Saturday, June 8, 2013

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered (Splintered #1)
by A.G. Howard
Published: January 1, 2013

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 was one of my most awaited releases this year. First look at that gorgeous cover and it would surely draw you in. I haven't read Alice in Wonderland but I know little from short stories and TV shows and a book inspired by it interests me. Add the raving reviews from other people and I'm definitely in. As it turned out, I was kind of disappointed.

This book is sort of a continuation of the original Wonderland story where the main character, Alyssa Gardner, is the great-great-granddaughter of Alice Liddell. She learned that her mother's craziness was a curse brought in their family generations before and in order to save her, Alyssa would do anything to break that curse even if it meant travelling into the unknown world alone.

I did love the world-building. It was a dark, harsh and grotesque world compared to the classic story I've heard as a child - think nightmare instead of a child's dream. I think it was well-built and it has this Wonderland feel to it that I enjoyed reading.

I was really into it on the first parts of the book. I think it was the moment Alyssa jumped into the "rabbit hole" when I started to think it was getting downhill for me. Especially when someone whom I thought wouldn't be a part of the journey turned out to be there after all. I was really ready for a change in scenario. One where the female protagonist will finally get to travel alone and become the heroine instead of dragging an unsuspecting man who gets to be the lady's hero, proclaim the love they've tried to hide to protect their friendship which led to some cheesy romance and yadda yadda. But that's what it was like for me. I could not connect to Alyssa and Jeb's character in the first place and now they have this romance thing going on while they were in Wonderland which I was not a fan of.

There were also parts in the book I found confusing which was why I decided to put it down for a while. And I was really glad when I decided to continue reading it even if a long time has passed since I last picked it up. It has some cool twist in the end regarding the curse and Alyssa's bloodline which I suspected at first but never thought about that hard.

I actually approved Alyssa's decision near the end because that is how I initially expected the story to be like but then she came back home and ruined my opinion again. It makes me feel like the romance aspect is obviously scripted and not believable. But other than that, it was a nice ending. There is a second book which I will read for sure - it will be nice to be in Wonderland again - although not as eager I suppose.


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