I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Splintered (Splintered Series #1) by A. G. Howard
Series: Splintered #1
Published by Harry N. Abrams on February 18, 2014
Genres: Adaptations, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, General, Young Adult Fiction
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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. 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.
Read all the books in the New York Times bestselling Splintered series: Splintered (Book 1), Unhinged (Book 2), Ensnared (Book 3), and Untamed (The Companion Novel). Get books 1 through 3 in theSplintered boxed set, available now!
Praise for Splintered: STARRED REVIEW
"Fans of dark fantasy, as well as of Carroll's Alice in all her revisionings (especially Tim Burton's), will find a lot to love in this compelling and imaginative novel." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Alyssa is one of the most unique protagonists I've come across in a while. Splintered is dark, twisted, entirely riveting, and a truly romantic tale." --USA Today
"Brilliant, because it is ambitious, inventive, and often surprising -- a contemporary reworking of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,'' with a deep bow toward Tim Burton's 2010 film version." --The Boston Globe
"It's a deft, complex metamorphosis of this children's fantasy made more enticing by competing romantic interests, a psychedelic setting, and more mad violence than its original." --Booklist
" Protagonist Alyssa...is an original. Howard's visual imagination is superior. The story's creepiness is intriguing as horror, and its hypnotic tone and setting, at the intersection of madness and creativity, should sweep readers down the rabbit hole." --Publishers Weekly
"While readers will delight in such recognizable scenes as Alyssa drinking from a bottle to shrink, the richly detailed scenes that stray from the original will entice the imagination. These adventures are indeed wonderful." --BookPage
"Attention to costume and setting render this a visually rich read..." --Kirkus Reviews
"Wonderland is filled with much that is not as wonderful as might be expected, and yet, it is in Wonderland that Alyssa accepts her true nature. The cover with its swirling tendrils and insects surrounding Alyssa will surely attract teen readers who will not disappointed with this magical, edgy tale." --Reading Today Online
"Creepy, descriptive read with a generous dollop of romance." --School Library Journal
Award: YALSA's 2014 Teens' Top Ten
So, here is my guilty confession. I basically requested this book on Netgalley because of the cover. Yep, I can occasionally be “one of those people.” But, really, look at it? Do you see the awesome artwork there? It is absolutely gorgeous. Now, sometimes, this practice will let me down. Sometimes there will be an amazingly beautiful cover, but a very poorly written book. That was not the case here. For Splintered, my only regret is that I don’t have a paper copy so that I can sit and stare at the cover all day, and then pass it on to a lady who would probably love the book, but is legally blind so needs a paper copy and a magnifier to read. I really enjoyed the spin on the classic tale of “Alice in Wonderland,” having grown up with the traditional story. I am finding that I really enjoy when someone takes a classic and puts a bit of a spin on it (unless it is Shakespeare; you really shouldn’t mess with the man). I found this story heartbreaking at some points and exhilarating at others, keeping you on your toes and making your mind work through things as you read, trying to figure out what is to come only to be left shocked and awed because you were not even close! Alyssa’s circumstances and life situations are instantly relatable at least on some level to every reader. Everyone has that ONE family member that you really just don’t talk about. From the author’s descriptions, you find yourself drawn to Jeb, ever the knight in shining armor, but with the hint of the bad boy on the surface. I found myself unable to walk away from the story, setting aside other reading obligations to be able to finish the story because I had to know what happened. I was not disappointed. I did feel, however, that the way the story ended left it open for a sequel and I harbor the secret hope that the author will write more, but I also recognize that the fantastical elements just probably would not be the same, so I suppose I won’t be too upset if the story ends here. I feel that we are going to see great things from A.G. Howard, and cannot wait to see what this thrilling debut author has up their sleeves next!