Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Title: Splintered
Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical underland, 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 heath takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based n 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, 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.
Review by Nara

That cover is so beautiful *drools*.

Now that we have that out the way, better start on the actual review.
If you've ever read the book (or watched the Disney movie) you'd know that Alice in Wonderland is really weird. Following a white rabbit down a hole, eating foods that make you grow and shrink, tea parties with the Mad Hatter...Well, take all of those weird elements, infuse them with a Gothic twist, thereby making them infinitely weirder, and BAM there you have it: Splintered.

One thing that really impressed me about this book were the artful descriptions. The setting and characters were described in such detail that I could easily visualise the scenes, so much so that I could definitely see this book made into a movie in the future. The characters were also amazing, especially Morpheus (and the jewels near his eyes that change colour- you'll get it when you read the book). He was enigmatic and somewhat manipulative, yet I felt strangely sympathetic towards him. Probably the only character that I didn't really like was Jeb, despite the fact that he was the primary love interest. I found him pretty bland and it was annoying how he went out with the bitch of the book to "try and forget Alyssa" or whatever. (Also, I seriously do not approve of that name, and as was brought up by Chantelle, the bandana).

Overall, although I thoroughly enjoyed the twists that Howard put on the world of Wonderland, the two faults that I found with the story were the ending and the plot twist. The ending was, frankly, pretty unsatisfying, and although one has not been listed on Goodreads, perhaps this is because Howard wanted to leave an opening for a sequel. And the "twist". It was so obvious. Throughout Morpheus hinted at it, leaving the last word of the song verses uncompleted, but they were so easily guessed. Example:
'Little blossom in white and red, resting now you tiny head; grow and thrive, be strong and keen, for you will one day-"
Now if we put that in poem form:
'Little blossom in white and red,
resting now your tiny head;
grow and thrive, be strong and keen,
for you will one day-'
I'm sure you can work out the missing word for yourself- I mean, it is Wonderland...

A job well done for a debut author, and definitely worth a read.


Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 5/5