Review: Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard

4 out of 5 stars

I was immediately drawn to this book because of the cover, and the idea of an Alice in Wonderland retelling. There’s been a bit of a surge in popularity in Alice in Wonderland lately, mostly because of Tim Burton’s film. And that is what this book reminds me of – the deliciously twisted Wonderland as envisioned by Burton. That’s not to say the original Wonderland wasn’t twisted – but Burton and A.G. Howard take it one step further. Perhaps not quite as far as the ‘Alice’ series of computer games, but it gets quite close at some points. Like original Wonderland, nothing is quite as it seems, but Howard takes it to extremes for more effect. And it certainly works well.

The first chapter establishes Alyssa as a rather quirky character – she is alternative in her dress sense, she has dreadlocks, she skateboards, and most of all: she creates mosaics out of dead bugs. It is here we discover that she does this to shut them up – because she can hear what plants and bugs say. Alyssa appears to be intelligent, caring and firmly grounded, despite her family history of females going insane. This is apparently because Alyssa is a distant relative of Alice Liddell, the real Alice in Wonderland, who had a curse placed on her and her family after leaving Wonderland in a mess. This is a stark contrast to the final moments of Lewis Carroll’s book. Alice ended up in an asylum, where Alyssa’s mother now is, and reading Alice’s psychiatric report is quite haunting.

A.G. Howard’s writing style flows well, with pretty visuals and vivid descriptions. She also writes fast-paced action scenes very well. She appears to have a talent for the strange – where Carroll created odd characters, Howard makes them odder. I have quite honestly come to expect a certain type of writing style from YA authors, but A. G. Howard dashes all those expectations. A clever and unexpected plot twist towards the end especially impressed me.

One thing I disliked about the book, which is far too prevalent in current YA books, was the love triangle. I suppose it wasn’t quite as ridiculous as many other YA books, but it would be so refreshing to read one without any sort of romance! The two guys fighting over Alyssa are quite typical – Jeb, the dark, handsome, brooding arty type; and Morpheus, the mysterious guy from Alyssa’s past. Another issue I want to raise is that if Alyssa’s family are trying to escape the Alice curse, why do all the females have Alice names? I suppose it is possible that it is part of the curse, but it is never discussed.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. It presents Lewis Carroll’s happier version of Wonderland as the deluded fantasy, and the one that Alyssa explores as the real version; I can really imagine young Alice blocking out the horrific truth with milder images. It plays very cleverly on Carroll’s creation, without being a completely straight retelling. It has also reminded me that I haven’t read Alice in Wonderland for about 10 years, and really should re-read it…

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4 thoughts on “Review: Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard”

  1. This book looks great! And love triangles, if done well, don’t bother me too much- unless she picks the wrong guy hahaThanks for sharing your thoughts and for stopping by my blog. I’m a new follower and email subscriber of yours. Your blog is so cute! 🙂

  2. This looks fantastic. I am not a fan of love triangles either, but what can you do? I think I need to go back and reread Alice again – it has been awhile… Thanks for stopping by my blog and I followed you back!-KristaBreathe In BooKs

  3. The cover is so very fantasy-like. I love it! ❤ I like retellings of Alice in Wonderland and would love to give this a try BUT ugh, that love triangle! I’m not fond of love triangles especially when you don’t know who the girl’s going to end up with. I may have to see where book 2 is going with the romance before reading this. Thanks for the review and for stopping by, Rinn! I’m following you back. 🙂

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