Series: Splintered #1
Published by Amulet Books on January 1st 2013
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
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
“Sweet mother of stuff and nonsense!” Can I profess my undying love for this book and its characters? Never mind, I am professing my undying love no matter what your answer will be, because this book is brilliance in the flesh. Splintered captivated me from beginning to end. It’s just completely original and the perfect ‘darker’ and twisted version of Alice in Wonderland. Brilliant!
A.G. Howards interpretation of Wonderland is stunning, as well as twisted and dark, but boy it is so beautifully and vibrantly written that one day after finishing this book I am still left reeling by the awesomeness of it all. I love how she managed to twist and turn so many aspects of the original Alice in Wonderland and makes the tale her own, but somehow still stays true to the original. There’s this never ending layer of mystery laced throughout the story that had me completely in its grip. Once I started reading, I didn’t stop until I finished it (which was at 2.14 am to be precise).
Alyssa with her ability to hear voices of plants and insects (and her tendency to kill bugs and use them in her art) bring across this eerie and creepy sensation that fills every page from beginning to end. The slight madness to Alyssa’s desperation to not end up like her mother, fits the story and the feelings it evokes inexplicably well. She makes for such a unique and great protagonist. She’s spunky and artistic, as well as strong and brave. I admired her determination to find out who she is and to save her mother from the ‘curse’.
Then there is a love triangle… I can’t believe I am saying this, but I loved every single part of it. It just fits the of edge madness that shimmers behind the surface, coiled tight and waiting to pounce. I totally love and root for both guys. The, somewhat controlling, sweet and protective Jeb as well as the seductive, mysterious and manipulative Morpheus. While those don’t all sound like the best traits for a guy, there’s just no better way to describe them, you have to read the book in order to understand the allure (though I do have a favourite… I think)
And then ALL the other Wonderland characters! There’s so many of them, some well known through Carrol’s tale, but some new and ever so fascinating. There’s depth and multiple layers to almost every character (the awesomeness of it all makes my head spin!).
This retelling is hands down one of the best Alice in Wonderland retellings I’ve ever read. Morbid, creepy, and utterly fascinating to read!