Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Splintered by A.G. Howard


Goodreads Summary: 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.
Goodreads / Amazon

Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 371
Publisher: Amulet Books

First Line: "I've been collecting bugs since I was ten; it's the only way to stop their whispers."

Favorite Quote: “Raising one hand, he tilts his hat to that sexy slant. "You want me. Admit it."
Even if he's partly right, I'll never tell him. "Why would I want you?"
He lifts thee fingers to countdown. "Mysterious. Rebellious. Troubled. All those qualities women find irresistible."
"Such an optimist."
"My cup is never empty."
"Too bad your brain is." The words bite, but my smile softens with affection.” 


When I saw that cover, and that tagline, I knew I had to read this book. It was love at first sight. I actually got an e-book of this, which I regret because I saw the physical copy for sale at my local bookstore and kicked myself because it is so, so utterly beautiful and was just begging to come home with me. And when I read the summary and saw that it was a retelling of Alice In Wonderland, I was even more intrigued. AIW was never my favorite story as a kid, in fact I found it kind of creepy, but as I grew up I understood it better and enjoyed it. I haven't read the book, but I might eventually. I've never been great with classics.

The author, A.G. Howard, seriously has all kinds of talent with describing Wonderland and all its quirky traits. I really saw everything in my mind vividly - the rabbit hole, the sea or clams, the talking flowers. And when a book can transport me to another world in such a way, I immediately take a strong liking to it. So for this, it gets an extra star. Wonderland reminds me a lot of Faery. There are obviously differences (the aversion to iron, for example) but they also feel very similar in their craziness. 

I liked the heroine of the book, Alyssa. I questioned some of her decisions, but overall she was alright. There's a love triangle presented here, though it borders on the whole villian-is-taking-part-as-a-love-interest trend we seem to be seeing a lot of in YA lately. Honestly, I haven't really minded this happening, because I feel like it makes them a little more interesting and less cliche than usual. If I absolutely have to read a love triangle, which I do in this genre, let it be one like this. 

The two boys of the book are Jeb and Morpheus. I've seen Jeb get some hate in other reviews because of his help in making Alyssa's father demand that she stay where she is rather than move to London like she wanted to. And while I guess that bothered me, it didn't seem like a huge deal. I did, however, get a little irritated with him and his girlfriend, Taelor (I think it was spelled a little differently than normal, not sure). She's pretty mean to Alyssa in general, and I felt like Jeb didn't do very much to defend Alyssa, who is apparently his close friend. And then later in the book it is revealed that Jeb dated her as a distraction because he really loved Alyssa but couldn't be with her for some reason or other. He could have picked someone a little less vicious. Just saying. 

Morpheus was an interesting character. I was a little thrown off at first with the whole big black wings thing and obsession with hats, but once that was out of the way I pictured him much easier. I love people in books whose intentions and motives are hard to guess, and he is such a person. I won't lie and say I wasn't disappointed in the end with Alyssa's choice. I understood why, and the reasoning behind it, but that doesn't stop the wanting.(view spoiler)

The pacing of Splintered is good, though there were bits and pieces here and there that confused me, eventually it all got put together rather nicely and now I understand what happened (I think). I believe this book is a standalone, but there is definitely room for sequels, and I will definitely be looking into them should A.G. Howard ever decide to write them. 

4 stars.

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