Splintered by A.G. Howard Review

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Title: Splintered
Author: A.G. Howard (Twitter)
Publisher: Amulet
Publish Date: January 1, 2013
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 371
Source: Publisher

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.
Alyssa's unique gift is probably really a curse, or so those who know her family actually would believe. Everyone has always told her that the whispers she hears aren't real, and acknowledging them will simply bring her to the same messy fate that befell her mother - life at a mental institution. But Alyssa never knew that this Wonderland that her ancestors spoke of was really real, or that it was a place more deadly and vicious than she could ever have imagined. To venture into the world is the only way she can save her family though, and Alyssa is read to do so at all costs.

First and perhaps foremost, let's take a moment of silence for the unbelievably stunning cover of Splintered. There is a wicked beauty to this novel, and A.G. Howard never once backs off the dark, twisted maze of undertones that whisk away to a familiar, albeit terrifyingly different, world of Wonderland. The author has crafted a brilliant novel that wrenches readers into what we've always considered to be a make-believe world, but manages to spellbind us with subtle treachery into believing that maybe, just maybe, Wonderland could actually be real. Vibrant, colourful and menacingly alive, Splintered will capture you from the start.

I lusted after this novel for months before I ever got my hands on it, and when I did, I was almost so excited that I was too scared to actually read it. But I did, and I'm glad that I did because from the second you open Splintered, you're sucked into a world from which you cannot escape. There's a subtle beauty and innocence to Alyssa's character that I really loved. Above all else, Alyssa wants to save her family, and to do so, she has to embrace this curse that has plagued her family for generations. Along the way, we get to see her discover her own true identity, her self-worth and the fact that she is actually far more powerful than she thinks. There's something magical in and of that, alone, that gets you truly invested in her journey. Wonderland, too, was incredible. Imagine the twisty, colourful and bright world you've always known when reading the classic tale. Now imagine that world on acid. Splintered is every bit the brilliantly macabre version of Wonderland, sucking you into a realm that's alive with twists and turns, terrifying creatures and enough drama to last a lifetime. I will say that I felt the plot diversions were a bit too hasty at times, and other times I felt as though I really wanted to flesh out the current details and plot points more, but I understand the hasty retreats to other aspects of the plot. The secondary characters are where my only real issue with Splintered lies. I felt that Jeb was a stereotype, and I wanted to see more from his character than this shell that we've become accustomed to in books. Morpheus is oddly sexy and he keeps you guessing throughout, but I wanted to know more about where his motivations came from. I can only hope we'll get more from him in the second book. Therein lies the issue though; Morpheus and Jeb were never really concrete characters in my mind, but we're given a love triangle in which we should side with one or the other. I couldn't decide because I don't feel like I ever really got to know them.

Despite these few issues, I loved the world of Splintered, and I can't wait to dive (pun intended) into book two. I give it a very high 3.5 out of 5, and I definitely recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy the story of Alice in Wonderland, as well as fantasy.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Spin off of Alice in Wonderland is becoming popular. I got bored in this book--- will try to finish it. I agree, Jeb "was a stereotype", generic for me. Thanks for the honest review!


    1. I hope you give it a go and finish it, Dannielle! I think the ending is what really sold me :)

  2. I have heard some pretty mixed reviews about this book, and it's always because of the same points you pointed out, haha. I think that's why I have put it off for so long? I think I'll still pick it up...eventually...at some point. :P

    1. I actually thought it was pretty dang interesting, and I was definitely intrigued enough to request the sequel. I think ever reader needs to formulate their own opinion because, heck, what may not work for me, may work for you, and vice-versa! :)

  3. I wasn't such a fan of Jeb, but Morpheus was oddly sexy indeed! I can't wait to learn more about him. The dark, twisted Wonderland was the best aspect of this book and I want to return to it soon :D Great review!


    1. Jeb was kind of a d-bag, but Morpheus had me totally sold! I can't wait for book two! :)

  4. I love this book so much! I can't wait to read the sequel!

  5. That cover is so gorgeous!

    That's a shame that you didn't get to learn enough about the secondary characters. The author's version of Wonderland sounds dark and intriguing, though.

    Nice honest review :)

    1. Isn't it!? The author said she deliberately left things in the dark though, hoping to reveal them in book two, so that gives me hope!

  6. Oh, me too, Aman. I just didn't love the classic story, but this just WORKS because it so dang dark and messed up haha

  7. I actually started this book, got to about 100 pages, and had to put it down. I fully intend to pick it back up soon though! That cover is gorgeous, I love retellings/reimaginings, and I'm curious to read about this darker version of Wonderland. That's unfortunate you didn't feel too strongly about the secondary characters, but at least that's a clear way in which Howard can grow as an author for her newer books, right? Glad you were mostly able to enjoy this book!

  8. I'm certainly looking forward to reading this book! There's something beautiful and haunting about that cover. Plus, I love that it's inspired by Alice in Wonderland - how cool is that? I just bought this one recently and I cannot wait to read it!


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