Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Daisy's Mini-Review of Splintered by A.G. Howard


Title/Author: Splintered by A.G. Howard
Publisher/Date published: Amulet Books, January 1st 2013
How I got this book: bought it

Goodreads 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 recently read Splintered and I just absolutely LOVED IT! For my full fangirling review of Splinter, go here. For now I'll just list 5 reasons why I can't stop gushing about it and why you should ALL READ IT:

-It's an Alice in Wonderland retelling, do you really need another reason to pick this up??

-It captured all the things I remember loving about Wonderland while managing to alter my perception of what happened in the original tale forever.

-Strong, quirky characters I found myself rooting for and I felt a little like I was saying goodbye to friends when I turned the last page. Alyssa is my kind of off-beat.

-THE BOYS, seriously, this was one love triangle I could fully get into! And A.G. Howard even had me rooting for the bad boy somewhat and that NEVER HAPPENS! I'm a good guy kinda girl through and through.

-Amazingly vivid writing that leaps off the page and just sucks you in until you turn the last page and all you want to do is READ IT AGAIN!

I could seriously go on and on but basically I'm saying: READ THIS BOOK! You will not regret it! The story is as stunning as the cover is!

My rating: 5 stars

9 comments :

  1. I have been hearing different reviews of this book. Thanks for your review.

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  2. I'm so glad you loved it! I have it on hold at the library at the moment - just waiting for it to become available. I only recently read Alice in Wonderland (because I'm ridiculously behind the times!) so I'm really excited to read it with that still fresh in my mind. I really like the sound of it from your mini-review, thanks so much for sharing!

    Sarah @ TotalTeenFiction

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  3. I've seen this around but wasn't sure if I should read it. Not all retellings are as good as they could be but with this kind of praise I'll have to check it out! Glad you liked it!

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  4. I've had this on my TBR list for quite some time and though I've read many mixed reviews, I'm still excited for it. I think you said it best --- rich, vivid writing and altering your perception of the original Alice in Wonderland tale, makes it a MUST read. So glad you enjoyed it!

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  5. I loved this so much! It did an excellent job capturing the disturbing reality of Wonderland. Great review!

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  6. I loved it too! It was just amazing. The world building was phenomenal, and it's funny you say what you did about the love triangle, because I felt the same way. Usually I hate them, but it worked here. I'm so happy this book is getting tons of love, because it totally deserves it!

    Karis @ YA Litwit

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  7. Awesome!! I'm really glad you enjoyed the book as it is on top of my stacks of books on my night stand. I guess I need to read it soon.
    Tammy @ bosbooknook.blogspot.com

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  8. I loved Splintered it was such a great book! I am hoping that AG Howard writes a sequel!

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  9. The book description, for once, is perfect. This is a stunning debut, and it does capture the grotesque madness of a magical and much-loved world.

    A. G. Howard puts her own delightful twist on the story behind the story, and begins her adventure with the mystery of Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. With this dash of originality, we are introduced to a contemporary fantasy, one that involves another tumble into the rabbit hole, this time with Alyssa Gardner and her good friend Jeb. There are the echoes of familiar characters, from the White Rabbit, to the Caterpillar and his hookah. We have the kings and the queens, and the remnants of Alice’s tears. There is even a splendid nod to the tea party and the Mad Hatter. Howard's rendition is not lacking in creativity, and features a sea of tears, giant spider-women, an octo-walrus and many, many other outrageous and wild things. It is exciting and mad, in exactly the way I expect all Wonderland retellings to be.

    Without distracting from the splendour of the story, a romance builds between Alyssa and Jeb. While not without complications and teenage angst, it is a sweet and modern romance, filled with satisfying tension and emotion. Be warned, this is not a perfect romance between perfect people. It is dramatic, sometimes very much so, and if that is not something you can tolerate, or remotely enjoy reading about, tread carefully with Splintered. There is also – cue the groans – a light love triangle. I live to bitch about love triangles (really, I do) but, surprisingly, I was happy to accept (too strong a word?) the situation in this book because I knew I would get my way in the end. Let me put it this way. If you enjoyed Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo regardless of the love triangle, then I have no doubt you will be tolerant of the romantic plot in this book too. If it is any consolation, it does not take anything away from the magic of the overall story. If anything, it adds to it.

    The main characters, Alyssa, Jeb and Morpheus, are all likeable, or at least, intriguing. Alyssa’s initial quirkiness sprouts from her ability to hear the whispers of insects and the flutter of wings. While her decisions are not always easy to appreciate, she is a delightful and brave protagonist and not difficult to warm to. Morpheus is seduction and mystery, expertly wrapped into a dark, enticing package. He is the other love interest, a constant enigma, and his role not quite as exasperating as you might imagine. Jeb, however, is my favourite. While he is evidently ruled by his emotions, and sometimes not in the most positive of ways, it is testament to Howard’s characterisation skills that he remains appealing throughout, despite the obvious flaws. Admittedly, his protectiveness over Alyssa is, at times, constricting and unrealistic, but not so much so that I failed to enjoy the story because of it.

    I initially, perhaps too soon, rated this book 5 stars. Upon reflection, however, I realise it is not faultless and do have to admit that the ending is... not quite what I needed. Regardless, I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed A.G. Howard’s debut novel and could not have hoped for a better renewal of a favourite classic. This is a book best suited to readers who do not tire of adventurous plots, and who are inclined to decent-sized portions of romance. And, of course, this is a book for those longing to hurdle head-first into the surreal madness of Wonderland.


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