Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard @aghowardwrites

Title: Splintered

Author: A.G. Howard

Series: Splintered #1

Publication date: January 1st, 2013

ISBN: 9781419704284

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical underland, 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.

I make no secret of my obsession with Alice in Wonderland. I love the classics written by Lewis Carroll as well as any retellings that may enter the minds of amazing authors. I had been dying to read Splintered but had gotten so backlogged with review books that I hadn't gotten the chance. When I was wandering the shelves of my local library it sat there, calling to me, so I check it out and swore I would finally dive into the story. I knew I wouldn't be disappointed but the extinct of my love for this book even before I read it only grew as I started flipping pages and gobbling up the amazing story.

Alyssa has been hearing whispers from plants and bugs since she entered puberty. She tries to hide it to the best of her ability so she may avoid the same fate that her mother suffered by being locked away in a mental hospital. Alyssa uses her artistic capabilities to silence the chattering foliage and insects. But soon, her distracting techniques aren't good enough. She starts to realize that she's not crazy. All the oddities she notices in her life are not hallucinations at all. They are real. She is really the distant relative of Alice and her family is cursed.

Alyssa decides she will set things straight and relieve her family of the curse that has been plaguing them for generations. But when she dives down the infamous rabbit hole, she's not alone. Her long time crush and close friend has followed her and is determined to get Alyssa home and away from the topsy-turvy world meant only for dreams. Alyssa also seems to have caught the eye of Morpheus who's plans may not always be with Alyssa's best interest in mind.

Alyssa must set right the wrongs Alice left behind on her trip to Wonderland. Along the way she realizes that the cotton candy dreams of a little girl are from the reality of the world she is now inhabiting. Danger lurks around every corner and Alyssa has no idea who to trust and whether she will ever make it home again.

The thing that sticks out in Lewis Carroll's story of Alice in Wonderland is it's vivid imagery. A reader can see all these oddities in bright colors and cartoonish style. A.G. Howard stuck to that way of describing the numerous characters Alyssa came face-to-face with. I could picture them perfectly in my mind and I was even a bit creeped out by a few of them. Howard wove a darker tale of Carroll's Wonderland but made it her own. She spun the familiar characters into something completely different but still oddly familiar. It was beautifully written to the point where I long to see it on the big screen.

The love triangle was my second favorite part of the story. I was team Jeb all the way, but Morpheus totally had his swoonworthy moments as well. Splintered has one of those romances where you wouldn't mind seeing the heroine end up with either of the male leads. A rarity to be sure.

All Alice in Wonderland buffs need to read Splintered, it is unlike any retelling I have ever read and will not disappoint.

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