Book Review: Splintered by A.G.Howard7:07 PM
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy tale, Retellings, Young Adult
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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.
Before I begin on the actual contents on the book, let's show a little appreciation to the whole design of the book. First of all the cover is absolutely stunning, as are the rest of the books in this trilogy, I also loved that the actual text inside the book was a dark purple rather than black- subtle but a really nice touch. And Finally, the amazing swirls and patterns at each chapter that I just adored.
I'm not someone that reads an awful lot of fantasy, it's actually a genre I have been wanting to get into for a while but I've just not really been in the mood (can't beat a bit of contemporary) and I thought that this book would be a good way to ease myself into it seeing as it's a fairy tale retelling (I love fairy tales) and it's quite dark and sinister (duh) which I love in any book that I read. And I have to admit, it was a lot more dark than I thought but I loved it.
I loved the reflections between the wonderland created by Lewis Carroll (can I just say he was born in Cheshire and I live in Cheshire so there's an interesting fact for you), it was a really dark interpretation of it and I really really enjoyed that, in fact it was the thing that I enjoyed the most trying to think about what each part of this wonderland was in Lewis Carroll's version.
Characters. Alyssa was quite annoying at times, she was very... I'm not sure what word to use other than teenage angsty which Sarah Churchill warned me about going into it, but once you push past this at the beginning it's definitely a lot better (this was what made me knock a star off because I wanted to skim read some of these parts) but I liked to watch her grow and progress into an entirely different person.
Jeb (her best friend), on the other hand, I quite liked from the start, he did get quite tedious with his constant need to protect Alyssa but to be honest, I feel like anyone who cares about another person is like this so I felt that it was a true reflection of reality, I also really liked he wasn't the typical blond hair male protagonist as in most books, he had piercings and liked skate boarding, it was really refreshing.
The final character I just want to throw in there is Alison (Alyssa's mother) who is locked up inside an Asylum because of this curse, the psychologist inside me was screaming "it's all typical symptoms of Schizophrenia" I know, nerdy right, but I really liked that it was sort of, relative to a real mental illness and it made sense that she was locked away because lets face it if you knew anyone that was talking to bugs, you'd be worried too.
Which brings me onto what I also really enjoyed about this book, the transition from Psychology and talking about delusions and mental illness... to realising that it's not delusions at all and all of the clues, jigsaw pieces if you will, that Alyssa puts together and starts to make sense of, you're along with her on the journey and that's what really made this interesting.
There was never really a dull moment in this book, particularly when Alyssa actually gets into wonderland there is quite a lot of action, a lot of things starting to piece together and make sense. I should also add that this isn't a light and easy read, this is a book that you need to pay attention to, you need to try and take everything in because if you don't you will get incredibly confused and not understand how things fit together.
There is also quite a big twist at the end of the book which I really enjoyed (I love a good twist) and a good thing about this book is, I don't feel like it's part of a trilogy, I feel like this book was completed and everything has been tied up well and you got all the questions answered that you were wondering from the start, it's not a long drawn out story, but I can't wait to get my hands on the second one at the same time.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, it's definitely recommended if you enjoy retellings, particularly ones that put a dark twist on the original!
Have you read this book? What did you think?