- Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
- Format: Hardback | 384 pages
- Dimensions: 145mm x 213mm x 36mm | 567g
- Publication date: 1 January 2013
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 1419704281
- ISBN 13: 9781419704284
- Sales rank: 23,056
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. 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
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A. G. Howard wrote "Splintered" while working at a school library. She always wondered what would've happened had the subtle creepiness of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" taken center stage, and she hopes her darker and funkier tribute to Carroll will inspire readers to seek out the stories that won her heart as a child. She lives in Amarillo, Texas.
By Jessica 18 Mar 2013
I came across this book by chance and to be honest, wasn't very keen on the story line at first impression but decided to read it any way.
I do not regret that choice. If you enjoy fantasy/adventure or magical novels, this book is the right choice, though fair warning, if you are expecting a pony-land kind of fantasy book, this is not for you. This book treads lightly on a darker level of fantasy and magic.
Although at some parts while Alyssa is in wonderland, the descriptions do seem a bit tedious to read, it was great nevertheless. Love the way A.G. Howard linked so many things, especially the family history etc back to the original Alice. Very creative and fun! Would def recommend this to the adventurous, curious minds.
By Kimberly Roy 02 Mar 2013
I know I'm a little late in finally getting to read my e-ARC of Splintered from the wonderful people at NetGalley but I suffer from the common affliction us book reviewers suffer from. Procrastination. But that's a topic for a different blog post.
At the end of February I finally got around to reading Splintered the first novel in debut author A.G. Howard's Splintered series after having it on my TBR list since August! I was so excited to finally have time and be in the right mood to want to read the book with minimal distractions that I dove right in.
The book started off on a really high note. I loved Alyssa's dark awkwardness that she uses to keep the talking insects at bay with. It reminded me of the awkwardness that we all experience to at least some degree as teenagers and that made me really like her. As Alyssa herself is narrating her story I loved her "voice". She was such a breath of fresh air, I mean how often does one come across a socially awkward character that isn't just hamming it up? Exactly. Not to often I'm afraid.
However, as the story went on I became rather disheartened with Alyssa, the other characters of the book and the over all story line. What started out wonderfully went slowly downhill for me after about page 100.
For me it was as though Alyssa had lost her way. I get that the whole Wonderland thing threw a big wrench in her plans and the fact that her mother is institutionalized put a lot of pressure on her but it was as though she completely threw caution to the wind and stopped using her mind and became a rash decision maker which really caught me off guard.
I also had issues with the other characters in the novel. Alyssa was the only one I really liked in the whole book at the outset but as for the others I didn't care for any of them much at all. I especially had issues with Jeb. I hated his big brother attitude where he got int the way of Alyssa's life too much and couldn't really grasp his appeal because of all that.
The characters in Wonderland while I didn't dislike them totally were very one dimensional and I get that the author was trying to interpret them in new and unique ways but to me they were a little over the top even for a place like Wonderland. I especially detested Morpheus, there's so much about him I don't like I honestly can't see the appeal of him he was such a jerk to Alyssa!
The story line also caused me some problems. As I said it started off fantastic but about 100 pages in it sort of lost the easy going pace it had in the beginning and for me it came together in a bit of a jumbled mess that I had to piece together. Sometimes the story would move so quickly I would have to go back and re-read a chapter or two just to catch what I missed and a time or two I was left with no choice but to move on becoming more confused. There seemed to be a lot of filler in Splintered that I feel the book could have done without and it became way too rushed for my tastes and I wish things were a little more cohesive I think if things went together better I would have liked the book much more.
Despite all that though I did like what the author intended to do. Alyssa started off with a lot of promise and while I thought she lost herself for a large part of the story I did like where she was at as a person in the end. I liked that the author wanted to be different and I understand that a first novel is very much about an author testing the waters of their audience so I can totally see book two being really good. There was action, a love triangle, a lot of fantasy and humour mixed into the story and while the recipe's measurement may have been a little off I can see the series being very successful even if I thought Splintered could have been better.
Overall, the book was an okay read for me and I seem to be in the minority about this but let me say that the author's story telling has a lot of talent and this is just my opinion of the book. I do know people who would absolutely love this book and I will have no issues in recommending this book to them.
If you enjoy young adult fantasy novels especially ones that are re-tellings of popular novels and fairy tales I would highly suggest checking this darker more updated tale of Wonderland out and I can't wait to read the second book in the series when it comes out.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.
By Sarah Elizabeth 12 Jan 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Abrams and Netgalley.)
Alyssa is hiding a secret. For the past six years, ever since she got her first period she has been able to hear plants and bugs talking, sometimes to her and sometimes to each other. As mad as this sounds, what scares Alyssa most is that her mother has been in an asylum for years for exactly the same reason. That's why she doesn't let anyone know what she can hear for fear of being locked up too.
