Today we are going to be talking about another book that I enjoyed. Splintered by A.G. Howard is an Alice in Wonderland retelling unlike any other I'd read. This darker interpretation is filled with magic, intrigue, and characters that you love and yet can't trust. This is my favorite book that I've read in 2013, and it definitely had some amazing competition for that. However, Splintered takes the cake, and read on to see why!
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.
The cover is what originally grabbed me for this book. It's gorgeous, with vivid colors and a beautiful picture on the front. Even the back is extremely detailed in the green mysterious background. But then the synopsis grabbed me, and it wasn't long before I was scouring shelves for this book way back in January. I fell in love.
Firstly, I am a love of world description and scenery as long as it doesn't overwhelm the book. This book was a perfect balance. Of course, since it's Wonderland we're talking about, I was hoping for some vivid scenery description. I loved A.G. Howard's Wonderland. It was zany and quirky in the typical Wonderland spirit, but definitely had the dark and mysterious undertones that were highlighted within this book. I'm going to say now that I can't remember when I last read Through the Looking Glass or Alice in Wonderland, but I have read numerous retellings and the story line is one of my favorites. So, I had high expectations for this Wonderland, and I was delighted with it.
The characters were also very well developed. From the beginning, I knew Alyssa would be a great protagonist. She's so different. Struggling with her family's curse, her mother's case, and her own life, Alyssa is still a strong character who has matured and learned from the obstacles in her life. And I think her reaction was appropriate when she discovered Wonderland's secrets- not an overreaction, but not unrealistically blowing it off and casually acting like this thing happens all the time. Alyssa is a very real character, and I appreciated that and she was a great protagonist.
Let's talk about my favorite character- Morpheus. Morpheus is one of my all time favorite characters. He's magical, dark, endearing, fantastical, and unpredictable. He and Alyssa have the best interactions, with Alyssa not trusting him and Morpheus being unreadable. But, Morpheus still has real heart in some of my favorite scenes, and I loved reading about him. Especially at the end, when his character undergoes real internal conflict and he has some choices to make.
I loved this book. The plot was fast moving, not feeling crammed together or dragging. The little details made it a truly stand out novel- Alyssa's art, Morpheus's hat among some. I loved all the characters, Jeb and Alyssa's harrowing journey, and the ending was fantastic. I originally thought it was a stand alone for some reason, and I was so happy to see it was a series. I cannot wait for Unhinged, especially after seeing Morpheus on the cover! Check it out!
I can't say enough good things about this book, it perfectly fits the Alice in Wonderland vibe while still standing out, and it was wonderfully written. The characters are wonderful, the book was fantastic, and the sequel releases early this year! Definitely a must read in my opinion!
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From a paper world,