Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book Review: Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard
Release Date: 1st January 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 370
Rating: 5.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY and 2013 BSR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"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."

I think I loved everything about this book - but I don't find that particularly surprising. Around about the end of last year, reviews for Splintered started popping up in the blogosphere, and there was not a negative review in site. When I found out it was a retelling of a classic story, I knew I just had to read this.

Splintered is the twisted retelling of the classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. In the novel, we follow our heroine Alyssa (and her crush Jeb) as she travels to Wonderland to break the curse that's been haunting her family ever since little Alice fell down the rabbit hole all those years ago. And what ensues is definitely not something you'd be expecting. 

As I've said already, I loved everything about this book - and I mean everything. I loved our three main characters; Alyssa, the strong heroine, Jeb, Alyssa's crush, and Morpheus, Alyssa's childhood friend and guide to Wonderland. I liked how these three main characters interacted, with Jeb and Morpheus basically representing the two worlds (our world and Wonderland) and in doing that, being polar opposites. It was interesting to see different sides of Alyssa become more pronounced when she was around one or the other. And Alyssa herself was a great female protagonist - I mean, she was so determined the break her family curse in order to save her mother, how could you not love her?

And the retelling of a classic - my word, Howard did an amazing job taking Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and building upon it to create this fascinating read. All the main characters you know - the Red Queen, the Caterpillar, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter - have been taken, but they've been twisted into these new, more gruesome characters, and I absolutely loved it. However, my favourite part of this book has to be the plot itself. This was an unpredictable read for me, and I didn't see that twist at the end coming, at all. Even after the 'tests' were revealed, I still couldn't see the vitally important connection between Alyssa and a certain Wonderland character. That twist at the end, and that final battle, brought the story to a satisfying end, and left it open for future sequels. All in all, this is a story that I loved completely and wholeheartedly, and I would recommend it to anyone.  

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