Splintered by A.G. Howard

Spintered, Book 1

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Alyssa is a descendant of Alice Liddell, the little girl who inspired Lewis Carroll his most famous work. But Alyssa’s family is cursed. A weird malediction makes all the women in their lineage go crazy. If Alyssa never wanted to believe in her crazy mom’s ramblings, she has to bow to the evidence that crazyness definitively runs in the family. Because Alyssa hears the insects and flowers talking around her. When her mom’s mental health gets worse, Alyssa finally accepts that Wonderland is real and that she has to go there to break the curse. Bringing along by accident her best friend Jeb, she meets with Morpheus, her weird guide through a Wonderland much darker than Carroll let it show in his book. While she has to pass some tests in order to repair Alice’s mistakes, Alyssa will discover dangerous truths that might change who she is and the purpose of her stay in Wonderland…

Splintered is one of the strongest retelling I’ve ever read and is totally in the continuity of the original story. Where lots of retelling loses important connections with their origins, A. G. Howard respects most of the aspects created by Lewis Carroll while creating her view of Wonderland. In this book the Wonderland we discover is far less wonderful than the original one and way darker and twisted. I personally love the original world created by Caroll but I felt compelled a lot more by this one. Splintered’s Wonderland definitively makes me think of Tim Burton’s universe in a way that even his own adaptation of Alice did. I can only bow to the author for these superb adjustments!

Alyssa is an efficient heroine that I really enjoyed following through her journey. She never forgets that her main objective is to deliver her mother from her crazyness while also making sure that Jeb gets out safe and sound. Even while all the revelations and secrets she discovers make her sway, she always stays true to her beliefs. Her relationship with Jeb, who is also her best friend, is simple but cute. It’s still a pretty classic relationship where she has feelings for him while he is dating her arch nemesis but also likes her more than a friend… A configuration we’ve seen a hundred times in Young Adult books before. Anyway Jeb stays her biggest ally throughout the book and definitively proves his loyalty and utility when Alyssa suffers from the secrets she unveils. I just got a bit frustrated with his hero syndrome. I’m getting a bit bored of these guys who always feel the need to sacrifice themselves in order to save the girls, even though they don’t need it.

The characters we meet in Wonderland are totally strange, if not twisted. Who is the person, I’m particularly thinking while saying twisted? Morpheus, Alyssa’s guide in Wonderland! The guy has 100% freaked me out! He clearly has his own agenda and we never know what’s going on in his head and where his loyalty truly lies. Even now, a few days after finishing the book, I still don’t know what to think of him.

The storyline is also one of the strongest points of the book. The universe is rich with lots of opportunities to explore. I just found it a bit complicated to navigate at time. There were so many elements, and things were going so fast, that I happened to be a bit lost sometimes.

To conclude, Splintered is honestly the strongest Alice’s retelling I ever read. The dark and twisted world rethought by A.G. Howard is exciting and all the twists will leave you shaken and craving for more!




28 thoughts on “Splintered by A.G. Howard

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this dark world. Even though I’m pretty sure this book isn’t for me, it’s so good to see that people enjoy this one. Oh, one of the strongest retellings? Wow. It sounds like The Lunar Chronicles where Marissa Meyer bows down to the original aspects, but still manages to put so many unique spins on the story. Haha! I hear that there is sort of a love triangle forming so I hope that you took the right side (though I don’t remember who’s in the lead atm). So happy that you enjoyed! Gorgeous review, Althea 🙂

    • I’m hearing about the love triangle and I feel like I may have choose the wrong side… I always choose the wrong side in theses situations !
      Thanks for you comment, I’m glad you liked the review 🙂

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you loved this! I agree with you on that it’s definitely one of the strongest Alice retellings I;ve read: Howard does a great job at creating an atmospheric and twisted Wonderland, and I really felt it just came alive.

    Lovely review <33

  3. This has always been recommended to me because I’m a fan of Alice in Wonderland retellings and your review and rating only just adds to my decision that I definitely need to get my hands on this! I love the idea of a darker and twister Wonderland and I might actually try and get this on audio, it might be a better experience 🙂

    Great review!

    • I’m only hearing about the love triangle now and I totally get what you’re saying. I don’t understand why the author choose to recreate it, it’s definitively resolved here (and to be honest I felt like it shouldn’t even have been an issue in the first book).

  4. This one was just awesome in terms of the world imagined. Everything in Wonderland creeped me out and made me keep turning the pages. The characters I didn’t really like, but they couldn’t stop me from enjoying all the oddness in this book. I’m really glad you liked it, Althea! =)

  5. YES. I’m so happy you liked this one, it’s one of my favorites 🙂 Morpheus is definitely complex and you are so right-his motives are definitely all over the place. Liked what you mentioned about the twists too, that and the unique retelling was just so great.

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