Author: A.G. Howard
Published: January 1, 2013 by Amulet Books
Website: Author’s Website
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.
When I was a kid, I have seen some Alice in Wonderland shows on TV and I was always fascinated with them because of the beauty of the concept. But I have never read the original story by Lewis Carroll. And I never really had any idea of who the characters were and what their roles were about.
Alyssa Gardner is a brave, young girl. Even though her mom was put in an asylum and she was always bullied and teased about all things Wonderland, she didn’t care about what others thought of her. She’s also very unique – in a mad, twisted way and I liked it. Of course at first, I thought that it was so odd of her to collect bugs and kill them in order to do mosaics, but hey, she had her reasons.
The retelling of this story through Alyssa’s eyes was so.. captivating. I know that the shows I watched on TV about Alice were always portrayed as this very beautiful other world with friendly and pleasing creatures, but in Splintered, we will see another version – the twisted one, but in a good kind of way. I was on the edge of my seat while I was reading this because it was full of action, suspense and twists and turns!
Even though I didn’t have a clear picture of the original characters in the original story, I was glad that Alyssa made comparisons between the characters that she knew about and the characters that she saw in the actual Wonderland. We all know now that Alyssa’s mother was put into an asylum and I think this is what made her relationship with her father stronger. The love of her father for her mother was undeniable, too.
Another character who really stood out for me was Morpheus. Believe me, I’m on Jeb’s team, but there is just something so alluring about this guy (or err..moth?) that makes me want to know more about him. He’s seductive, mysterious and appealing but I was always doubtful of him. I know that there’s something that he’s still hiding and I hope I find the answers to that in the second book. On the other hand, Jeb ohhhh Jeb. I just loved him. I’m such a sucker for sweet and romantic guys, but other than that, he was always there for Alyssa and he always wanted what’s best for her. And unlike Morpheus, I never doubted Jeb for one second because for me, he’s trustworthy.
One thing that I thought could be improved is the ending, because for me, it was a bit fast and seemed a little forced, but I was still happy with the outcome.
Splintered is a wonderful retelling of the original Alice in Wonderland. Readers will love the madness, romance, action, and the dark twists and turns of the story. Howard’s outstanding writing, bizarre but loveable characters and mysteriously fresh tale will take you to a whole world where everything is unexpected yet fascinating.
PS: You can also see this review at Say It With Books blog! 🙂