Alyssa has a legacy to uphold though, her ancestor was the real-life 'Alice' from the Alice in Wonderland story by Lewis Carroll, and now it seems that it is up to her to break the curse on her family, caused by the original Alice's actions.
Desperate to save her mother more pain and unnecessary treatments, Alyssa searches desperately for a way back to Wonderland to break the curse, and eventually finds herself down the rabbit hole with her secret crush Jeb.
Alyssa doesn't understand how things work in Wonderland though, and the man who guided her there - Morpheus may not be as trustworthy as he originally seemed.
Can Alyssa possibly break the curse? Can she right Alice's wrongs and set Wonderland to rights? Or will she find herself tangled up in an even bigger mess?
This was a total fairy-tale, filled with evil queens and helpless flowers! Alyssa was a fantastic 'Alice', and Wonderland was just so utterly strange and intoxicating.
Wonderland was a work of art in its own right, with no attention to detail spared. I don't remember 'Alice in Wonderland' all that well, but each event in this book seemed to echo Alice's original adventures, just with the twist that Alyssa was trying to put Alice's wrongs to rights. The world building was elaborate and imaginative, and the storyline was new. There were also plenty of extra little touches to take this story from a copy, to a complex story in its own right.
I really liked Alyssa, and her fashion sense made me an instant fan! Love the gothic fairy look! (Imagine the girl on the cover with a bit more black eye makeup and some blue dreds among the golden locks and that's the Alyssa in the story). She obviously wanted to help her mom, but she wasn't a martyr either, and she did make mistakes. She was sort-of unprepared for what Wonderland would throw at her, and there was an on-going theme throughout the book that in Wonderland nobody can be trusted, and nothing is what it seems.
Jeb was a welcome addition to the story, with his continuous jokes and name-calling at Morpheus' expense, and a hidden alpha-male protectiveness of Alyssa. The little touch of romance was good too, although I wasn't overly impressed by the Alyssa-Jeb-Morpheus love triangle.
On the negative side, I did get quite confused towards the end. I found all the different things that were going on, and all the different ideas and prophecy stuff hard to follow, and I'm still not sure I really get it now. The storyline was quite complex, especially towards the end, and trying to work out exactly who said what, when, where, and why and what effect that had upon Alyssa's present day situation was a bit difficult to follow, I think I'd need a pen and paper to try and work it out.
Overall though, this was an interesting spin on the classic 'Alice in Wonderland' story, with depth and character of its own, and if you like fairy tales, you'll like this.
7 out of 10.
By Pretty Little Reader 28 Nov 2012
Absolutely gripping from start to finish, Howard has woven a whimsical and magical tale that has left me both thrilled and enchanted! Splintered's evocative imagery brought Wonderland and its inhabitants to life, lyrical prose had me dancing along its pages, while complex characterization gave the story depth and meaning.
A companion novel to Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Splintered uses the Alice story as background in order to tell a new story - and Howard manages to perform this feat without disrespecting the original text. Everything from Alice is present - the white rabbit, the mad hatter, the smiling cheshire cat - yet it's tweaked in a way that makes sense, resulting in a darker and more twisted Wonderland for a slightly older audience.
Both beautiful and terrifying, Howard's Wonderland oozed magic and intrigue, leaving me begging for more while the slight, yet clever, modifications to classic staples from the original Alice tale held me captive as I eagerly awaited the next character. Add in absolutely stunning descriptions of Wonderland's many landscapes, brought to life with Howard's lyrical prose, and I was completely and irrevocably hooked.
The characters in Splintered were fantastic - Alyssa was self-conscious, yet confident and immediately relatable because of it. Her courage and selflessness when it came to protecting her family was so endearing, and she handled the teasingly slow reveal of family secrets with much more patience and understanding then I would have been able to muster. Jeb was a little overbearing in his protectiveness, but it also showed how deeply he cared for Alyssa in spite of the obstacles keeping them apart. Considering his harsh upbringing and resulting angst, it also made his softer, vulnerable moments that much sweeter, especially considering he never resorted to douchery to get his point across.
And then there's Morpheus: a mischievously deceptive netherling with a Cockney accent, he spent the entirety of Splintered breaking my heart with his betrayal, only to mend it whole with a whispered explanation that painted him in a less selfish light. It frustrated me that I couldn't pin point his motives, but it made Howard's sneaky twist ending that much more shocking.
I just can't even begin to do Splintered justice. Easily one of the most imaginative reads of the year, Splintered has left an aching desire in my heart to get lost amongst its magical pages, transported into a Wonderland that both thrills and terrifies me. Surprisingly unique, Splintered is creative fantasy at its absolute best!