By: Melanie | September 30, 2013 | (26) Comments

Review: Splintered by A.G. HowardSplintered by A.G. Howard
Series: Splintered, #1
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Pages: 371
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase

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.

Splintered, as the synopsis states was a book filled with grotesque madness. A kind that is so utterly amazing and magical, I am craving to jump in again so Unhinged, hurry up and show your face to the world! (Actually, not the cover. Ugh. Morpheus is on it.)

Alyssa Gardner was never normal. A family curse that stretches far back to Alice Liddell, who inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Alyssa has been hearing voices from the insects ever since she was young. However that’s not all, with her mother becoming madder by the second, Alyssa sets foot down the rabbit hole in desperation to save her family from the curse- also accidentally bringing her crush, Jeb along for the ride of madness. My first intentions for Alyssa were relatively weak as her decisions were disagreeable nevertheless I grew to like Alyssa as the story went through. She’s strong hearted and loving, willing to put herself on an unpredictably dangerous journey through the Wonderland.

Our two other protagonists are Jeb and Morpheus, who are also the two sides of a love triangle. I am not a fan of love triangles however this one was comparatively bearable, nothing excessively dramatic or angst-y. I’d like to just say that I will forever and always be Team Jeb, despite his character flaws (which is completely okay to have) like over-protectiveness (which was sweet sometimes), Jeb was a sweetheart that cared dearly for Alyssa but not so damn much that it was flooding with cheesiness. Per contra we have anti-hero, Morpheus- a.k.a lying bastard that I wish to never see again. I am in complete shock that there are people who actually like him. But my heart only has the capacity to love one character in Splintered and that will always go to Jeb. *insert heart eyes here*

Apart from the characters and romance, I do believe the strongest and most lovable aspect was the writing. A.G. Howard is an absolutely magnificent writer when it comes to descriptions and a great story line. This whimsical mania would not be as effective without the writing. I do hope her writing sustains through the upcoming instalments as what actually kept me reading was the writing. Standing ovation right here, ladies and gents.

Sadly, there’s another side to the coin. What I didn’t like aside from Morpheus (who didn’t really ruin my enjoyment, I just hold a strong grudge against him) was the pacing. It took quite some time for Alyssa to actually be in Wonderland and I just wished that it hurried up a little near the beginning. Yet I guess the beautiful father-daughter relationship half-ly made up for that. Yes, people, we have a fantastic family dynamic here. With Alyssa’s mother stuck in hospital, her father had to take Alyssa under his wing.

All in all, I am satisfied with Splintered and cannot wait for Unhinged. I also have my fingers crossed that the third book will have Jeb’s beautiful face on it. It’s only fair.

4 Stars
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Melanie

Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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26 Responses to Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

  1. Great review Mel, this book sounds unusual and awesome, very fitting for a Wonderland remake. I lol’d at the heart eyes 🙂
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Giveaway & Book Blitz: Courtlight Series by Terah EdunMy Profile

  2. Shelly says:

    I totally hate love triangles too but the one in Splintered was actually very well done. I am still not sure who to root for (I’m leaning towards Morpheus, sorry!) but it’s totally believable. I also agree that her getting into wonderland took so long, the pacing was too slow. Great review! 🙂
    Shelly recently posted…Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Book ReviewMy Profile

  3. OMG TEAM JEB RIGHT OVER HERE TOO HUN! Jeb is such a sweetie- those Morph fans are mad. I loved this book so much, I’m glad you did too! Let’s raid Anita’s house for Unhinged! >,< fabulous review melanie

  4. Amelia says:

    I’m sorry but Morpheus is badass unlike lil Jeb over there. Other than that, I simply must agree, the writing of Howard was fantastic- this retelling was one of the best I’ve ever read.

