Review: Splintered – A. G. Howard

Review: Splintered – A. G. HowardSplintered by A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered #1
Published by Amulet Books
Published: January 1, 2013
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five-stars

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.

Holy dark and creepy and twisted take on Alice in Wonderland and I loved every minute of it! It was the comfort of Alice in Wonderland with such a different take that I was mesmerized by it. The imagery, the characters, the story, the weirdness. I devoured Splintered and was left wanting more when I was done.

Basically Splintered is the story of Alyssa Gardner, a somewhat descendent of the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderlands. Since the telling of Alice’s stories, the women in Alyssa’s family have been cursed with madness and usually end up in mental health facilities(like where her mother currently is). As Alyssa got older the same signs that faced the other women in her family become more and more prominent leaving Alyssa to a choice. She can have the same fate as the rest, or she can step through the looking glass and take her fate in her own hands. With her best friend Jeb by her side and a strange guy named Morpheus(who Alyssa has a weird connection to) playing her guide in Wonderland, she is about to take a journey that could change the course of her entire families life. And maybe fall in love in the process.

I’m going to start by saying this book is 100% not my style. I’m not usually into such dark, heavy fantasy things. But with the mention of Alice in Wonderland(I still like the live action version they made for TV from years ago!) I was immediately in. And then when everyone seemed to be talking about it I was in even more. And after reading it I know why. The book was basically fantastic so no wonder it got all the love. Splintered was crafted in a way that it used the basics of the original Alice and Wonderland i.e., the cake that says ‘Eat Me’, the white rabbit, the river of tears, the tea party, and used them in a way that made the story new and fresh and Howard’s own. Add in Alyssa the anti-Alice, and you have a recipe for awesome which Howard delivered.

Normally I would go on and on about the characters at this point in the review, but the characters really speak for themselves. I really want to talk about the descriptions and imagery used. Because basically, it was simply beautiful. Howard’s Wonderland takes on a life of its own, and much like the plot manages to use familiar parts of the classic to makes you be able to picture where Alyssa and Jeb and Morpheus are in the story. It adds a bit of comfort to a world that is familiar yet different at the same time and definitely added to the story’s purpose.

Truly I enjoyed Splintered in a way that I never expected. It took me on a journey to an imaginary place that seemed real all while feeling like I was in reality and not some fantasy world. Add to it the story of Alyssa and her mentally ill mother and other relatives and it really was just a phenomenal book that I think everyone should read. I eagerly await Unhinged and anything else Howard may though at us.

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  1. I really like it when books explain things by weaving in fantasy with reality, like having Alyssa be a descendent of the inspiration for Alice. It’s like the X-Men: First Class movie – how they interwove all the mutant politics with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Is this one more creepy like the Tim Burton movie they made a few years ago?

    1. It was creepy in the way that it was a really dark take on it. It wasn’t the trippy fun frolic of Alice in Wonderland. It has darker undertones that I liked a lot. And a romance of sorts.

  2. I’ve only heard good things about this book. I really need to find time to read it. Maybe I can learn to go without sleep so that I can spend more time reading?

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