Thursday, 14 February 2013

Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered by AG Howard
This reimagining of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is just as freaky, scary and wonderful as expected.

Title & Author: Splintered by A.G. Howard
Published: 2013
Pages: 371 (Amulet Books, 2013)
Read: 3/2/13 - 13/2/13
Series: N/A
Challenge(s): 2013 Debut Author Challenge
Source: Owned book

Synopsis: 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.(from Goodreads)

Loved/liked: Loved.  This was actually one of the January debuts I passed over when I did my initial list, which now seems mad as this is so good.  I'm glad it was picked as the Debut Author Challenge's book club book for February or I might not have read it, which would be a shame as I really enjoyed the read. 

I have to admit, one of the things that made me a tad wary was the love triangle.  It's right there in the synopsis and I was sure it would irritate me but no!  I actually liked it, mostly because a) it made sense, b) it didn't dominate the whole damn plot, and c) I agreed with the outcome, which didn't feel forced.  It was what I was rooting for throughout, which was nice (usually I pick the 'losing' guy).

The writing is gorgeous, the reimagining of Wonderland superb, and the characters all well-rounded. I liked Alyssa and rooted for her, and her evolution from freaked out teenager to total badass is believable and awesome.  Both guys - Jeb and Morpheus - are great, and while I won't say which one I wanted to 'win' the love triangle I didn't feel that either didn't deserve to.  Plus, Morpheus has various hats to suit his mood and/or the occasion, which is something I adored.

Basically, I loved this book and am finding it a bit tricky to put that into words without potentially ruining the whole dame plot.  It's the sort of book I want to babble about to someone who's also read it, to point at favourite bits and discuss the sheer wonderful weirdness that was this take on Wonderland.

Problems/issues: None.  The length of time it took me to read it was entirely my own fault; whenever I read the book I couldn't put it down.  It's only not a 10/10 because, as much as I liked it, I didn't love it as much as I love my favourite books (which is, again, entirely on me).

Extra Awesome: Court intrigue, flying, hats for every occasion, weirdness everywhere.

Do I want more? Definitely.  This isn't a series - though there is the potential for a sequel at the end, it's just something mentioned in passing - but I will be reading A.G. Howard's next book for sure (whenever that is *peers at Goodreads author page*).

Do I recommend it? Yes. Especially if you like darker, twistier fantasy - I'm thinking Holly Black and Melissa Marr, the sort of books that occasionally make me go "oh, that's nasty"...but not so nasty that I stop reading.  Also, there are hats for specific events which is something I need in my life.

Rating: 9/10
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