Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

splintered Review: Splintered by A.G. HowardTitle: Splintered
Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: NetGalley
5 owls Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

 

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.

My thoughts

This one surprised the hell out of me. It kind of reminded me of Velveteen, not because of the story itself, but because they both took me by surprise, they both involved the author creating an amazing new fantasy world (and doing a fabulous job of it) and I ended up absolutely loving both of them.

In Splintered, Alyssa lives alone with her father because her mother is in a mental institution for talking to bugs and flowers. Alyssa has the same ability, but nobody knows because she doesn’t want to end up in an institution as well. When her father chooses shock therapy as the next course of treatment for her mother, Alyssa decides it’s time to get to the bottom of the Alice in Wonderland story in hopes it will heal her mom. She figures out the clues and ends up in Wonderland, but accidentally brings her neighbor (and secret crush) Jeb along with her. Now the two must pass a series of tests to cure her mother.

I admit, I have never read Alice in Wonderland. Or if I did, I was too young to remember. Either way, I had no idea what to expect as far as the original story line was concerned, but I don’t think that was a hindrance at all. In fact, it may have helped because I didn’t feel the need to compare aspects from both books to see how they stacked up. Everything was new to me.

The real treat in the book was the world building. A.G. Howard has a gift for setting up this whole new world and filling it with teeny tiny details that make all the difference. The clothing, characters, setting, even the lighting, all come together into one amazing package.

A craggy, witchlike voice erupts out of nowhere. Movement sweeps along the garden, as if wind blows the blooms.

Jeb and I edge backward, nearly tripping over the fallen pack.

One of the giant daisies bends low, casting a long blue shadow. A distorted mouth widens in the flower’s yellow center, and rows of teeth blink on every petal.

All of the characterization was great. Alyssa was haunted by her mother’s institutionalization and her own (perceived) impending craziness. Even with all that in her mind (not to mention the talking bugs), she managed to stay pretty normal in her every day life. She had a part-time job, friends and hobbies and she was crushing on the boy next door. Jeb was like her overprotective brother who may or may not like her as more than a friend.

Jeb pulls me off the seat to sit me beside him, but the boat rocks, and I end up falling into his lap. We both freeze. When I start to ease off his legs, he holds me there. My heart hammers; I can’t deny how amazing it feels to be so close to him. Ignoring the alarms going off inside me, I give in and press my cheek to the soft knit of his tank, my arms folded between us. He strokes my hair as I snuggle beneath his chin, legs curled in the fetal position.

“I’m scared,” I whisper. For more reasons than I can say.

“You have every right to be,” he answers softly. “But we’re going to get back home.”

But Jeb was dating their classmate, who was a real bitch. I’m still not sure why he was dating her, other than to make it difficult for he and Alyssa to get together. She had no redeeming qualities that I could see. Morpheus, the dark and sarcastic winged netherling who resided in Wonderland, was presented to form a love triangle with Jeb and Alyssa, but I never thought of him as a true love interest for her. He was mean, unnecessarily mysterious and clearly had ulterior motives.

Every once in a while, the writing struck me as a little immature, but those moments were pretty few. Otherwise, the language was quite poetic and flowed effortlessly. I was immediately pulled into the story and didn’t want to put it down until I finished it. Basically, I fell in love with this book.

The sum up

A fabulous new twist on the Alice in Wonderland story. This is a new favorite.

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Purchase

The Book Depository
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Other opinions

Two Chicks on Books
Thoughts of An Endless Dreamer
Reading Between Classes

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I love to hear your thoughts and read every single one of them.

  1. For some reason the cover creeps me out… It’s as she’s looking at me and …
    Anyway, I heard amazing things about this book. So happy you loved it so much :)

  2. OMG I LOVED Splintered so much!!!!! I really need to get around to posting my review soon!!! Thanks for reminding me babe!!
    The Bookish Brunette recently posted..Book Review: Wounded by Jasinda WilderMy Profile

  3. I’ve only heard good things about this one. I’ll try to get soon :) Great review!
    Liza @ Reading with ABC recently posted..Feature and Follow FridayMy Profile

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