Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review: Splintered

Splintered
Published By: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy/Magical Realism

Alice in Wonderland has been one of my favorite stories since I was a kid. When this novel popped up on NetGalley, I couldn't resist. I fell in love with the cover and I wanted to see how A.G. Howard would incorporate one of my favorites into her literary world. I expected this one to be a retelling of some sort, but it is so much better than that. Yes, Howard drew inspiration from Lewis Carroll's original work, but she also infused this novel with historical information about the real Alice Liddell and her own take on Wonderland. I loved that this felt more like a dark, twisted Tim Burton romp than the happy, sweet Disney version. This is the sort of Wonderland I have been craving - both terrifying and beautiful. The vivid imagery of this one will be painted on the canvas of my mind for quite some time. I was hooked from the first sentence.

The novel begins with a glimpse into the Gardner family. Alyssa's home-life is anything but normal. Her mother has been locked up in an insane asylum since she was little and her father refuses to let go of the woman he loves. Growing up without her mother has been difficult enough, but it is only made worse by the fact that she is a descendent of Alice Liddell, the real life inspiration behind Lewis Carroll's fantastic world. Her classmates have ridiculed her for years. The fact that her mother talks to insects and flowers doesn't really help matters. Alyssa has suffered from the same affliction since she hit puberty, but fears telling anyone. She doesn't want to end up in the bed next to her mother at the asylum.

The appearance of a startlingly pretty blue moth will thrust Alyssa into the biggest adventure of her lifetime. She will find her true self and fight to save her family in the wonderful wilds of Wonderland.

The pacing of this one is perfect and full of thrills and unexpected twists and turns. Every time I thought I had things figured out, some new obstacle would be thrown up. Once Alyssa and Jeb enter Wonderland, there isn't a dull moment. Everything runs at break neck speed hurtling towards an epic climax and conclusion. I found it to be deliciously satisfying.

One of my favorite things about this book was the description. I loved the dark and lovely layers that came together to create an image of Wonderland and its inhabitants in my mind. There are so many ridiculously beautiful moments in this book. I was at times in awe of the writing and the vivid imagery. You feel like you are right alongside Alyssa as she strives to break the family curse and restore Wonderland to its former glory.

Another thing I loved about this book is the romance. I don't want to give anything away, but just prepare your heart before it meets Jeb and Morpheus. Both of them will do everything in their power to steal it. I won't say who won mine in the end - it was quite difficult to choose. There is only kissing between these pages, but it is enough to steam up your Kindle. Howard does a gorgeous job of capturing the beauty of first love and injecting it into the core of this novel. The romance doesn't detract from the plot in any way; it only makes this novel more compelling.

I cannot wait for this book to hit the shelves in January! I want everyone to read it and love it as much as I did. Alice fans will surely enjoy this tale, but others who enjoy a good dark fantasy will be satisfied as well. Add this one to your wishlists and TBR lists - it's a drop everything and read sorta novel. Howard's gorgeous and dark prose won me over; I will certainly be checking out whatever she writes in the future.


One Last Gripe: I don't have one. This was a perfect read for me. 

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The evolution of Alyssa - loved her character development

First Sentence: I've been collecting bugs since I was ten; it's the only way I can stop their whispers.

Favorite Characters: Alyssa, Jeb, Morpheus - I could never choose just one!

Least Favorite Character: Taelor



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.



26 comments:

  1. You had me when you mentioned Tim Burton's dark work; I love his movies. I have been waiting for this book for a while now and I'm so glad that it delivered! I'm a huge fan of books with nice descriptions, so that sounds great to me :D I'm an obsessed fan with fairytales and retellings and this looks like a perfect book <3

    The cover is fantastic and this is one of my most wanted books from 2013. Can't wait! Awesome review :D

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    1. You will love this one! It's well worth the wait. Just be sure to drop everything else when you do get it in your hands.

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  2. No gripes?! Wow! I have this one sitting on my shelf and I'm really looking forward to reading it. I have a lot of friends who are very adamant about me reading it like asap lol. Great review!

    Anna
    Literary Exploration

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    1. Yes, it's very rare for me not to have at least a minor gripe, but I loved every moment of this one and wouldn't change a thing. It is an amazing and beautiful debut.

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  3. I just finished this book! I feel the same about this book as you. I am just absolutely amazed at this book. It's beyond brilliant.

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    1. I am so excited to find another fan. I agree - "beyond brilliant" is a perfect description.

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  4. A wonderful review! I loved this book as much as you, it was so beautifully written & how gorgeous is the cover!

    Thankyou for sharing :)

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    1. Thank you. I agree - the cover is beautiful. I'll be featuring it in a Cover Crazy soon. :)

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  5. Well, I have read a LOT of positive reviews about this book. I LOVED Alice in Wonderland as a kid, and I still love it. So I can't wait to see what the author would bring to the story. And I also like it that the love is not at first sight and that it is gradual.
    Adding this to my TBR
    GREAT review, Andrea!
    Your constant reader,
    Soma
    http://insomnia-of-books.blogspot.com/

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  6. I'm not usually jealous of bloggers for getting to read things early. But Splintered! Ugh, I want to read it so badly. Awesome review, but now I'm even more anxious for this book :P

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    1. I was very very lucky to get to read this one early. I cannot wait for it to come out so I can talk to more people about it. FABULOUS!

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  7. I can't wait to read this one. Love the cover and description and it just looks like something I'd like. Thanks for your thoughts and making me want to read it more!

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  8. This is one of the my most anticipated reads for the new year (not counting sequels). Everything about this one sounds like I'm going to LOVE it. I so hope so!!

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    1. I hope you love it as much as I did. I found it to be one of the most entertaining books I've read this year. It's a stunning debut.

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  9. Tim Burton is all that I needed to hear. I was already prepared to read this book as soon as absolutely possible, but that sentence got me even more excited. I love Tim Burton, and Alice in Wonderland, and those two things make Splintered a MUST. Thanks for yet another awesome review!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the review! Happy Reading. :)

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  10. oooohhh. you had me at Tim...dark and twisted always works for me.

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    1. I'm also a fan of the dark and twisted reads. This one certainly delivers on that front.

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  11. I love this cover! I am so freakin' excited for this book! Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton (love his work!)...I am so in! Need this! Thanks for the review!

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  12. This is definitely a cover that catches your eye! I've been seeing wonderful reviews so far and cannot wait for it's release. I have it on my wishlist on Amazon already. I love fairy tales and retellings of them!!

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