Author: A.G. Howard
Published: January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books
Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review
"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."
First line: "I've been collecting bugs since I was ten; it's the only way I can stop their whispers."
Thoughts: Oh my goodness...oh my goodness. This is hands down one of the best books I have read in ages! What a twisted tale Miss Howard has weaved. Kids, this isn't the Alice In Wonderland you think you know. It's far more terrifying and scrumptious!
As you can see, Alyssa Gardner is the descendant Alice Liddell. That's right, that's THE Alice in Lewis Carol's Alice In Wonderland. Ever since then, all the Liddell women have been cursed with insanity. Talking bugs, false memories that feel real (are they real), the whole works. In order to save her mother and herself, Alyssa must travel to Wonderland and right the wrongs before it's too late.
From the beginning, I was captivated by Howard's world. The bits and pieces of the original story, mixed in with the author's version, were not only alluring but also mesmerizing (and yes, sometimes a bit boorish). Every time I read something from the original story, like the white rabbit (who I personally named Skeletor), I got giddy with excitement. There's just something fun about reading a retelling of one of your favorite tales you grew up with.
Onto the characters. To be honest, I didn't know what to think of Alyssa. I constantly went from stages of feeling bad for her to liking her and in the end, admiring her. She's just a vulnerable teenage girl in a less than optimal situation. Who couldn't relate to her, minus the talking bugs, plants and general maniacal parts? It's amazing how quickly she pieces things together. Fact versus fiction, it's all part of the fun!
Now, the boys. The author has graced us with not only one swoon-worthy boy but two. Jeb is the kind, sweet yet brooding boy next door (literally). Who wouldn't fall for charm and rockstar good looks? Well, unless there was someone like Morpheus. I don't even know where to begin with Morpheus. He's this dark yet captivating boy dads warn their daughters about. Though I liked Jeb, somewhere along the way, I fell in love with Morpheus. When it comes to boys in books, I normally hate one and love the other, yet I liked them both. What an odd feeling it is to not object to one of the main love interests. Am I team Jeb or team Morpheus? Hmm, I think I'm team Switzerland.
Overall, I found SPLINTERED to be an entertaining novel that will entice fans of fantasy and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. It's a pretty dark and somewhat creepy read so not all people will enjoy it, but I most definitely did. If you love bizarre tales with a heart in it's core then this is the book for you. Enjoy it with a cup of tea mixed with ashes.
“Tearing down the rest of the world won't make you happy. Look inside yourself. Because finding who you were meant to be? What you were put into this world to do? That's what fills the emptiness. It's the only things that can.”
“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.”
“Because of all the things I've experienced on this journey - shrinking and growing, flying sprites, living chess pieces - not a one of them is more magical than this moment.”