Author A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered #1
Publisher Amulet Books
Publication Date January 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
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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.
Splintered has a pretty cover. That’s about the only good thing I can say about it.
Splintered is the story of Alyssa, the great-great-great granddaughter of Alice Liddell who has totally fucked over any future female relations with her trip down the rabbit hole. Alyssa’s mother Allison is currently in an asylum, dressing in the likeness of Alice and only eating/drinking out of teacups. Madness runs in the family. distraught over mom being given electric shock treatment Alyssa (who did I mention can talk to insects) gets a bug in her ear to revisit Wonderland and set things straight. Thus she walks through a looking-glass to retrace her great-great-great grandmother’s steps.
Did I mention that Alyssa selfishly wishes her hot, BFF, teenage neighbor-boy to come with her? Well she did, and did I feel sorry for him, Jeb goes out on a limb for her, wadding through a sea of tears and being a chevirous bodyguard and it all bites him in the ass. I really felt he was only there as a romantic interest, an accessory if you will. Morpheus (the bug in her head) is the hippie hookah Caterpillar and when not blowing smoke out his ass is described as quite attractive and would have been a good substitute for Jeb. But then there’s that thing about Morpheus being a jerkwad and Jeb the knight in shinning armor…
So we hit all the memorable Aliceesque sequences i.e. eat me, drink me, paint the roses red and a mad tea party but once we went past the familiar there really wasn’t anything there. By the time I got to Alyssa vanquishing the volpar sword at the bandersnatch I could have cared less. I had read the sentence about Chessie the Cheshire cat so many times I was starting to get a mad expression on my face. I just wanted to get the hell out of Wonderland.
The thing that bugged me the most is that A.G. Howard portrays Alice Liddell as a crazy person at the end of her life. I understand it is fiction and was creative licencing, but the real Alice, no matter how crazy the stories, she herself was not. I think I would be more obliging if Alice Liddell was truly a fictional character, but she was not and I think to change that essence of her life degrades this novel.
Overall, Splintered did not contain seven impossible things before breakfast.