Thursday, December 27, 2012

ARC Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Author: A. G. Howard
Publication: Amulet Books (January 1, 2013)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: This was an amazing debut paranormal story about a girl named Alyssa who must travel to Wunderland to defeat a curse that has been in her family for generations which causes the women to go mad. Alyssa fears that she will be next. She is already hearing what insects and plants have to say. She is also torn between her best friend Jeb and the mysterious Morpheus who haunts her dreams.

The story is filled with wonder and magic and dark and light. Alyssa has many hard choices to make. Her choices are even more difficult because Morpheus has his own agenda and is constantly lying to Alyssa. The novel is loosely based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland but this one emphasizes the creepy and deals with one of Alice's descendants who is a young adult. 

I loved Alyssa's relationship with Jeb who has been her protector for years. Their families live in adjoining duplexes. Both have had hard childhoods. Alyssa has had to deal with a mother in an insane asylum who cut her hands with hedge clippers and left her terribly scarred. Jeb's father was an abusive alcoholic who left masses of burn scars all over Jeb's body. But both Alyssa and Jeb are talented artists. Alyssa's medium is a little weird. She does mosaics made from dead bugs. And, unknown to Alyssa, Jeb's favorite model is Alyssa who he consistently draws as though she were from Wunderland.

Morpheus is the more complex character of the two boys. His hidden agenda and constant manipulation of Alyssa makes it hard to like him. But Alyssa comes to remember the childhood they had together in Wunderland and is always making allowances for him. Yet Alyssa isn't following his path blindly. She is making decisions that she must according to her own sense of right and wrong. She is a strong character who can make good choices.

The magical world that Howard created was vivid and amazing. I loved her take on the characters from Alice in Wonderland. Fantasy lovers will enjoy this story and might even be tempted to pick up the original Alice in Wonderland to see how Howard transformed it. 

Favorite Quote:
Jeb is stable, strong, and genuine - my knight in shining armor. Morpheus is selfish, unreliable, and transcendent - chaos incarnate. Impossible to compare.

Yet here I am, all of those things. Both light and dark at the same time. If I were to give in to one side of me, would that mean I'd have to give up the other? My heart aches at the possibility. Somehow I feel like I need both to be complete.
I received this eARC from Amulet Books via NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Yay, another good review! So far, I've read one that hasn't like it and two that have. I was so sad when I saw the review that didn't like it because the cover is gorgeous and the summary sounded awesome. After reading your review, my hopes are high again! I can't wait to read this one! Great review :)

    -Jessica (Peace Love Books)


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