Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered (Splintered, #1)Title: Splintered
Author: A.G. Howard
Source/Format: Purchased, Paperback
More Details: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher/Publication Date: Amulet Books, January 1, 2013

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

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’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers…”

I have to say that Splintered was definitely an interesting read. Initially I had my reservations about it since I was unfamiliar with the author, but as far as a retellings go this was definitely one of my favorites.

There were a lot of things about the novel that I enjoyed. The setting started off relatively normal but shifted focus as the story progressed, with some scenes reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, only twisted to fit with the world in Splintered. It was pretty cool to see all of the changes Howard made. Besides the setting, the plot is what kept me reading. The very first page introduced the main character Alyssa Gardener, who has the unfortunate ability to hear the whispers of insects and plants—a theme that played a big part in the story. I found it interesting to see how Alyssa dealt with all of the unnecessary noise while trying to live her life, and it was easy to see why she considered it to be a curse. And even if they weren’t around for most of it, Alyssa’s relationship with her parents was a nice touch to the story along with her friendship with Jenara. The few interactions they did have were nice to read about, but I wish there was more.

Really, my main complaint with Splintered was Jeb, Alyssa’s friend and Jenara’s brother. At some parts of the story I felt like he was holding Alyssa back—that he was the only one who wanted to believe that she couldn’t do anything for herself. And sometimes—ok, a lot of the time, actually—I felt like he was more annoying than helpful with his controlling tendencies.

Overall, I think A. G. Howard did a good job with putting a different spin on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that I think fans of the classic tale would enjoy. Despite my one main issue with it, I really liked it and I would definitely consider reading another novel by Howard.

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