I could have overlooked his downsides if he'd been cast in the role of a friend, but for Alyssa to be torn between him and Jeb in a romantic sense was frustrating. I personally couldn't see how she could be so attached to him romantically when she couldn't trust him, and when she had a great guy she could trust. It didn't even feel like the usual choice between a safe guy with no chemistry and the bad boy she's so attracted to, because it's perfectly clear Alyssa and Jeb do have chemistry!
I thought long and hard about whether to give Unhinged a three or four. Despite my (quite serious) issues with Morpheus and the love triangle, I really enjoyed the plot, I found Unhinged immensely readable and I liked both Alyssa and Jeb, so for me, it's just about a four. Having said that, it's less of a four than Splintered, if that makes sense at all!
5.0 out of 5 stars Unhinged by A. G. Howard,
Ever since I read Splintered last year, I've been dying to get my hands on the sequel! After all the twists and surprises at the end of the book, I was excited to see what Unhinged had in store for me. I actually ended up loving Unhinged more than Splinitered. Maybe it was because there was more Morpheus, or maybe it was just because the story line of this one was so much more interesting and shocking (but I definitely think Morpheus played a part in me enjoying this one more).
Unhinged had me on my toes from the moment I started reading it. It's been a year since Alyssa took her trip to Wonderland and she's doing her best to forget it and move on with Jeb. But Morpheus refuses to let Alyssa forget since Wonderland has gone into chaos because Queen Red has escaped. Morpheus does everything in his power to convince Alyssa to come back to Wonderland and Alyssa starts to realise that Morpheus might actually be telling the truth. Alyssa realises that if she stays in the human realm, she'll be endangering the people she loves but if she goes to Wonderland, she might lose a lot more.
Alyssa is such a strange and weird character, but I love her. She's feisty, stubborn and extremely determined. I loved seeing her fight for herself in this book because she's just got this power about her that I love seeing. I also really loved when Alyssa was true to herself and just let herself go. Those were the times when Alyssa was truly herself and were the times that I just completely loved her.
I know you guys will probably be wondering whether I'm Team Jeb or Team Morpheus, well, I'm definitely Team Morpheus. I know, I know! He's a deceitful, cunning, untrustworthy character... but I can't help but love him. A lot about Morpheus' character is revealed in this book and it helps you understand why he is the way he is, which just made me love him more. Morpheus can be sweet and caring when he wants to be and I just adore seeing that side of him. But I do like his bad side too.
Jeb is a sweetheart and I do really like him. He's protective and a really nice guy, but he's just missing something for me. I do like him and Alyssa together, but I'm rooting for Morpheus and Alyssa.
The story line of this book was craaaazy! And that's no exaggeration. Every time there was a twist dropped, it wasn't long before another one came along and messed everything up again. Alyssa was having an inner battle with herself because she didn't know who she wanted to be for most of the book. She was trying to ignore her true feelings. Jeb was off trying really hard to make sure he and Alyssa would be comfortable in London, and some really weird and crazy stuff happens to him. Morpheus was being his usual lying and cunning self, trying to deceive Alyssa and get her to come back to Wonderland with him. Alyssa was trying to build a relationship with her mother now that she understands why her mother did what she did, but her mother is hiding things from her. Red has escaped into the human realm and is determined to get Alyssa. Sister Two has also made into the human realm and is out for revenge. So yeah, there was a hell of a lot going on in this book and I loved every single second of it.
The ending was jaw dropping. The action and the fighting at the end had me on my toes because I just knew something bad was going to happen (I'd been warned to have tissues near so I was prepared for the worst). It wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be, but it was still very shocking and unbelievable and I kind of just sat and stared at the book for a while trying to wrap my head around what had happened. It was just insane! The last chapter was really intriguing because now I just can't stop thinking about what's going to happen next!
Overall, Unhinged was a fantastic follow up to Splintered. Definitely my favourite of the trilogy so far. I can't believe I've got to wait until 2015 for Ensnared, but I'm just super excited for it so I'm kind of hoping this year goes by pretty fast!
5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Dark,
This review is from: Unhinged (Splintered Series) (Hardcover)
A twisted masterpiece.
What can I say, after a few chapters to re-integrate my imagination into the world of Wonderland, Unhinged blew my mind. Surparsing the initial expectations and taking it into the stratosphere. Put aside all your disney visions and sugary sweetness, what you get inside the pages of Unhinged is deliciously dark and twisted. It's like reading a Tim Burton movie that's been on crack ;)
I adored Morpheus in Splintered but he completely consumed me in Unhinged. The tangled emotions add an edge to the plot. Never has a love triangle been so understandable, yet so heart breaking. Alyssa has two sides to herself, human and netherling, and a soul-mate for each side *swoon* but *gulp* Revelations while providing an almost perfect solution also test boundaries. I have an idea how this is going to pan out but the logisitics are escaping me. I cannot wait to find out if my guesses are correct.
