Saturday, December 22, 2012
Book Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard
By: A.G. Howard
Published by: Amulet Books
To Be Released on: January 1st, 2013
Source: arc from publisher to review
4 stars: I Enjoyed It
For sixteen years, Alyssa Gardner has lived with the stigma of being descended from Alice Liddell—the real life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s famed novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But cruel jokes about dormice and tea parties can’t compare to the fact that Alyssa hears the whispers of bugs and flowers... the same quirk which sent her mother to a mental institution years before.
When her mother takes a turn for the worse and the whispers grow too strong for Alyssa to bear, she seeks the origins of their family curse. A set of heirlooms and a moth tied to an unusual website lead Alyssa and her gorgeous best friend / secret crush, Jeb, down the rabbit hole into the real Wonderland, a place more twisted and eerie than Lewis Carroll ever let on.
There, creepy counterparts of the original fairytale crew reveal the purpose for Alyssa’s journey, and unless she fixes the things her great-great-great grandmother Alice put wrong, Wonderland will have her head. -quoted from Goodreads
With a touch of Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice in Wonderland, A.G. Howard's original twisted debut is utterly entertaining, brimming with madness, and sprinkled with plenty of magic, romance and adventure. Much like the beloved classic, A.G. Howard does a beautiful job at creating a world that's unforgettable. I loved that while much of this story is given a unique spin, there are some minor similarities that were flawlessly incorporated into Alyssa's story that paid homage to Carroll's work. Unlike Carroll's story, this modern day/fantasy story doesn't include any dreaming, instead it focuses on a family curse passed down from generation to generation. Sadly the curse that Alyssa's mother passed to her, is what is keeping her in the mental institution. Armed with the determination to save her mother, Alyssa enters the rabbit hole and from there unravels one crazy mystery and twist after the other.
Having a part of this story focus on Alyssa's worry of going mental like her mother fit in well with this incredibly complex, and hauntingly mesmerizing world. I liked that dream like quality the story has. It made it all the more charming and intriguing. The further Alyssa and Jeb venture into this world, the crazier it gets with all that's unraveled. It takes a rather strong character to travel through the rabbit hole, and venture out the other side in tact. I loved that the more Alyssa learns to rely on and trust herself, the more it makes her realize that she's got much more potential than she ever thought she had. There's something about Alyssa that I couldn't help liking. She quirky, she has her flaws, and there's just something about her that drew me to her, even if I didn't always understand the reasoning behind her actions. She's a character that made me rooting for.
This story is not without romance, and it's different kind of love triangle. There's Jeb, the best friend who's been there for Alyssa, and seems to get her even without her ever needing to tell him anything. It might take a trip through crazyville for the two of them to finally admit their feelings for each other (FINALLY), but when they do, it's fabulous! I love that this relationship is not without it's flaws, and imperfections. It's realistic, it's a little complicated, and beautifully developed. Then there's of course the odd natured, yet fitting relationship between Alyssa and her childhood friend, Morpheus. He's that dark, mysterious, brooding character you feel yourself drawn to, even though you know you should stay away from him. There were times I wanted to despise him, and other times I couldn't help but like him. He's definitely a character who knows how to seduce not only Alyssa, but this story's readers. Though I liked both relationships, there were times things didn't quite add up for me in regards to the revelations between both guys and Alyssa.
Over all I did enjoy this story. It's unlike anything I've read before, and I love that. Lewis Carroll gave us a classic. Walt Disney re-created an Alice in Wonderland for kids to enjoy and A.G. Howard created a brand new Alice in Wonderland story that YA readers are going enjoy getting their hands on! This is one book I'd recommend picking up if you enjoy an unforgettable adventure, love fairytale retelling with a twist, and enjoy fantasy story's with a touch of romance. I'm looking forward to reading more of A.G.'s books in the future.