Sunday, January 6, 2013

Splintered by A. G. Howard

Book:  Splintered
Author:  A.G. Howard
Publisher:  Amulet Books
Date:  January 15, 2013
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  A

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.
(cover and description from

Initial reaction
That was brilliant!

Cover story
I love this cover!  I like the title as well.  It’s intriguing and put together with the cover, it makes me want to grab this book and run away!

What’s the story?

This is a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland that was absolutely fabulous.  I loved the way the author played with the story while still paying homage to the original and never losing Carroll’s vision of a bizarre and often scary fantasy world.  This story perfectly complimented the original in a way that I didn’t think would be possible.

I really enjoyed reading Alyssa’s story and seeing her grow into a very independent young woman.  She was very brave and I often felt very sorry for her.  The whole story with her family was just sad.  She was a great character because I felt sympathy for her, but I never felt like she let her situation turn her into a victim.

I loved the way the author recreated the traditional characters from the book.  Her take on the caterpillar was pure brilliance and I can’t believe I never thought of it.  The same was true of the White Rabbit.  She actually took some traditional fairy lore and mixed it into the Wonderland storyline and made it work brilliantly.  It’s sort of like Alice for more grown-up people because of the way it blends this traditional lore into the story and makes it more “realistic” if something totally unrealistic can be thought of as realistic.  I guess the fantasy element became less childish and bit more macabre.

The romance storyline was an interesting addition.  Even though I sort of knew how it would end, it wasn’t a done deal and it was fun to watch it unfold.  There was a quasi-love triangle but it’s really the triangle that never was since one member of the triangle never really had a shot.

I liked Jeb as a character and it was fun to see how he sort of fit in to the Wonderland world without being an actual part of it.  It left me with some questions about his actual background and I wonder if perhaps that might be a story for a later time???  (A.G. Howard, that is a not so subtle hint that I would definitely enjoy another book from this world!) 

This is a stand-alone, so the story ends with the book but there is the possibility that more stories could come from this world, and I like that.  I would read it if there was another book, but one is not necessary to wrap up the story.  So it was a nice change of pace for me.  I suppose it could be like the Lewis Carroll original in more ways than one, with a sequel that doesn’t have to be, right?

Overall, this was a well-planned and well-executed re-telling that was so much more than just a modern re-hash of the original.  There were some very brilliant additions to the storyline and I think Lewis Carroll himself would be pleased with the way this book re-imagined and adapted his story for a modern audience.

The Soundtrack

The Technicolor Phase by Owl City

Painting Flowers by All Time Low

Where’s My Angel by Metro Station

Alice by Sisters of Mercy

Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You by Muse

Strange and Beautiful (I’ll Put a Spell on You) by Aqualung

The Final Grade
My final grade for this book is an A.  It added some original twists to the traditional tale and kept me glued to the book until I turned the last page.  If you are an Alice in Wonderland fan, you should not miss this one!


  1. LOVED this story. I was lucky enough to get to read an ARC and I fell in love with it immediately!

  2. This one's next on my to-read list!

  3. I've seen other reviews on this book and wasn't sure if I wanted to read it. But I liked your review on it. The description of it being like a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland intrigues me. SO now it's on my "To Read" list!
    Thanks for the good review!

  4. This seems awesome! Love how it's a very unique take and that the characters are interesting!!

    Lovely review:))

  5. I've been eyeing this one so thanks for the review! I will definitely have to get it!

  6. I also love the cover and keep hearing how brilliant this book is! Can't wait to read it! Thanks for your thoughts and enthusiasm!

  7. This is one I've had on my wishlist since I read the first blurb. And isn't it a gorgeous cover!

  8. Definitely looking forward to this one--I'm not a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, but it still sounds amazing :)

  9. I love the cover and Alice in wonderland story too, hope I can read this book soon :)

  10. I love the cover too! you're review very much makes me want to read this book and see how things turn out!
    Ashley A

  11. I am so in love with the cover and this book sounds amazing! I didn't realize it was a stand alone! I'm so overrun with all these series that a stand alone sounds refreshing! Great review

    Jolene A

  12. O man I want to read this sooooo bad! It sounds awesome and I really do like that it's a stand-alone but even if there are more books to come I'd be excited because I love re-tellings and Alice in Wonderland. Thanks for the review!