Review: Splintered by A.G Howard (down the rabid hole!!)
Author: A.G Howard
Date of Publication:
Series: Splintered #1
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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.
Rabid hole? Well, no spoilers!!! Shhhh. It has been weeks since I finished this book and up to now, I am still not sure if I am coherent enough to write a review. But one thing is for sure: I absolutely loved this. The hype surrounding this book really gave justice to my reading experience. Splintered delivers a brilliant retelling of Alice in Wonderland. It has a quaint, rich world building, a stunning plot, a can-I-just-split-my-heart-in-two kind of romance and overall evocative.
That's the thing about our main character, Alyssa. She has this eerie senses of hearing insects and flowers murmur cryptic messages. Nothing made sense at first. Her mom is stuck in Asylum for "weary minds." She keeps hearing things. And there are glimpses of her childhood that seems so blurry but bizarre. Alyssa is a character that is on the gray mark. I definitely liked her, but not the like as in we-can-be-bffs kind of way. She's bright and determined. Praise the heavens for not having a whiny and stubborn main character here. Once she got pass the first stage of confusion, she got herself into the rabbit hole and finally tried to find a way to stop their family's curse.
When I got to the Wonderland setting, my mind instantly was blown away. The vividness and intricate description of Howard's version of Wonderland made me shiver in delight and excitement. It's dark and haunting, but also whimsical and enticing. I get to picture the Wonderland creatures and also the human beings in clear prospect. So if you're expecting something like this:
Better lay it down and start imagining things to go on a maddening series turn of events and prepare for a little jarring romance. There, I said it. The romance didn't made me buzzy, I felt conflicted about it. There's a love triangle and I don't take love triangles in a light way. I treat love triangles like it is a plague. I just don't like love triangles. It made me woozy and edgy. And this book wasn't an exception, which leads us to the love interests: Jeb and Morpheus.
Jeb is the mundane love interest. He was a little overbearing and that ticked me off in a wrong way. But he's realistic and the bestfriend of Alyssa. As much as I hate love triangles, the childhood/bestfriend relationship knocked something in me. Morpheus is literally a moth that can transform into a gorgeous person (and he's darn inconclusive.) You can never tell! Do I like him? Yes. Yes because he is:
He lifts three fingers to countdown. "Mysterious. Rebellious. Troubled. All those qualities women find irresistible."It's a twirl of fondness and reservations when it comes to this book's characters. I just can't lay my finger on it. I find them entertaining. They had banters that I enjoyed and tension that got me reeling.
Just when I thought I had everything figure out, a twist came spiraling down and I felt like I am back to square one. It made me look back to the past events and think. Hard. Mull over some scenes and try dissecting the details. Sounds frustrating, right? No, the book's twists knocked me with a feather but it surely thrilled me to no end. And this all comes down to one note: Seriously guys, READ SPLINTERED.“Little blossom in peach and redTrapping boys with your pretty head;Tease and play, be coy and smartFor you will one day break his heart”