by A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered #1
Publication date: 1 January 2013
Amulet Books, Hardcover, 371 pages
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.
Splintered is packed with so much awesomeness, I don’t even know where to start.
Well, one of the reasons why I picked this book was because I’m Alice in Wonderland-crazy. I just love how it’s so whimsical and fun, with a dash of madness. And who would’ve thought about writing the story of Alice’s great-great-great-granddaughter, Alyssa? Genius!
The first thing the book did was to creep me out. Alyssa has this… thing with killing bugs (because she can hear them talking, so killing shuts them up), and using them as part of her art pieces. I’m really amazed by how she isn’t afraid of them, especially when they’re beetles and spiders. Also, I can imagine from my mind’s eye her art works, and they’re simply gorgeous. No kidding. Another thing that made Splintered rather unsettling was that craziness runs in her family.
Besides the creepy factor, the book also included the air of mystery – riddles, memories and lullabies that all piece together and unravel the story. Gore was not spared: in Alyssa’s trip through Wonderland, the creatures and events that took place made me cringe, both in horror and fright. Ms Howard’s detailed descriptions of the characters and the setting really put me into the perfect setting and atmosphere, allowing me to get feels (what Adel calls when one gets overwhelmed with emotions when reading a book) throughout the whole book. Action was also present, and I loved that it made the story deliciously exciting – it literally had me at the edge of my seat, anticipating what will happen next. Unexpected twists and turns in the book left me breathless, and sometimes even screaming with rage.
The romance in Splintered isn’t your regular, cliché romance. Jeb and Morpheus were both written with their own flaws and unique characteristics, so there wasn’t any obvious bias towards any of them. Alyssa’s choice between Jeb and Morpheus wasn’t made clear until the end of Splintered. Honestly, I could not decide between Jeb or Morpheus till close to the end of the book!
Now, on to the characters!
Alyssa: At the beginning of Splintered, I felt that Alyssa was rather unsure of herself from her self-confidence level. This was partly due to her being teased about craziness running in her family, and she was afraid that she would be the next one being sent to an asylum. However, through the course of the book, I could see her confidence growing. Entering Wonderland seemed to make her more sure about herself, as she felt that she fit in with the madness going on in there; that she was ‘normal’ among the ‘crazy’. By the end of the book, I actually felt proud of Alyssa in that ‘you go girl!’ way! I could see a change in her, and I personally felt that it made her a better person all around. As I quote from her, ‘I’m not even the same girl I was when I arrived in the rabbit hole with Jeb. I’m stronger.’ . I loved the fact that Alyssa was somewhat girly through the way she dresses (which, I must say, is rather quirky!), yet she has this adventurous and dark side to her. Jeb described her as ‘a mix between skate glam and American sweetheart’, and I totally agree with that!
Jeb: Initially, I wasn’t really fan of him. Dark stubble, labret, and hair long enough for their tips to brush his shoulders, and ‘thick bangs [that] dip low – a black curtain touching his nose’ added up to give me the impression that he was some shaggy haired, unkempt guy. (I couldn’t help but give him credit for his green eyes, though.) I was surprised to find myself actually finding this messy look attractive as the story developed. Add the fact that he’s caring, protective and shows much brotherly love to Alyssa, and he got me swooning. My heart melted at how he can be so self-sacrificial! Of course, Jeb has his own flaws, too. I found him rather stubborn, and he can be extremely frustrating at times. He did make some rash decisions that left me disappointed about his lack of hindsight, but I guess that without all of these, Jeb simply would not be Jeb.
Morpheus: I felt apprehensive about Morpheus through most of the book. Somehow, the things he did just made me felt like he needed to be approached with caution. I was often suspicious of him, as if whatever he did had an ulterior motive. I also had a fluctuating love and hate for Morpheus. It’s crazy. One moment, I can be swooning over how sexy he is, and the next, I’m ready to dive right into the book, rip his head off and feed it to a lion (or more like the bandersnatch!). Just like Jeb, he can be so frustrating! While reading the book, there were times when I felt so pissed off with both Jeb and Morpheus, that I want to grab both of their heads and smash them together till they’re senseless. Gosh, those were the times when they really got on my nerves. Nevertheless, I’m glad that the book ended with me not feeling any strong sense of hate towards Morpheus.
To wrap up my review, I simply can’t put my love for Splintered in words. Ms Howard did a wonderful job of recreating Wonderland and its characters, making the whole spin-off intriguing. I felt that the story was truly impressive – elements of the original Wonderland were kept, whilst new twists gave the story a dark and mysterious edge. Splintered is a book that will make you laugh, tear up (or even cry!), feel so much anger, dread, joy, heart break and sorrow. It even made me feel delirious at the end of the story!
Splintered is whimsical madness.
Wheee! I recently found out about a giveaway for Splintered, called the “Get UNHINGED” Giveaway! Pardon me, but OH MY GOSH I’M SO CRAZILY EXCITED. THE PRIZES FOR THE GIVEAWAY ARE DARN AMAZING! I really really need those goodies. Bad. And you might be wondering, why is the giveaway called “Get UNHINGED”? Well, that’s another piece of good news.
Unhinged is the sequel of Splintered.
Eeek! I can’t wait! The expected publication is in Janurary 2014, so I’ll be dying in anticipation for Unhinged.
That’s all for my review and raving of the “Get UNHINGED” Giveaway, so goodbye for now!