Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Author: A. G. Howard
Publisher: Amulet Books
Date of publication: January 2013

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.

Splintered is a wonderfully written novel that gives the reader a fresh take on the Alice in Wonderland story.  Alyssa is a descendant of the original Alice.  When she reached puberty, the bugs and flowers started talking to her.  She has spent most of her teen years trying to tune out the voices, to keep from being locked up by her mother.  Alyssa soon learns that the voices are real, her family is cursed and only she can break the spell.  With the help of her best friend, Jeb, she enters the "rabbit hole" and begins the adventure she was destined for. Alyssa finds out that she must reverse Alice's mistakes in order to release the curse.  I don't want to give away too much of the plot as I feel it would really spoil things. There are some twists that I just can't give away. This is a journey the reader must experience for his/herself. 

I loved the characters in the book.  They aren't the Disney version of  Wonderland characters.  In fact, we come to learn that Alice, in her young mind, got most of  the creature names wrong. For instance, the white rabbit is really Rabid White. Wonderland itself is a magical and dark place.  Not everything is as Lewis Carrol wrote it and there are a lot more surprises. 

Alyssa is a great character.  She is edgy, artistic, into skate boarding and has a wonderful, yet unique sense of style.  I was happy see the romance wasn't the typical insta-love. Jeb and Alyssa have known each other for quite a while. Jeb makes for a great hero and he matches Alyssa quite well. While here is a bit of a love triangle, it's not really filled with anguish.  There are some subtle adult themes running through the book, so I would probably keep this book to over 14. 

I don't think I have read a book this good in a long time.  I really enjoyed Splintered and I know it will be on my top 10 for 2013.  It's one of those books that I would love to see made into a movie.  Done right, it would be fantastic. While I would have been fine with the story ending as it did in this book, I see that there is a sequel planned for next January.  I look forward to more adventures with Alyssa!

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