Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books (January 1, 2013)
Received: From publisher in exchange for honest review/netgalley
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.
There were a lot of things I loved about Splintered. My imagination wanted to run wild with some of the more unique things that A.G. Howard did with Wonderland and the characters that reside there. I think how Morpheus’s character was related to the original Alice tale was one of my favorite things. Anyone described as looking like Brandon Lee wins in my book.
While I really enjoyed how beautiful all of Wonderland was described, and the interesting way they were all playing together, I found that just did not have enough connection with the characters that I would like. I wanted to really root for someone, and yet I found that I never really cared what their fates would end up being. I also would find myself putting Splintered down and just not having the urge to pick it back up for a long while. So while I was enjoying it while reading it, it wasn’t enough to make me want to drop everything and read.
The characters I rooted for the most ended up being Alyssa’s parents. Her dad was so kind and caring and her mom was crazy, but for a reason. I loved watching her dad continue to root for, and hold on to the woman he loved, refusing to give up on her and just trying to do what was best for his family. I wish we could have had more of them in the story.
The ending was satisfying. While things were left open for your imagination to decide where it all may end up or even for more books, all the threads were tied up in this story arc and you aren’t left with any cliffhangers. I think Splintered was a fun read, but just fell a little flat of where I hoped it would go. The beginning was showing so much more promise than it delivered.