My rating: 2 of 5 genies
Published: January 1, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Publisher: Amulet Books
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.
** Technically, or according to my botched-up rating system, this book should be more around 3.25 rating-wise, but because it is a totally inaccurate representation of how I feel right now, I am going over its head.**
You mad bro? Ha.
Long story short, I could not finish this book. Regard this as a DNF Review and take my word with the customary grain of salt, but Splintered did not work for me. I think I went in expecting my mind to be blown, you know rainbow unicorn kisses and all that shiz.
*Sigh* If only life were magical...
Where's my unicorn?
I'm sorry to say, but it wasn't there for me. The magic, I mean. Ally isn't the protagonist I thought she would be,
I still feel confused, though, that I didn't like it. Most people love the book and I'm like that one weird person in all the world who doesn't like chocolate. Somebody hold me?
Damnit! This is too depressing.
What I liked
The world-building is beautiful, and A.G. Howard is absolutely brilliant in the way she twists one of my all-time favourite children's books into a place more frightening and mystical than I could have ever imagined. I think my mouth gaped WIDE at what she was doing to the already insane environment of Wonderland, its Rabid White, Octobenus...everything. This author can write, and I certainly will look at other books by her in the future. She has a gift, and I can't wait to see her write more.
The book itself is also really pretty! With a splendid cover and great typography, there isn't much not to love by way of presentation. This isn't a purchase I regret either because Splintered was a reasonable buy and makes my bookshelf look good. Although, I would recommend you lend it from a library/friend if you're short on cash and aren't 100% sold that it's for you.
All in all, Splintered gives a refreshing spin on the whole Alice in Wonderland story. The "curse" is a great touch, and Howard making Alice too young at the time to fully understand/cope with the gruesome reality of the land really adds a to my perception of Alice as a whole. This book offered a great escape, even though it didn't work for me.
But then Again...
The Jeb crap - his imposition in Ally's life, interfering with her dreams due to selfish motives - and the "skater girl" crap, which grew patronizing after a while, all annoyed me. Like I said, him being compared to her dad - and having lunch with him to discuss her future - did not help things.
Unfortunately, I couldn't connect with the main characters. I like Ally's mom, she sacrifices so much for her family, and her dad is like the best YA dad of 2013 so far, but those two and Morpheus were the only characters I saw myself warming up to. In my mind, Jeb looks like a very shaggy St. Bernard with all his overgrown hair, and I wasn't feeling his "bad-boy" vibe. I've seen better.
Splintered is a creative re-imagining of a beloved classic with fresh, gruesome twists that will enthral many readers; I'm just disappointed it didn't entertain me.
2 genies: I could have, and SHOULD have, liked this book. Unfortunately, because of reasons already covered above, I didn't.