Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Splintered

Splintered by A.G. Howard 
Release: Jan 1, 2013 
Source: e-galley from Publisher

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.

From the very first lines, I could tell Splintered would be a darker, and perhaps more disturbing tale, than the original Alice in Wonderland. And while I enjoyed Splintered in many ways, I never fell in love with the book.

Splintered is the story of Alyssa Gardner. She is a descendant of the original Alice Liddell. Her mother was considered “mad”, just like every Liddell female that followed Alice. And Alyssa is no exception, when she begins to hear bugs and flowers talking to her. Alyssa ends up going down the rabbit hole, with her crush (Jeb), and there they find Alyssa was lured to fix the messes Alice made that resulted in the family curse.

Naturally, Alyssa wants to do all she can to reverse the curse and “save” her mother and herself from a lifetime in a psychiatric unit, where they’d be subjected to treatment after treatment.

For some reason, though, I never connected with Alyssa. She seemed selfish, and at times, too timid and trusting. Granted, she becomes stronger in the end, but I still continued to feel disconnected from the story.

Save for Alyssa, only two characters are worth mentioning: Jeb and Morpheus. Jeb is the best friend she’s been crushing on for some time. When they travel to wonderland, I was annoyed with how overprotective he was. He grew on me, though, as he began to see Alyssa change from someone meek and mild, to someone with strength and determination. His reaction, his motivations, were all understandably human.  Then there is Morpheus, a Wonderland resident, full of intrigue and mystery. I can see why he has his admirers.  He’s absolutely charming, and yet…the lies…the deceit…

The fact that Morpheus doesn’t reveal all his intentions at first, made Splintered, an interesting read. However, while the twist at the end was stellar (I could have never guessed it in a million years), I felt it came a little too late to really grab my attention.

I think the biggest issue I had may not have to do with the novel itself, but its inspiration. Alice in Wonderland is a tale filled with a nonsensical plot with little control and/or direction.  Splintered has more direction, but I found it difficult to wrap my mind around all the events that were happening. It is nonsensical, but fun, and this book will definitely have many fans.

Simply put, this book is crazy. I like crazy and I like imagination, but I kept finding myself lost and confused. I found myself, for whatever reason, disconnected from the story and that prevented me from loving it like I had hoped.



  1. I liked this book much more than you did, but I do understand your thoughts on Alyssa. She did seem rash and too trusting at times.

    YA Sisterhood

  2. I just bought this book! I'm still excited to read it, though I've heard both good and so-so things about it. I remember you were so pumped and excited for this one! Sorry that it wasn't your cup of tea. Great review!

    Millie @ Millie D's Words