Splintered by A.G. Howard
Release Date: January 1st, 2013
Number of Pages: 371
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: ARC from NetGalley
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
I have to say; this is strangely not the weirdest version of Alice in Wonderland I’ve ever read. Well, it is the weirdest YA version of Alice in Wonderland I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I was warned before starting it of how weird the world could get, which I think made it easier for me to love this novel. One thing is for sure, there were really high moments, and there were moments when you wondered if the writer was high. It was that weird. I liked that A.G. Howard wasn’t afraid to go deeper with the Underland, creating a darker version of the Wonderland.
The characters were interesting. Alyssa was a really interesting and independent main character. She is strong, and she is more than determined to do what she think is right. You root for her to succeed; to save her mother from the “curse” her family is under. We see many sides of her personality as she goes true the various tests she has to take.
The one thing that really bugged me with the characters was the love triangle. I liked Jeb, but I didn’t love him. He just didn’t impress me, if you’re giving me a love triangle, at least give me a swoon worthy characters. We have Jeb, who isn’t the best love interest I’ve seen, and we have a moth. Okay, he isn’t just a moth, but he is still part bug. Morpheus was interesting, but I just didn’t find him to be an interesting love interest. He kept us guessing, always unsure of his true motivation and his real feeling toward Alyssa.
The writing in Splintered was addicting. A.G. Howard kept me hooked from page one, and the world she created kept me captivated. The plot was well build and interesting, keeping me in the story until the end. There were a few twits that I didn’t see coming, making the story that much interesting. Splintered was an interesting take on Alice in Wonderland. It is a version that will give you a new sense of the classic story we all know.
About the Author
A.G. Howard is most at home when weaving the melancholy and macabre into settings and scenes, twisting the expected into the unexpected. She was inspired to write SPLINTERED while working at a school library. She always wondered what would’ve happened had the subtle creepiness of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child.
A.G.’s pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.