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Splintered (Splintered Series #1): Splintered Book One Hardcover – January 1, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-This darker, modern update of Alice in Wonderland is more likely to please fans of Tim Burton's film adaptation than those of Lewis Carroll's novel. Alyssa, 16, is a descendant of Alice Liddell, the girl who was Carroll's inspiration for Alice. Her mother lives in a mental institution, and she herself struggles with hearing voices from insects and flowers. Do the women in her family suffer from a curse that can somehow be traced back to the original Alice? The opening chapters drag a bit, but the action picks up when Alyssa finds herself in Wonderland, fighting for her survival-and for her mother's sanity. Howard maintains a lush atmosphere throughout, reintroducing Carroll's characters as truly nightmarish monsters. Though Alyssa's ongoing quests can sometimes seem aimless and the requisite love triangle forced, teens looking for a creepy, descriptive read with a generous dollop of romance will gravitate toward this title.-Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
YA authors have used fairy tales and fantasy as a backdrop for contemporary stories for decades, and first-time author Howard is no exception. Relying on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland as the infrastructure, as well as Tim Burton’s fantastical movie landscapes for inspiration, Howard crafts a teenage skater girl, Alyssa Gardner, who feels compelled to throw herself down the rabbit hole in an attempt to cure her mother’s madness and quiet the ever-increasing chatter in her own head. But Alyssa does not make this journey alone. Childhood friend Jeb enters Wonderland with her, a constant grounding to the real world as they encounter Morpheus (who sports a hookah), Rabid White, Chessie, the Red and Ivory Queens, and other iterations of Carroll’s familiar characters. 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. With one test after another that she must pass, Alyssa soon learns that the only person she can rely on is herself. Grades 8-12. --Frances Bradburn
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Top Customer Reviews
Let’s get into those characters, shall we? First there is Alyssa, descendent of Alice (yes, the Alice) who is facing her own issues back in the real world. First off, her mom is in a mental hospital because she hears and talks to bugs and plants. The bigger issue here is that Alyssa can also hear these voices and her biggest fear is that she will end up just like her mother and be locked away awaiting shock therapy treatments. Then there is the normal teenage issues that we are all familiar with, she has a secret crush on her best friend, Jeb. Jeb is a sort of bad boy artist with a labret piercing and serious mechanic skills, he also feels as if it is his duty to protect Alyssa from all things, and though endearing, she doesn’t always love this about him. Finally, there is Morpheus. Oh Morpheus how do I even begin to describe you? Morpheus has a few forms but in a nutshell he is a fantastical, blue haired, brooding bad ass with a killer set of wings that can both fly you into the starlight and keep you warm if you’re feeling chilly. I bet you guys sense a love triangle happening here, and I can’t lie, it’s a biggie.” I was super CONFLICTED while reading this and there were many texts to my girls stating “I love the pierced one again,” and “OMG he has wings!” Honestly, after finishing the book I still don’t know how I am feeling or who I love more, I think I am happy with the ending but then I obsess a bit more and I just don’t know! *sigh* But guys, I can’t lie to you, it was worth it because these were some of the best KISSY SCENES I have read in a while. Seriously I WANT MOAR PLEASE!
“I hate you," I say, the sentiment muffled against his heart, hoping to make it true.
"And I love you," he answers without hesitation, voice resolved and raw as he holds me tighter so I can't break away and react. "A crossroads, my beautiful princess, that was unavoidable—given our situations.”
I loved what Howard did with the secondary characters; they are turned from happy and whimsical beings to dark and frightening creatures. The White Rabbit is now Rabid White, Tweedle Dee and Dum are now grotesque female keepers of lost souls, The Mad Hatter literally becomes his work and you learn a little bit about the Queen of Hearts and why she became so bitter. “Off with her head!” has found new meaning in this debut novel.
I recommend this book to those of you looking for a new twist on a childhood tale, more reminiscent of Tim Burton than Lewis Caroll. It was adventurous, romantic and all together mad.
I was so surprised by how much I liked this book and how much it made me think! My brain was constantly thinking about this story and what was happening, what was going to happen, what the characters were doing, etc. The world building and character development was so wonderfully done that if not for having more books to read on my backlist, I would have picked up the next book immediately! Basically this is a dissection of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The Lewis Carroll version is so trippy and doesn’t make a lot of sense sometimes. But A.G. Howard took care of that and wrote what she thought he was actually talking about. It changed how I have viewed the story in the past and makes so much more sense! I may actually add the next books to my backlist (if they aren't on my TBR) so that I can read them now.
This was my first A.G. Howard book but it definitely won't be my last. I will be checking out the other books outside of this series as well.