Discoveries regarding past incidents involving other pivotal characters add insight into the twists and turns of the plot. The tension within the narrative is provided by so many different aspects enhanced by the terrifying imagery. Throw in some incredible quips to lighten the tension. While truly swoon worthy moments enhance the emotions within the story. Unhinged is the complete package.
At times Alyssa's inner battle provided more hinderance than the external obstacles she faced. Readers are encouraged to embrace their inner `madness' alongside Alyssa in order to truly understand Wonderland; uniting the tow halves of herself in order to make her stronger. Let your imagination run wild. Is it truly freaky that I want to dress like Alyssa? :)
Unhinged needs all the words ENCHANTING, CAPTIVATING AND ENTHRALLING. Wonderland has never been more appealing ;)
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar service,
Amazon is a great seller ! Prompt delivery and really well packaged . As for the content it's a gem . I'm well passed my teenage years but as a collector of Alice's adventures in Wonderland books a follow on intrigued me ! I love that this is a continuation and not a rehash . It's twisted romance set in a dark beautiful world and i'm not going to spoil it for you . A fantastic series !
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Sequel!,
This is a review for the second book in a series and as a result may contain spoilers for the previous book.
Let me first say this, there was not nearly enough Wonderland in this book. Just putting it out there that the next book needs to include more Wonderland (I actually understand where Howard is taking the series and that the 3 books will be set in 3 different worlds but I still love Wonderland so much that I miss it).
Unhinged takes place a whole year after the events of Splintered and Alyssa is in her final year of High School, about to graduate. As the novel starts Alyssa is firmly in a relationship with Jeb, who does not remember the time he spent in Wonderland and doesn't know about that part of Alyssa's life. She's thinking about loosing her virginity to Jeb on prom night & worrying about other teenage things, but Alyssa is not a normal teenager and soon finds out that 'normal' is a luxury she can't afford.
The novel progresses as Morpheus warns Alyssa that Red is seeking to take back Wonderland and kill her, and that if Alyssa doesn't come into Wonderland to stop Red then the fight will be brought to her world. Alyssa wants to save Wonderland but is scared of the person she could be in it and more importantly she chose to go back to her world and be with Jeb, so she thinks it shouldn't be her problem any more. On the other hand, Morpheus is determined to make her the Queen he thinks she was born to be. Morpheus decides to become part of Alyssa's world in order to provoke her into action and enrols in her school as a student. Hijincks and other things ensue and Alyssa is dragged back into the Wonderland conflict.
Unhinged was equal parts about the love triangle and the power struggles going on in Alyssa's life. This sequel completely did a complete 180 on me and changed everything I thought from the first book. In the first book I was 100% team Jeb and all for Alyssa staying in her world, however the way Howard wrote Unhinged had me questioning all that until I was team Morpheus/ Wonderland.
The first part that changed my mind was they way Jeb was acting. In the book he's so desperate to prove that he's not a bad guy like his dad that he's often neglecting Alyssa to do it. Don't get me wrong he's all for the big gestures, like painting his blood on white roses, but he's so desperate to kick start his Art career that he ends up leaving Alyssa alone after she almost drowns and is rushed to hospital. It just didn't make sense to me and left me hurting for Alyssa every time she felt insecure or abandoned.
On the other hand Morpheus is there for her, in his usual way of not being fully honest with her, but still standing by her side and lining things up so that she can be the victor. In Unhinged you definitely get to see a more vulnerable side to Morpheus and you realise he's not going away.
More than that we find out that every moment of Alyssa's life has been influenced by Wonderland. She can't escaped it now she is Queen, and it has always been a constant in her life, even before Morpheus would play with her as a child. It seems inevitable that she will end up there. Also, Howard really throws a spanner in the works by showing us a possible version of the future. How can Alyssa pick one life when she knows eventually all roads lead to Rome, assuming they all survive long enough for her to decide?
Overall, Howard has written an amazing sequel to an amazing first novel. The characters have only gotten stronger and the way Howard describes the hauntingly bizarre Wonderland creatures is just amazing. The ending though was heart wrenching, I can't see a future for either of her potential loves after what they're about to go through, especially not Jeb who's already broke enough. I just need the third book right now damn it!
If you haven't checked out this series yet then what are you waiting for? 5/5 Stars!
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