  5. Jenni says:

    Happy that you had much better luck with this one than I did. So much of this one just didn’t work for me and I ended up putting it down pretty early. It made me so mad because that cover is just stunning! I hope the rest of the series continues to be awesome for you, Melanie!
    Jenni recently posted…Book Girls Don’t Cry – DNF!My Profile

  6. Totally agree about the writing and the pacing. The writing was just so strong in Splintered! But the pacing lagged a little, even amid the beautiful prose. I am not a Jeb fan however. I disliked the romance, and I could have done without it all together. Jeb was too overprotective for me.
    Becca @ Nawanda Files recently posted…ARC Review: How to Love by Katie CotugnoMy Profile

  7. Giselle says:

    Blaaaah I didn’t like the triangle at all in this one mostly bc I couldn’t really stand either of the male characters involved in it. It’s been too long a time now but I remember finding Jeb kind of annoying and controlling and Morpheus was just a douche – though I liked his actual character just not as a love interest. He was an asshole but he made it known if you know what I mean. Not this jerk hidden behind a characetr we’re supposed to swoon over blah blah. I had the same trouble with the pacing. I was bored for a while reading this one. Anyways, glad you liked it more than I did.
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Made of Stars by Kelley YorkMy Profile

  8. Great review! This book has been on my to-read list for such a long time. I love retellings, so I’m pretty sure this one is right up my alley!
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…Review: Just One Day by Gayle FormanMy Profile

  9. Henrietta says:

    I actually bought this book when it first came out but because of review commitments, I still haven’t gotten to pick it up and read it. Thanks for sharing what worked/ didn’t work for you – I usually wouldn’t feel too hung-up on douche-bag type characters but I could see how annoying it might be. I’ll keep in mind that I’ll need to be patient with the story beginning. BTW, I LOVE the covers of this series 🙂
    Henrietta recently posted…The Snatchabook – Helen Docherty and Thomas DochertyMy Profile

  10. Ariella says:

    I actually DNFed this one but I plan on trying again sometime. What made me stop was the slowness of the plot, I think. I remembered liking Jeb but Morpheus didn’t do it for me at all. I just question him a lot. Glad you liked this book, Melanie 🙂
    Ariella recently posted…Monthly Wrap-up: September 2013My Profile

  11. I so loved this one. It was probably my favorite book of 2012. (I read it ARC last year before it was released in January 2013.) I’m so happy you enjoyed it as well! Great review!! 🙂
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Audiobook Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth NorrisMy Profile

  12. Lyn Kaye says:

    The reviews for this book are all over the place. I sure do love that cover, however. I might take a poke at it one day!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: The Explanation for Everything by Lauren GrodsteinMy Profile

  13. Candace says:

    Oh I’m so happy to see you liked this one! I got it ages ago but haven’t read it yet. I’m much more eager to pick it up after that awesome review though!
    Candace recently posted…Something Wicked Returns STARTING LINE & Giveaway! Enter to win a book of choice!My Profile

  14. I’m so curious to read this book! Plus, it seems so “Halloween”, it’ll be perfect for this month!!

    Ps. I’ve just started my book blog, I’ll leave you the link if you want to check it out! 🙂
    http://frannieinthepages.blogspot.com/
    Frannie Panglossa recently posted…Teaser Tuesdays #9My Profile

  15. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! Although, a piece of my soul died a little. TEAM MORPH BABAY!!!
    Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads recently posted…Undersea Spotlight: Asti at A Bookish HeartMy Profile

  16. Stepanie B says:

    I haven’t read this one yet but I’ve been really interested in what you thought. I’m so glad you liked this one! And you managed to make me laugh out loud so congrats. Fantabulous review, Mel!
    Stepanie B recently posted…Cover Reveal: DividedMy Profile

  17. Like I said on Twitter, MORPHEUS. Jeb as a ponytail, helllooo, it makes me laugh every time I think about it. I hope she let him die in Unhinged *evil laugh* :p Haha, no, I’m not that evil. But perhaps she can let him disappear in Wonderland. Get abducted by some huge butterflies.

    I loved the dark Wonderland <3
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Early Review 201. Mira Grant – Parasite.My Profile

  18. sarah c. says:

    The cover to this book is so catching that it makes you want to find out what this book is about–and it sounds good!!! great review too!!!

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