|Splintered by A. G. Howard|
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Amulet BooksSource: ARC, NetGalley
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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.The idea behind this Alice concept is amazing. The perspective Howard takes on the tale is wonderful and definitely different than many would be brave enough to try. Descriptions and excellent visualizations make this a great read for anyone. I simply wish there had been more originality in the book. I felt like I was reading just a deranged version of Alice in Wonderland. Yes, that is basically what it is, but there should have been more of the author's ideas thrown in somehow. The characters and their history's roles in the story are decently weaved into the traditional plot. It made the book very predictable, but Alyssa's and the others personalities make it worth it. Morpheus should have had a better role to play in the end. I think he was cheated of his true potential in the story. Jeb is sweet and great, but sometimes a story needs more than the boy next door. This is definitely one of those cases.
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.
These aspects and the book's ending are what really brought this book down for me. Howard gives you a good ride through the story, but at the end you feel like you have been cut short. I seriously closed after the last page saying, "Wait, that's it?" I believe it to be a little bit of a miscalculation to just drop the ball with the characters like that.