Friday, March 15, 2013

[Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard]

"Splintered"
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered #1
Pages: 371
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fairytale Retellings
Date Published: January 1st, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format Read: Bought Hardcover

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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.
-Goodreads
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My Thoughts:

I seriously loved so many things about this book!  I mean first just look at that cover!  It's so beautiful!  So, the world of Alice in Wonderland has always fascinated me, even though the actual story has never been a favorite.  But I love to soak in recreations and retellings of the classic tale.  A.G. Howard gives us a modern day twist on the story that is filled with its own twists and turns.  She sucks you down that rabbit hole and gives you new information about everything that you thought you already knew.  Here's the thing guys, you don't know everything yet...

Howard's imagery is wonderful!  Taking you from a grunge inspired modern world.  Full of things that include references to "The Crow" (remember that epicness?) to the lush landscapes of Wonderland.  Things about the modern setting reminded me of my youth and the recreation of Wonderland made my jaw drop on multiple occasions.  Wonderland is made into an extremely epic world of color and contrasting darkness.  How those two things mold together is a wonder to me but they do.  It's a tale that's much darker than the one you might have heard before, including man eating flowers!  

Alyssa Gardner is our new version of Alice.  In fact she's Alice's great great great granddaughter.  I enjoyed her character.  How she deals with her mother's supposed mental illness and her growing crush on the boy next door show just how young she is.  But when she falls into Wonderland she learns to stand on her own two feet and I really liked watching her personal journey during the novel.  She was good fun and yet her thoughts were sometimes perfectly mixed up.  The girl who ends the novel is not the same one who starts it, but she never really changes either.

Now this is were I have an issue with the book.  It has one 3 letter name and that name is Jeb.

...Spoilers Ahead...
...No, really I mean it...

That's right folks.  I couldn't stand the man.  In fact he infuriated me so much that I enjoyed the book more when he wasn't in it.  Not to say that it wasn't just as spectacular when he was in it, but you know what I mean.  I just didn't get why he ended up going down the rabbit hole with Alyssa to begin with.  He decided to randomly break up with his mean girlfriend and come hang out with Al on the night of prom.  And this was after he took time and effort to convince her dad to not let her go to London, just because he was moving there with his girlfriend and he didn't want to have to tell Al.  I mean, grow some backbone man.  I really wanted to like him, but I just couldn't stand him or the way he thought Al was weak while they were in Wonderland.  Though I have to admit that he was worked really well into the story.  The things he did over in Wonderland helped the plot along, even though he did them in a way that bugged me.  I did like him in the end of the book, when he was clueless about what Al had been through and was actually honest with her.  So, in a way I have a love/hate thing for him.  Though it leaned more towards the later.

...End Rant/Spoilers...       

But let's talk about Morpheus!  His character was one of the most compelling out of all of the cast members of Splintered.  He was mysterious and without question extremely flawed.  He had an agenda and was full of lies, but he never once led you to believe that he was a knight in shining armor.  For all the half truths that came out of his mouth, he never once lied about the fact that he couldn't always be trusted.  He was your well developed anti-hero and you've got to love that!  If you were to ask me who my favorite character in the book was, he would take the cake.  You know the ones that say "eat me"?

I also had so much fun seeing the reinvented original Alice characters.  Howard breathed an interestingly different amount of life into all of them.  Leaving them familiar and flipping them on their heads at the same time.  Some of them gave me the creeps and I liked them that way.  None of your favorites are missing, they just might not be what you expect!

So, even though I had my issues with this book.  I have to say that Howard's writing, storytelling and imagery leave me yearning for more of her tales of Wonderland.  Which is awesome because there will be a new book, titled Unhinged!  I can't wait to get my hands on it and get transported back into her very unsettling yet awesome Wonderland! 

Rating:
   3 Unicorns = I liked it a lot but it had it's issues!

7 comments:

Jenni @ Alluring Reads said...

You found a bit more charm in this one than I had found in it, which is great! I completely agree with all of your gripes with it. I didn't like any of the men because of how controlling they were. Fabulous review, love the honesty!

Erika said...

I wasn't sure how soon I wanted to get to this one. Now I'm still not sure :P But good to know you at least are looking forward to the next book!

Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

We have exactly the same thoughts about this book! I love all the retellings from Alice in Wonderland I've read so far - and this dark, epic world was incredibly good. BUT, I absolutely hated Jeb! I sometimes hoped that he got killed by a creature. Unfortunately, not.. Morpheus on the other hand. Oh man! Flawed, complex, I loved him.

Great review! :)
Mel@thedailyprophecy.

Eileen said...

So YES YES *YEEEEEESSSSSSSSS* to the fact that was awesome and spooky and the retelling aspect and Alyssa and the writing!

BUT NOOOOOO TO JEB.

I absolutely love Jeb AHH! *calls over Nikki* She loves Morpeheus so she'll have a field day when she sees this lol. But I'm glad you still enjoyed this overall!

Amy said...

Ahhh You hated Jeb!! I do agree that a lot of the things he did were not great, but I think he had every right to think she was weak. She kind of really was. Every time she got out of something I felt it was more luck than anything. Anyways... I'm glad that you enjoyed the book. I thought the writing was fabulous!!

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If you're a fan of Alice in Wonderland retellings/spinoffs then I can almost guarantee you'll like Splintered. However, if you're not a fan of dark and creepy or simply refuse to read any love triangles at all it might not be the book for you. Splintered does a fantastic job of standing on its own and it kept me flipping pages as fast as I could right to the end.

medical transportation tampa site info said...

If you're a fan of Alice in Wonderland retellings/spinoffs then I can almost guarantee you'll like Splintered. However, if you're not a fan of dark and creepy or simply refuse to read any love triangles at all it might not be the book for you. Splintered does a fantastic job of standing on its own and it kept me flipping pages as fast as I could right to the end.