Genre: Fairytale, Fantasy
Published: January 1, 2013
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
"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."~Goodreads
Sometimes a book comes along that grabs hold of you with every quirky, wonderful thing it has and doesn't let go. You become completely engrossed in the author's world and when you have to come back down from your cloud it's completely disorienting. Splintered is that book. Like many of you I grew up loving Alice In Wonderland. I'll admit it gave me some pretty interesting nightmares as a kid but mostly I fell in love with curious Alice, the goofy Mad Hatter and especially that clever albeit creepy Cheshire Cat. So, with that being said, I'm always apprehensive when a re-telling or continuation comes along. Luckily Splintered does real justice to our Alice. Howard pays tribute to Carroll's story while at the same time creating her own version. The mixture of Carrollian nonsense and whimsy mixed with real emotion and depth of character make this the perfect companion to the original tale. I think Mr. Carroll would be proud.
- Wonderfully dark - Howard definitely does not shy away from the unsettling and morbid. That's part of what makes this such a cool reading experience. Alyssa, our heroine, is an artist. Her medium: dead bugs. This could be considered just gross until you find out that she can speak to bugs. Just as a little taste here's the first couple of lines of Splintered:
"I've been collecting bugs since I was ten; it's the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick."
And we're off to a running start. Wow. Now, I admit that I have an aversion to bugs so I feel no sympathy for them. Had this been a sentence about puppies I would have shut the book immediately. However, bugs are fair game and this line is just so raw and full of angst and ick that it sucked me right in. This darkness follows throughout the whole story. One of the best parts about this book is Alyssa having to face her own darkness. It really enhances the story and makes it a lot of fun to read.
- I actually like the (sort of) love triangle - Okay, so I don't know if this can actually be considered a love triangle, but that's probably why I enjoyed it. Alyssa loves Jeb. They are obviously meant to be together. He's sweet, trustworthy, fun and super duper hot, also human. Then there's Mothra *cough* I mean Morpheus. Also hot, and snarky, amazing and magical. But her love for Morpheus seems more platonic. They have a mutual admiration for one another and an unbreakable bond. Even if he wants more. Still, I loved the back and forth between the guys. It added a lot of humor to the story.
- MORPHEUS!!! - Three things you need to know about this guy: he is the ultimate bad boy, he has an adorable British accent, and he has an insurrection hat. I'm sold. The only problem was that I couldn't picture him as he was described. I adore Once Upon a Time and all I could picture when reading this was Jefferson. But I'm cool with that.
|I mean seriously how can I not? Good grief.|
- Plenty of Wonderland for purists - One of the things I was most worried about was how Wonderland would be portrayed. Would it be recognizable? Gladly, Splintered is filled with allusions to the original book. One of the most fun parts of reading this book was finding all of the little Alice Easter eggs hidden inside its pages. Although all of the characters have been changed in some way, they are still recognizable and Howard ties the stories together brilliantly.
- Sometimes Alyssa makes me shake my head - Okay so it's not like Alyssa is stupid by any means but some of her decisions can be filed under "things that make me go 'hmm'". A great example is when she decides to get a forged passport and fly to England by herself. Apparently our heroine has never seen Locked Up Abroad.
- Too much explanation of things we should be able to figure out on our own - this is probably the only thing that really bothered me about this book. Although they were relatively few, there were several instances where the author explained too much about the plot, when it would have been more fun to figure it out on my own. Luckily this didn't happen too often and it didn't really damage the reading experience.
Even with the couple of flaws that I found I have to give this book five stars. I was completely captivated by Alyssa, Jeb and all of the netherlings. Howard has managed to create a new version of Wonderland that is just as exciting, enticing and mad as the original. I know it may only be January but I would be surprised if this one doesn't end up on my best of 2013 list. It was just that good. I can't wait to see what else A.G. Howard does with her writing. I'll certainly be first in line to read her next book.
And now, I have some great news for all of you! Since I have my own finished copy, I will be giving away my ARC copy to one lucky reader. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter to be entered. Please make sure you follow the rules below. Good luck all!