A. G. HOWARD
YA/ FANTASY/ Romance
3.5 stars out of 5
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.
This was an adventure in wonderland that I’m glad I fall into! Howard really did create a remarkable, slightly warped, but still exciting twist to Wonderland. Honestly, with all the other Wonderland twists and retellings, I wasn't hoping for much, maybe a little bit of a difference, however, I feel Howard created something truly unique and thrilling. She created a completely new tell for Alice and Wonderland.
Other than the reviews that drew my interest, I feel it was the cover that just had the final pull for me to read it. That cover is just amazing, simple beautiful and very unique. A book does need a cover that captures the reader’s attention, and Splintered does. It’s an all-around impressive story.
I've been collecting bugs since I was ten; it's the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the guy of an insect shuts it up pretty quick."
Though I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t sure how to rate this book, I know I did really enjoy this story, loved it. What I loved was Howard’s interpretation of Wonderland, how she really took and made her own version of Alice in Wonderland. That part was simply amazing, but I felt that the book could have been a lot better. I felt the actions scenes a bit slow and they didn't hold my interest that much. Action scenes are hard enough for me to read sometimes, hard to find some that I can read without skimming, and I did, at times, end up doing that.
Howard's characters were pretty unique, especially Alyssa. She didn't blow me out of the water, but I did enjoy her character. She’s feared that she would end up losing her mind, just like every other woman in her family, just like her mother. Raving about Alice and Wonderland, not only that but she can hear bugs talk. Yeah, talk. However, she slowly begins to realize that maybe it isn't mad ravings, that wonderland really does exist and that her family might somehow be involved with that magical world. I did see some character growth in Alyssa, but she honestly isn't the kind of heroine that I usually love reading about. I love the kick ass, stand up for themselves and don’t take crap from anyone, kind of heroines; you know Alex Andros and Katy Swatze kind of girls. (hehehe see a trend there?)
Now! Let’s talk about some fictional boys (my favorite topic). In Splintered you have two, yes, two yummy boys. The good one and the bad one. Oh my, are you for real? Yes, the classic good boy and the infuriating bad boy trio! I do have to say I enjoyed both characters, but my heart went with the good*snickers* ole bad boy! Can I get a Morpheus!!! Yes, even though good boy Jeb is a bit yummy, there was something about Morpheus that made him a bit better. Though, I just have a thing for bad boys ;) Jeb , to me, was just too much at times. Swoony, yes, but just a bit over-protective of Alyssa, he didn't believe she could stand on her own. See, I like a guy who knows his chick can handle herself, still has her back, but let’s her kick some ass, too. And that is how Morpheus is, plus he’s got that charm that made my toes curl!
"You understand the logic behind the illogical."
The creatures and characters in Wonderland were what really made the story! Howard did have some major twists with the story, and she did a fine job surprising me. I loved the things she bought to attention, small details, and how she interpreted things different. This Wonderland is nothing like it seems. The detail Howard pays to each character and their story is just fascinating. And then the deeper and deeper you get it just gets weirder, in a good way, and curiouser. The imagery is pretty darn amazing, Howard’s version is filled with all different kinds of creatures old and new. Though some of them could be quite creepy, but they each had an allure to them. The pacing of the book, was very weird, no, at times it moved just right, but then it felt a bit too rushed. So, it was mix of those two, but it didn't really affect the overall story.
Howard created an very alluring Wonderland. Full of creatures that I would never have imagined. She took me into a world I really couldn't imagine, and made me see the original story of Alice in Wonderland in a whole new light. So, if you are looking for a new spin on a classic, give Splintered a try!