Book Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard


Title: Splintered
Series: Splintered #1
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type: Fantasy, Re-telling Wonderland
Publication date: January 1st 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  371 pages
Source: Bought
My Rating: 5 Stars

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.

A.G. Howard's SPLINTERED puts a fresh new spin and dark twist on the original Alice in Wonderland.

A.G. Howard creates her own wonderland in Splintered, one that is full of dark wonder, dangerous magic, mysterious characters, secrets and hidden agendas. This is not the Wonderland you have grown up with, but a contemporary take on the original. It is dark, Gothic, and filled with imagery so lush, you may feel you've become dizzy and drunk upon reading it. A warning label should come with it due to its effects upon one's senses.

Although Alyssa Gardner may seem like a normal teenage girl who likes skateboarding and wearing Gothic clothes, but she’s not. She has the unique ability to hear the whispering and murmurings of plants and bugs. In fact, she hears their constant chattering all the time and has gotten quite creative in her methods in shutting them up. She does this in a unique way, she captures the bugs and uses their bodies in art, in the form of mosaics. She also likes to press the offending plants and flowers into her books and finds this quiets them up nicely. But knowing that madness runs in her family she tries to hide these abilities from others: afraid the voices she hears may cause her to end up institutionalized like her mother.

During one of the families visits with her mother at the institution, she learns that her mother also shares these abilities and that they began with a curse put upon her family, starting with her great-great-great grandmother, Alice Liddell. The same Alice whose strange tales inspire Lewis Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland.

Just when things seem at their worst, Alyssa finds several Wonderland objects and a secret book, convincing her that she may be able to help her mother and fix the Liddell curse. Haunted by strange visions and a mysterious boy from her dreams, Alyssa finds a way to enter Wonderland. She is followed by her best friend and secret crush Jeb who is a bit of a bad boy character. Fiercely protective of Alyssa, Jeb is determined to do whatever it takes to help her solve the Liddell curse.   

Once in Wonderland, they encounter their guide Morpheus, a dark and captivating Fae like creature, whom may be from Alyssa's past and has his own hidden agenda with her. Together in Wonderland, Alyssa and Jeb must solve several mysteries and avoid secret plottings and dangerous twists against them. Can Alyssa be strong enough and brave enough to break the curse and free themselves from Wonderland? Will she have to choose between Jeb, her best friend and the dark and mysterious Morpheus? Can she survive Wonderland?

I really loved reading Splintered and enjoyed it’s new and contemporary spin author A. G. Howard put on it. And if you're wondering what the actual characters in Wonderland are like, well you're in for a big surprise. To name just a few: flesh eating zombie flowers, snake-like vines, naked, little green fairies, the Red and White Court, the Rabbit and Hatter too. All with a unique twist. And if you think the characters are great, the details and descriptions in Splintered are so vivid, that you can practically taste, touch, smell and hear Wonderland. Awesome.