Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from December 28 to January 2, 2013
Summary: 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'm going to London to find the rabbit hole. Even though I'm scared gutless of where it might lead, of who's waiting inside for me. Of whatever I'm supposed to do once I'm there. I have to go.
Is there a better way to end 2012 and start 2013 than spending time immersing yourself in the enchanting Wonderland of Splintered? No, I don't think so. Even though I've never actually read the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, I was still able to catch up with this retelling of the famous and beloved classic, and came away liking it a lot.
Alyssa Gardner believes she's a descendant of Alice Liddell. And she believes that the females in her family are cursed; they hear bugs and plants talk. Alyssa is afraid of becoming like her mother, who is in an asylum--"mad," dressed in a pinafore and refusing to eat anything unless it's served in a teacup--and her grandmother, who, believing she could fly, jumped out of the window to her death. Splintered's Wonderland is a few notches crazier, darker, more horrible, and more twisted, and Alyssa needs to go there to fix Alice's mistakes and put an end to the curse that haunts her family once and for all. But what she doesn't plan is for Jeb, her best friend and secret crush, to get dragged along into this. As they enter Wonderland through the rabbit hole, they take on a journey to do something they didn't intend to, and become involved in a business that is not theirs--a business that, unless carried out successfully, will keep them in Wonderland forever.
What I liked about this book is its captivating spin of the original Wonderland story. As a member of this generation, I cannot help but know about the young Alice and her Wonderland. I believe I have seen a Disney film once when I was little, but I'm not sure; and I saw Tim Burton's film starring Johnny Depp the first week it came out in cinema (I enjoyed it but I didn't think it was that good). So yeah, I do know about it even though I've never actually read the book. Splintered still maintains some things from the original: Wonderland, the Caterpillar, Queen Red, White Rabbit or Rabid White, the Mad Hatter or Herman Hattington, and of course the Alice legend. But they're not entirely similar; Splintered takes an interestingly dark turn, paints Wonderland in a light that is anything but wonderful--a place full of monsters trying to either eat/kill you or use you.
In the latter category belongs Morpheus, a netherling moth (not sure what that is) who somehow grows up with Alyssa. Now, this is an interesting character. Words used to describe him depict him as a sexy, seductive and sensual being that draws Alyssa to him and influences her, rendering her unable to think straight. I think A.G. Howard did a really great job forming this character and choosing words that reinforce his personality, because man, is he hot *fans self*. I could feel his charms permeating the air even by just reading his dialogue, seriously. This is one of the characters who isn't always likeable but always enjoyable to read about. He's, in his own words, mysterious, rebellious, and troubled--"the qualities women find irresistible."
One of those women, besides myself, is Alyssa. I enjoyed it when she doesn't know how to feel around him. But I also liked Alyssa when Morpheus isn't around. Normally she's brave, smart and a little mad. A truly likeable protagonist. Girls that kick ass. Jeb is a delightful character as well. I found the IloveyoubutI'mwithhersoIcantakemymindoffofyou thing way too cliché, but I'll take it because Jeb is just so sweet and always says the right thing and and makes me swoon and everything. But in comparison to Morpheus, he unfortunately pales as a weaker and less interesting character.
On the whole I really liked this book. The writing is fantastic, the characters pleasant, and the story very entertaining. Quite action-packed, this book is a wonderful read. If I were in any position to judge, I would say that this is one interesting interpretation of Wonderland and a very well-done retelling of the classic, not to mention very well thought-out. It's thrilling, with plot twists here and there to keep things unpredictable and exciting. If you're already a fan of Lewis Carroll's book, you won't want to miss this! Or even if you're not, you won't want to miss this either!
This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.