Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retalling
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Pages: 384 Pages
Source: Hardcover, purchased
Kid-rating: In my opinion, some of the situations and conversations steer this towards an older crowd.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
It’s always a little nerve-wracking to start watching or reading something that you have been waiting for with high hopes. And it’s even worse to have said the object of that anticipation start off slowly…but thankfully, Splintered won me over, and we’ll all live happily ever after. For now.
Splintered hit a lot of the high points for me in terms of what I’m looking for in a story that’s a retelling or reimagining of another story. Top of that list is imagination — I like seeing thing I recognize from the original, but the retelling needs to be full of lots of new and interesting ideas, it will hopefully surprise me and keep me guessing, even if, in the end, the story turns out the way the original did — it just gets there using different means.
A.G. Howard is VERY imaginative! The ways in which she took the source material of Lewis Carroll’s story were fantastic (in several senses of the word!) While I was waiting for my copy (I was planning on reading this as an e-book on release day, only to be thwarted: the e-book version doesn’t release until the 15th), I downloaded a free copy of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” I’m not sure I’ve ever actually read it, or if I did, it was many many years ago. A person would not have to have read the book, because so much of Alice’s world is a part of our popular culture, but I think that having the original so fresh definitely enhanced my enjoyment of this book.
There were a couple of places where the writing seemed a little uneven to me, but those were minor. Something that bugged me was the constant reference to Jeb’s labret (a piercing below the lip, above the chin). I didn’t mind that he had it, a piercing like that definitely brings to mind a certain type of guy, but I felt like I was being pummeled over the head with it, and it would take me out of the story for a moment.
All in all, I quite enjoyed this book, the first of my debut author challenge reads and hope that Howard writes more. I would love to see her imagination and creativity at work in future books, and I’m guessing her writing will just get better as time goes on.