by A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered #1
Published: 01 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.
After months of JZ’s fangirling and urging, I finally got around to reading Splintered! I would say I had high expectations for it because JZ loved it so much and I thought the idea of the story was interesting. After all, there aren’t many YA books based on Alice in Wonderland so far. Unfortunately, Splintered didn’t blow me away, it actually annoyed me a little.
The most glaring annoyance was the love triangle. I’ve reiterated over and over my hatred for typical love triangles. In Splintered, it revolved around Alyssa, Jeb and Morpheus. The romance was just so predictable what with two guys hating each other and fighting over Alyssa as if she was a toy. Way too cliché for me.
Alyssa herself was also not a very impressive protagonist. Most of the story set in Wonderland was about her attraction to both Morpheus and Jeb, overshadowing the actual reason she was there in the first case – for her Mom, Alison. The book would’ve been a lot more meaningful had there been more emphasis on Alyssa & Alison’s entangled relationship instead of the love triangle.
The guys in Splintered, Jeb and Morpheus, have failed to enthuse me too. Both of them were such Neanderthals, trying to control everything Alyssa did. They were aggravatingly overprotective and to make everything even more vexing, their overpowering attitudes didn’t even seem to register in Alyssa’s mind.
However, in Jeb’s defense, what he did at the end was pretty touching. Though it was a teensy bit too rushed and hence, having minimal emotional build-up.
Despite the numerous issued I had with Splintered, I actually really enjoyed the twisted and horrific Wonderland portrayed by A.G. Howard. It was perfectly mad and chaotic! I heard somewhere that Splintered was supposedly part horror, but if that’s so, the atmosphere needs to be creepier. Though the characters in Wonderland were definitely a very nice blend of peculiar and freaky.
All in all, I’m unsure about continuing this trilogy, especially with the unoriginal love triangle. However, that’s just my opinion and to prove that Splintered would definitely appeal to some of you, go check out JZ’s lovely review of it here. I wouldn’t recommend it to readers who love strong protagonists but if you are a huge Alice in Wonderland fan (like JZ), without question, you should try reading Splintered.